Travelling to Spain is one of the best ways to get to know its Mediterranean culture and enjoy an unforgettable holiday in this country as it has too many things to offer: white-sand beaches, historical monuments, great weather, incredible nightlife, incomparable cuisine, and many places to lose yourself.
No matter if you are travelling to Spain for the first time or you’re a returning visitor, in this article we are going to give you some advice about what you should do in Spain to make the most of your experience.
1. Try the Mediterranean and Spanish food
I couldn’t have started this article differently! Spanish cuisine is recognized worldwide and it will be a pity if you just go to typical restaurants such as burger joints, or pizza restaurants. Don’t misunderstand me, I love these dishes too! What I’m saying is that we have a wide variety of recipes here in Spain that you will love: tortilla de patatas, jamón ibérico, salmorejo, gazpacho, paella, pulpo a la gallega, croquetas… And, what is the best place to eat these dishes than in the country of origin?
You can try different dishes from breakfast to dinner. A quick tip: order a ‘pan con tomate y aceite’ (tomato and olive oil bread) in the morning. You’ll absolutely love it!
2. Eat where locals do
This is just not advisable for travelling to Spain, but for everywhere! Don’t be shy and as the locals are the best places to eat. There are the best advisors that can help you find the most delicious dishes and incredible places.
In Malaga, where we live and work, we always recommend these restaurants.
3. If you are comming in summer, be prepared to!
Even though almost every traveler who is planning to visit Spain is looking for warm weather, the summer Spanish heat could turn out to be a nightmare! Especially for those who are not used to it!
From mid-June to mid-September temperatures are very high in most parts of the country (except maybe the north as Galicia, Basque Country…). It becomes quite impossible to be around visiting and exploring the cities.
So, my advice: I really think you can travel to Spain every month of the year, but if you are planning to do it in summer, look for places on the coast!
4. Take part of a 'Feria' or local celebrations
Going to a ‘Feria’ (regional feast) in Spain it’s something you will absolutely love! Especially in Andalusia, from April to September, these festivities are held in every city and village (on different dates). You will experience firsthand the Spanish culture in its maximum splendor.
The party these days are non-spot and you will hear from sevillanas (flamenco songs) to most actual reggaeton songs at night. There, you will have the opportunity to taste traditional Spanish drinks such as ‘calimocho’ or ‘rebujito’ (drinks made with wine and soft drinks)
There are other types of festivities too that you shouldn’t miss as every Spanish region has its own particularities and traditions.
The most famous ferias and festivities in Spain are ‘Feria de Sevilla’, las Fallas de Valencia or San Fermines in San Sebastián.
5. Travel in Spain: take advantage of the public transport
Spain is not a small country. You shouldn’t just visit Barcelona and Madrid. It is full of beautiful places and cities you must discover. I would recommend visiting the whole country, but depending on the days you have, you should think about using public transportation.
Luckily, you’ll have connections by train, bus and plane for almost every city in Spain so it’s very comfortable to travel around safely and quickly. Even though the train is not the cheapest option, in my opinion, it’s the best way to travel in Spain
6. Get used to the Spanish schedule
That’s maybe something you have probably already heard about Spain. Lunchtime, work time and nightlife hours are completely different to the rest of Europe.
Spaniards usually take lunch around 2-3 pm and, if they have time, they stay at the table for long hours. In fact, there is a Spanish word that it’s only used in this language called ‘Sobremesa’. This literally means ‘over the table’ and in the Spanish tradition means relaxing at the table after a heavy meal and talking with the people you have lunch with. It begins after dessert is served, and typically lasts between half an hour and an hour (even longer in summer)
Also, most local shops usually close from 13:30 to 16:30 pm as in Spain (this is not happening with international brands as Zara, Adidas, Oysho…), a lot of people do the ‘siesta’ (little nap in the middle of the day) just after lunch. This is related to the high temperatures that we have in Spain during the summer months which make it impossible to work.
7. Prebook tickets for the most important attractions
In 2021, Spain held 31,1 million tourists. That means a lot of people! In Spain, there are dozens of monumental places that are Patrimony of Humanity (Alhambra in Granada or Antequera dolmens). These ones used to be the most visited and crowded ones.
In order to make sure you will have a place to visit them the day you planned to, I would recommend pre-booking in advance online. This way, you don’t have to wait in long queues!
8. Tipping isn't mandatory
There is not strictly a tipping culture in Spain, although it is a sign of politeness to give some extra money to the restaurant staff.
And, you know, tipping is always appreciated so if you enjoy the meal and the service, don’t be timid and give them a tip!
9. Spain doesn't have the same weather everywhere
Even though Spain is well-known to have wonderful weather (which it’s true), one of its peculiarities as a country it’s the immense contracts you can experience from north to south. We have very different traditions, events, cuisines and weather in Spain (even languages! In Spain there are four: spanish, gallego, catalán/valenciano and euskera).
Regarding the weather, for example, in Malaga, we have 300 days of sun every year and an average temperature of 20º. However, it’s very different from San Sebastían weather (Basque Country), where it’s much colder.
So, my advice, depending on the cities you are planning to visit, check the weather a few days earlier in order to pack!
10. Stay in city centers
If you are planning to visit Spanish cities, the best way to get to know its culture and lifestyle is to stay as near as possible to the city center. This not only helps you to get to know the place profoundly, but also allows you to take public transportation easily. This way, you will have the principal attractions just on the corner!
At Solaga, we offer our guests the best spots in Malaga city center, with large terraces and great views all over the city and the sea.
If you are planning to come to Malaga, don’t hesitate to check our apartments: find your spot with us!
What are the rules for travelling to Spain?
Since the Covid-19 crisis, rules for travelling to Spain have been changed depending on the crisis situation we were facing.
Depending on the country you are travelling from, you will need some requirements to come to the country. You should probably check your country's website in order to know what you need to travel.
The best advice for travelling to Spain: be open-minded, fearless to try new things and lose yourself in the culture!
The best way to travel to Spain is to be adventurous and not go to the most typical tourist spots: lose yourself on the journey and try to experience all our country has to offer you!
Well, but don’t forget the classics: eat tortilla de patatas and have a siesta before leaving!
There is something else you want to know about Spain? You can ask me the question and I will be more than happy to answer you!