The Top 12 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Spain

Visiting Spain: The Top 12 Things You Need to Know Before You Go

Spain, a destination country that every tourist falls in love with. It is a place of vibrancy, diversity, history and amazing food. Spain has easily become one of the most visited countries by tourists every year and although I hold back in considering myself a typical tourist, undoubtedly this country is a favourite on my list.

Spain is an exciting multicultural country made up of 17 different regions. Each region differentiates itself with its foods, cultures and traditions. There are certainly a few things that are worth knowing before your travels to Spain to avoid any awkward situations along the way.

Planning Your Trip to Spain

 1. Expect to eat late

This was one thing I wasn’t used to when visiting Spain: the late dinners. Lunch is usually served between 2 pm and 4 pm and dinner around 9 to 10 pm for locals to be aware when you’re eating out as some places may not be open before 2 pm. If they are open, you may be caught in a tourist trap.

2. Shops may close in the middle of the day

 If you need to get something done, make sure you do it in the morning because between 2-5pm, everything will be closed. This period is known as the Siesta period but that brings me to point number three…

3. Siesta is not a thing…

while the thought of a siesta may be what the rest of the world craves in their culture, it’s not actually what people think. Yes, shops close during lunch hours but that doesn’t mean people go home for their afternoon nap. Majority of Spaniards just go home to have lunch and spend time with their families, not to sleep.

4. August is a great time to visit many countries…but not Spain

 August. A family-favourite month for many people…including Spaniards. Despite the month being the middle of summer holidays, August is the month that most of Spain goes on holiday too. So if you plan on visiting Spain during August, expect many businesses including restaurants and cafes to be closed for the month. You may get the major tourist attractions open but if you wanted to experience Spain like a local, consider visiting another time.

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Being in Spain

5. Pickpockets can be a problem

Big cities, especially places like Madrid and Barcelona are renowned for pickpockets who often target oblivious tourists. Sometimes the pickpockets will target you in the form of a distraction. Common scams include the flower scam. This is when the pickpocket will offer you a flower as an excuse to get close to you and your pockets. They will demand money for the flower and when you refuse, they will reach into your wallet for you. Another example is the pigeon poop scam. Someone will spray paint or milk onto your clothes and “kindly approach you to let you know, offering to help you clean it. This way you’re distracted enough for someone else to get into your pockets.

Make sure you’re vigilant at all times when you’re in a crowded area and keep your bags close to your body at all times.

6. Tipping isn’t necessarily a big deal

Unlike a lot of other countries, tipping isn’t necessary in Spain. Most locals leave nothing at all or just a few coins after their meal. If you’re eating a particularly nice place and you feel bad leaving without a tip, you could leave an extra ten percent of the bill but it’s no big deal if not.

7. If you order a drink, expect a free bite 

 One of the greatest things in life: free food, am I right?! Spain’s tapas culture means that when you order a drink in most restaurants, it will arrive with a small plate on the side filled with a little something to snack on, whether it be potato chips, olives or a little ham sandwich. Remember, this won’t be added onto the bill, it’s completely complimentary.

8. Be thankful for public transport in Spain

One great thing about Spain is that the public transport system is just fantastic so getting around is incredibly easy. Not only is it fast and convenient, but it’s also affordable. Most notable train lines include the AVE that stretches between many of Spain’s biggest cities, meaning you can get around the whole country in great time and great comfort.

9. Say hello to the festival capital of the world

I could write a list of all the festivals that happen during the year in Spain but I would probably be stuck in this chair for a good month before I’m done. There are so many festivals that happen throughout the country, throughout the year that you’re bound to coincide with one regardless of what time of year you visit. Some of the best Spanish festivals include Las Fallas in Valencia and Seville’s Feria de Abril.

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 10. There’s an escalator etiquette

If you’re using the escalator in Spain, make sure you stand on the right so people can pass you. If you stand on the left, Spaniards will consider it rude and you’ll most definitely stand out.

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 11. Waiting in line in Spain

Spaniards don’t wait in line. You’ll notice that when you’re waiting in line for something, you’d get the odd Spaniards that push in front or shove you to the back of a new queue that doesn’t even exist. But don’t be surprised because they don’t mean to be rude. It’s just the way things are in Spain. If this happens to you, politely push yourself forward and speak up. The locals sure will so why can’t you?

12. You won’t be able to get anything done on a Sunday

Not only do businesses close for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but businesses are also closed on a Sunday so don’t expect to be productive that day. Sundays are designed for relaxing and spending time with family and friends.

ALT = Joeyt

Some aspects of this post may have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions expressed are my own. For more information, please read my disclaimer

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