Spain Unlocked

Spain travel ideas

To get to know Spain better, we asked our Spanish representative, Violette, to give us some local knowledge about her home country. This is Spain Unlocked!

How to say hello:

Hola (Hi) or Buenos días (Good morning, more formal)

How to say goodbye:

Hasta luego (See you later) or Adiós (Goodbye)
With other declinations depending on the region of Spain!

How to say thank you:

Gracias

Currency used:

Euro

Tapas in Spain BarcelonaFlickr CC, El Bulli

Favorite national foods:

Made of different regions and climates, Spain presents a big variety of food. Here are only a few examples:

. Seafood and fish from North (Galicia) or South (Andalusia)
. Iberic ham (Jamón ibérico)
. Gazpacho (very fresh soup for Summer) and tortilla española (omelette with potatoes): these two things, you have to taste while in Spain!
. Paella from Valencia region (East)
. Cocido from Madrid (chickpeas and beef)
. Butifarra (sausage) and Escalivada (grilled vegetables) from Catalonia
. Fabada from Asturias (North): beans and meat, sausage, etc.
. Mallorca soups, sobrasada from Balearic islands, or mojos (sauces) from Canary Islands

And, of course, TAPAS is everywhere in Spain! Don’t forget to try excellent olive oils or wines like Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Albariño, Jerez, Cava, etc.

Best month(s) to visit:

All seasons are good: Spring or Fall is a great to visit all of the regions of Spain, Summer for beautiful North or any of the beaches on more than 7.880 kilometers of coastline, in the peninsula or the islands. And you can go all year round to visit any of the heritage cities. Winter to enjoy skiing in Pyrenees or Sierra Nevada.

Best beach in Spain Flickr CC, Peter Kates

Best way to get around:

Different means of transportation are available: domestic flights from 46 cities, high speed rail network to reach 20 cities in the whole country, as well as bus lines for a smaller budget. Many highways and motorways are available to travel by car, as well.

Local customs:

People tend to kiss a woman on both cheeks, even when they meet for the very first time, and shake hands between men to express warmfully that they are pleased to meet you. Spaniards are known for speaking loudly, in bars and restaurants (this is part of their charm!), so noise belongs to the style of life here. For meal hours, do not pretend to have lunch at noon or dinner at 7 pm: you’ll be alone in the restaurant! Lunch is usually around 2-3pm and dinner begins around 9-10pm.

A novel to read or a film to watch or a song to listen to learn more about the country:

Books
. Las tres bodas de Manolita, Almudena Grandes: third book of a trilogy to understand the post-war period
. The Shadow of the Wind is a 2001 novel by Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón and a worldwide bestseller.

Movies
. Pedro Almodovar: to have a glance at Movida culture, at the beginning of transition period to democracy, with movies like Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios, Todo sobre mi madre, Hable con ella.
. Vicky Cristina Barcelona, by Woody Allen, which was, in part, shot in Asturias and Catalonia regions.

Music
. Flamenco music and dances (Paco de Lucía, Miguel Poveda)

Local websites for discounts in restaurants, theatre, cinema, etc.

LetsBonus and Atrapalo are the most popular websites where locals get discounted show tickets, recreational activities, and restaurants. The sharing economy is getting bigger in many of the Spanish cities, so make sure to check local diners with EatWith.

GibraltarFlickr CC, Hernan Pinera

Towns or villages which are worth a visit:

It’s hard to name any specifically because there are literally hundreds of them — hidden in every region! To name a few:

. Andalusia: White villages in Andalusia are located in the mountains of the province of Cádiz; also visit Ronda, Cazorla, Capileira or Júzcar.
. Levante (East): Morella, Guadalest, Requena or Denia.
. Catalonia: Cadaqués (where Dali lived); mountain Romanesque villages in Vall de Boí; Peratallada, Miravet or Besalú.
. North: Elantxobe o Getaria (Bask Country); Cangas de Onís or Cudillero (Asturias); Viveiro, O Cebreiro, Allariz (Galicia).
. Central Spain: Almagro (Ciudad Real), Pedraza (Segovia), Sigüenza (Guadalajara), Consuegra (Toledo), Liétor (Albacete), etc.
. Balearic and Canary Islands: Deià, Pollensa, Fornells for the first ones, and Betancuria, Teguise, La Orotava for the latter.

And, of course, you can’t miss Campo de Criptana and the region of Campos de Montiel, where Don Quixote fought against imaginary giants!

The best kept secret about this country:

Spain is mainly known for beaches and coastal localities, but do not hesitate to take small roads and immerse yourself in far from the beaten trail villages, where ancient culture is still alive today. After being a summer-and-sun destination for years, Spain has made big efforts to restore historic cities and villages to speak to the rich Spanish history that remains present today. The result is presently 15 cities have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Cities… Don’t miss any of them!

Spanish culture flamencoFlickr CC, Aitor  Aranda

The most unique thing about Spain:

Summer nights, after a very hot day, when you’re still outside at midnight or later, you won’t need a jacket as it’s so mild. You’ll smell the air from the sea, enjoy a drink or an icecream at a terrace or simply walk through the Plaza Mayor of a village, full of people enjoying fresh air like you… That unique and warming atmosphere makes you believe that all worries are far, people are happy and nothing bad can happen. It’s a dream, but it’s so good to feel it!

Common misconceptions about Spain:

It’s always sunny and hot in Spain. No, it isn’t! And I’m still surprised to see foreigners at the airport, wearing shorts in the middle of winter when it’s freezing or snowing outside! You’ll even find skiing resorts! In fact, we have four seasons, with Summer being quite extreme in most places.

Best free activities:

Tapas contests are organised in several cities and are worth attending. Quite inexpensive, you’ll taste different bites of authentic Spanish flavours. There are also free celebrations or fiestas in nearly each city or village, and there are many parks and museums to visit.

Anything else we should know about your country?

Enjoy a cultural tradition: each April 23rd in many big cities (with a videoconference connection from the whole world), a continuous reading of famous Miguel de Cervantes novel, Don Quixote, is orated for 48 hours. Don’t worry if your Spanish isn’t that good, everyone is welcome and you’ll be proud to read a short paragraph!

Browse our listings in Spain on HomeExchange.com and team up with a local exchanger to learn more!

2 Comments on “Spain Unlocked

  1. Hi there i just want to know..are those coupons from letsbonus.com and groupon applicable to foreign travellers… Because i am planning to purchase some activities but kinda hesitant because maybe they wont accept the voucher if i am a foreigner..thanks

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