Seven things to watch out for in Spain

1. Beware of pickpockets

There are also pickpockets in big cities and popular tourist destinations in Spain. Barcelona in particular has become known as a city with one of the highest probabilities of being a victim of pickpocketing or bag theft in all of Europe.

People with long claws are less likely to use violence, but a lost wallet or phone can ruin the whole vacation. Special care should be taken in crowded places, in the subway and at tourist attractions. When sitting in a restaurant or bar, don’t leave your bag on the back of the chair.

The easiest way to protect yourself from pickpocketing and bag theft is to prefer bags that go over your chest, which you can hold on to at all times. Don’t keep your wallet or cell phone in your back pocket as if waiting for money. Always leave another payment card or some cash in the hotel safe.

2. Be alert in traffic

Traffic in Spain often has a reputation for being more chaotic than it actually is. Renting a car in Spain is easy and even recommended. However, it is true that Spaniards pay less attention to traffic rules than Finns – not to mention parking.

Keep your senses especially alert in traffic and always follow the traffic rules. If the police fines the traveler, he cannot defend himself with ignorance. Local laws apply to everyone in the country.

3. Protect yourself from the heat

In the summer months, the heat is not always fun in Spain. Almost everywhere in the country, except for the north, it is really hot from June to August-September. Real heat waves even require fatalities – this was also the case in 2018.

The most popular place in Spain is Madrid in the summer, where the locals make a mass escape during the holiday months. The big inland city doesn’t offer many opportunities to cool off, apart from sitting in an air-conditioned apartment.

ShutterstockMadrid is very hot in the summer
Summer is not a good time to travel to Madrid, located in the middle of Spain.

If you want to vacation in Spain in the summer, but avoid the worst heat, consider traveling to the northern part of the country. Beach destinations ranked among the best in Spain can be found in the Basque Country and Galicia, which are cool and rainy regions in winter. For example, try a beach that is so beautiful that you have to make a reservation.

Protect yourself from the sun with adequate sun protection factors and hats, drink plenty of water and make sure your accommodation has air conditioning.

4. Don’t lose control in the nightlife

In Spain, alcohol is often half as cheap as in Finland. Affordable prices and lively nightlife can do tricks even for an experienced traveler. Keep in mind that getting violently drunk is not part of the local culture and under the influence of alcohol you are easier prey for thieves.

Spain is also one of the biggest drug centers in Europe, and especially the nightclubs in big cities and popular tourist destinations are teeming with drugs. You should stay away from these completely. Remember that the risks of getting involved with illegal and dangerous substances increase in a foreign country and with strange people.

5. Rules and fines also apply to tourists

In places popular with tourists, discipline has had to be tightened regarding certain things. For example, we are already tired of tourists walking around the cities in swimsuits to the extent that you can be fined for frolicking in scantily clad clothes, at least in Barcelona and Mallorca.

ShutterstockDo not move around in a swimsuit in the city in Spain
Limit the use of bikinis and swimwear to the beach. When going to the city, you have to put on some clothes in Spain, no matter how hot it is.

In the Valencia region, it has been invented to fine beach vacationers even for reserving beach chairs. In Spain, the police and other authorities must be treated with respect, and you can even be fined for filming the police.

In Mallorca’s party town Magaluf, the confusion of tourists has reached such proportions that 64-point rules of order had to be drawn up for vacationers under the threat of fines.

6. Don’t pay bargain prices during peak season

The general price level in Spain is slightly lower than in Finland, and many people are used to the fact that they can always have a vacation at a reasonable price. However, this is not necessarily the case in certain destinations and popular travel times.

Christmas, Easter, school holidays and the whole of August are examples of the peak season for destinations in Spain. If you were thinking of going on a budget vacation to Mallorca in August, it might not work out. The weekly price of even a simple holiday apartment can be over a thousand euros.

ShutterstockIt is expensive in Spain in August
During the peak season in August, Ibiza is one of the most expensive destinations in Spain.

Start comparing prices and booking accommodations early if you know you’ll be traveling during peak season. In particular, you should avoid traveling to the Balearic islands such as Ibiza and Menorca in August, when the islands are congested and prices skyrocket.

7. Don’t fall for tourist scams

Since Spain is one of the top countries in tourism, tourist scams have not been avoided there either. However, they are usually not very ruthless or aggressive.

Tourist scams in Spain usually involve, for example, overcharging taxi drivers or professional scammers swarming around attractions. If someone is too eager to talk, you should always approach the situation with caution.

There are many traders of vacation shares in beach resorts. If you end up talking to a persistent and charismatic merchant, think twice about committing to something that may be difficult to get out of.

Read also: Here’s how to get by in Spain – 10 facts about local customs

Text: Maria Hietala
Images: Shutterstock


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