Things you need to know before traveling to Spain

  (photo credit: Jack Gisel, Unsplash)
(photo credit: Jack Gisel, Unsplash)

Spain is one of Europe's most culturally rich countries, also a lovely country full of delicious food, fascinating historical monuments, and breathtaking natural scenery; however, there are a few interesting things you should know before visiting.

Things you need to know before traveling to Spain

Visa Requirements

To enhance EU travel mobility, border control, and security, the ETIAS system is scheduled to go live in November 2023.

Make sure you comply with the ETIAS requirements to be eligible to get a visa that will let you visit Spain and other Schengen areas.

Spain isn’t a small country

Sure enough, Spain is not a little country.

No one should think they have seen all of Spain if they only go to Madrid or Barcelona. Both culturally and geographically, the country is enormous.

This is a wonderful country to visit, especially for those who enjoy road trips because of the variety of attractions and activities you can enjoy.

The best sights aren't where you'd typically expect

It's not a surprise that locals have the inside scoop on the best spots, particularly in Spain. You may still ask the receptionist at your hotel (or your Airbnb host) or anyone else you run across from the area for advice, even if you don't wind up mixing with them.

Sometimes, the simplest piece of advice is all it takes to make your vacation truly memorable.

Visit the hidden gems

Spain is home to a plethora of fascinating cities to discover. Epic Cities like Seville, Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao are there but don't limit your sightseeing to city areas.

The lovely Mediterranean coast, the rugged Basque area, and the plains around Madrid all offer abundant opportunities for tourists to see and discover a different side of this magnificent country.

Siesta is real

When visiting Spain for the first time, many visitors are surprised to learn that many Spaniards take a siesta. In contrast, this practice is less common in the corporate sector; many stores and other public-facing businesses close daily from 14 to 17 for lunch, especially in smaller towns.

Adopted initially to beat the heat of the day, this tradition has since spread as a way to spend quality time with loved ones and unwind.

It's important to remember this if you're going out to eat or shop at midday.

Spain is a country with a diverse climate

You must be prepared for different weather patterns depending on where you want to travel in Spain.

Overall, there are three main climate areas in Spain, though these are typically classified into 13 sub-climates. Even while the majority of the country has a Mediterranean climate—hot, dry summers and rainy winters also mark the continental and oceanic regions.

While the northern Basque region receives a lot of snow throughout the winter, the oceanic Pyrenees and Asturia regions have pleasant winters and warm but not scorching summers.

Things don't always start on time

Having dinner at 21 or 22 is typical in Spain, which may surprise many tourists. In Spain, breakfast isn't a big deal (it's usually quite light), lunch is eaten between 3 and 4 p.m., and the evening is when people truly let their hair down.

Dinner can easily last several hours, with wine pouring and many courses served throughout. Not to mention that lunches in Spain are often as much about the people as they are about the food. If you are going to an event with your friends, you may arrive before everyone else. Pack your patience along with your swimwear; you may have to wait around for events to start.

The public transport is amazing

Things may run behind schedule in Spain, but at least the trains and buses never do. 

Spain's buses and trains are modern, clean, and on time, but if you're traveling a great distance, booking a flight may be more convenient. The cost of flying between big cities like Barcelona and San Sebastian is sometimes lower than the cost of taking the train or bus.

Remember that when you buy a ticket for public transit in Spain, the seat number is typically printed right on the ticket itself. Don't get up and wander about on European buses; everyone has a designated seating area.

Consider eating at local's favorites

One of the most important lessons I took away from my time in Spain and other nations I've visited was to do as the locals do.

If I am ever in an area where I notice a particular restaurant is packed with locals, you can bet that I will make a reservation there immediately. Never have I been let down, and it's always a pleasant surprise to stumble into something that isn't overtly designed to scam tourists.

This is a good general thumb rule when you travel, but one of the crucial suggestions for visiting Spain as there can be quite a few tourist traps.

This article was written in cooperation with Veronika Hansen