Monday, April 19, 2021

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A Mini Travel Guide to Spain: Language, Customs & Etiquette

Visitors from around the globe choose Spain as their dream destination during summer vacations. Why? The unique blend of Spanish cultures and customs besides the awe-inspiring monuments, magnificent churches, artistic heritage, and perfect weather for summers!

Talking about Spain, it is truly a cultural mix like Italy; and such countries are totally attention-grabbing for the tourists. Spain is home to Catalan, Basque, and Galicians.

Such a cultural blend makes it difficult for foreigners to get accustomed to Spain’s mannerism, cultural values, and etiquettes. Get familiar with it by reading this mini-guide before leaving for Spain.

Etiquettes in Spain:

  • Greet like Spaniards

To greet a stranger Spaniard or an elderly person, use the formal usted instead of the casual word tu to earn their respect at first sight.

  • Be Attire-Appropriate

No matter where we are around the globe, appropriate dress is the necessity. It makes or breaks your personality. In Spain, wearing swimsuits in public places is prohibited and considered extremely inappropriate. Rather the town councils have begun a crackdown to prevent it. In addition to this, dress smartly for business meetings.

Customs of Spain:

  • Follow the Schedules

Schedules are fixed for lunch and dinner times, and visitors often find it confusing at first to follow them. Actually Spanish have their lunch only after 1:30 PM and dinner is not taken before 9 PM. If you are planning to dine out, it starts after 10 PM or maybe later.

  • The Market is Closed in the Afternoon

Spanish value their families and family time; therefore, they leave for home to have lunch. Shops, most often, shut down between 2 to 5. To avoid disappointment later, it is better to keep yourself updated about the customs.

  • Extended Gatherings

Family life and extended gatherings are prominent features among Spanish household. For every event, a list of guests, friends, and family, are invited to celebrate. Moreover, in Spanish houses, elderly are cared for and respected for a lot instead of being sent to old homes, while the kids are loved and valued a lot.

  • Bring Gifts

If you have been invited by a Spanish family, take a small gift for their children, chocolates, and a bottle of wine. However, you don’t doze off due to heavy boozing. Instead, excessive drinking is not so common in Spain.

  • Tipping is Common

Locals give small tips to the waiter, taxi driver, and hotel porter; so you don’t need to show off a lot. You can save money for other things too.

Language of Spain

You would look smart and friendly if you would try to converse in Spanish. However, fluency doesn’t matter; just master the few basic Spanish expressions to easily understand the locals. Sometimes, it gets tricky to differentiate. For instance, the difference of por vs para, but with a dedicated por vs para practice, you would quickly pick it up.

Some of the common phrases to get familiar with are:

  • Buenos días (hello)
  • Por favor (please)
  • Adios (goodbye)
  • Los servicios (toilets)
  • Habla inglés? (can you speak English?)
  • Gracias (Thanks)

Hope the guide is helpful for your Spain tour. Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author:

Lara Smith has worked for Wall Street English for 20 years. After studying at Stanford University and subsequently doing a CELTA course, she began her career in teaching. She is obsessed with languages and currently writes blogs at

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