The Top Seven Things To Know Before You Decide To Visit Spain

Spain is arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the Mediterranean boasting exciting festivals, beautiful natural surroundings, and some of the most interesting historical artifacts in Europe.  While many countries have remained older, Spain has embraced the modern lifestyle promoting tourism across their land.  The helpful people are welcoming, and travelers do find themselves enjoying surroundings; however, it is important to remember that the country is not your own and there are rules to be noted.  Spain is welcoming, but the culture is highly different and must be respected.  This article provides some information on the points to take into account when heading off to Spain with a focus on the top seven considerations to ensure you adhere to the cultural (and legal) guidelines.

1. Identify The Festival Dates

Tourism is a large source of income for Spain; however, the “tourist time” tends to begin in late July and end in the middle of September.  This period is set to align with the Northern Hemisphere’s summer months and embrace their warmer weather (although Spain doesn’t seem to get too cold).  Of course, while taking this into account when planning a vacation, it is also important to remember that Spain is a very religious country and there are religious festivals to be identified.  Many weekends will extend to include festivals for different Saints and it is important that you respect these times as a cultural rule.  The festivals or Saint day will result in the closing of stores or banks; therefore, be aware of these days before making plans to ensure you do not land up in Spain on a week devoted to religious worship if you aren’t religious yourself.

2. Opening Hours Of Banks

The Spanish banker has been noted as the most pleasant banker in Europe, possibly the world.  Why?  This is possibly because the banks in Spain have minimal operating hours (from 9 am to 2 pm) and rarely open after siesta unless necessary.  They do not operate on Sundays and are only available on Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm. This brings about the issue of siesta as well which influences the opening of all facilities from 2 pm to 4 pm.

3. Opening Hours Of Tourist Attractions

If you have decided to vacation in Spain and peruse some tourist attractions, such as museums, it is important to note that many of these facilities have minimal operating hours.  The churches are open for many hours on most days, except over siesta period; however, museums are closed on Mondays and all holidays.  In fact, smaller museums or historic attractions tend to operate on Sundays exclusively.

4. Be Aware Of Pickpockets

While Spain is a fairly safe country, there is always the chance of pickpocketing in the larger cities.  A tip to keep your money safe from this particular type of theft is to keep items close to your body (preferably on your body).  Many people would consider using an ATM card as payment for all items to avoid pickpocketing, but this can be detrimental as there are high bank fees when conducting international transactions.  Attempt to withdraw money before heading off and keeping this in a bag close to your person. One of our friends who works for (they travel to Spain a lot for work) got their wallet stolen while in Spain. Based on their experience, it is a good idea to keep your money and credit cards close to you.

5. Take The Train

Taxis are useful when in Spain; however, they are renowned for being slightly dangerous on the roads not taking note of rules of the road.  Also, there is always the chance that the taxi driver could be “dodgy” and you may find yourself in a life-threatening situation.  It is recommended that you opt for public transport when on vacation, which is highly enjoyable and exciting as you can view exciting features of Spain.  When booking, it is advised that you seek out discounts for train tickets using the national train or regional train networks.

6. Be Ready For Public Toilets

As with any country, there is the issue of public lavatories.  No individual, unless you are truly desperate, is willing to use a public lavatory and in Spain, there is an obvious sign of infrequent cleaning.  When visiting Spain, you must be ready to accept this and prepared to sneak into hotel lobbies to use cleaner facilities.  It may also be useful to stop for a drink at a bar just to use their toilet facilities as the Spanish restaurant owners will rarely allow non-customers to user their lavatory.

7. Not All People Speak Spanish

While the majority of people living in larger cities working in the tourism industry will speak some English, it should be noted that not all of them speak basic Spanish.  So, if you have learned basic Spanish phrases it must be remembered that there are regional dialects influencing the spoken language.  The individuals working in tourism may find your attempt to speak Spanish endearing (or at least pretend to); however, you must be prepared to not understand a word considering the area.