Tourist in Spain

I have been visiting Spain for twenty years; I liked it so much that I married one of its citizens and now live here. Every human who enjoys new cultures must visit Spain once, if possible. However, there are some important things to remember and helpful suggestions for living the full experience.

1. Make the Most of Madrid

Madrid, Spain
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For Madrid visitors, if food is your thing, don’t eat in tourist hotspots. Although you will still find some decent eateries — the Spanish don’t do bad food anywhere — they will charge you for the location. In Madrid, places like Parque la Dehesa or Mercado de la Paz are high in well-priced quality restaurants and low on tourist density — both the collective and individual type.

2. Leave the Cities

Altea, Spain
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Much like the American tourists who say they went to Europe but spent the whole time in London, those who come to Spain must experience cities and provinces. Spain’s heart is in its countryside, where all the best food products are born and where an evening in the local whitewashed village square can be just as captivating as Seville’s magical architecture.

3. Be Patient

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One problem some Westerners face in Spain is their inability to slow down, enjoy the moment, and breathe in. Invariably, one cannot be in a rush in Spain, whether it is ordering coffee (good luck finding takeout), driving (there is always an older person creeping down the freeway ahead of you), or waiting for your meal, you cannot rush the Spanish — Karens be warned: Spain will send you packing faster than you can say the words: get the manager.

4. Wait for the Evening Sun

Couples in beach, Spain
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In Spanish summertime, don’t expect to do much after lunchtime other than walk on the beach if you are fortunate to have one nearby. Nobody — and I must reiterate, nobody — goes hiking or biking or shopping after lunch. If the siesta doesn’t get you, the heat will; if you can brave the heat, everything is closed, anyway. Moreover, Spanish summer never falls below 80 — even at midnight.

5. Sagrada la Familia is a Must

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 10, 2016: Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona. The Antoni Gaudi masterpiece has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
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Barcelona is one of Europe’s most stunning urban settings; with its mountainous backdrop, Mediterranean beaches, and Gothic architecture, few cities are like it. The rule for Barcelona visitors is simple: you must visit Sagrada La Familia, the iconic cathedral designed by Gaudi. His identity is behind every intricate inch of the Catalan modernist architecture, transcending definition.

6. Embrace the Train System

Woman tourist traveling in train
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Much of Spain’s infrastructure comes from the post-Franco era when the entire system was updated. Consequently, long-distance railway trains are sleek, modern, and comfortable. Moreover, they come with free Wifi, electric outlets, and a food cart serving beer on tap. Viva el trén.

7. Get Physical

Couples greeting
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Even for first-time meetings, handshakes are rare in Southern Spain, where a friendly double-cheek peck is customary. A Spanish woman’s look when clumsy Anglos dither over their chosen greeting is hilarious — don’t be afraid to get up close in Spain.

8. Learn Some Spanish

Traveler couples asking for help
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The Spanish conquered much of the New World, leaving a majority Spanish-speaking continent behind. Therefore, showing up in their country and expecting them to speak English will gain you no amigos. Even the slightest effort in learning some basic terminology will curry huge Spanish favor.

9. Dress To Impress

Woman tourist in Seville, Spain
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If you stroll into town one balmy Spanish evening, you will notice everybody is well-dressed — even on a school night. There is nothing wrong with presenting oneself nicely; showing up in sweatpants will be a huge red flag. Spaniards consider sporting apparel for the gym or beach, not for coffee in the sunset.

10. Hold the Tip

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The urge to share the wealth is hard to resist for most Americans. There is an admirable Pavlovian response to reward anybody who gives you service that isn’t expected in Spain. Of course, nothing stops the high-rolling tipster, but remember that it can also be considered offensive in the wrong circumstances.

These Are the Most Dangerous Countries for Americans To Travel to, According to the US Government

Young girl looking down on Israel holding an Israeli flag above her head
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While these countries may have areas with stunning landscapes, beautiful climates, and breathtaking views, each country on this list is on the ‘Do Not Travel’ published by the government of the United States. This list warns U.S. travelers of countries to avoid traveling to that will put their safety at risk. These Are the Most Dangerous Countries for Americans To Travel to, According to the US Government

The Most Common Items People Forget To Bring With Them When Traveling

Female Traveler looking annoyed, ready to board a plane
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Admit it, you have been there before, you’re leaving to go on a trip, and at some point throughout your travels, you realize that you’ve forgotten something. Someone took to a popular online forum to ask, “What are the most common items guests forget to bring with them when traveling that would be useful to bring?” Here are some of the most popular answers… The Most Common Items People Forget To Bring With Them When Traveling

10 Tips To Rekindle Your Passion for Travel When Excitement Fizzles Out

Traveler enjoying Sunset
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Traveling can be one of the most fulfilling things you can do in life, but it doesn’t come easy to everyone. Sometimes, anxiety and stress arise during various points of trips (whether in the planning stage or otherwise) that act as a roadblock to enjoying them! Thankfully, help is on the way. Here are some invaluable tips to rekindle your love of traveling when you need it the most! 10 Tips To Rekindle Your Passion for Travel When Excitement Fizzles Out

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