Spain is home to millions of foreigners, so a multicultural environment doesn’t surprise anyone. However, newcomers should understand that their native customs may surprise locals, since the Spanish culture is quite particular in many senses.
Here is an article about the most standard situations that provoke awkward experiences with Spanish people.
Know how to greet a Spanish person
When Spanish people meet, they greet each other with kisses on the cheek. No matter if you are foreigner and they see you for the very first time, they will give you those two kisses. So, it is better if you could control your instinct to give a handshake, anyway it will not help you to avoid the double kiss.
Know what to wear
In the south the weather is very pleasant all year round comparing it with northern parts of the world. However, being used to cold temperatures, you shouldn’t rush changing your wardrobe from one season to another, since Spaniards can keep their winter outfits at least till Easter.
Extra tip: always keep your clothes on, especially if you are in a public environment. Spain has seen so many (half) naked drunk tourists, that seeing a shirtless foreigner might determine a stereotypical impression.
Know when to eat
Food is a very important part of Spanish culture. Well, basically eating and sharing time with others. So, if you stick to your cultural routine and have a dinner around 7pm, locals will find it strange. Additionally, when it comes to eating hours, in Spain people tend to eat at least 2 hours later than in other parts of Europe. So, you would never see a Spanish person having lunch earlier than 2pm.
Moreover, is not advisable to rush your meal, or to eat in front of your computer, in the metro or even on the way to somewhere. Just sit down and take your time, savour and enjoy your meal.
Spaniards don’t walk barefoot
No matter if it is a beach, grass, or home, Spanish people will stay with their shoes, including tiny babies. It can be flip flops, it can be sandals or winter shoes, walking barefoot is not their thing.
Tipping and Spaniards
Locals leave tips, but it is not a universal trait. You can forget a 10% tip in the case of an actual bill here. If Spaniards consider services as excellent, they would simply leave a few coins as an appreciation.
Don’t drink too much
Even though Spain is a wine country and has many other alcoholic beverages consumed on a daily basis, they don’t overdo it. The “drinking style” of people from northern European countries is not admired by locals. So, instead of ordering a pint of beer choose a “caña”, which is a typical size of beer in the surrounding environment.
Extra tip: if tapas is accompanying the drinks, you should be aware that it’s not a replacement for dinner So, save room for a proper dinner.
Coming on time is a good quality, especially if there is an official meeting with a set time. Business meetings might be the same in Spain, but when it comes to daily life cases, Spaniards take their time. So, if you are late less then 20 min, you can keep your apologizes silent, nobody will care. On the contrary, you can call yourself lucky if a local comes only 20 min later then your scheduled date.
You are the one who pays for drinks on your birthday
If it is your birthday and you went out for a drink or a meal, you are the one to pay the bill. If you forget, the locals might start thinking that they insulted you.
Well, there are more things to tell, but these are the main ones. However, others will appear with time, or might never occur due to smooth immersion in the local culture. Good luck!