If you’re thinking of planning a visit Spain for work, to complete an internship, study the Spanish language or just visiting the country on your holidays. You will definitely need to read our ultimate guide to Spain, so you will be up to the mark with everything to know before you arrive.
In the big cities, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Seville, people are open-minded and will help you with everything you need with a smile.
Family values are quite present in everyday life: Restaurant and bars are usually owned by a family or close friends, people spend a lot of time in them, especially on weekends.
Spain is a secular country, but most of the people are catholic. There is at least one church in every village or town.
The official language in Spain is Spanish, but there are a few regions which speak a completely different language. People speak Catalan in Catalonia and Valencia, Basque on the Basque Country, Galician on Galicia and other minorities like the Bable on Asturias and the Aragonese on Aragon.
People, when introduced, kiss each other on both cheeks (if one of them is a woman), starting with the left, but if they are two men, they shake hands.
In very formal situations people are presented as Don and Doña, or as Señor and Señora, but not in the day to day.
The body language is really important in every part of the world. A gesture in your country might have a different meaning in another. In this video you can see a few examples of the most usual gestures in Spanish:
The food in Spain, is quiet delicious, a lot of native products are used when cooking and the Mediterranean Diet is really an everyday thing. You can’t leave the country without trying a Spanish Omelette, Valencian paella or andalusian gazpacho.
The king of the sports in Spain is football, the English soccer style, and there are two football teams worldwide known: FC Barcelona and Real Madrid FC. If you visit a bar on a day that the two teams are playing against, you will be surprised by the intensity the fans have.
Tennis is important too (Rafa Nadal is the best example), basketball (Pau Gasol) and motorcycling either (Marq Márquez).
If you live in the European Union you’ll have no problem with this, because the Spanish currency is the Euro.
There are a lot of fantastic places to visit in every region of Spain. Our recommendations are the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the Mosque/Cathedral of Cordoba. Take a walk through the Retiro Park in Madrid, the Alhambra in Granada, and the Alcazar in Seville. During the summer you can go to some popular festivals like the Tomatina or the Sanfermines and enjoy the amazing beaches all over the coast.
Another thing you can find in Spain are the museums: history, art, specialized and another curious museums (like the Ham Museum in Madrid). Is a must to visit El Prado (Madrid), Casa Batlló (Barcelona), Guggenheim (Bilbao) and the National Arqueological Museum (Madrid).
Image by Andy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ndrwfgg/
The Spanish nightlife is really different from other countries, especially the opening hours. There are no specific time to go for a beer at the bar, just after work it’s OK. But to go dance at the disco, the time is after dinner, at least after 23:00h. Bars and clubs are open until 6am or 7am, so the best thing to do is take a nap to have energy to dance all night.
Spain enjoys a great Transportation System so you can move from one end to the other without wasting your time. Flying is an amazing option (There are 48 airports), or catching a train (The AVE connects the main cities and there are a lots of interurban trains too, and underground in the main cities) and buses. The most comfortable thing is to drive on one of the big highways, but if you cannot, is not a problem.
All of this things might be shocking at the first time. The best way to try and prevent this from happening, is to talk a lot, integrate with your co-workers, classmates, go for a walk to know the city, meet new people, your roommates and neighbors, and especially to ask everything you don’t understand.
We hope you to find this ultimate guide to Spain useful. If you would like to experience Spain, check out the exciting programs we have such as our internship, aupair program or language course. See you in Spain!