Travel

Sun, Sangria And Siesta: 7 Travel Tips For Spain

07/06/2016 10:59am ET | Updated July 6, 2016
Málaga, Spain - Shannan Bloomstrand

Famous for its Flamenco, bullfights, and beautiful beaches, Spain is anything but ordinary. A rich history and culture provide plenty to see and do.
Check out these tips for a successful journey!


1. Traveling through the town:
Most Spanish cities including Madrid, Seville and San Sebastian are walkable, and have wonderful transportation systems with subways and busses. To visit another region, use the time-efficient and comfortable high speed AVE train that runs throughout Spain.

2. Learning the language:
Spain can be divided into 4 regions that embody unique cultures and languages. In the southern region of Andalusia, natives speak Castilian Spanish, a traditional Spanish dialect. Catalan is spoken in the eastern region of Catalonia. The northern region, or País Vasco, Basque is spoken. Locals in the western province of Galicia speak Galician. Purchase a pocket dictionary of Spain’s languages for regional success.

3. Soaking up the Sun:
Spain’s more than 5,000 coastline miles make it a very popular European destination during the summer when temperatures average just over 80 degrees. Enjoy endless beaches from the northern coast of San Sebastian to the southern beaches of Costa de la Luz. Whether you are sun lounging, participating in extreme sports such as windsurfing, or horseback riding - just remember to pack 50 SPF sunscreen!

4. Sipping Sangria:
Sangria is a wine punch full of fruit and various alcohols that is sure to quench your thirst while providing a little buzz. It is available in Red, White, and other forms such as Cider. Sangria ranges from 4-12% alcohol content (regulate your intake.) Due to Sangria’s worldwide popularity, avoid imitations and seek the authentic. A delicious alternative is Tinto de Verano, a similar drink made from red wine and lemon soda or delicious casera (artificially sweetened soda water).

5. Local specialties’ Tapas & Paella:
Spain’s famous tapas dining is a style where each person orders a couple small dishes to be shared amongst everyone. Not only is this economically efficient, it will keep your waistline slim with portion control. Make sure to speak up when ordering, as tapas restaurants can be crowded and quite lively. Try the famous Tortilla Española (Spanish omelet) and Paella, a notable seafood and rice dish.

Tinto De Verano & Tapas Beef Skewers - Shannan Bloomstrand

6. Dining Timing:
The meal times and portion sizes in Spain are unique. Spaniards begin the day with a light breakfast, if any at all. Lunch is the largest daily meal, with multiple courses and is typically served no earlier than 2 P.M. Dinner is served at 10 P.M. or later in homes and restaurants. Keep this schedule in mind as it may require an adjustment while traveling; plan your meals in advance.

7. Savoring Siesta:
Siesta is one of Spain’s oldest traditions, a period to unwind and nap in the middle of the work day. From 2-5 p.m., cities shut down almost completely, while families enjoy long, filling lunches then slip into a coma-like state. It is important to know that most shops and businesses will be closed during this period and that most establishments stop serving food from 4-8 P.M. This custom is easy to adapt to and hard to break when returning home.

So whether it’s sipping sangria on the beach or train traveling to Bilbao, have an amazing time in Spain!

________

Sharon Schweitzer and Shannan Bloomstrand co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is the resident etiquette expert for CBS KEYE We Are Austin, popular on-air contributor, regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, Inc., The New York Times, The Vancouver Sun, and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, named to Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2015.

Shannan Bloomstrand is a Summer Intern with Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is a senior Language and International Health major with an emphasis in Community Development and a minor in Biology at Clemson University. Connect with Shannan on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @shannanbloom.