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Is Spain all about its tapas and lively culture, or is there more to it?

Although their food and culture give life to the city, there are certainly more things to look forward to, from their sandy beaches to stunning cathedrals. Of course, it all depends on what you prioritize, but before we get our head to this, there are always question popping in our head before we visit any country. That being, is it safe to travel there? What’s the weather like? Our primary concern is whether the Covid entry requirements are difficult to follow.

Fortunately for you, this blog contains all the answers below and great news; with the recent changes of Spain entry guidelines, it’s no longer as difficult to enter Spain after all (now that’s a way to save some money 😊).

Above all, remember, it is always advisable to learn enough of the local language of the country you visit in order to be more aware of the environment surrounding you and live an authentic experience.

Visit our page https://www.languagesalive.com/best-online-language-lessons/ to find out more.

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The Weather in Spain:

Let’s get our heads around what we mainly care about. All everyone hopes for is nice weather, especially during the wintertime. It is safe to say that it is rather pleasant in Spain. Spain’s appealing climate is moulded by its location between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, making it one of Europe’s hottest and sunniest places all year round.

Spring (approx. 23 º /12 º) and autumn (14 º/7 º) have the mildest temperatures, allowing you to spend almost the entire day outside if comfortable layers are worn for unpredictable weather. The perfect moment to get to the beaches and wear light, breezy fabrics is during the July and August periods, with temperatures regularly exceeding 35 º.

Now that’s what we call Summer, achieving the best of heat and getting the vitamin D that Brits are strictly lacking. Please don’t forget about sunscreen in trying to get tanning. We can’t blame Spain for your burning.

The coldest temperatures are experienced in December, January, and February as expected, which also happen to be the rainiest months in Spain, especially in the north, but with nice weather in the south.

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Is the food safe to eat in Spain?

It is very safe to eat in Spain and water unless advised; it is also safe to drink. Many eateries have changed their services to ensure your safety to conform with the authority’s regulations. Some even provide additional precautions for the protection of employees and customers.

But beware of thinking that lunch will be served early, Spain is very lenient with Time, including eating time. Lunchtime is from 13:00-15:30, and dinner is rarely served before 21:00. So, be ready to get some snacks prepared when feeling peckish.

Some traditional Spanish food to try:

Scrolling through restaurants and menus and deciding what to eat can be rather daunting, especially when you wish to avoid dissatisfaction. However, Spanish food is famous all around the country, and everyone would like to try the authentic taste of rich seafood paella to tasty tapas. The following food can give the taste of authentic Spanish cuisine:

Tortilla de patatas: although there is debate about whether the tortilla should have onion or no onion, the best kind of tortilla is thick and moist to get the true sense of the staples of the Spanish diet.

Paella: Originated from the region of Valencia and of the most famous dishes prepared in a shallow pan. But beware not to order the renowned paella elsewhere unless you’re in a Valencian restaurant to avoid disappointment and not getting the opportunity to live the unique dining experiences.

Patatas bravas: Did anyone ask for chips? Patatas bravas are Spain’s answer to chips with a fiery tomato sauce for the hardiest of eaters. Crispy fried medium-sized chunks of potato topped with generous lashings of sauce. Don’t settle for ketchup and mayonnaise; instead, seek out a homemade aioli and a hot tomato relish to fully savour the dish.

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What are the new regulations for the islands regarding alcohol consumption?

Alcohol consumption on the street is prohibited in some Spanish municipalities, and fines may be given on the scene.

Alcohol restrictions have been imposed on the islands to reduce anti-social behaviour and alcohol consumption, specifically in Playa de Palma, Magaluf (Mallorca) and the west end of Sant Antoni (Ibiza).

Boat parties will also be restricted, and establishments will no longer sell alcoholic beverages between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. In addition, if there is alcohol-related advertising, a fine of up to 60,000 euros may be imposed.

This doesn’t stop there. Guests who participate in the ‘balconing’ activity, which involves jumping from a balcony to a swimming pool, maybe excluded as this had resulted in deaths in previous experiences. Although this may appear to deprive some of their enjoyment, it is fair to remark that it ensures the safety of tourists and the preservation of the Islands’ excellence.

Currency:

Spain’s currency is the Euro. Credit cards are accepted in most facilities such as hotels and restaurants, and ATMs are readily accessible throughout the country. However, when using a credit or debit card to purchase items in Spain, you may be asked to produce identification, such as a driver’s licence or passport.

Travel Insurance:

Travel insurance is always recommended when travelling to any country, including medical issues, theft, and loss of goods.

The NHS website has general information on travel vaccines and a travel health checklist https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/ 

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LGBT travellers:

LGBTI visitors will find Spain to be a welcoming and progressive country. Particularly in large cities such as Barcelona, vibrant LGBT communities and social places promote an atmosphere of tolerance and diversity. Maybe you can time your visit to Barcelona during its very renowned gay festival. The circuit festival includes themed dance parties.

One of the gay bars you can visit for nightlight is Plata Bar which has a lovely sunny terrace and crafted drinks. Many other cities such as Madrid, Sitges, and Ibiza are worth visiting and exploring many other options.

Crime:

Spain is a safe country to visit; however, you should be vigilant of the pickpocketers. They are widespread, particularly in tourist areas and larger cities. Don’t carry all the valuables in one place. Keep a photocopy of your passport safe and guard money and personal belonging when collecting or checking-in luggage at the airport. Thieves frequently work in groups of two or more, and their primary targets are cash and passports.

There are also scam risks of occurring. Some typical scams can be women offering flowers for a few euros. Whilst doing so, they may try to pickpocket. So if anyone provides any help, try to avoid those situations as they find this an opportunity to pickpocket you. This comes to your judgement to know what feels right and wrong in the case. Keep your things close and visible to you. This way, you’ll be safe and restricts others from easy access to theft.

Natural disasters:

During the summer months, when temperatures often exceed 40°C, forest fires are common in Spain (including the Spanish islands). Therefore, take extra caution when exploring or passing through forest areas.

It is considered a criminal offence if forest fire is caused even unintentionally. To prevent penalties with heavy fines, ensure that cigarette ends are properly extinguished, that no barbecues are lit, and that no empty bottles are left behind.

Women travelling in Spain

Women travelling in Spain:

When visiting Spain, ladies have very little reason to be concerned. To avoid hitches or unwanted attention, you use good judgment and be cautious at night. This involves avoiding deserts and dimly lit streets and being alone with odd people in abandoned regions. Violent crimes are very unlikely to happen, but petty theft is very common, as mentioned earlier, so stay alert.

Coming into new cities and looking lost attracts attention and is most likely to fall under some theft or scams. Keep your valuable things very close to you and pack light so that you’re more mobile and less vulnerable to pickpockets.

It is also essential that you follow the social etiquettes of Spain as wandering around the city on a bikini top is strictly prohibited but also attracts attention, making you the easy target of being a tourist. To avoid any drug spikes, buy your drinks and stay away from people who show an extremely friendly approach unless it’s in a social situation.

Try not to reveal too much of where you are staying or travelling alone, etc. Always be on standby and know when to be concerned. Some public entities in Spain do not allow the wearing of the burka or niqab in their facilities for security reasons. If you wear a burka or niqab within a town council building, you may be requested to remove it.

Reporting crime:

In any emergency, call 112.

Visit your local Policia Nacional or regional police to report a crime, such as stolen property or lost or stolen passports.

For minor offences such as a bag or car theft, you can phone a dedicated English-speaking police line at +34 90 210 2112 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, or make a police report online.

Transport

Taxi: use only officially registered or licenced taxis you are familiar with. Licensing rules vary by region in Spain, and in some areas, pre-registration is necessary. Most large cities have taxis that accept credit cards.

National train: the national railroad network (Renfe) of Spain is frequently the most efficient mode of transportation between cities. It’s rapid, dependable, and cost-effective.

Metro systems:  taking the metro in major cities such as Madrid or Barcelona is a convenient method to get around. Metro fares typically range from £1.50 to £18. If you plan on staying in one of the major cities for an extended period, you should consider a refillable metro card

Lastly pay attention to the COVID requirements below.

The entry requirement for COVID:

You should always have a face mask on you and be prepared to use it during your stay. However, face masks are not required to be worn outdoors but are mandatory for public transport.

Before flying or sailing to Spain, everyone (including children under 12) must complete and sign an online Health Control Form. This can be achieved electronically or submitted in paper form before boarding. The QR code issued of the completed Health Control Form will be shown on arrivals at Spanish Ports or airports.

For the tourism purpose of travel, you must also provide additional documents when travelling from the UK to Spain. This includes Valid proof fully vaccinated with two doses of 2-dose vaccine or one dose for a single-dose vaccine and must be taken at least 14 days before arrival in Spain date. If you are travelling from the UK to Spain for tourism purposes, you cannot use proof of COVID-19 recovery for entry. However, you can enter Spain without undergoing any tests or quarantine if proven fully vaccinated.

Depending on the region from which you are travelling, you may be required to present a negative COVID test to travel to the Canary or Balearic Islands from mainland Spain.

Consult your travel agent and the local authorities in your ultimate destination for information on domestic entry regulations.

The situation around the world is constantly changing; for the latest travel warnings and restrictions, always keep your eyes on the government website for any updates.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/entry-requirements

Returning to the UK:

If you are fully vaccinated

The passenger locator form needs to be filled out before travelling to England. This must be completed within 48 hours of arrival in England.

There is no need to take any COVID-19 travel tests before or after the trip to England. This also eliminates the need for quarantine.

Now that we have come to the end of this blog, I hope it has answered most of your questions. However, there is still so much to be discovered. The best thing to do is visit the country, learn a few of their cultures, gain some experiences from food experience to beaches you visited and maybe bring back home with some new words you learnt from Spain.

Everyone likes a bit of a story to listen to. If you would like to get ready before going to Spain we can certainly help you learn essential Spanish you would need to get by and be more aware of your environment.

Feel free to contact us at info@languagesalive.com

 

Raffaella Palumbo

Passionate about languages & good food. I hold a Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and French, a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication for Business and Professions and the CLTA teaching certificate. My hobby is chasing the sun around the globe. My favourite quote: “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way” (Frank Smith)

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