Are you thinking about visiting Spain? Well, you’re not the only one. In 2018, Spain set a new foreign tourist arrival record for the sixth consecutive year when 82.8 million people visited the country. It’s definitely no secret that people love visiting Spain. Spain offers so much in terms of culture and attractions which people come in large numbers to see. If you’re thinking of visiting Spain, you might have a ton of questions about Spain. We’ve compiled some frequently asked questions about Spain so that you can learn something before you book your trip to Spain.
Before we get into that, some background on Spain is needed. With 47 million people, Spain has the fifth largest population in Europe and the second-largest country in the European Union. What many people don’t know about Spain is that it has a constitutional monarchy. This means that His Majesty Felipe VI, the king, shares power with the government.
Even though Spain has traditionally been seen as very religious, it’s actually not true. While 70% of the population identifies as Roman Catholic, only 13.6% of the population go to church every Sunday. In addition to that, nudity is perfectly legal. However, be careful, while they have no laws prohibiting nudity, not all places are as tolerant of it. In general, walking around naked is deemed as inappropriate and nudity is normally reserved for some beaches.
Now that you’re even more curious about Spain, let’s dive into the frequently asked questions.
What kind of food is popular there? Is it the same all over or different in each region?
There are lots of tasty foods to choose from in Spain. Among their most popular foods are:
- Gazpacho- a cold soup made with finely chopped tomatoes, peppers and garlic.
- Fabada- a white bean casserole.
- Paella- a dish made with rice, saffron, chicken, seafood among other ingredients.
- Churros- fried dough pastry often enjoyed as a snack.
The cuisine is not the same all over, it varies based on location. For example, Andalusian cuisine, which is the cuisine of the Andalusia region found in the south of Spain is a mixture of rural cuisine and coastal cuisine. They are famous for their use of olive oil. They are known for their seafood and fried dishes. Some popular dishes include shrimp fritters (Tortillitas de camarones) and Ajoblanco which is a cold soup served with grapes or melon slices. On the other hand, Asturias cuisine, the cuisine from the Asturias section found in the north-west section of Spain isn’t known for seafood dishes. The cuisine here is influenced by Celtic traditions from Atlantic Europe. Their cuisine includes pork dishes, Asturian cheeses, cider made from a special apple and rice puddings.
Spain is also known for their wines. No matter what your diet is you’ll be able to find something tasty to eat.
What is Siesta?
Siesta is a part of Spain’s culture that’s envied by many. Siesta refers to a nap taken between 2pm and 4pm. Places of work are typically closed during this time. However, according to a survey done, 60% of people don’t take the siesta. People use the time to go home, eat lunch and bond with their family. Many of the tourist attractions will be closed during that time but taking the actual siesta is up to you!
Do they only speak Spanish?
Do I tip in Spain?
Are the locals friendly?
Spanish locals are typically thought to be very friendly and helpful. It’s worth knowing that the locals of Barcelona have had some issues with the surge of tourists and how it’s been affecting their cost of living and livelihoods. As a result, there was some tension a couple of years ago but don’t take it personally.
Most people of color usually want to know if the locals take kindly to them. It depends on who you run into. People of colour will tell you they were fine in some restaurants but experienced discrimination by the wait staff in others. Don’t let bad people ruin your trip!
How do I get around in Spain?
What are some cultural differences between the United States and Spain?
Of course, no two countries are the same so there are definitely some differences between the USA and Spain. These include:
- Kisses on the cheek- It’s very common in Spain for people to kiss each other on the cheek whether or not they know them.
- People typically aren’t in a rush- The locals tend to be way more laid back than we are in the US.
- Smoking- Yes, they can smoke in public and you will smell it.
- Dinner is eaten later in Spain- You can expect dinner at around 9:00 pm, some restaurants don’t even open for dinner until then.
- Tipping- As mentioned before tipping in restaurants isn’t typically expected.
What can I do in Spain?
That’s a great question. There are so many things to see and places to go in Spain.
Spain is known for its festivals. There is a big chance that there will be one happening when you land there. Some festivals you might want to check out are:
- Patios de Córdoba- This is held in Córdoba in May.
- La Mercè in Barcelona- This is typically held after summer in September.
- The Holy Week (Semana Santa)- Held in various cities but the one in Malaga and Sevilla are said to be extra special.
- Carnival- A party throughout Spain
- On New Year’s Eve you can celebrate by eating 12 grapes at midnight!
There are many must-see buildings in Spain such as:
- The Prado and Paseo del Artes-Madrid
- Guggenheim Museum-Bilbao
- Santiago de Compostela Cathedral- A Coruña
You can also check out their beautiful beaches and so many other buildings and attractions.
If I’ve enticed you to book your trip to Spain, it may be a good idea to catch up on their official language to make things easier for you. You can check out our blog post: Six Ways To Learn Spanish (Without Studying!) and What is the Best Way To Learn Spanish. If you are ready to be fluent then you’re ready for a language tutor. Click here to choose one of our qualified language tutors. Have you been to Spain before? Comment below and tell us how you liked your trip