Spain is complex and diverse, far from just a warm beach destination. This European country has breathtaking green landscapes, whitewashed villages, idyllic islands, and iconic monuments.
However, you should know a few important things before going on a holiday to Spain. These tips will prevent you from getting publicly embarrassed as you take in Spain’s sights and incredible sounds.
Top 10 travel tips you should bear in mind before visiting Spain
Before heading over to Spain and exploring the Moorish palaces located in Granada or the great Roman aqueducts in Segovia, here are the top 10 travel tips to bear in mind:
1. Spanish is not the only official language
This may sound surprising, but Spanish is not the only official language most Spaniards speak. For instance, Catalan is spoken in Catalonia, as you will discover when going through most menus and signs.
Several dialects of Catalan are spoken in the Balearic Islands and Valencia, and many consider them official languages, too. In northern Spain, the official language is Basque, while Galician is spoken in Galicia.
Therefore, consider learning a few words of the language spoken in the particular Spanish region you intend to visit. The locals will greatly appreciate this and welcome you with open arms.
2. Read customer reviews
Customer reviews play a crucial role in the travel industry. However, some individuals who have visited Spain may omit some vital facts when leaving reviews. For instance, some people may not highlight Spain’s diverse climate and weather, depending on the location they visited.
Nevertheless, reading reviews will help immensely, especially if you’re visiting Spain for the first time. You will discover the experiences of many different people while unfolding the truth about Spain.
You will also get unbiased opinions and much better insights which will help you save money, time, and hassle.
3. Spaniards eat late
Most Spaniards don’t eat at the usual meal times you’re conversant with. Lunch in Spain is around 2 pm, while dinner is from 9 pm to 10 pm.
Therefore, be ready to adjust your meal times. Most restaurants only start serving meals from at least 8 pm. Don’t worry about going hungry; tapas are often available throughout the day.
4. The climate and weather in Spain
Spain has diverse geography, meaning that you will find different climate zones all over the European country.
Summers in Spain are usually dry and hot, while winters are mostly rainy and mild. Temperatures in summer can be up to 30 degrees Celsius – or even higher – while it is not too uncommon for temperatures in winter to be around 10 to 15 degrees Celsius.
Temperatures vary, depending significantly on the Spanish region you intend to visit. For instance, regions like the Sierra Nevada near Granada tend to have snow during winter.
5. Most Spaniards do not sleep during siesta periods
If you’ve read reviews or travel articles, you must have learned about the popular Spanish culture of “siesta.” This is between 2 pm and 4 pm, and most businesses and shops will be closed within this period.
But it doesn’t imply that Spaniards take a quick nap during this period. In most cases, they only go home to have lunch and spend some time with family. Usually, only the elderly or toddlers sleep during this period.
Knowing this is good, so that you don’t plan to visit a monument at 2 pm or the Cathedral by 3 pm as you may find them closed.
6. Tipping is not a big thing in Spain
Tipping a waiter in most European countries is not such a big deal. But Spaniards don’t care about tipping waiters in bars or restaurants
Of course, that shouldn’t prevent you from tipping waiters, but do know that this is not a standard practice here.
7. Exercise caution with alcohol
No one measures alcohol in Spain. So, don’t be surprised if the waiter at any club pours alcohol directly into your glass. Always tell them to stop if you do not want a strong drink.
It is no longer news that tourists in Spain end up drunk very quickly. If that is not your goal, ensure you know this vital tip.
8. Getting around Spain
Spain’s highly developed transport infrastructure is admired across the European continent. This makes it incredibly easier for tourists to travel across the peninsula with zero hitches.
You can hire a vehicle and drive yourself around Spain. The massive network of immaculate motorways connects every major city in the country. This gives you independent travel freedoms. However, this can cost you lots of money.
That is why it is highly recommended that you use the high-speed trains Spain is currently known for. Using trains in Spain remains one of the most scenic and efficient ways of traveling around the European country.
9. Get familiar with some basic Spanish words/phrases
You don’t have to attend classes or obtain a degree just because you want to learn Spanish.
You may be somewhat confused here since Spain is home to several official languages. However, knowing a bit of Spanish irrespective of the region you visit is vital.
Therefore, learn some basic or passable Spanish phrases and words such as Adiós (Bye-bye), Por favor (Please), Gracias (Thank you), Hola (Hello), Lo Siento (Sorry), etc.
These are just a handful of Spanish words and phrases you can learn easily.
10. Get ready for a gastronomic adventure
Every chef worth their weight in gold says Spanish gastronomy is among the top 3 in the world. You will fall head-over-heels in love with the Mediterranean diet Spain is known for, including the paellas, tapas, the cocido, or typical Spanish stew, ham, and wine.
Spain is a country replete with a wide variety of flavors. Therefore, prepare for a gastronomic adventure as your palate gets tantalized daily.
Taking a trip to Spain can be thrilling and fun-filled. It will even be more so if you consider the top 10 tips shared before choosing a particular vacation destination in this European country.
Therefore, do not be afraid to dive headlong into Spanish culture. Explore the cities and countryside at appropriate times, try new foods, and find lots of time to relax and take in the sights.
The friendly Spanish people, incredible architecture, rich culture, history, and delicious food are enough to make anyone fall in love with Spain.