15 Unspoken Rules About Spain That All The Locals Know

List Rules
Spanish locals: vote up the rules that all tourists should know before they visit.

Spain is rich in culture and cuisine, and is packed full with amazing things to see and do. But before you go, you should read up on these Spanish tourist tips provided by the locals. That way, you'll know exactly what not to do in Spain as a tourist. Vote up your favorites!

  • 1
    8 VOTES

    They Aren't Angry - Just Loud

    From Redditor u/pabl07_:

    People here speak louder than in the US, you don't have to think we are angry or something it's just normal.

    8 votes
  • 2
    5 VOTES

    People Are Friendly

    From Redditor u/theboogieboogieman:

    If you're in the metro, cercanías or anywhere where you find yourself in mechanical stairs/escalators if you intend to stand and let the escalator get you up move to the right. If you intend to walk it up, do it on the left.

    I imagine this is also commonplace everywhere but often people not used to the metro or similar tend to just stay in the middle and obstruct other people. Most madrileños will politely ask you to get on a side but maybe this can avoid you a bad moment.

    I also believe you'll have no problem. Everyone here is quite friendly. Any doubts you're having just ask around and everyone is willing to help and score some "I helped a guiri" points (guiri=foreigner)


    5 votes
  • 3
    8 VOTES

    Don't Talk Politics And Expect To Eat Late

    From Redditor u/loves_spain:

    Don't mention the civil war.

    It's probably also a good idea to steer clear of politics in general. Religion too.

    Same with Catalunya independence and similar threads in the Basque country.

    Since you're in Madrid this probably doesn't apply so much to you but don't wear your swim trunks in the city.

    Things WILL be closed in the middle of the day (lunchtime). Be prepared for that.

    Dinner is REALLY late (9,10pm).

    Be prepared for kisses on the cheek. Man to man is a handshake

    There is no "tipping culture" but you can leave whatever change you have if you want.

    It's not uncommon to see people day drinking. It's so taboo in the states that it can be weird seeing it at first but pretty soon you'll fall into the rhythm (and love it)

    Punctuality is not so strict in Spain.

    Don't flash your cash or anything else around (including your phone). Common sense anywhere but just in case. Madrid is a big city and although I felt super comfortable there, just be aware of your surroundings in general.

    8 votes
  • 4
    8 VOTES

    Make Sure You Carry Small Bills

    From Redditor u/Danimally:

    DO NOT use 500€ or 200€ bills. Here in Spain most shops will not accept that currency. Try to use 50€ or lower quantities.

    8 votes
  • 5
    7 VOTES

    Take Advantage Of Inclement Weather

    From Redditor u/vipermaseg:

    It will be cold in the winter. Madrid is half empty in August, take the chance to visit the usual tourist and cultural spots.

    7 votes
  • 6
    5 VOTES

    Don't Criticize The Food

    From Redditor u/pilonmartinez:

    Do not criticize food, you may hurt one's feelings. Also, be prepared for some dishes, especially meats, to be cooked in a more rustic way, even in restaurants. It is all very tasty and won't mean that someone didn't pay attention or gave you worse cuts, it's just the way it is. The attention that's normally paid to i.e. Texas BBQ marinating, preparation methods, etc, is not that common here.

    Do not ask people who visit you to take their shoes off. I know that it is uncommon in the Southern States anyway, but just saying.

    5 votes