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Spain: 5 Things to Know Before Planning Your Trip

7:00 AM
Spain anyone?  I sure hope to visit there someday along with several other European countries. Today I 'm exited to share a guest post from the blog " The Quirky Pineapple" .  Cassandra, the author, is from the state of Virginia and living in Spain as an expat.

Cassandra is passionate about travel, style, and street food. She is on a mission to live an unconventional lifestyle, break away from the norm, and share her experiences to inspire others. This is a beautiful story of a land far away, enjoy the visual journey!

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  Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos in Córdoba, Spain

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            Toldeo, Spain

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 Cathedral of Málaga, Spain

Tapas in Ronda, Spain

Located in the Iberian Peninsula, right next to Portugal and below France, is a beautiful Mediterranean country called Spain. When you first think of Europe, what are a few of the countries that you list first? Does Spain make the list? I’d say it’s an underrated country, with so much history, vibrancy and culture to offer! The country is adorned with Moorish architecture, Roman ruins and rich Spanish culture that makes you take a step through time. If you’re planning a trip to Spain soon, here are 5 things you need to know before planning your trip:

  1. The Spanish Meal Schedule

    What does this mean? Well, if you’re coming from the United States, we have a very different schedule from the Spaniards for eating and doing things. Lunchtime in the United States ranges from 12pm to about 1pm, and if you’re running really late, maybe a little after. Don’t expect to eat at 12pm in Spain (unless you’re in a very touristy area, i.e.: Madrid). The Spanish schedule is a bit more “relaxed”. Lunchtime is at 2pm/2:30pm and can last up to two hours if you’re eating with a Spanish family! If you’re in a smaller city or town, there are many shops that close at 2pm because it’s very common for shop owners and employees to return home and eat with their families, and then return to work in the afternoon.

    Dinner is even later! If you’re used to having dinner anywhere from 6-8pm, this is not considered a normal dinnertime in Spain. Most Spaniards will have dinner around 9pm-10pm. Of course if you’re in a more touristy area and a bigger city, you will most likely find a restaurant that is open and ready to serve dinner. In some smaller cities and towns, restaurants don’t open until 6pm or later and won’t have their kitchen prepped for dinner, only “tapas” and smaller snacks.

    *Pro Tip: Tipping is not expected, but if you feel like the waiter did a great job, it’s always appreciated! 

  2. Spanish Sun

    There has to be a reason why Spain has a coast called “La Costa del Sol” which is literally translated to “The  Coast of the Sun” or “The Sunny Coast”. The Spanish sun is no joke! It’s strong, brings heat and can make you feel sluggish and tired. Even through the winter, when the sun hits, it drastically changes the temperature! Be cautious of the sun in Spain, as it is much stronger than the United States, which may cause you to burn faster and without noticing. You won’t have to worry about humidity, except for in coastal cities by the sea. Spain’s heat is mostly dry heat, which means if you find yourself some shade, STAY THERE!

    During the day, the sun’s peak hours start from 12-4pm. You’ll notice that once 12 o’ clock hits, it starts to feel a bit warmer and the sun is beating on your back. This is also usually the time for siestas, because it is so hot that it is unbearable to work! In the summer, be extra cautious! Temperatures in Spain can normally get up to 100 degrees F (40 degrees C) with the sun out from 11/12pm-8pm! Most Spaniards don’t leave their homes or offices because the heat is too much! The day starts again around 8 or 8:30pm, when the sun is setting and it’s a bit cooler outside.

    *Pro Tip: Always try to carry a bottle of water with you if you’re exploring a city! When it starts getting hot, you’ll thank me later!

  3. Expect to walk

    Of course while we’re sightseeing and traveling, we expect to walk a bit more than normal. Spain is not an exception to this rule! Many of the cities and smaller towns have the city centre and also the historic area. Most of the streets are small, winding and very narrow. Don’t expect to have public transportation to get everywhere. Some cities, like Toledo, are medieval and just need to be walked to enjoy and understand the area. If you’re in the south of Spain, expect some hills and stairs to explore the city!

    Bring your comfy walking shoes! Spaniards do have a “sporty-chic” look to them and wear a lot of tennis shoes, since they walk so much and so often.

  4. Road tripping through Spain

    If you’ve rented a car to drive through Spain, be prepared! Although the country has fairly new highways and roads, there are still very many smaller roads called “carreteras” that are narrow, winding and may even be made of dirt. Be careful while you’re driving and using your GPS! Although the country is small, compared to other countries in Europe, it may take you longer than you expected to drive from one city to the next! Take into account those roads that wrap around mountains and hills! This is especially true in the north of Spain, where highways are much smaller and weave in and out of the mountain landscape.

  5. Spanish Culture 

    Spanish culture is one of a kind! It’s vibrant, it’s bright, it’s loud and it is truly just “Spanish”! When traveling to Spain, it’s important to have an open mind and really understand the culture of the country. They were under dictatorship until 1975 until Franco, the dictator, passed away. The country is still new and may have some “old school” traditions.

    For example, bullfighting is an extremely controversial subject in Spain. It is something that is part of the culture of this country, but is now being protested by some Spaniards as a cruel sport. Although you may have your opinions about certain things that Spaniards do that seem so “old-fashioned”, it’s also important to understand that the country has made drastic changes in both it’s government, lifestyle and more in a short period of time! Not to mention, the country has been in a large economic crisis for about 10 years! Imagine what that can do to the culture of a nation.

Overall, to me, Spain is one of the underrated countries in Europe. The country boasts rich Moorish architecture (i.e.: La Alhambra in Granada, Spain), amazing cuisine (pintxos in the north) and a way of life that most people could be envious about! What other country offers siestas in the middle of the day? Sign me up! 

 Happy Monday friends, I hope you have a great week. Thanks for stopping by, perhaps you've been inspired to take a trip to the picturesque land of Spain.  For more exciting travel stories from the Quirky Pineapple,  follow Cassandra on social media.


                                          XO VALERIE


Hello beauties, I'm Valerie! I reside near Seattle WA, and am a proud Canadian from Vancouver B.C. On this site are guides for travel in the U.S., Canada and Europe. I hope to inspire Women 40+ live their best life: by seeking adventure in the city, at a beach or at a mountain escape. Subscribe for destination tips and style guides for the trip.


  1. Stunning pictures!! It's on our bucket list for sure!! Hope you're having the BEST day sweet Val!!

    1. Hey Andrea sweet lady,thanks for stopping by, I hope you are having a great week and ready for all the summer fun!


  2. Spain is truly so beautiful!!!! I'd love to go there. I think walking in such a place would be something to look forward to. :)

    1. I would too Ahsiwarya, I have a friend there I'd love to see!!

  3. I really love the pictures and can tell some of famous movies/TV got their inspiration from these local scenes!! I definitely want to visit Spain in the future and love the insightful tips!


    1. Thanks Ursula, wow I can't think of any movies with these scenes..would love to see them!

  4. I love Spain! My husband has never been. I'll have to show him your post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey Maggie,so cool you've been there, I hope to go soon!

  5. Beautiful pictures!! I want to go to Spain so bad!! This makes me want to go even more. These are lovely tips and I will be sure to remember them once we go - especially the casual lunches. I like my eating schedule... I snack a lot. Lol


  6. Spain is on my destination bucket list so this post is extremely handy. :)
    Your pictures are beautiful - they're making me even more keen to get over there!

    Christie's Take on Life. xx

  7. Great post. As travelers who have been in Spain for a little over two months now, this post is spot on! It has taken us a little while to get used to the meal schedule, it is really quite nice and makes for a much more relaxed lifestyle.

    1. Hey Carey! Love seeing your journey on FB...the meal schedule does sound great! I hope to make it there someday, say hi to Susie and stay safe !

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