Culture shock Spain: 10 Differences you Shouldn’t Ignore when Visiting from Abroad

Culture shock Spain: 10 Differences you Shouldn’t Ignore when Visiting from Abroad

Spain is a beautiful country with a great deal to offer its visitors.
In general, tourists are very well received in Spain but there are just a few aspects to the collective Spanish personality that take some getting used to.

The volume

One of the first things you will notice when you land in sunny Spain is that the volume is generally louder. This means people talking next to you on the street or on the beach will seem loud but you, conversely, may seem quiet to the Spanish. Noise is generally well-tolerated, from outdoor fiestas with drums and music, to loud conversations at the next table in a restaurant.
Our advice? You’ll get used to it!

Culture shock Spain 10 Differences you Shouldn’t Ignore when Visiting from Abroad

Interesting queueing habits

Queues don’t always form a straight line in Spain. Why? Because it’s common to announce yourself in the queue when you arrive. Therefore it doesn’t matter where you are actually positioned, everyone knows who is before them and after them. Yes, really!

Interesting queueing habits

Different meal times

This is a tricky one. Dinner can be as late as midnight, and it’s all very confusing at first. Let’s just explain, the main meal of the day is a late lunch around 2 or 3pm. The other meals are not as important, and dinner can even be very light. Visitors in Marbella need not worry too much however as there are plenty of opportunities to eat all day, but when you venture further afield you may need to prepare yourself to wait a bit longer for lunch.

Different meal times

Children are often seen in bars

Ok so children don’t go out alone, but it’s not uncommon to see small children and even babies in bars well past midnight (with their parents.) Kids tend to stay up late in Spain (see points 3 and 5 to make sense of this!) With a culture of the family being together with extended long dinners and even longer evenings, we are not surprised, but we were still a little shocked at first.

Time-Keeping is “different”

Most people come on holiday to Spain to relax and that can be just as well. Time seems to move slower here. The whole concept of punctuality is also a little loose. Meeting at 9? It’s perfectly acceptable to turn up at 9.15 or later. The Spanish put the fashionable into fashionably late, but they do it with such charm you will not be offended.

Time-Keeping is “different”

Bizarre timetables exist

Whilst the sense of punctuality is different, surprisingly timetables do seem to govern life in Spain. Banks impose strict days and times for certain types of admin and many shops still close between 2 and 5 p.m. Make sure you know the rules before having a wasted trip.

Bizarre timetables exist

Proximity- The Spanish like to get close

In the era of social distancing, you might not notice this, but in general the Spanish people will be close and tactile. It must be the heat!

Being stylish is a must

It’s not uncommon to see very stylish people walking about. The trend for leaving the house with a dishevelled appearance or in sportswear is not so common in Spain, and the Spanish seem to always look well put-together. (After all this is the nation that invented Zara!)
When visiting Spain make sure to bring your best glamour game and expect a few stares if you are not dressed appropriately.

Being stylish is a must

The Spanish are straight to the point

The Spanish are very direct. You’ll hear less “please” and “thank you” than you might expect but this is normal. So is telling you if they don’t like something. Frankly, we think this is refreshing.

The Spanish are straight to the point

The policemen are all good looking

Our favourite culture shock! There are three types of police in Spain, the National, the Local and the Civil Guard. We are not sure if it’s just us, but we can’t help notice that they all seem to be good looking. Is this a pre-requisite to get into the force?

Spanish police
Photograph: Albert Gea / Reuters

Spain is a fantastic country but not without its quirks. We look forward to welcoming you here soon, At Swish, we not only help with finding the most spectacular accommodation, but we are here to make the transition smoother, whether it’s for a week’s holiday or an 8 month stay.

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