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Centuries upon centuries make a grandious place. The Plaza de España is an example, as is the Santa Maria cathedral, the largest in the country, and the Giralda Tower. Don’t miss the Alcázar palace and the great collection in the Fine Arts Museum for a complete experience.
Learn to say “olé”
Bullfighting is the foremost cultural symbol. Just like flamenco: the shows in the Triana district are the perfect pretext for eating tapas and drinking manzanilla. The fun continues in the vibrant streets or on the Isla Mágica. Final tip: the parades of the Semana Santa are worth watching.
Culture and Business
Make sure you have your identity card or passport and boarding pass with you. Depending on your country of origin, take care of your visa or other necessary documentation ahead of time.
There are three different climatic areas in Spain, due to its large size. The Mediterranean climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The vast central plateau has a more continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters.
When meeting someone in a business context, greet them with a handshake. In social situations, it is normal to give two kisses on the cheeks—but between men, continue with a handshake. If you are invited to someone's house, take a small gift as a thank you gesture.
The culture is quite open and communicative and it is normal to talk about family and life in general before moving on to business.
Geography & politics
Spain is part of the Iberian Peninsula and is located in southwestern Europe. It includes two archipelagos: the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. Spain is a parliamentary monarchy— the monarch is the head of state, while the prime minister is the head of government. Spain is a member of the European Union.
Languages & useful phrases
Spanish (Castilian) is the official language throughout the country. There are other co-official languages per region: Basque in the Basque Country and in Navarre; Catalan in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, Valencian in the Valencian Community, and Galician in Galicia. In Spanish, "Hola" = hello; "por favor" = please; "Muchas gracias" = thank you very much; “Perdón” = sorry.
GMT + 1
Tipping & paying
Most places accept credit card payments, but it is always useful to have some money with you. Spain is part of the Eurozone, so the currency is the Euro (EUR). It is common to leave a tip of up to 10%, but only if you are satisfied with the service.
What to wear
Men should wear a suit and tie and women a suit or dress. Appearance is important—be smart, conservative and professional.
What you should do
Punctuality for social gatherings is not very common, but for business, always arrive on time. If you are eating out, the bill is not usually split—whoever made the invitation will normally pay. Try to speak some Spanish. In Spain it is not usual for people to speak English as well as in northern European countries, although it is more common in business settings.
What you shouldn’t do
Don’t assume that culture in Spain is the same everywhere. There are 17 autonomous regions and people are very proud of their region, each with its own culture, languages and dialects.