We all have that one destination we have been dreaming to go to. Spain has been one of the dream destinations for millions of travelers. And when you get a chance to fulfill that dream one day, you want everything to be perfect. Here are my travel recommendations for Spain and mistakes which you can avoid ( I, unfortunately, learned with experience!) to travel like a local and a complete Pro!!!
Language is the biggest barrier in Spain. The most amount of English you will hear will be in the cosmopolitan cities of Madrid & Barcelona.
The culture of Spain differs from North to South and so does the language, gastronomy, topography and weather. Be prepared to experience the real Spain!
CAN´T BEAT THE HEAT
July & August are a complete no-no to visit South of Spain unless you want to be burned in a furnace! The temperature rises 50 degrees. May not be surprise to Indians but believe you me, the sun in Spain is harsher & stronger than India. P.S. I can't survive Sevilla July-Aug. The town becomes a ghost town!
LAYER IT WITH STYLE
The weather of Spain is very predictable but the issue is the direct Sun. When under the sun, you might just feel you are burning, but under the shade of a tree or building you will feel the cool breeze & might want a light stole or jacket. Dress smartly and wisely!
Be very careful of your belongings and specially your purses ladies as Madrid and Barcelona are hubs of petty thefts specially the city centres
EMBRACE THE SIESTA
Spaniards love their siestas (afternoon naps) which is from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Use that time to do some photography of the Spanish architecture and its beauty. You can hardly click pictures without people in it, Spain being super touristy! Or act like a Spaniard when in Spain, take a nap yourself and get ready for the nightlife of Spain.
ADJUST YOUR BODY CLOCK
Got to adjust your body clock or rather Food Clock as per the Spanish clock. Lunch is not served before 2:00 p.m. and Evenings start pretty late too! None of the restaurants open before 9:00 p.m. for dinner. Even that's early for them.. you won't see a single soul except yours if you arrive even at 9:00. Take it easy in Spain!
ALWAYS RESERVE A TABLE
Always, always reserve a table for your meal. Spanish people are foodies and can eat any time of the day & specially love having their dinners out even in weekdays. You don't want to be disappointed once you reach the restaurant and have to wait hours. Trust me, I have learned with experience, unfortunately!
BLA BLA YOUR WAY
Travelling from one city to another in Spain is made easy through the car sharing facility called Bla Bla Car. Download the app and reserve your seat in someone else's car. Pay minimal amount to reach your destination. This gives the opportunity to make new friends, know locals, their culture and maybe some of their recommendations. Cheap, Easy and Convenient... And YES SAFE!!! I do it almost every other weekend.
LADIES, HEAL THE HEEL!
Coming from a woman who loves her stillets, leave them home before they break or break you! The best way to explore Spain is to walk it's narrow meandering cobbled streets & trust me, its a pain to do so in your heels. My first day in Spain I tried it & for the next 10 days I had to put a band-aid to wear even a basic pair of shoes or sandals.
There isn't a tipping culture in Spain, but if you really like the service or are habitual of tipping, tip only 5-10% of the bill (in cash)
The best way to live like a local & enjoy under the roof of an old Spanish house in the city centre or the main plaza, is to rent an Airbnb. Spain is full of them and most of them provide great service and location. P.S. I have not yet stayed in any other mode of accommodation in Spain and have never been disappointed.