One of the most diverse nations in Europe is Spain. It is well-known for its breathtaking beaches along the coast, the mountainous Pyrenees, as well as its illustrious past and exciting nightlife. But it’s simple to become a little disoriented when there are so many things going on. Consequently, the following travel advice for Spain will help you enjoy your trip:
Before you travel, try learning some fundamental Spanish.
As some locals might not speak much English, picking up a little of the native tongue will go a long way with them. Nevertheless, keep in mind that there are other languages spoken in the nation (there are 5 recognized as official), particularly in regions like Catalonia, Galicia, and the Basque Country. Locals in this area may, however, also speak Spanish to varied degrees.
- Hello – Hola
- Goodbye – Adios
- Good morning – Buenos dias
- Good afternoon – Buenos tardes
- Good night – Buenos noches
- Please – Por favor
- Thank you – Gracias
- You’re welcome – De nada
- I’m sorry – Lo siento
- Excuse me – Disculpe
- I don’t understand – No entiendo
- Do you speak English? – Habla Ingles?
- I don’t speak Spanish – No hablo Espanol
- How much? – Cuanto cuentas?
- Where is…? – Dondo esta…?
- Check – La cuenta
- Bathroom – Bano
- What’s your name – Cono te llamas?
- Can I have…? – Puendo tener…?
- How are you? – Como estas?
Local areas could differ greatly from one another
Similar to how the many Spanish provinces’ architecture, cuisine, and language vary greatly from one another. There are 17 semi-autonomous areas in Spain, each having a distinct culture. Furthermore, despite the fact that Spain is a single country, these regions have very different cultures. Each region can occasionally feel like a different nation, from Andalusia in the south to Catalonia in the east to the Basque Country in the north and everything in between
Flights can be less expensive than trains.
Spain is a large country, thus flying frequently ends up being much more affordable than taking the rail for lengthy distances (like from Malaga to Bilbao). The Renfe rail system in Spain can be pricey, particularly if you want to do a roundtrip.
Often purchase internet tickets for well-known attractions.
Major sites like the Sagrada Familia, the Alcazar of Seville, or the Alhambra can experience heavy foot traffic and lengthy admission lines. Consequently, you can order tickets online and in advance to ensure that your visit goes successfully. This gives you a set amount of time to visit these locations, enabling you to schedule your days more effectively.
In Spain, siestas are a big affair.
In Spain, it is rather typical to see many stores, companies, and restaurants close their doors for a short break in the afternoon. Between the hours of 2 and 4 pm, everything closes and everyone returns home, despite the fact that huge stores and restaurants in larger cities that primarily serve tourists tend to stay open.
Exercise caution in the intense summer heat.
In some areas of Spain, the summertime temperatures can be rather high. Hot summer days in Seville and Cordoba frequently exceed 40°C (or 104°F) in July and August, reaching some of the highest temperatures in Europe. Travelers may find this to be rather uncomfortable. So, it’s best to get out of the sun at peak times to avoid sunstrokes and sunburns, making it easy to understand why siestas are so popular.
The ideal time to go
It’s recommended to travel to Spain in the fall or spring because the summers may be extremely hot (unless you’re going to the beach to get a tan or looking for the parties in Ibiza). The seasons are much cooler between September and November (autumn) and February and April (spring). There are fewer crowds as well. Ski enthusiasts can travel throughout the winter and go to the Pyrenees or the Sierra Nevada.
Only visitors dine before 9 o’clock
Spanish people prefer to socialize and eat late. Since lunch is their largest meal of the day, dinner usually begins at or after 9 p.m. and lasts until midnight. As a result, few restaurants open before eight o’clock. However, if you want to eat earlier, you may be able to find restaurants catering to tourists that open around 7 pm.
Make sure to sample the local cuisine.
Despite the fact that regional cuisines in Spain tend to differ quite a little, the country is renowned for its numerous delectable dishes. So make sure to sample some of the best regional cuisine while you’re there, including tapas in Granada, paella in Valencia, seafood in Galicia, churros con chocolate in Madrid, tortilla de patata in Córdoba, pintxos in the Basque country, and jamón, a cured leg of ham that’s well-known throughout the nation.
Tipping is not usually required.
Because Spanish waiters receive a living wage, tips are not required (but is always appreciated). Please feel free to give a tip of roughly 10% if you had excellent service. However, before you double-tip, be aware that certain eateries will automatically add a service charge to your bill.
Some prices displayed may not include VAT
While the majority of bars and restaurants list their pricing on the menu with VAT (value added tax), others might not. Keep an eye out for these additional charges and set aside money to cover them.
Verify whether those tapas are free.
Tapas can be a complimentary appetizer that goes with your drinks in some parts of Spain or a fee-based snack. In Andalusia, they are typically free (though you rarely get to pick what they serve), but this isn’t the situation elsewhere in the nation.
European-wide bank holidays aren’t always the same
Bank holidays in Spain don’t necessarily coincide with those in the rest of Europe. Additionally, they differ amongst the various regions of the nation and are frequently updated every year. Just be careful to conduct thorough research and confirm these dates in advance.
Pay special attention to your possessions.
Spain experiences a lot of petty thievery, like any other major tourist destination. There are many pickpockets, notably in Madrid and Barcelona. Even though they are typically not aggressive, always exercise normal caution when out and about (wallet in front pockets, zipped bags, etc.).
Travel outside of the cities
Cities like Seville, Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona, and Granada are just a few of the stunning and fascinating ones in Spain. But in this immensely diverse nation, there is much more to see. To mention a few, you can travel to the stunning villages along the Mediterranean coast, the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada mountains, the Balearic and Canary Islands, and the Rioja vineyards.
Spain hosts a large number of festivals as well.
There are numerous other Spanish festivals that you can attend despite the fact that most people are only familiar with San Fermin and La Tomatina (the Running of the Bulls and the significant tomato fight). There is Moros y Cristianos, a reconstruction of a historical battle, and Las Fallas, a sizable street parade in Valencia. In Rioja and Madrid, respectively, the Fiesta de San Isidro and the Batalla del Vino (Wine Battle) are held. You can also go during Semana Santa, often known as “Holy Week,” when every city holds enormous street parades.
To call emergency services, dial 112
The emergency number in the majority of European nations is 112, and in case of an emergency, the operator will transfer your call to the appropriate department, such as the police, fire department, or ambulance. Both landlines and mobile devices, as well as international numbers, can use it.
Are there any Spain travel tips that we’ve missed? If so, be sure to share them in the comments below.