Spain is one of my favorite countries that I’ve been to thus far. I might be partial because I have been studying Spanish for the last 5 years, but it’s the only country I’ve been to more than once. I am a huge fan of the culture, food, drinks, and their lifestyle so I have a few travel tips for Spain. If your first experience is anything like mine was, you’re in for a shock (a great one)!

My favorite España hat!
My favorite España hat!

I’m used to eating dinner at 6 or 7 in the United States and usually don’t eat late at night. Spain is on a completely different schedule than we are. They eat a light breakfast in the morning and go to work for only a few hours. They then have a 2-3 hour break to go home in the middle of work and school to eat lunch with their family and take a siesta (nap). After that, everyone goes back to work until late at night (for us) and then have dinner around 10:30 or later. Night life doesn’t even begin until well after midnight and can last all the way into the early hours of the morning!

From my experience in Spain, there are some definite things you need to know to make the most of your experience. Here are some travel tips for Spain if you’re traveling there soon. I have only been to Sevilla and Barcelona, so this post will be focusing on what to do and eat in those cities specifically!

Phrases to Know

  • Hola- Hi
  • Ciao/Adios- Bye
  • Cerveza- beer
  • Vino-wine
  • Donde está el baño- Where is the bathroom
  • Amigos- friends
  • Por favor- Please
  • Muchas gracias- Thank you very much
  • Necesito- I need
  • Soy de- I am from ex: Soy de Estados Unidos- I am from the U.S.
  • Me llamo – My name is
  • Mercado- market
  • Tren-train
  • Ayuda-Help

Food and Drinks That Are a Must

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. They eat a lot in Spain. My host mom used to bring out plates of churizzo and bread with oil. I would have been completely content after eating all of that bread and churizzo but little did I know I would be receiving a bowl of soup, a main meal, and then a dessert afterwards. Moral of the story: Don’t eat too much of your first appetizer because there will be plenty more food afterwards.

I helped make this homemade paella!
I helped make this homemade paella!
A nice glass of Sangria
A nice glass of Sangria
  • Paella- If you didn’t get this amazing rice meal while you were in Spain, you missed out! I’ve made it from scratch and eaten it at a restaurant so I can attest to how amazing it is. It was something we went out of our way to have in Spain and my boyfriend agreed it was well worth the trouble.
  • Calamari- The calamari here is the best I’ve had ever. It just tastes way better in Spain than anywhere else.
  • Sangria- If you leave this country without trying a Sangria then I have no clue what you were doing the whole time, because it is everywhere. I have been to 15 countries and this is tied with my favorite drink in the world. (It’s tied with Ice wine from Germany for those who are wondering)
  • Bread with oil- I swear they eat this with every single meal and I can admit that I did my entire stay in Spain. What an absolutely delicious way to eat bread. I still do that at home and at restaurants now. Yummy!
  • Gazpacho-If you like tomatoes, you will probably like this. I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but I don’t really like tomatoes. It’s essentially cold, chunky tomato soup and most of my friends loved it!

 

Things to See and Do

I’ve been to Barcelona and Seville and I will recommend some of the same things for both cities.

  • Go see a bull fight! I’m a huge animal lover and yes I was sad and had to cover my eyes at times during it. However, it was such an amazing cultural experience to see what they do for fun and the traditions behind it.
  • Go to a Flamenco Show- This was absolutely fantastic! My boyfriend and I were lucky to be front and center for a flamenco show and it was great. We had dinner while we waited for the show to begin and I was so full with tapas by the time my actual meal came that I could barely eat!
  • See Gaudi’s amazing architectural buildings if you’re in Barcelona. This was an amazing treat! They were so awesome to see and definitely worth the walk out of Barcelona to see them.
    One of the houses designed by Gaudi
    One of the houses designed by Gaudi
  • Check out all of the beautiful markets on the streets in Seville. Be sure to be very careful if you’re walking in the roads instead of on the tiny little sidewalks. Taxis come whipping around those turns and it’s sometimes hard to get out of the way in time.
Hand painted fan from Spain
Hand painted fan from Spain
  • Buy a hand-painted decorative fan. This is one of my most prized possessions from Spain and I bought a gorgeous one for my mother and grandmother to keep as keepsakes as well. They are such a beautiful reminder of the city and its culture.
  • Basilica of the Sagrada Familia- This is a beautiful building with such amazing details. I definitely recommend checking this out if you find yourself in Barcelona! It was awesome to walk around the exterior and admire all of the beautiful stories etched into the building by Gaudi.

I absolutely love Spain and all of the amazing experiences I had there. These travel tips for Spain are definitely ones you want to Pin for later! What are some of your favorite things to do and eat in Spain?

Travel Tips for Spain

16 thoughts on “Travel Tips for Spain

  1. This is a great post for anyone who is heading to Spain for the first time – it’s got everything including Spanish phrases, local dishes and places to see. Love it!

    1. Thanks Chantell! I’m glad you liked it. Hopefully it helps some travelers for their first time to Spain!

  2. I love eating my way around different countries, my current Spanish food obsession is the Galician octopus – served with paprika on potatoes and any kind of tapas!

    Katie
    WhatsKatieDoing.blogspot.co.uk

    1. Oh yum Katie! That sounds delicious. I didn’t try that while I was there but it sounds great. I loved all of the tapas too. Thanks for visiting 🙂

  3. Awesome post, Jess! You provided great tips for first-timers to Spain! I absolutely LOVED Barcelona! The food, drinks, architecture, and the mid-afternoon siestas helped recharged me for more exploring and lots of eating and drinking! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Heather! I really hope others find it helpful for their travels to Spain. I’m glad you loved it as much as I did. Thanks for visiting!

  4. Love this. I haven’t been to Barcelona or Seville, but I spent a week in Madrid back in October and I loved it. The food was so good and so cheap. I survived (more like thrived) off of tapas – order a drink at a bar and get delicious food for free, yes please. Also if you ever go to Madrid I highly recommend doing the Flamenco Tour with Ogo Tours. They take you to a guitar building workshop, a flamenco dress store, and give you a overview of the history of Flamenco before you get to see a show. It was one of the highlights of my trip.

    1. Wow that sounds like an awesome thing to do when I make it to Madrid! I loved watching the two Flamenco shows I went to. Thanks for visiting! 🙂

  5. I went to Spain in my 20’s and would like to go again and spend a month or two touring the country. I really enjoyed it and the food was amazing.

    1. I’m glad you liked it so much! It’s a gorgeous country with amazing food. Hopefully this helps you when you visit again!

  6. I only visited Barcelona, and I agree it is a wonderful destination. So many things to do, so many sights to see, so much food to try! If you are into seafood, I would recommend going to La Paradeta – it is an amazing restaurant, where you pick your fresh seafood and they cook it for you right there on the spot. Ah-maz-ing!!!

    http://www.booksandtrips.com/

    1. That sounds absolutely fantastic! I will most definitely have to check that out next time I am in Barcelona! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  7. tks for the article.I’m Spanish myself and this is a Very nicely written and presented article. I just want to add that not all Spanish take siesta and also dinner is usually at 9pm 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Carmen. Thanks for the additions! The family I stayed with always ate around 10 but that may not have been the norm. I noticed some shops and places did stay open through siesta. Unfortunately some of the shops we wanted to go to during our school break weren’t open due to siesta. Thanks for adding to this post! It’s always better to have someone’s opinion who actually lives there, rather than someone who has only been there a few weeks. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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