When was the last time you had a successful, unplanned overseas trip? If you travel frequently, then you may have experienced getting surprised once you arrived at your destination, especially when you didn’t make any plans at all. Traveling to a foreign country is always an excellent way to broaden your horizons or simply escape your busy lifestyle for a while.
Going to Spain for a vacation is a popular bucket list item for many travelers. After all, the country is rich in culture and has many famous sites open for foreigners all year round.
It’s good if you already have many assumptions about the country based on other people’s experiences. However, aside from the delectable wine and beautiful cities the country has to offer, there are a lot of things you need to know about Spain before you visit. Taking the following into consideration will make your trip stress-free and more convenient:
- The Language
For the most part, traveling to another country is always an exciting expedition since you’ll get to experience a culture different from your own. However, one challenge you might face is the language barrier present every time you need to communicate with the locals. It can be frustrating to go around a new place if you can’t ask for directions or order food in a restaurant.
Although you don’t need to be fluent in the language spoken in every country you visit, it would help to know how to say some basic words and phrases like ‘thank you’ or ‘please.’
If you have plans to fly to Spain, you should know that the spoken language there is Spanish. Cities like Madrid and Barcelona are more foreigner-friendly since most locals are used to communicating in English. However, if you visit places farther from the city center, you’ll find that most locals prefer to speak in their mother tongue. That’s why it would benefit you to speak and understand basic Spanish before visiting.
You can learn on your own or go to classes to be familiar with the language. You can use this guide to find help in searching for a suitable tutor to learn conversational Spanish. Once you have the basic language skills, you’ll find it easier to explore the cities in Spain.
- Public Transportation
Traveling around Spain is easy since the public transportation system of the country is excellent. You can go to different locations by riding the train or bus. The best part about Spain’s public transportation is that it’s cheap, which means you won’t break the bank going around the country.
You can also rent a private car if you want to drive from one city to another. Driving abroad can be a good choice if you’re traveling with a group or if you want to go on a road trip in Spain. For instance, visiting Andalucia or Cordoba is easier if you have a car since it can be troublesome to get to the popular tourist sites on foot.
- Weather Conditions
Before you visit Spain, you should find out the weather conditions in your destination first. Most people assume they’ll get plenty of sunlight and experience pleasant weather every day once they arrive in Spain. However, some regions like Galicia have more rainy days than sunny ones.
If you plan to take a vacation in Spain, you should first check the expected weather conditions for the month of your flight. Summers in the southernmost regions of the country are usually the hottest compared to the rest of Spain. If you’re traveling to cities like Seville or Andalusia during the middle of the year, be sure to bring comfortable clothing and wear sunscreen.
Winter season, on the other hand, is generally manageable no matter which part of Spain you visit. The temperatures can go as low as four degrees Celsius in cities like Madrid during the cold months. This is considerably bearable than the winter season in other countries where the temperatures can go below negative.
Knowing the weather in Spain during your visit will help you prepare the right clothes. You also won’t feel uncomfortable due to the temperature throughout your vacation.
- Eating Out
Once you arrive in Spain, you shouldn’t forget to try some Spanish wine and eat out in a local restaurant. You’ll easily find places with affordable but delicious dishes, so you can dine to your heart’s content while still staying on budget.
There’s a standard part of Spanish cuisine that you may find different from other countries: tapas. When you order a drink in many bars or restaurants, you’ll usually get tapas, which are appetizers like chips or cheese that are free of charge.
You should also try some of Spain’s jamón (cured ham) and paella. Look for a place that sells Jamón Ibérico, a type of ham made from acorn-fed black-hoofed Ibérian pigs, if you want to try the best kind of cured ham in Spain. If you’re after authentic paella, go to Valencia or find a Valencian restaurant where you’re staying.
- Some Shops Close In The Afternoon
No overseas trip will be complete without a bit of shopping. However, if you want to spend a day in Spain visiting some local shops, either go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Many businesses close for a couple of hours in many cities, so expect to see some closed stores between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Many locals take a long lunch break, especially in smaller towns, so it’s normal for establishments to halt operations temporarily. In cities, bigger shops and supermarkets will remain open, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll find a store open in the middle of the day. Don’t worry about shops closing early since those in places like Barcelona and Madrid close around 10 p.m.
You’ll have an easier time exploring Spain if you know how things work in the country. Knowing some details about the place, such as their language and public transportation, will make your trip more enjoyable. If you plan on visiting Spain, be sure to do your research so you won’t encounter any trouble when you arrive there.