The Brits love holidaying in Spain and have done for generations. As a vacationing spot, the country has diversity from city breaks in Barcelona or Madrid to beaches on the Costa del Sol. If you’re planning a trip this year, here are eleven tips to help you have an awesome time.
1. Splurge on a Nice Place to Stay
You can find endless resorts, five-star hotels and luxurious villas for rent in Spain. Whether you want to sit for a few days around the pool or travel in style, having a beautiful place to stay is a must.
2. Don’t Expect Everyone to Speak English
First time to Spain? Don’t be surprised when you get off the plane, and nothing is in English. Despite being the third most visited country in the world with more than 75 million tourists in 2017, it’s not that easy without a little bit of Spanish. People in the tourist industry are fluent but the person you ask for directions may not.
3. Travelling Long Distance? Use BlaBlaCar
If you’re planning on travelling to more than one destination, the upcoming trend is to use the ride-sharing BlaBlaCar. You download the app and search the route. Local drivers who are going in the same direction will pick you up. You pay a small amount to contribute towards fuel. Express trains tend to be quite pricey, and the buses are slow and unreliable. This is a great way to save money if you’re travelling with your partner.
4. Don’t Try to See Everything
Spain is huge. The nation consists of 17 semi-autonomous regions, several islands, mountains and the interior plains. If you had enough time, you could easily spend the best part of six months exploring the country. And on top of that, the smaller villages tend to be full of charm and character and worth visiting for a day or two. So much to see, so little time. Focus on exploring one destination or region rather than the entire country.
5. Plan Your Trip
This is related to the point above. If you don’t plan carefully, you may find yourself on a tight schedule and have just one or two days in a city like Barcelona. Unless you’re planning to go specifically to one place to relax on the beach or party for a week in Ibiza, don’t just get on the flight and go with the flow. Read up and find the best things to do and see.
6. Understand Spanish Eating Habits
The Spanish may have different eating habits compared to back at home. For example, the British often eat their biggest meal at dinner time around 6:00 pm. People in the United States follow similar habits. Not in Spain. The locals usually eat something heavy at lunchtime and a lighter meal for dinner. But tourists can find this troublesome. Waiters may expect you to order a big meal in the afternoon unless you explicitly tell them you want something light. And the Spaniards tend to eat dinner at 9:00 pm, which means the food you order at seven might not be fresh.
7. Be Careful What You Pack
If you visit in the middle of summer and plan to spend your time either around the pool or sunbathing on the beach, shorts and t-shirts are ideal. But, those visiting in the low season when the weather is cooler need to bring warmer clothes. And if you want to go inside the churches and religious buildings, you need to cover your shoulders. Think about where you’re going and what you want to do before packing the suitcase.
8. Siesta Time
Spaniards have their obligatory siesta nap between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm, especially during the hot summers. For some, this may be a dream come true with an excuse to sleep for a few hours after a morning of sightseeing and a delicious lunch. Others find it frustrating. Most shops close their shutters and it can be a little inconvenient, especially in the areas outside of Barcelona and Madrid.
9. Be Careful in Barcelona
Barcelona is a hotspot for pickpockets on the metro and along Las Ramblas. Always take care of your belongings when you’re in a crowded place and stay vigilant. While crime happens in all major cities around the world, those visiting Barcelona may be too caught up in the moment and lose focus, and then lose their camera or wallet.
10. Expect a Laid Back Approach to Life
Coming to relaxed Spain can be a shock for some. Spaniards take things slow and rarely rush. If you’re sat in a café, the waiter or waitress will probably leave you alone. And when someone says 1:00 pm, the chances are they’ll show up 30 minutes late. You’ll notice the different approach as soon as you get off the plane with the airport security laughing and joking around.
11. Enjoy Yourself
It may sound obvious, but there’s a lot of things you can’t change or control when you’re on holiday. Getting upset won’t open the shop at siesta time, nor will it make the bus drive faster. Spain has a different way of life and attitude, and when you embrace it, you’ll fall in love with the country.
Now Have an Awesome Trip
Now that you have the essentials on how to have an excellent time on your holiday to Spain, the only thing left is to get on the plane and go and enjoy it!