I’ve been traveling around Spain for two months and I’m so glad that I took the time to see this beautiful country. From Barcelona to Seville, Madrid to Bilbao, there’s so much history and culture in these cities. Here are ten things I learned while visiting Spain:
People are really classy and well dressed.
The Spanish people are very classy and well dressed. It’s a place where you can see the finest of fashions. Not only that, but they’re also very friendly, patient, polite, kind and nice. They will give you whatever help you need.
The food is absolutely incredible.
A lot of the food is fresh, healthy, and affordable. The Spanish eat a lot of vegetables, fish, and grilled meats (chorizo is a popular sausage). You can have most meals for under 10€ or $10 USD—that’s incredible!
The food is very filling too. When you order a meal in Spain you get more than enough to fill up on. I usually had two dishes for lunch and one for dinner when I was there because I couldn’t finish all that was on my plate every time (I still had leftovers).
People walk everywhere, and it’s really refreshing to see.
Walking is a major form of transportation in Spain. You’ll notice that most people walk everywhere and that it’s a great way to see the city because you will be able to see more of the people, culture and architecture than if you just drove or took a taxi or bus. It’s also an easy way to stay fit!
There’s a huge cultural difference in how people think about their appearance.
One of the biggest cultural differences I noticed while traveling to Spain was how people thought about their appearance. In my experience, most Americans are fairly laid back when it comes to their looks. They don’t have time to fuss over every detail or spend hours in front of the mirror. But in Spain, people take great pride in how they look—and that extends beyond just fashion and grooming. I saw many women walking around with perfectly styled hair and makeup that would make Beyonce blush! It was quite a sight for me since I hadn’t seen such dedication to beauty since my days working as a stylist!
The architecture is beautiful and ancient.
Learning about a country’s architecture is a great way to learn about its culture, history, economy, and population. This was especially true for me when I visited Spain. The buildings were so full of color, texture, and detail that it was hard not to feel like you had stepped back in time. And that’s not only because of their historical significance but also because many have been standing for centuries!
You can’t just assume that everyone speaks English.
When I first arrived in Spain, I assumed that the locals would speak my language. Given that English is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, and given that many people in Spain are not native Spanish speakers themselves (especially in Barcelona), this was a bit presumptuous of me. It’s always better to try to learn some basic phrases in Spanish before traveling somewhere new—even if it’s just “hello” and “thank you.” Even if it seems like no one understands what you’re saying, they’ll appreciate your effort almost as much as they do when Americans try their hand at speaking Spanish with them!
There’s such a rich history and culture in Spain.
When you visit Spain, it’s easy to get swept up in the beauty of the country. The beaches and mountains are absolutely gorgeous. But don’t forget that there are also many rich cultures in Spain that have their own unique histories and languages. From Catalonia to Andalusia, there’s an incredible amount of diversity among Spanish people and their cultures.
As I mentioned before, the language itself is very diverse as well: each region has its own pronunciation and dialects you can learn while traveling! Even within cities (like Madrid), there will be differences between regions within that one city alone! This makes it even more rewarding when you finally pick up enough Spanish skills to understand what someone is saying—you’ll feel like a true part of Spain by being able to communicate with locals!
It’s not as warm as I initially thought it would be (at least in the winter).
In the United States, it’s common to think of Spain as a warm place. But in reality, Spain is located in the southern hemisphere. So when you’re traveling there during winter (which I did), it’s pretty mild outside—you can walk around comfortably without a coat.
However! It does get very humid and hot during summer months, so if you plan on visiting Spain then definitely pack some extra deodorant and sunscreen for those days at the beach or wandering through old towns with ancient churches and cathedrals.
People are so patient with each other and there’s no frantic hustle like in New York City.
When I first arrived in Spain, I noticed that people were incredibly polite and patient with each other. Unlike NYC where everyone is trying to push their way through crowds of people and be the first one in line at the bank or supermarket, everyone in Spain seemed willing to wait their turn.
It’s not just because they’re polite; it’s also because they don’t mind waiting for things like a table at a restaurant or an apartment rental. As someone who has lived in New York City for most of my life and has been known to complain about waiting 15 minutes for a table at a restaurant (as if this was some sort of crime), I was amazed by how easygoing most Spanish people could be when it came time to wait for something.
Catalan is maybe even prettier than French.
Even if you don’t speak a word of Catalan, you can still experience its beauty. It’s like how some people think French is the most romantic language in Europe. While this might be true for some people and situations, it’s not always going to be true. The same could be said about Catalan—it’s certainly one of the most beautiful languages!
To learn Catalan, start with these words:
- “Hola” – Hello
- “Bon Dia!” – Good morning! (This is also how you’d say goodbye at night.)
- “Adéu” – Goodbye! This is an easy way to practice your pronunciation because it sounds similar to “goodbye.”
Once you’ve mastered those three basic phrases, try saying these words:
- “Moltes gràcies.” – Thank you very much! You can use this expression when someone does something nice for you or even if someone just does something normal like opening a door for you on the street or paying for lunch when it was your turn because they didn’t want their friend who invited her friends over without asking anyone else first
I really enjoyed my time in Spain and am looking forward to exploring more of Europe in the future! It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.