Spain might not be the colonial heavyweight ruling large swathes of the world (and the Netherlands, for some reason), but it is a very important tourist destination. We know that some of you are planning to visit it this summer. Some of you are already there. With that in mind, here are some great travel tips for those vacationing in Spain.
- Living on Spain Time
The daily schedule in Spain is a little bit different from whatever is the norm in your home country. For example, many stores only open at 10 o’clock (or 10 AM), and close up for a siesta that can last between 13 and 16 o’clock. An American might also be surprised that lunch is the big meal of the day. Meanwhile, eating in the evening means getting to a restaurant at about 20 o’clock (8 PM) and staying there for a long chat with friends over drinks. That’s how the Spanish do it and that’s how you’ll have to do it.
- There’s More to Spain than Just Spain
Spain is a big country and it’s divided into 17 different districts, each of them fiercely proud of their culture and heritage. That means that the Catalans in Barcelona are likely to speak Catalan and you might hear Basque in the Basque regions. This means that you’re not really seeing the entirety of Spain by visiting Madrid, for example. The regions are very much unique, which makes Spain very much worthy of repeated visits.
This should not discourage you from learning a few conversational phrases in Spanish, though. The locals will not only appreciate you trying to speak their language, but it will also come in handy in areas where English isn’t that well known.
- Trust the Locals
You might be surprised to learn that various internet articles and tourist pamphlets aren’t the be-all-end-all of travelling guides. There are many cool places to visit that aren’t found on the first search page on Google! That’s why you should ask around for cool stuff to see. The easiest way is consult the employees of the hotel that you’re staying or whoever is managing your Airbnb place. These same people can also be invaluable in providing you directions to fancy locations outside of the cities. Spain has some impressive natural locales even away from the coast and it’s up to you to discover it.
You can also trust the locals to somewhat inadvertently point you in the right direction. Check which restaurants and bars are full of locals – those are the good ones. Similarly, don’t be afraid to visit places that don’t look clean and pristine – that just means they’re authentic and good.
- Eat Local
While travelling, you might feel the need to fall back on the foods you know – after all, who know what’s good in this new country! However, what we really want to encourage is for you to eat local, Spanish food. For one, it’s a great way to experience the local culture, so this advice basically holds true for any tourist destination anywhere (save Antarctica maybe). Experience tapas like they were meant to be, enjoy plentiful servings of paella, all that good stuff.
However, this advice is very much pertinent to Spain because the country doesn’t have a good reputation for producing foreign meals. Yes, even something like Italian food is unlikely to be good outside the cosmopolitan zone that is Barcelona. In essence, you’re forced to try out the local cuisine, so it’s actually to your benefit! It’s easier to be brave and daring when playing it safe will only burn you.
So there you have it, some great tips for your stay in Spain. And if the airlines just happen to mess up and you experience flight delays, overbooking and cancellations, have no fear! You might be eligible for a compensation and Skycop will be more than happy to help you claim it.