Food: When it comes to food, Spain shows its most passionate side. Tapas, the most famous of them all is a variety of snacks or starters. More of ingredients and less of spices is the fundamental lesson for Spanish cuisine. Relish the local flavours in any of the restaurants of your choice. Barcelona is Spain’s very own food heaven. Basque-style tapas bars, Japanese restaurants, Galician seafood taverns and shops for a sinful indulgence called chocolates create Barcelona’s identity for a foodie. Valencia is home to famous rice based meal—Paella. Head to a restaurant named Sobrino de Botín in Madrid to be part of history. Established in 1725, Botin is the Oldest Running Restaurant in the world. Fast food in Spain is still to tighten its grip and is often regarded as Kids’ food. There are specific timings of meals in Spain. Breakfast is usually light with coffee, 12:00 is the time for a light snack, lunch is served between 13:30-14:30 (it can go up till 15.00) and dinner timing is 20:30 or 21.00. Tap water is safe to drink.
Travel Tip: In Madrid restaurants witness the crowd mostly after 22.00. During weekends in all big cities, restaurants are open till mid-night. Tipping is not observed in Spain.
Entertainment: Flamenco performances, bullfights (controversial though), La Tomatina and other traditional festivals are the most famous entertainment options Spain is known for, all around the world. There are plenty of nightclubs and bars all over Spain. However, the nightlife at Madrid is the most dazzling. For a beach party, no better place than Ibiza. Bars are the best places to make new friends. Watersports are also a popular form of entertainment in Spain.
Transport: Trains are clean, fast and reliable, however renting a car is a good option to move from city to city. Boats offer some of the best sights. For local transport, taxis have a reasonable fare. Hitching or by thumb is not a good commuting option in Spain and the cycling is the best way to explore the Spanish cities.
Accommodation: Like all the other popular tourist destinations in Europe, Spain, too has plenty of lodging options for the travelers. Apart from hotels, hostel and camping, you can also choose to stay at a Parador or the state-run hotel. Paradores were founded by the Spanish King Alfonso XIII in 1928. These chain of hotels are located mostly in buildings of historical importance such as Moorish castles or convents and offer good value for money spent. There are also bed and breakfast options known as Casa rural for budget travellers.
Points to Remember
Kissing on both cheeks to greet is customary in Spain. However, male to male kissing is limited to close friends or family. If not kissing, a firm handshake is the ideal way to greet. Maintaining physical contact by patting the back or touching the shoulder is common while talking. Walking barefoot inside the house is considered unhygienic. While travelling in a car, pregnant lady or the elderly must ride in the passenger’s seat unless they request not to. Spaniards don’t eat or drink on the streets. Appearing drunk on the street is frowned upon.