Spain is an amazingly diverse country. There are many differences between its regions – culture, food, history and language. Our walking and cycling tours in Spain get you into close contact with the different traditions of Spanish life. You will find people kind and courteous. It helps if you know a bit about social customs, and the following notes are intended to help.
Locals in the country expect to give and receive an hola! They value politeness. The people in rural regions take their time and think it rude to conduct even the simplest transaction brusquely. In shops, hotels and restaurants, you cannot go wrong enquiring for advice about things, appreciating things you see around you, or being interested in what is going on locally. Try not to get frustrated if you are kept waiting in a shop while a detailed discussion comparing the value of livestock goes on. Join in, if you like!
Spaniards tend to start work early, have a long break for lunch (anything up to 4 hours) and then work again until around 7pm. They eat later than we are used to, and often sit out chatting and drinking until the early hours. Lunch is usually from 2-3 and evening meal seldom before 10. However, all our hotels expect our clients to want to eat earlier, but you stand little chance of a meal before 9 in the evening!
Family life is very important to the Spanish, and generations of families will often be seen eating together in restaurants in a way that, in the US, is normally reserved for Sunday lunch. In many ways, Spain can be seen as an ageless society – children are welcomed everywhere at all times, and you’re never considered too old to join in the fun!