Of course everyone knows the capital city Madrid. And what about the culture and traditions? I don’t think that we know very much. As each country Spain has its own peculiar features.
Perhaps because of the benign climate and the long hours of sunshine in Spain, the Spaniards tend to get up later in the morning and stay out later at night than the rest of their European neighbours.
Shops and businesses are usually open from 9 or 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and from 4:30 or 5 pm to 8 or 8:30 pm, though it has become more and more common for businesses to stay open through the traditional 'siesta' hours. Business establishments are usually closed for a day-and-a-half per week, most often Saturday afternoon and Sunday, while many shops close only on Sunday.
In tourist areas, in summer, business hours are often expanded to 10 or 11 pm with stores open 7 days a week.
Restaurant hours are quite varied from 1:30 to 3:30 pm for lunch and from 8:30 to 11 or 11:30 pm for dinner. In summer, these hours are often expanded, with many establishments offering continuous service.
Bars are usually open all day and close late at night.
In general, the nightlife in Spain is quite intense, and the bars and discotheques stay open long past midnight. In summer, they often stay open past 3 or 4 pm. In big cities like Madrid and Barcelona, for example, there are many places that stay open until dawn, even in winter.
On a warm evening the street cafes and bars can fill to capacity as people sit and relax. The nightclubs of Ibiza and the big cities have attracted the attention of the international media and are always an attraction for the youngsters. Most open late at night and don't close until late the following day.
Spanish men tend to maintain eye contact with females for longer, although this does not mean anything.
The Spanish way of life is somewhat slower than the rest of Europe, especially in the south. This may be seen as lazy, but when the Spanish work, they work hard. They have adapted to the weather and play hard too. It is quite common for life to begin when the sun goes down, especially in the summer. They are a very happy people who enjoy life to the full. They love music, dance and food.
Smoking is now banned in all interior public places in Spain although it is common for people to take no notice. Most bars still allow smoking and it is signposted on the door.
When you come to a foreign country, you should always remember about etiquette. When you introduce yourself expect to shake hands. Only when a relationship is established, men may embrace and pat each other on the shoulder. Female friends always kiss each other on both cheeks, starting with the left. Many men use a two-handed shake where the left hand is placed on the right forearm of the other person.
In general the Spanish have a very modern outlook on clothing. They are keen on designer clothes but quality is more important than a designer name. The Spanish made clothes tend to be of high quality and reasonably priced.
Teenage girls tend to wear trousers more than skirts. Denim is definitely 'in'. Teenage boys are keen on designer wear and appearance is important to them. Mature Spaniards dress conservatively and with style. Older men in particular tend to wear high quality clothing.
An interesting side of the Spanish culture is the traditional names of people in the country. Among the most popular onesare the religious names, named after saints and characters of the Christian church. Each nationality on the planet has its own customs for forming the whole name of the inhabitants. In Spain, for example, when a child is born the Spanish baby names are formed by a name, usually the name of a saint, and two surnames, of the father and the mother. In this way, the Spaniards have several Spanish names, which they rarely use in ordinary situations and communication. When you first come to Spain, you will certainly notice how popular the usage of nicknames is and how easy to remember they are.