Spain is one of the most popular travel destinations worldwide. Looking at the appeal of cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, it is really no surprise. Spain has a bit of everything, and you will never regret a trip here.
But if you’re coming for the first time, there are some things that are useful to know. In this article, we are sharing 10 things you should know when you travel to Spain. Things that will potentially make your trip better, easier and more enjoyable.
Spain is not always hot
The Spanish weather is very hot during the summer, but not always. Depending on where you go, the winter can be very cold. Minus degrees are extremely common for several months in Madrid, and the northwestern regions of Galicia and Asturias are known for being very rainy.
For that reason, don’t always expect Spain to be super warm. That will often be the case in places such as Murcia and Andalusia, but remember that Spain is not located that much south and that you might need to pack more than just t-shirts and shorts if you are visiting outside of the summer.
You might need some Spanish
In restaurants and famous attractions, people speak English. But when you get to normal Spanish areas, English is not always so common, and a lot of people simply don’t speak it.
It is VERY useful to learn a bit of Spanish before you go. A little bit goes a long way, so you don’t need to be completely fluent or anything. But it’s a very good idea to be able to use basic words. The Spaniards also appreciate it when you use their language, even if you suck, instead of opening every conversation in English.
You might need other languages too
Depending on where you go, Spanish might not be the main language. It is spoken everywhere in the country, sure, and it is the official language in all regions.
But: There are many regional languages in Spain. In some parts of the country, people might be more inclined to use those local languages. Street signs and public messages might sometimes only be written in regional languages.
Basque will be very common in the Basque Country.
Catalan will be very common in Catalonia.
Galician will be very common in Galicia.
Those three are the main regional languages, so if you are going to the Basque Country, to Catalonia or to Galicia, it might also be worth it to learn some words in that particular language.
Of course, this is not a huge deal since normal Spanish is still spoken – but it is an important thing to know when you travel to Spain.
Pack some Euros
In case you weren’t sure, the currency of Spain is the Euro. Therefore, pack some Euros for your trip. It’s always a good idea to exchange into local currency before you travel, and Spain is no exception: You will not be able to pay with any other currency than Euros.
However, most places accept credit cards, so you can use your VISA or MasterCard for the most part.
If you bring some Euros, you will also be able to use them in Portugal, France, and most other European nations close to Spain!
Spain is an affordable country
Traveling in Spain is quite cheap – especially by European standards. It is cheaper than countries such as France, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, and so on.
Hotels are affordable. Plane tickets to Spain are affordable. Food is affordable, with many restaurants being cheap.
And you can travel affordably between the cities. High-speed train tickets can be expensive, but normal train tickets are cheap, and bus tickets are even cheaper. Even with car rental, you can get great prices.
Of course, Spanish cities have many high-class places too. But generally, it is not expensive to travel to Spain. That is a huge advantage, so consider adding a few extra days to your vacation here!
Spanish cities differ wildly
Spain is not as large as the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and a lot of other countries. But it has huge variations, and two cities are never quite the same.
If you go to Madrid, don’t expect it to be like Barcelona at all. If you go to Vigo, don’t expect it to be like Sevilla.
This can be confusing if you do a road trip or if you backpack around Spain. Cultural traditions, food traditions, even the architecture – they might be very different from one city to another.
So if you have already been to one Spanish city and then plan to go to another one, it can end up as a very different experience.
This is not a bad thing but rather a very good thing – it means that Spain has a lot of different things to offer, and you will notice that quickly!
Spanish people can be very warm – or very cold!
Generally speaking, Spanish people are very easy-going and friendly. It will be easy to strike up conversations – assuming you know Spanish!
For the most part, Spanish people will be warm and helpful to you. They like to party, they like to have fun, and they are usually very respectful of other cultures. But you must also remember to be respectful to them. Spanish people are proud of their culture, so respect that, and remember that you are a guest in the country.
If you have good manners and if you are polite, you will get great reactions from the Spanish people, and they will treat you warmly. But if you do anything that is considered disrespectful, you can also expect the locals to be colder towards you.
You will meet a lot of other travelers
Spain is full of tourists and travelers. It is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.
And if you go to major touristic cities and beaches, you can expect to run into a lot of other travelers. Barcelona is like that for most of the year. Valencia is growing in the same direction. The Balearic Islands, Mallorca and Ibiza, are completely crowded with tourists during the summer. Madrid feels like a foreign city in the summer – the Spaniards go to the coast, while travelers come in for their vacation.
So if you travel to Spain – particularly during the summer – you will run into a lot of other travelers. There is nothing special about being a foreigner in Spain, and the locals are very used to it. You will be one of many. Keep that in mind, and see it as an advantage – you can exchange stories with a lot of other travelers, and you can see it as a great opportunity to make more friends.
You will have to bring identification with you at all times
It’s unlikely you will be asked for it, but as a visitor in Spain, it is important to always have identification (ID) on you.
Both for safety reasons, but also because the police is allowed to ask you for ID at any time. And if you can’t provide it, you might actually be arrested until you can provide information about who you are.
An ID paper does not necessarily have to be your passport – at least not if you are a European Union citizen. A driver’s license or national ID card will usually be enough.
If you have a personal health insurance card, you obviously need to bring that with you at all times, in case something were to happen.
Enjoy it while you can
It’s amazing to be in Spain.
So, the last thing you need to know for now: Enjoy being here!
Hopefully you will get some great experiences and memories for life.
And if you need any inspiration for your trip, you know where to look. We have countless articles about traveling to Spain, along with many photos and videos.
Feel free to comment on this article (or any other) if you have any questions about your trip to Spain. We will be happy to answer.
Thanks for reading!