All You Need To Know About Spain Before You Travel
Travel & Days Out

All You Need To Know About Spain Before You Travel

Are you thinking about taking an amazing trip this year? Actually, it might be a little late this year, but there’s always next summer or even the spring.

Either way, we think Spain should definitely be on your list of places to visit.

You probably think you know a lot about Spain, but there are a few details we bet have skipped your mind completely.

So, if you are planning a trip there anytime soon, then this little guide is going to help a lot.

We’re going to tell you everything you need before you visit the crown jewel of Europe.

A Siesta Isn’t Exactly What You Think

Side portrait of a man sleeping on park bench outside

You might think that magic exists in Spain. Perhaps you have heard of the Spanish Siesta.

This is a cultural tradition that lives on to this day, withstanding the test of time. and can not be forgotten.

It’s impossible to ignore it, particularly when you notice that around two everyday people just vanish.

Honestly, the squares go quiet, the shops close, the bakers and butchers are nowhere to be found. Well, it’s not magic, it’s just tradition, and while you might think you know what’s happening, you probably don’t.

Most people believe this is Spain’s nap where everyone heads home for a sleep.

That’s not what happens.

Instead, people head home to have lunch and spend some time with the ones they love.

It’s rather lovely, and if you make some friends, you just might be invited back for tapas.

If you remember, that tapas is a very social activity where you break bread and have a good chat with those around you.

Don’t just sit in silence, engage, laugh and for goodness sake but that dictionary away.

Try to naturally pick up what’s being said. Spanish is one of the easiest languages in the world to learn.

The Food Isn’t What You Think Either

Image of Paella

People often head to Spain to engage in the culture and get a taste for another part of the world.

We mean that literally too, but don’t be fooled into thinking you know what the foods are like there.

For instance, you might be eager to try Paella.  It’s delicious for sure, but you won’t find it available everywhere.

In Galicia, it’s far more likely that you will find a delicious octopus delicacy rather than Paella so be sure to open yourself up to a variety of exciting new tasty treats.

The same can be said for the drinks that you might be eager to try.

Spain is commonly known for Sangria, a drink that can happily have you dancing on the ceiling in minutes.

However, this isn’t actually a traditional drink of Spain.

It’s really only for the tourists so if you want to drink like the locals try a tinto de verano, particularly if you’re heading over for the summer season.

You Don’t Need To Go At A Certain Time To See A Festival

fallas from Valencia papier mache popular fest figures sculpture in Spain

You might think that to see a festival in Spain you need to be over there at a certain point through the year.

Well, the good news is that you can go at absolutely anytime and still see at least one at some point. We certainly recommend that you try and see Las Fallas in Valencia.

Regardless of where you stay though, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring some of these festivals.

It is by far the best way to get a feel for the true culture of this magnificent country.

The Local Language Isn’t Just Spanish

Image of Spanish Flag

Don’t get the wrong idea. You obviously will be around a lot of people who are speaking Spanish. However, in certain locations like Catalonia, you’ll find that they speak Catalan.

That’s different enough that if you do spend a few months learning Spanish before you go, you’ll be disappointed by your level of understanding.

Catalan is used in a variety of other regions too, and you’ll often see it on food menus so it might just be worth researching if you want to seem a little better than the other tourists visiting while you are there.

The Best Time To Visit

Spain Plaza De Espana Seville Spain

So, when is the best time to visit this magnificent tropical paradise?

Well, contrary to belief you shouldn’t head out in the middle of summer which rules out August.

The reason?

Well, it’s not due to the crowds as you might expect.

Nope, it’s because this is when the country of Spain goes on vacation, and we do mean everyone.

Go at this time, and you’ll find that shops, restaurants and tourists attractions are all closed.

On the plus side, it will be lovely and quiet, very peaceful but you won’t really see all Spain has to offer.

Don’t forget, that August is also the hottest time of the year for Spain.

So if you are eager to go sightseeing, this really isn’t ideal.

Instead, consider going earlier in the summer or potentially when the weather has cooled down a little through the Autumn season.

It’s still gorgeous in October, and the crowds remain low during this time too.

So, really, you can get the best of both worlds. Spring is a lovely time to visit too, but you probably want to avoid winter if you’re keen to check out the beaches.

It’s Not Like The UK

Well obviously, there are various differences between Spain and the British Isles. But it’s not just the UK.

Spain is different from other countries due to its impeccable and on-time public transportation service.

While in other places you might need to rent or hire private transportation options, in Spain you can quite happily rely on public options.

You can even hop on board a high-speed train that will take you from Malaga to Madrid in two and a half hours!

Furry Friends Are Welcome In Spain

There are certain places in the world where you shouldn’t take your pet.

For instance, you might be heading over to America. If that’s the case, the journey is just far too long for an animal unless you are actually moving despite the fact that some Disney hotels now allow you to keep your pets with you in your room.

As well as this, the heat is just going to be far too much for them through the day and for certain breeds, it can even be considered a form of animal cruelty.

Other countries also have issues with diseases that you will not want your pet to catch. You can get them protected with shots however this is a lot of work and causes stress to your animal.

Spain, on the other hand, is different. It’s not too far from the Uk, so the journey won’t be a nightmare for them.

If you visit in Spring or Autumn, it’s also not going to be too hot and humid. In fact, the weather could be just right.

While countries like the UK are quickly restricting the level of freedom pet lovers have to exercises their animals out in the open such as on the beach, Spain hasn’t done this.

As such, you can let your dog go for a swim and a run across the sand. You’ll also be pleased to hear that with pet friendly holidays like this there are lots of fantastic places to stay too.

Forget About The Cities

Okay, that might be a little too extreme.

Don’t forget about the cities. Instead, make sure that you are just appreciating places like Valencia and Madrid as well as the rural areas.

The Mediterranean coast is not to be missed and neither are the plains that stretch out all around Madrid.

It’s a great place to explore and one of the unique treats of visiting this magnificent location.

You might even want to head to the coast and rent a boat.

While expensive this will provide you with a completely different perspective of the headlines that jut out in between beaches and will allow you to find your own unique little patch of paradise.

Dining Late

Are you one of those people who says that they can’t eat after a certain time in the evening?

Well, you might just need to get over that before you visit Spain.

Or, perhaps the country will show you a new way to live because in Spain, dinner starts around 10pm. This is once again due to the Siestas. Because of the breaks in the middle of the day the Spanish people work till as late as eight or nine.

As such, they’re only getting home around ten.

So, if you want to dine with the locals, you’ll need to hold out and snack through the day. We definitely recommend this as engaging with the locals is one of the best parts of seeing this country.

We hope this provides all the information you need before you take your own trip to explore the wonderful country of Spain.

Have you ever been to Spain, what was your favourite part of your time there? 

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This article has 1 comment

  1. Martin

    Nice and useful article about Spain. I love the country and have been several times, one time staying 4 months in Alicante and loved it. The atmosphere and vibe is just nice and cozy and for me, one of the great things about Spain and the other mediteranien countries is how much they are “Out”. When meeting peole and friends they go out on the street to a restaurant, coffee shops, parks, etc. Not like Northern Europe where its colder and most people stay home, at least during the colder parts of the year 🙂

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