Toledo, Spain, is an old city set on a hill.

Toledo, Spain, is an old city set on a hill.

La Rioja, Spain, is known for its vineyards.

La Rioja, Spain, is known for its vineyards.

This is Cádiz Cathedral, located in southern Spain.

This is Cádiz Cathedral, located in southern Spain.

Paella is a traditional seafood and rice dish.

Paella is a traditional seafood and rice dish.

The popular chocolate shop Granja Dulcinea serves churros and chocolate in Barcelona, Spain. (AP/Nicole Evatt)

The popular chocolate shop Granja Dulcinea serves churros and chocolate in Barcelona, Spain. (AP/Nicole Evatt)

Passport to: SPAIN!

Posted: May 1, 2021

You’ve landed in Spain! Get ready to . . .

say hello. A simple hola (oh-lah) will do. But you could also say “buenas dias” (good day—BWAYN-oss DEE-oss) in the morning. Say “buenas tardes” (good afternoon—BWAYN-oss TAR-dehs) at midday. Try out “buenas noches” (good night—BWAYN-oss NOCH-ess) in the evening.

talk the talk. More than 46 million people live in Spain. They’re spread across different types of land and cultures. The country actually has five languages—Spanish, Aranese, Catalan, Galician, and Basque.

live on Spanish time. Spain has its own schedule. Stomach growling around noon? You’ll have to wait. Lunch in Spain happens between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. After lunch comes naptime, or siesta. During this break, many businesses close. Favorite programs air on TV. After this pause in the day, people go back to work. They don’t come home until around 8:00 p.m.

eat the Spanish way. 8:00 a.m.: Grab a breakfast of coffee and pastries. Lunch won’t happen until around siesta time—2:00 or 3:00 p.m.. But don’t worry, you won’t go hungry. In Spain, it’s customary to go out for tapas—small plates of food—before mealtimes. Load up, because dinner likely won’t happen till 9:00 p.m. or even later! Spanish favorites: gazpacho (cold tomato and cucumber soup), albóndigas (meatballs), paella (pronounced pie-YAY-ah, rice with vegetables and seafood), and churros (fried dough dipped in chocolate).

visit many types of places. Castles? Old windmills? Cities? Check. Spain has them all. It also has mountains, vast areas for cattle grazing, river ecosystems, seaside towns, deserts lined with palms, and irrigated valleys full of orange trees.

Quick facts:
Capital: Madrid
Religion: 67.8% Roman Catholic
National Flower: red carnation
National Animal: the bull
Neighbors: Portugal, Andorra, France, the United Kingdom, Gibraltar