When You are in Spain as a Tourist
Spain is a true Mediterranean gem for tourists, and in general the acceptance and tolerance towards tourists and our peculiarities is great. Unfortunately, there are some criminal elements in the country (as in most countries), and above all it is pickpockets you should be on your guard against. Especially at major tourist attractions and pedestrian streets such as La Rambla, it is extra important to keep track of bags and wallets.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that Spain has the euro as its official currency. Even if you are probably used to traveling to EMU countries and paying in euros, it can be easy to forget how much it can actually be in Swedish kronor. Four euros for a large soft ice cream is not that dangerous, you think, and miss that it is closer to forty kronor. Do not pay more for things just because you are in Spain, the prices are in line with, or slightly below, the Swedish, so if someone asks for forty kroner for an ice cream, it’s time to think about.
In addition to these two things, Spain is known for being a nice and hospitable country with high quality food and drink, and the absence of any more dangerous diseases. In some cities you will need to buy bottled drinking water as in many places you have problems with salt water that penetrates through the porous Spanish mountain and mixes with the groundwater. However, it is still possible to shower and wash in unless otherwise stated.
Remember to check your travel insurance and your passport before you go, so there should be no major problems no matter what happens.
Accommodation during your trip
Spanish hotels generally have a fairly variable quality, but you usually get what you pay for. We recommend that you stay three star or higher to get okay comfort, and make sure to get air conditioning in the room if you travel during the summer months! The staff are usually English speaking in most hotels, and remember that you are expected to tip for anything but the most basic.
In recent years, a large number of tourist hotels with all-inclusive offers have appeared in most tourist destinations. Such facilities may well be the perfect choice for families with children, but if only adults travel, we recommend smaller hotels that are often more personal and hospitable.
Food and drinks
Spain is world famous for its food and drink. The classic that most people will probably think of when it comes to Spanish cooking is probably paella. This dish more rice, vegetables and seafood is a real delicacy and we really recommend that you at least try it during your trip to Spain, no matter what you might think of our pale Swedish attempts to cook it. In addition to paella, of course, authentic Spanish tapas are high on the list of things to eat, and if you get the chance, you can also try calamares, chorizo, gazpacho and one of the many hams made in the country.
Otherwise, Spanish cuisine is the result of thousands of years of occupation and influences from other cultures. Greeks, Romans, Celts and Phoenicians have all left their mark on the Spanish cooking tradition, and 700 years of Moorish occupation have of course also contributed to giving many dishes an African touch.
When it comes to drinks, of course, it’s wine that counts: Spain is the world’s third largest wine producer, and Spanish wines are generally of high international quality. By all means try an authentic Spanish sangria, or enjoy a café con leche (coffee with hot milk) after the meal.
Of course, the nightlife in Spain differs from area to area, and even city to city. However, there are some things that distinguish it from the Swedish nightlife.
The biggest difference is which times of the day you think are suitable for going out and partying, dancing or clubbing in town. In Spain, as is well known, most things are postponed until later in the day than we Swedes are used to. Dinner can be eaten as late as ten o’clock, and after that it’s time to get ready. In many of the larger Spanish cities, you go out on the town at the same time as Swedish restaurants close! This is of course important to know, so you do not have to be alone in the place between nine and twelve just because you wanted to be out in good time.
In addition, most things are similar to Sweden. Be prepared to pay around a hundred in admission to most major venues, or take advantage of one of the free tickets that are constantly handed out by lightly dressed ladies on the days. Alcohol is cheaper than in Sweden, and “a beer, thank you” is called “una cerveza, por favor”.
Island or mainland?
It is sometimes debated what is best for the trip to Spain – to go to the mainland or to one of the islands outside. The truth is that it all depends on what you are looking for. Mallorca, which is a bit further south than Spain itself, is often more sun-safe later in the season. You go there mainly for sunbathing and swimming, although a trip up among the mountain villages can offer really nice experiences.
Of course, the mainland offers greater freedom and opportunities. If you rent a car, you can easily harvest many destinations and places during your trip to Spain instead of just lying by the hotel pool. Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course, but we probably think that you could actually take the time to travel around a bit in Spain when you still go there instead of just parking on the first best beach.
A trip to Spain can offer a long list of attractions, depending on what you are interested in. The country is large and in our eyes are the main sights in these beautiful and varied nature. Many nature reserves ensure the preservation of ecological diversity, which in the long run also benefits both tourism and the local population. Do not miss the mountains of Mallorca, the river Guadalquivir and the mighty Sierra Nevada mountain range.
In addition to nature, we recommend a visit to Barcelona for most and best of the Spanish sights made by man. The parade street La Rambla is of course a must, as is the giant football stadium Camp Nou, and for all the butter in Catalonia do not miss the very special church La Sagrada Familia and its strange sculptures, statues and shapes.
In terms of supply, Spain is actually quite similar to Sweden. H&M has also reached that point, and fashion is in line with the rest of Western Europe. Those who like to shop can therefore in good conscience avoid shopping malls and large clothing stores, and with advantage focus on smaller pedestrian streets and markets that are held every weekend in most cities. Here is the chance to find authentic Spanish crafts and art, and you often get a lot for your money.
Unfortunately, many people think of “La Rambla” when they think of shopping during the trip to Spain, but we absolutely think that you should dare to take the step out on one of the many side and parallel streets that often offer the same things at better prices (just be careful that you does not go into the “wrong” alley!). Tourist traps are not what we associate but good shopping, but if you have to go there, it may be an idea to check out the latest from the Spanish fashion chain Zara.
A large part of a trip to Spain is of course the country’s beautiful beaches. The country has coasts to both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, but it is of course mainly east of Gibraltar that the best conditions for sunbathing and swimming are found.
The Spanish coast is lined with a string of pearls with small charming towns that often have at least one nice beach nearby – a fun idea for the trip to Spain can be to rent a car and make a road trip along the coast! A gem that we at Spanienresa.se are a little extra fond of is the city of Lloret de Mar. Located just north of Barcelona, this city offers both beautiful beaches and a rich nightlife that probably will not disappoint anyone! In fact, Lloret de Mar is visited annually by young adults from all over Europe who come here to sunbathe, swim and party.
Regardless of which beach you end up on, you will learn to be satisfied. Spanish beaches are generally very nice, and in this part of the Mediterranean, with the exception of storms, it is rarely dangerous to take a cooling dip.