Know Before You Go: 5 Things to Know for Your Trip to Spain
When you think of Spain, your mind probably turns to bullfights and paella, but draws a blank when it comes to the other cultural nuances this nation is famous for. If you are in the throes of planning a trip to Spain, whether for business or pleasure, you’ll do well to prepare yourself beforehand. After all, you don’t want to get caught off guard in the beautiful country of España! Read on to discover five tips which will make your trip to Spain a smooth and enjoyable experience:
Dinner time…or not?
Spanish culture places a lot of importance on meals which can often be long, leisurely affairs. Meals are usually much later in Spain with lunch starting after 2pm. and dinner beginning after 10pm. Your body may have trouble adjusting to this eating schedule when you first arrive in Spain, but fear not, you can drop in at a tapas bar and enjoy a small snack with a glass of beer or sherry. Don’t expect to have access to full scale meals during the ‘off’ times of the day though!
Easter or Christmas?
Most of the Western world tends to place a lot of emphasis on Christmas but Spain is a little unique in its holiday preferences. Marking the end of semana santa (Holy week), Easter is a much bigger and more important holiday in Spain and the entire country shuts down on Holy Thursday at 1pm and doesn’t start up again for four whole days. During this time you can immerse yourself in the culture by watching the many processions and pageants. Just don’t expect to get any practical chores like shopping done!
To siesta or not to siesta?
You may think that the siesta is just a myth. Surely an entire city won’t shut down every afternoon so everyone can go home and take a nap, right? Wrong. Siesta usually runs from 2-5pm and during this time of the day all the shops close down. The good news is that bars and restaurants stay open, which is probably why Spaniards plan their lunches for after 2pm.
TP and light switches?
Bathroom protocol is a must for any foreign country you visit, and Spain’s may be just little quirkier than most. First, always remember to carry a packet of tissues with you as there’s no guarantee you’ll always find toilet paper in the restrooms. Secondly, most bathrooms have timed light switches which give you a minute or two to do your business, so don’t be shocked if the lights suddenly go out when you’re washing your hands!
Getting around Spain’s cities and countryside can be a bit difficult because this nation seems to be perennially direction-challenged. If you rent a car you may find yourself lost most of the time as streets tend not be labeled, the signs are confusing, and locals are notoriously bad at giving good directions. If you really want to see a lot of Spain, it’s recommended that you use the trains. They can be a bit pricey, but at the end of the day at least you’ll have the peace of mind that you’ll get where you want to go.
Traveling around Spain is guaranteed to be an experience that you’ll never forget. This nation’s delicious cuisines, vibrant culture, and beautiful sights will draw you in and have you hooked in no time at all. The most important tip for your trip to Spain is that learning the language will be invaluable and make your journey all the better. Be sure to sign up for top-tier Spanish lessons and take a free Spanish placement test to pinpoint your level. Then use our five tips and your amazing language skills to have a once-in-a-lifetime trip overseas!