Naps and Paella are the most popular words with which visitors identify Spain. But there is much more to this country than travelers realize. While people mainly focus on finding the best accommodation, amazing food scene, transportation, and sightseeing when planning their trip to Spain, there are some facts you should know before visiting the country. Being a culturally diverse country, travelers should be careful how they conduct themselves while visiting the country as some things are unacceptable. Learning about the locals’ ways of life, from communication to festivals to food, is essential and provides a fascinating experience, even with the locals. Here are the 10 facts about Spain you need to know before visiting.
ten The bus is the cheapest way to get around
Spain has one of the most efficient public transport systems, but it’s not always economical, especially when traveling in the countryside. A one-way train ticket will cost around €110 and a bus up to €30, making the bus the most affordable option. When visiting this country, learning about its transportation system is essential. Not only does this help travelers prepare for their trip, but also stay on budget and save money throughout their stay.
9 Napping Doesn’t Always Mean People Are Sleeping
Siesta is a part of Spanish culture that people around the world recognize and envy, but it’s not always about taking a nap like people assume. Many businesses, including restaurants and bars, do indeed close between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., but locals are spending this time with their families. Only young children and the elderly sleep at this time, and locals get back to work later at night once their businesses reopen. So, yes, the Spaniards also work longer!
8 You won’t have a meal this early
Spaniards don’t have their meals at normal times and you can have lunch until 4:00 p.m., with dinner starting at 9:00 p.m. This means that travelers, especially those from the United States, will have to adjust their meal times as restaurants open late. But tapas are always available to spend the whole day. There are more places to find food, including street vendors and fast food outlets, so no need to stay hungry.
seven Tipping is not as popular as in the United States
In the United States, tipping is a common thing, and not doing so would seem odd. Culture is almost non-existent in Spain, and some locals leave their tables without offering anything to the waiters. Visitors are allowed to tip if they wish, but it’s not required, and waiters and waitresses don’t always look forward to tips. Very few locals are recognized, leaving change in the bars. Tipping in a restaurant is very unusual, except in more luxurious restaurants. However, when one is more than satisfied with the catering, a tip of 5% is required.
6 Pay for services
The euro is the national currency. European debit cards, Visas and Master Cards are widely accepted in major stores and supermarkets. When going out, perhaps for a coffee or for dinner, however, travelers should carry cash. It is not necessary to exchange your money for euros in your country, but once at the airport in Spain, it is advisable to do so. Smaller credit cards may be accepted, but this is unusual so relying on this is not recommended.
5 Pickpocketing is common
As in other tourist destinations, pickpocketing is common in Spain and travelers should be careful with their belongings. When visiting major cities in the country, such as Barcelona, one must be vigilant as thieves target travelers and items like gadgets, bags and purses are most at risk. It can be difficult to determine who is a thief, as some of them hang around like tourists in the subway. Avoid areas like Paseo del Prado and Via, especially when going on a solo vacation. Be careful asking for help in the narrow neighborhoods and alleys as they are filled with thieves targeting visitors who have gotten lost. It is advisable to go to the nearest police station to ask for help in case of loss.
4 A drink in one of the bars is always accompanied by free tapas
While Spain is renowned for the traditional paella, the tapas are also very popular and are offered free with the drinks. For those wondering what tapas is, it’s usually a free snack, served with drinks, and mostly includes a cheese sandwich or potato chips. For some of the most amazing tapas in the country, visit Granada. In town, it’s like a tradition, and every establishment honors it. Each drink comes with a free bite. But these snacks are available almost anywhere in Spain, so visitors needn’t worry if Granada isn’t on their to-do list.
3 Paella is a common dish in Spain, but it is not available everywhere
If visiting and leaving this country without having tasted the traditional paella is considered a mistake, travelers will not find the dish everywhere they go. This dish is very common and almost everyone talks about it. It may taste the same, as locals use different ingredients and cooking methods. It is a delicious dish made with rice, seafood and spices. The dish originated in the Valencia region and visitors can see it in more touristy areas like Barcelona. However, it’s not a typical meal everywhere, as places like Galicia and the Basque Country have other dishes dominating their culinary scene.
2 Flamenco is the traditional dance of Andalusia, not that of Spain
Flamenco is a common dance in some places in the country, such as Granada and Cordoba, but it is actually the traditional Andalusian dance! In other regions of Spain, such as Galicia and the Basque Country, this dance is not very popular. Dancing is popular in Barcelona, and after Andalucia, it’s the best place to go to enjoy the entertainment. Dancing is common in Barcelona due to the many entertainment shows held in the city, including flamenco tablaos.
1 Travelers should be punctual when purchasing tickets
Spain is a top tourist destination, receiving over 75 million international visitors each year, with most tickets for buses, trains and attractions selling out quickly. For this reason, tourists should book these tickets in advance not only to save costs, but also to avoid missing them. The country’s most famous attractions are always crowded, and if one is looking to visit when it is less crowded, then touring early is the best thing to do. Tickets can be booked online to help holidaymakers avoid long queues.