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  • When I came to Spain and I saw people partying,

  • I said to myself, "WTF?"

  • Whether you come to Spain for the Fiesta in Ibiza, a siesta on the Costa Brava,

  • or a foodie tour of San Sebastian,

  • this video will help you avoid tourist traps, understand Spanish cultural do's and don'ts, and learn everything

  • you need to know to make your trip to Spain truly unforgettable.

  • I'm Alex. I'm Marko.

  • And you are watching Vagabrothers,

  • your go-to guide for travel tips, vlogs and inspiration here on YouTube.

  • We lived in Spain for three years,

  • and in this video, we're going to share all the tips, hacks, and

  • insider information that we learned while living there.

  • So if you haven't already, hit the subscribe button and turn on notifications so you don't miss any videos,

  • share this video with your travel buddies,

  • and get ready to have some fun because

  • "La gente esta muy loca."

  • Hello again Bond, whiskey? Thank you, M.

  • Holiday in Spain? How original.

  • Where are we off to this time, Magaluf?

  • No, no far too common.

  • Ibiza? A bit too posh for my liking.

  • Barcccccelona? No, it's more subtle than that.

  • Shall we get on with the briefing then, M? Right.

  • Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe,

  • occupying approximately 80 percent of the Iberian Peninsula.

  • Modern Spain is a product of thousands of years of migration and conquests,

  • most notably the Phoenicians, the Romans, and

  • more recently the Moors who in the eighth century invaded from Morocco

  • to turn Spain into one of the leading centers of learning in all of the world.

  • A mosaic of conscience if you will, M. Precisely.

  • Modern Spain is best described as a nation of nations,

  • a legacy of the Reconquista when the Catholic kings of Castile

  • united all of the different kingdoms to push out the Moors in 1492.

  • 1492 the year Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

  • Spot-on. In just a number of decades,

  • Spain went from being a conquered occupied country into one of the most powerful kingdoms in all of history.

  • Okay. Let's talk where to go.

  • The three most popular cities are Madrid, the capital ,

  • which brings together the best of Spain;

  • beachside Barcelona, which fuses the medieval quarter

  • with the modernist architecture of Catalan born Antoni Gaudí;

  • sultry Sevilla in the south, the birthplace of flamenco.

  • Spain is full of distinct regions like

  • Catalonia with the Costa Brava and the Pyrenees;

  • the Basque Country, a foodie paradise with great waves and a unique culture and

  • Andalusia where Moorish influence blends with iconic Spanish traditions.

  • And of course, there're beaches...

  • not just the Costa del Sol or the Costa Brava,

  • but the Balearic Islands- Mallorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera

  • and the tropical Canary Islands,

  • which are actually off the west coast of Africa and unlike any part of Spain.

  • If you want more information on where to go and

  • what to do in Spain, make sure that you subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications

  • so you don't miss the video that we're making about that subject very soon.

  • Also if you haven't seen our eight part series on the Basque Country

  • or our top ten things to do in Barcelona,

  • check out those videos, as well.

  • Moving on to climate....

  • Although some of Spain's most popular destinations are on the Mediterranean,

  • most of the country is on what's called the "meseta," an elevated plateau

  • that's cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and makes Madrid Europe's highest capital.

  • The north of Spain is green because it rains all the time,

  • especially in the Basque Country where locals have a specific name

  • for their type of rain called, "xirimiri."

  • Therefore, when packing it's best to bring layers,

  • especially if you're journeying away from the Mediterranean.

  • If you're visiting in the winter,

  • make sure you have a warm waterproof jacket,

  • although it doesn't really snow unless you're in the mountains.

  • Also, pack a dressy outfit for going out or just head to a Zara if you find yourself underdressed.

  • In summer Spain gets slammed with foreign tourists known as "guiris,"

  • while domestic tourism surges around Christmas and Easter, known as Semana Santa,

  • which is most big in Sevilla.

  • Over tourism is a serious problem in parts of Spain,

  • specifically Barcelona so we recommend traveling during the shoulder seasons,

  • September to November or March to May, when the weather is still warm,

  • but prices for flights and hotels are much lower than in summer.

  • Language is a tricky issue in Spain.

  • You might assume that everyone speaks Spanish,

  • but many regions have their own languages

  • like the Latin based languages of Catalan and Galician

  • or Euskera, the Basque language,

  • the only non Indo-European language in Europe and one of the oldest living languages in the world.

  • Spanish as we know it actually comes from the region of Castilla,

  • So people in Spain call it Castellano.

  • Castellano became the lingua franca of Spain during the Reconquista,

  • which was led by the king and queen of Castilla, Ferdinand and Isabella.

  • Calling Castellano "Spanish" is kind of like calling English "British,"

  • if that makes sense because England's only one part of Britain.

  • These regional languages are central to many people's identities,

  • especially in the Basque Country

  • and Catalonia, where many people are pushing for independence from Spain.

  • If you try to learn some local words like "kaixo,"-

  • "hello" in Basque or "Bon Dia" in Catalon,

  • It will be much appreciated by the locals.

  • Now that we've covered the basics,

  • let's debunk some popular myths starting with the one thing that we all seem to associate with Spain--

  • bullfighting.

  • The truth is that not all Spaniards love bullfighting.

  • In fact many hate it, and it's banned in regions like Catalonia.

  • However, it remains popular in more traditional parts of Spain,

  • and it's probably not going anywhere anytime soon.

  • Nor do all Spaniards dance flamenco.

  • Like many things associated with Spain, it actually comes from Andalusia,

  • specifically from the Roma people who originally migrated from India almost

  • 1500 years ago and who despite persecution have added much to Spanish culture, especially in the south.

  • Spaniards do know how to enjoy life so many foreigners assume that life has been easy.

  • But the truth is Spain has faced some serious challenges, especially in the last century,

  • most notably the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s in which the democratically elected

  • republic was overthrown by the fascist dictator Francisco Franco

  • who ruled Spain with an iron fist until his death in 1975.

  • Since then Spain has returned to democracy,

  • had a liberal Renaissance known as La Movida Madalena,

  • and joined the European Union.

  • But the wounds of the Spanish Civil War that turned brother against brother are still very ,very, real.

  • Be respectful.

  • More recently challenges include the 2008 financial crisis

  • known as "la crisis," which left one out of two young Spaniards without a job,

  • which is why over 80% of young Spaniards under 30 still live with their parents.

  • The economy has started to recover, but unemployment and low wages

  • continue to make life difficult for young Spanish people.

  • Not all Spaniards take "siestas."

  • And the tradition actually originated in Southern Portugal

  • where it was a way for day laborers to get a rest from the midday sun.

  • Typically you have lunch at home, have a short nap,

  • maybe take a "paseo," a walk around town and then return to work from 5 to 8 p.m.

  • That being said most small businesses do shutdown between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. everyday and on Sundays.

  • So plan your shopping accordingly.

  • Spain has to be one of the most fervently Catholic countries in the world.

  • It's the birthplace of the Inquisition, the Jesuits, and Opus Dei and even though over

  • Three-quarters of modern Spaniards identify as Catholics, very few of them actually practice the religion.

  • Furthermore, Spain was deeply influenced by Sephardic Jews

  • who arrived during Roman times and spoke a hybrid of Spanish and

  • Hebrew known as Ladino, as well as the Islamic Moors who turned

  • Cordoba, Sevilla ,and Granada into some of the most advanced centers

  • of science and learning in all of the world at that time.

  • During the Inquisition these two religions were forced to either convert to Christianity , leave Spain, or die.

  • But their legacy has survived in many ways:

  • Jewish influence on Spanish cooking or the Arabic impact on the Spanish language

  • "azucar, aceite, al" = alcohol

  • any word that starts with an al probably comes from Arabic.

  • Some people assume that Spanish culture is similar to Latin America,

  • and while Spain did conquer the vast majority of the Americas,

  • the cultures in places like Mexico, Peru, or Argentina are

  • actually blends of Spanish culture with indigenous and immigrant traditions.

  • Of course, there are many things that flowed back to Spain from the Americas

  • most notably looted gold and silver, which still to this day still adorn

  • many of the cathedrals across the country, most notably in Toledo.

  • Holy Toledo!

  • Not to mention a love of hot chocolate and the potato,

  • which form a cornerstone of the Spanish diet.

  • Speaking of diet, let's talk about one of the best parts of Spain-

  • food and drink.

  • With over 171 Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain

  • and good food at any price point,

  • Spain is easily one of the best foodie destinations in the entire world.

  • Before we talk about where and what to eat,

  • let's talk about how to eat,

  • specifically why Spaniards eat later than other European countries.

  • Breakfast or "desayuno" is a minimal affair in Spain.

  • It's usually just a sweet pastry and a cafe con leche,

  • which is kind of like a latte or a cortado,

  • which is a shot of espresso with just a little bit of milk.

  • Lunch known as "la comida" is the main meal of the day.

  • It's served during the siesta from about 1:00 in the afternoon until 4:00pm.

  • Save money with a "menu del dia,"

  • a three-course meal with wine, coffee, and dessert included for around 10 to 15 euros.

  • It's the best deal in the country, and if you're on a budget,

  • timing the menu del dia right could carry you through the full day.

  • Spain is famous for its culture of tapas,

  • which means "covers" because supposedly they were designed to cover the

  • glass of wine for travellers in roadside inns

  • so they didn't get too drunk before they had to ride their horse to the next village.

  • A lot of different explanations...

  • No one really knows where they came from,

  • but they're excellent and usually cheap if not free, at least in Granada

  • where you get a free top-up with every drink order, which is pretty epic.

  • You can eat them for lunch, but it's more common to have them with a glass of wine at dinner.

  • In the Basque Country they serve "pintxos,"

  • similar to tapas but a bit more elaborate and a little bit more expensive.

  • However, the best pintxos bars in San Sebastian

  • will allow you to taste high-level Basque cuisine without

  • having to spend the money for a Michelin-Star meal.

  • The highest concentration of Michelin- Star restaurants in the world are found in Catalonia and the Basque Country.

  • With more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else on earth.

  • These restaurants are not cheap.

  • They range between a hundred to three hundred euros for a 12-course tasting menu, wine not included.

  • If you can afford it, it's a bucket-list dining experience that you will never forget.

  • Alright now let's talk about what to eat,

  • the essential dishes to try on your trip to Spain.

  • Perhaps the most classic Spanish dish is the "tortilla de patata."

  • A tortilla in Spain is different than tortilla in Mexico.

  • It's an egg and potato omelette that's sometimes serve with onion or chorizo,

  • but best served if it's gooey in the middle.

  • You start to see them around ten o'clock in the morning where you can have it

  • with a coffee for a late breakfast or late at night.

  • They're generally the tastiest and cheapest way to keep yourself full throughout your trip.

  • Paella is Spain's most internationally know dish,

  • but locals don't eat it often outside of Valencia.

  • So if you see it advertised at a restaurant in Madrid or

  • Barcelona, then chances are it's probably a tourist trap.

  • Pescatarians, beware!

  • Traditional paella usually include quail and ham.

  • If you want a more traditional seafood plate,

  • try cod fish known locally as "bacalao," best served

  • Pil Pil style in Bilbao in the Basque Country.

  • Also anchovies and bonito tuna are very common, especially in tapas.

  • "Jamon" is Spanish for ham, cured ham to be specific.

  • It comes in all different types of qualities- pata negra is the highest quality

  • and jamon serrano is generally a good quality that's still affordable.

  • Locals buy jamon serrano buy the "pata,"

  • literally a cured leg of ham.

  • It's probably more economical and easy to carry if you just get a couple slices at the deli,

  • put some jamon on a baguette with some manchego cheese, and you're golden.

  • Even better before you put down the ham and the cheese,

  • rub the bread with garlic and tomato and you have "pan tomaca," a typical Catalan breakfast

  • that's good any time of day anywhere in Spain.

  • Lastly, an essential dish is "patatas bravas," brave patatoes.

  • crispy potatoes with spicy mayonnaise.

  • Now, it's nothing special, but it is a great way to line your stomach before getting more

  • expensive and less filling tapas.

  • Trust me. There's nothing worse than going out for pintxos or tapas,

  • spending 50 euros and coming home hungry.

  • So do as the pros do- get the patatas bravas primero,

  • and then you should be good to go.

  • With all this good food,

  • you'll need something to wash it down.

  • You're probably thinking about sangria,

  • but this is really something that's mostly served to tourists.

  • A smarter choice is to try Spain's many wines which are high quality and low price,

  • on average about one euro and 25 cents per litre, to be exact.

  • Here's an overview of Spain's main wine regions and varietals:

  • The most common grapes are Tempranillo,

  • a medium bodied red that's grown largely in the La Rioja region in Northern Spain,

  • and its name comes from being picked somewhat early in the season.

  • Also popular is Garnacha or Grenache, which is typically a mixing grape

  • but can be great on its own.

  • Cava is a sparkling white wine

  • similar to champagne, and it's mostly grown in Catalonia.