While in Spain, be prepared for late lunches and dinners and
late evenings out on the town. We've found that taking a siesta
in the afternoons helps in getting adjusted to the Spanish
Do's and Don'ts
Don't be surprised at how rapidly people speak. We found our
Spanish skills are severely tested on many occasions. And don't
forget to lisp your z's and internal c's. (For example, Ibiza
is pronounced Ee-BEETH-a).
Don't complain about cigarette smoke in bars—be aware
you'll either be laughed at or shown the door. And don't expect
to find "No Smoking" sections in restaurants, either.
There is no such thing in Spain. Spaniards often tell us that
people who complain about such things are "afraid of life".
Do carry some small change—you'll need it to use the
Don't wear shorts in churches; wear them only on beaches and
at beach resorts.
Women may be the object of unwanted attention more than in
Northern Europe, particularly if they're traveling alone or
visiting Andalusia or the southern Mediterranean coast. The
Best response is no response at all—any attention given
is likely to be misinterpreted.
Do try to see the fastest ball game in the world, pelota (jai
alai), played mainly in Bilbao and Guernica.
Do be aware that the penalties for drug possession are severe,
and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences.
Tipping is a great tradition in Spain. While practically all
establishments currently include a surcharge for service it
is still common to leave something of a tip. This custom, common
in bars and restaurants, has extended to hotel porters, theatre
ushers and taxi drivers, though in none of these cases is it
obligatory nor will anyone recriminate a client for not tipping.
Smoking is commonplace amongst men and women in Spain, and
do not expect to find many non-smoking areas designated in
bars and restaurants. Smoking is also common in fast food restaurants,
shops and malls.
You probably won't get a polite answer if
you ask someone to stop smoking a cigarette for whatever
For smokers, this will not be a problem, but non-smokers may
find this uncomfortable. Cigarettes and cigars are reasonably
cheap, and at the moment average about 2€ per packet.