According to the Spanish Minister for Energy and Tourism, Alvaro Nadal, 75.3 million internationals visited Spain in 2016. It is no surprise then, that Spain remains the number one destination for British holidaymakers. With it’s wide sandy beaches, hot sunny climate, cultural heritage and a short flight to get to, what isn’t there to love?
If you are embarking on your first trip to Spain, there are a few things it’s good to know before you go.
The Siesta is alive and kicking
And when it is siesta time, most shops and businesses close. This varies from region to region, but is generally from 2pm to 5pm. Banks, city halls, and other public services are open in the mornings Monday to Friday, usually closing at 2pm.
Mealtimes are later in the day
Like many of our other European neighbours, notably France, the Spaniards tend to eat later than those of us in the UK. Restaurants open around 1:30pm for lunch, for just a few hours. They then open again around 8pm or 9pm.
Famous for its paella and tapas, Spanish cuisine is healthy and delicious. Bear in mind that if you order fresh paella, it takes around 30 minutes to cook, so don’t order that if you’re in a hurry. Try some of the local wine or sherry too. Perfect to wash down a meal, and much cheaper than in the UK.
Spanish is not the only language spoken in Spain. Different regions have their own official dialects, which you will often hear among locals. In Barcelona, for example, Catalan is spoken, a Latin-based language with similarities to Spanish, Italian and French.
Every town and village in Spain celebrates its own festivals. With strong Catholic roots, there is always a saints day to mark with music, dance, food, drink and dressing up. These festivals are scattered throughout the year and often fall during the week. Make sure you check up about any festivals happening where you are staying before you go, as it will mean some establishments will be closed.