While there are many different regions of Spain, and they all have their own differences, I decided to write a post about what to expect when traveling to Spain. I just arrived back home not too long ago from studying abroad in Portugal and Spain for two weeks, and it was an amazing experience that’s provided some inspiration.
In Spain, I visited Huelva, Seville, Puente Genil and Madrid. Spain is beautiful, and I will never forget seeing snowcapped mountains stretching up into the mist while traveling from city to city, or the winding, narrow streets crowded with colorful buildings.
What you should keep in mind before going to Spain:
The currency people use in Spain is the euro. Also, it took me forever to figure this out, but euro is used for both singular and plural.
Things tend to be pretty cheap. Food, clothes, wine – all of it was fairly cheap. Maybe it was the sangria, but I definitely felt less guilty about spending as much money as I did.
People drive on the same side of the street as we do in the U.S. If you’re planning on renting a car while in Spain, you can breathe a little easier knowing that at least they drive on the same side as we do.
There aren’t water fountains anywhere, but the tap water is safe for drinking. I did not see one water fountain while in Spain, or in Portugal for that matter. Most people just buy water bottles or drink from the tap. Also, in restaurants, they will always serve you a water bottle when you ask for water. If you want tap, and don’t want to pay for water, you have to ask for it specifically.
Most people tend to pretty patient when trying to communicate. Thankfully, most people I ran into in Spain were patient and spoke Spanish slowly when we were communicating. I know a little Spanish, which definitely helped a lot, but people being understanding of the language barrier was super helpful. So don’t worry about messing up while trying to speak Spanish. Most people appreciate you just trying.
People have no problem getting in your personal space. Expect people to walk/stand really close to you while walking or standing in lines. Personal space doesn’t seem to be a popular concept, and hugging is considered to be a routine greeting.
Most restaurants close between lunch and dinner time. You probably won’t find an open restaurant for dinner until around eight or eight thirty, and meals usually take a long time (think around two hours).
Hopefully this helps prepare you a little more for your travels to Spain!