10 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Spain
Spain is a diverse country and there is so much more to the country than just sangria, paella, and siestas. Due to its immense versatility and complexity, visiting Spain gives you travellers endless possibilities for activities and things to do.
Since we don’t want you to miss a single thing while you’re there, we’ll share some of the most important things every traveler should know before visiting Spain. These things can help you have a great time and find some exciting things about Spain and the people who live there. So, without any further ado, let’s dive deeper into it.
1. So many places to go
Millions of people visit Spain every year and there are literally hundreds of destinations and locations for everyone. From world famous, cities, to countryside, to islands - there is something for everyone. Spain is a really big country, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Bilbao, Valencia and the Baleric islands are all essential places to add to your Spanish bucket list.
2. Spain is a year round destination
For some reason, a lot of foreigners think summer is the best time to visit Spain, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Maybe it’s because summer has the best weather, however, if you plan on visiting Spain, you can be flexible with your dates.
During summer there are hordes of tourists, which make prices spike and make many hotels and popular destinations are crowded. August is also. the hottest month in Spain, with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees celsius which can make sightseeing tiring. Consider other months for sun but with cooler temperatures, and outside of June to August flights and accommodation are cheaper too.
3. Spanish culture is immensely influenced by the Moors
Spain was under the rule of the Moors for almost eight centuries. In other words, Spanish culture is greatly influenced by the former rulers, and a great part of their culture is actually derived from the Moors.
The best example is the Moorish architecture that Spanish people recognize as their own. If you favor architecture, you should visit Andalusia and see the most beautiful sights such as the Real Alcazar and the Alhambra Palace. The Spanish language and cuisine are also influenced by the Moors.
4. Spain is famous for its many festivals
Spain is the land of festivals. Because of that, many foreigners refer to Spain as the festival capital of the planet. No matter what time you visit, there is always some kind of festival somewhere. It’s definitely something that you should witness, and we recommend that you attend the best Spanish festivals such as Feria de Abril in Seville, La Merce in Barcelona, and Las Fallas in Valencia.
5. There’s more to Spanish traditional dance than Flamenco
Contrary to popular belief, flamenco isn’t Spain’s traditional dance – it’s actually Andalusia’s traditional dance. However, you’ll find flamenco in many places such as Barcelona, Cordoba, Seville, and Granada. While it is popular, flamenco isn’t available in every part of the country.
6. You won’t find sangria or paella everywhere
There is also a popular myth claiming that you can find sangria and paella on every street corner in Spain, but that’s not the case. While paella is one of the most popular dishes in Spain, it comes from the Valencia region and is available mainly in Andalusia.
It’s also available in most tourist destinations, including most restaurants and taverns in Barcelona, but in a slightly different form. In Galicia or the Basque Country, restaurants are more likely to serve pintxos than paella. The same goes for sangria, and while it is a typical Spanish drink, you won’t see many locals drinking sangria.
Also expect to eat late compared to other European countries, some restaurants don't even open for dinner till after 10pm.
7. Shops might be closed in the middle of the day
Lots of shops and businesses close for a couple of hours in the middle of the day in Spain especially in the smaller towns and even big cities like Madrid can feel deserted. Although not everyone has a siesta, Spaniards use this time for an extended lunch break.
8. Spanish is just one of many official languages in Spain
Perhaps the biggest misconception regarding Spain is that Spanish is the only official language in the country. While Spanish is the most widespread, there are at least three more official languages such as Catalan, Basque, and Galician.
9. Spain has one of the best public transports in the world
Even though things tend to run late in Spain, their public transport claims the opposite. Buses and trains are as punctual as possible, and the Spanish public transport isn’t only excellent but also very affordable. If you catch the AVE, Spain’s fast train, you can traverse the country at incredible speeds without breaking your budget.
10. There is a free Wi-Fi connection in public spaces
You can find a free Wi-Fi connection in public spaces such as museums, health centers, libraries, cafes, official buildings, squares, and parks all over Spain.
However, connecting to free Wi-Fi is not a danger-free decision. There are many issues surrounding it, like the lack of encryption. In other cases, you might connect to fake hotspots that hackers create to tempt potential victims. If you want to enjoy a free internet connection, it is best to enable a VPN before joining a free Wi-Fi network. This tool will encrypt all internet traffic automatically, preventing snoopers from seeing what you do online.
Spain is a wonderful country to visit. It has a rich history, profound tradition, and culture, its cuisine is divine, and there are many things to see and experience. Take these things into your consideration before you visit to make sure you have the time of your life in Spain.