Thanks to low-cost flights, Spain is officially one of the top destinations nowadays. You probably know a few things about Spain already. You know about the siestas, paella, and especially the sangria, but what else do you need to know to plan your perfect trip?
If you’re visiting Spain for the first time, you can easily find yourself overwhelmed if you’re not sure what you need to know. The Spaniards have a very specific way of doing things, so if you want to blend in like a local, you’ll need a bit of know-how. Here are the 6 steps to plan your perfect first trip to Spain.
1. Choose Your Destination
A lot of newbie travelers make the mistake of thinking they can see it all. While it’s tempting to flock to all the well-known cities, realize that Spain is a pretty large country. It’s not realistic to see it all in a single trip, especially if it’s your first time to the region.
Some of the best places to consider are Granada, Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Cadiz, or Bilbao. All of these range from rural sights to bustling cities. Do some research on the best sights and must-dos of each of these locations so you can find the best spots for your first trip.
2. When In Doubt, Start in Madrid
If you’re not sure where to go, start with Madrid. Not only is this the biggest city and the capital, but it’s most likely where you’ll fly into. From there, you can easily get to other locations in the country in just a short car ride or train ride. Plus, you can find the nicest Madrid villa to enjoy the city like a local.
The coast is about 6 hours from Madrid, but you can find a lot of villages and land in between, including inland cities like Granada, Leon, and Salamanca. However, it’s great to have a central starting point like Madrid, especially if you’re trying to get a low-cost flight.
3. Beware of the Time of Year
One of the things many people don’t know about Spain is that most of the country goes on holiday at certain times of the year. In particular, Spain goes on holiday in August. Most locals are heading to the beach or summer homes, and this means a lot of the local restaurants, coffee shops, and more will be closed as well.
While you can still enjoy many of the popular tourist destinations at this time, it’s probably a good idea to avoid Spain in August if you can. It’s also one of the hottest seasons in the region, so you’d be too uncomfortable to walk around sightseeing anyway.
4. Look for Local Festivals
One of the most exciting things about exploring a new place is seeing all of the fun festivals and activities. Spain is sometimes called the festival capital of the world and with good reason. There are so many festivals here that you can count on something always going on during your trip.
If you can, try to plan your trip around some of the more well-known Spanish festivals. Some popular options include Feria de Abril, La Merce, and Las Fallas. It’ll be a roaring fun time!
5. Prepare Your Appetite
In Spain, it’s normal to eat very late. Spaniards usually stick to much different dining times than their Western counterparts, so make sure you’re prepared (and don’t go hungry). In Spain, lunch is usually served around 2 pm or later. Dinner won’t be served until at least 9 pm, but don’t be surprised if it goes even later in the night.
Luckily, you can find tapas served all day long so you shouldn’t go too hungry. Just make sure you’re ready to adjust to the new dining times and plan your days accordingly.
6. Enjoy Your Mid-Afternoon Siesta
Contrary to popular belief, people don’t usually sleep during siesta times. While we all might envy the Spanish siesta, this is actually a time for enjoying time with friends and family, not sleeping.
You’ll notice that most shops will close from 2 pm and 4 pm, but don’t be surprised to find people flocking to cafes, parks, and so on. This is the perfect time to grab some tapas of your own and take a little break.
Enjoy Your Trip to Spain
There’s a lot to love about visiting Spain. If this is your first time planning a trip, make sure you know what to expect. From minding the siesta to exploring local festivals, this is an exciting time to visit Spain.
The Spanish people are lively and welcoming, and you’re sure to fall in love with their late-night dining and slow pace of living. There’s simply something romantic about these historic streets and sights, so it’s time to go discover this beauty for yourself.