Useful tips on Spain that are not found in guides, but may help you live better your experience in Spain.

Spain is a European country that is rather vast but very little populated if compared in size to other European countries and has rather particular and fun characteristics but also some rather shocking ones too especially if you are coming from another European country.

A good way to visit Spain is certainly by car as the fuel costs much less when compared to most European countries, with a difference with Italy of about 20/30 cents per litre.


The Spaniards in the car machine are somewhat awkward and sometimes disorganized but overall it is quite an easy experience, for example if you are parking they let you take your time and you do not beep the horn causing you to hurry.

The highways instead are quite expensive in Spain, but can be overcome by taking alternative roads, which are virtually everywhere, take the same time, are still at high speed and allow you to save all the toll;

The SIESTA is sacred in Spain, therefore between 13:00 and 17:00 you may find everything closed especially in small villages but also in larger cities there is the risk to find everything closed.

Also the WEEKEND is sacred in Spain in fact on Sundays almost everything is completely closed, the government authorizes only the small shops for example in Barcelona those selling souvenirs to remain open while in the city centre the large malls are all closed. Businessesoffices instead such as those providing services are all closed and you can not expect anything because they would answer “Its saturday what do you expect” or “we are in Spain just relax”.

RELAX: Relaxing is a bit of a golden word/rule since in Spain the rhythms are a little slower, but once you get into their customs everything proceeds with perfection, you relax yourself and you do not stress, with the lack of services that elsewhere you would find unacceptable.

In Spain there are many supermarkets MERCADONA however, is the Spanish par excellence with a good choice of products and very accessible prices, especially if coming from other European countries. In Spain to understand better shopping can cost from 30% to even 50% less for those who for example come from Italy or Denmark.

Then there is ALCAMPO, which is the equivalent of a large supermarket/department store of other countries, alcampo usually also has the “gasolinera” i.e. the petrol station, and usually costs much less; moreover in alcampo we find a wide choice of products and the costs really low.

There is also Carrefour, the French chain but also this is cheaper than in France. CONSUM instead is a little more expensive but the products are also a little higher in quality.

The PAELLA, is not a typical dish everywhere and therefore in some regions or villages unless they are not strictly tourist you might not find it; while instead throughout the country you will find the famous TORTILLA DE PAPAS, which is nothing other than a gigantic potato omelette (very tasty) and the famous tapas. The tapas are not a special dish but a way to serve; it is as if it were the Italian aperitif or snack, practically small portions of favourite foods such as olives, bread and tomato and bread and anchovies, mini tortillas etc.. The Spanish eat a lot of meat and are very pround of their raw ham the famous JAMON which can also reach 50 euro for just 100g so beware if you want to buy the ham especially the pata negro, ask how much it costs before.

hamSpain is not an actual haven for vegetarians and vegans, here they would really struggle, in general not even for the health conscious as in supermarkets there is a wide choice of products but they do not pay particular attention to the natural, healthy products or for who is particularly careful to the ingredients of food or has a need of particular things, could be complicated. You can however top up definitely on fruit especially oranges, strawberries and raspberries that here are literally thrown behind and are really tasty. Whilst on the road you would be amazed by the enormous fields with orange trees, lemons and mandarins, they are even on the sidewalks and are so many that nobody collects… isn’t it absurd?


The Spaniards for breakfast eat bread and tomato, practically it is typical throughout Spain, a spread of tomato sauce for breakfast on bread, with a tad bit of olive oil and salt, excellent and also healthy we would say.

The sales in Spain are real and serious for which especially in large chains during the winter sales in January or the summer sales in July you might be surprised or find shockingly unbelieveable low prices; the Spaniards are a quite noisy and loud, hence during the sales in the larger stores there would also be a lot of chaos, disorder and sometimes even a member of the staff standing with a sign indicating the cashier and the queue.

Read also useful tips on Morocco.