We all tend to believe in some popular stereotypes about different countries. But once we’ve visited a particular place those myths get busted and we start to perceive the people and their cultural peculiarities in a whole new way. If you plan to go to Spain in the nearest future, you will find a lot of differences between the real life of Spaniards and those misconceptions we have about them. But you can get prepared for your trip and learn the local way of life secrets now.
The first thing you should be aware of is that this famous Spanish dish is not typical for every part of the country. It was invented in Valencia and included only 5 ingredients – the finest rice, chicken, rabbit, beans, and saffron. This is the authentic recipe you should look for while visiting Spain. Another common misconception is that paella must always be cooked with seafood. Strange as it may sound, the original dish did not include any prawns or mussels as they are rare ingredients for the paella’s hometown.
It’s not common for Spaniards to leave tips. Especially if we are talking about cheap meals. No one expects you to be very generous but you may leave some tips for the waiter you liked and if the food was good. There are no strict rules on leaving tips so it is your personal decision.
It’s a big surprise but the most popular Spanish drink is not that popular among the locals. They prefer drinking something less expensive and down-to-earth. When you’re in Spain, you can order a glass of tinto de verano – summer red vine. Your waiter can make some suggestions regarding what you can mix it with to get a refreshing beverage.
If you think that everybody speaks Spanish in Spain, you are wrong. There are four languages popular in this country – Castilian, Catalan, Basque, and Galician. It all depends on what region you are planning to visit. So, don’t get surprised when someone asks you if you speak “Castellano” or “Cataln”. It’s better to install a translation app to avoid any communication difficulties or travel with someone who is good at the dialects.
It’s not always hot in Spain as one might think although the temperature in summer can reach 45°C. That’s why siestas are still a big part of the culture. The heat is unbearable and it’s better to take a nap to make it to the dinner time. But the rest of the seasons can be rather cold and windy. It usually rains during autumn and winter so take some warm clothes with you or you might catch a cold.
Spain is not only about Madrid and Barcelona. Only around 10% of its total population lives in these cities. So plan your trip having this fact in mind. Valencia, Granada, and Seville are also great places to visit. But you can skip Malaga. There’s not much to see there and you can spend your traveling time more effectively visiting other cities of Spain.