14 of the Best Spain Traveling Tips That You Can't Miss
After visiting Spain for almost an entire week, there are some things that we wish we had known ahead of time.
In this guide, we will cover our best tips for Spain to ensure that you arrive to the country extremely prepared, and know all of the 'hacks' to maximize your time and money.
1. Get Yourself a Hot Chocolate With Churros
One of the most popular things that your taste buds can ever experience is hot chocolate with churros in Spain.
Words really can't describe how authentic and delicious the hot chocolate is, and it became even better when dipping a churro into it.
You don't have to order both churros and a hot chocolate, however that's exactly what the locals recommended to us, and it was absolutely the correct choice.
The best place to do this at the Chocolatería San Gines, located in Madrid.
We recommend visiting this place later in the day.
The reason for this is that locals will party all night and through the morning (up to 6 am), and then they'll make their way towards the Chocolatería to get in line before it opens at 7 am.
If you visit early in the morning, there's a very good chance that you'll have to wait in line for a while.
We ended up visiting this place around 2-3 pm, and although there was still a line, it only ended up taking about 15 minutes to order and receive our delicious orders.
The inside of the building is really unique, as the walls are plastered with celebrities and famous people who have all visited this place.
2. Visit the Segovia Ruins
Located about 1 hour away from Madrid, the Segovia Ruins is a must-visit destination.
Segovia is most famous for their Roman-built aqueduct that was built in A.D 50, and has been incredibly well preserved since that time.
Here, you'll be able to walk through time, through different neighborhoods, streets, and even to the castle.
This was one of our favorite parts of our trip, as there was so much to see, and everything was so well preserved that you could clearly see exactly how buildings were used and why.
The castle in particular was quite the spectacle, as well as the surrounding area.
Seeing the location of the castle gives you a great perspective of how important their safety from potential attacks was to them.
3. Take an Uber Over a Taxi
To get to most places in Spain, you'll simply be able to walk or use the Metro.
However, if you'd rather take a more private transportation you may consider a Taxi or an Uber.
You'll absolutely want to take an Uber over a Taxi for one main reason, reputation.
Taxi drivers (in Madrid specifically) in Spain don't have the best reputation, and we can confirm this.
The Taxi drivers weren't necessarily the most friendly and it was almost a hassle for them to get somewhere, if they didn't know exactly where the address was located.
Additionally they're not afraid to lay on the horn if there's a tourist driving in front of them.
Anyways, our Uber experience was the complete opposite, as the drivers were extremely friendly and were happy to take us to our destination.
Lyft isn't available just yet, so definitely take an Uber in Spain!
4. Visit Restaurante Botín
Restaurante Botín is the not only the oldest restaurant in Spain, but the oldest restaurant in the world.
It was founded in 1725, which means that it's even older than the United States is as a country.
This was by far the most delicious meal that we had during our entire trip.
This restaurant is primarily known for their pig and steak, so if you're a carnivore, you'll love this place.
Below we've broken down their most popular dishes, and how to order them (in Spanish):
- Entrecot de ternera (steak)
- Cochinillo (pig)
- Ensaladilla russa (salad)
Additionally, all of their desserts are amazing. You can't go wrong with ordering a Tiramisu.
5. Siestas Are a Real Thing
If you're from the United States, you've most likely heard that Spain takes siestas throughout the day.
This is a real thing!
Spaniards will take a break any time from 1-4 pm, where they'll close up shop, and open back up once they're back from their siesta.
Siestas usually take around 2 hours on average.
This took us a while to adapt to, as there were a handful of times in the middle of the day that we tried to enter shops, only for the door to be locked!
Keep in mind that siestas happen during the early afternoon, and to plan around this during your trip.
6. Prepare to Eat Bread And More Bread
Whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner, get ready to eat a lot of bread.
Bread paired with everything is normal in Spain, and boy is it delicious.
It doesn't stop here however, as it's evident in their meals.
If you order any type of sub/sandwich, you'll receive only a few slices of meat, as over their the bread is the delicacy.
7. Know that Dining is a Slow Process
If you're looking for something quick to eat, go to a small shop rather than a restaurant.
You'll quickly come to find out that nobody in Spain is in a hurry, especially in a restaurant.
Eating at a restaurant will easily take more than an hour, and honestly closer to 2-3 in total.
Dining in Spain is a full experience rather than just a normal, quick thing that it can be in the states.
8. Do the Camp Nou Stadium Tour
Out of all of the stadium tours that we've been to, the Camp Nou Stadium Tour was hands down the best.
This massive stadium is the largest stadium in Spain, and has a rich history of success through multiple generations.
Visitors will be able to see not only the massive trophy collections and the field, but some of the best individual moments of the club's history.
There are very creative videos on the wall that will show some of the best goals in the history of the club, when they won championships, and visitors will even be able to search for specific events.
The stadium tour will take visitors through:
- Locker rooms
- Press conference rooms
- Top of the stadium
- On the field
- Trophy rooms
- Movie room
9. Pick Pocketers in Barcelona
Now we'll touch on a little bit of the ugly in Spain, that specifically happens often in Barcelona, pick pocketing.
Pick pocketing is a very common action in Barcelona, especially against tourists.
You'll want to keep all of your items close to you, and nothing behind you.
We were warned of this ahead of time, and carried a backpack in front of us (on the chest), and had no issues.
Nobody wants to lose their hard-earned valuables, so be sure to take the appropriate measures to protect them ahead of time.
10. Prepare to See Graffiti
We came to find out that this isn't just in Spain, as Graffiti can be found all over Europe.
We landed in Madrid and as soon as we walked out of the airport, Graffiti was very visible on buildings and below highways.
Graffiti is very common in Spain and you'll see a few types of graffiti as you walk around cities.
11. You'll Have to Pay to Use the Restroom
This isn't common in just Spain, but rather most of Europe.
You'll typically have to pay $1 to use the restroom at airports and even restaurants.
The airport restrooms in particular are easiest to use with the tap-to-pay feature on your card.
Rather than using cash, you'll simply tap your credit card on the payment area, and the turnstiles will unlock, letting you into the restroom area.
12. Avoid Using AMEX
If you primarily use an AMEX card, you'll want to bring a back up non-AMEX card.
Most places that we shopped and dined at didn't take AMEX, and we had to scramble to use another card.
Don't be like us!
Additionally if your card doesn't already have tap to pay, make sure to do so as that is a common way to use cards in Europe.
13. Food Service is a Mixed Bag
Aside from hotels (where the service is consistently good), food service was overall a mixed bag.
Some restaurants had servers that provided excellent service, while others were just stone-faced waiting to hear order.
14. 20% of the Population Speaks English
Other than our personal experience, we don't have any data to back this up.
However during our stay of almost a week, we mainly spoke Spanish everywhere that we went, as they didn't speak English.
The Marriott hotel was the main place that we found that almost everyone spoke both English and Spanish.