Spain is so unique, diverse and varied that it’s almost like a world in itself. No matter where else you’ve been in Europe, the rich culture, beautiful architecture, tempting food and enviable lifestyle in Spain will undoubtedly amaze you and open up your eyes to a whole new way of being. To give you a good idea of what to expect on your first visit, here are six helpful Spain travel tips.
6 Spain travel tips
1. It gets insanely hot during summer
Picture a summer vacation in Spain and you might see yourself lounging around by the pool in your bathing suit with a cocktail in hand, playing volleyball with sun-tanned locals on a sunny golden beach or admiring some of the amazing landmarks you’ve only ever seen online while the sunshine gently warms your back. While you can definitely do all these things during your trip to Spain, be aware that you’ll be doing them in scorching temperatures of up to 105°C in summer. Don’t forget the suntan lotion!
2. There’s more than Spain itself
Technically, Spain isn’t just a country. As well as the mainland, there’s also the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands (as well several uninhabited islands just off Gibraltar) that together make up the region of Spain. Each of the 17 autonomous communities that unite to form the country are incredibly distinct with their own personality, making each one definitely worth a visit. With so many places to see, you might want to think about extending your trip!
3. The clichés are true
When you’re enjoying a chilled glass of sangria in a local bar, there’s every chance that someone will grab an acoustic guitar and start playing a flamenco tune while one person sings along and someone else dances. You’ll find tapas bars full of señores playing dominoes down almost every village street and practically every local you meet will greet you with a warm hug and a kiss on each cheek.
4. It’s really cheap
Unless something horrible happens to the exchange rate, traveling around Spain is reliably cheap. You can enjoy a full meal for less than $10 at most cafes, down a local beer for less than $3 and stay in comfortable, high standard accommodation for less than $50 per night. Yet another awesome reason to visit Spain!
5. The locals eat very late
The Spanish usually enjoy breakfast around 9am, lunch 2-3pm and dinner 9-11pm. So don’t turn up at any café or restaurant before these times and expect a meal out. Here’s a great guide to Spanish mealtimes. As well as eating late, locals always make a meal into a big event. Breakfast is normally a leisurely event with a friend and a long chat while sipping a café con leche (even on a work day!) while lunch and dinner are typically enjoyed at a snail’s pace with lots of family and plenty of vino.
6. Tipping is kept to a minimum
Tipping in Spain is totally different to what you’re used to in the US. For starters, it’s extremely rare to tip when you’re just having drinks. And if you’re eating, a 10% tip is considered pretty generous. Of course, you can tip as much or as little as you want. Just don’t get carried away and blow your budget! Here are eight more ways to save money on cheap trips to Spain.
Hopefully these Spain travel tips will help you make the most of your time in this amazing country and avoid the common mistakes that locals see other tourists making all the time!