If your idea is to get to know Spain by bike there are some facts about the country that you will be happy to meet so that you can get a little closer to its reality and its customs. We’ll give you a brief summary of the most important.
The language and the currency
Spanish is the official language throughout Spain, but there are other Cooficial languages in some Autonomous Communities: Galician in Galicia, Catalan in Catalonia, Basque in the Basque Country or Valencian in Valencia. There are also several dialectal variations. However, there is no problem in being able to understand everyone in Spanish regardless of the area where you are travelling.
Spain is in the Eurozone and therefore this is its official currency. It is the only one accepted throughout the territory. As for the tip, there is no clear custom. In this country, the tip is voluntary and it is left to the client’s discretion whether to give it or not and how much to give if he decides to do so. However, in premises of a certain category the waiters will expect the client to leave a tip of between 5% and 10%.
Spain has an area of 505.370 km² and a population of 47.000.000 inhabitants. Currently, the demographic trend is negative, since 2015 there have been more deaths than births in the country, which causes population figures to fall.
Although its population density is medium there is a great difference between zones, the coasts being the most populated places while in the interior, especially in the two Castles, there are many villages abandoned or with very few inhabitants.
Its economic figures put it in the 14th place worldwide by level of GDP. It is one of the European countries with the highest unemployment rates, 14 per cent, making it one of the most serious problems in the country.
With regard to immigration, Spain was a receiving country for immigrants, especially those from Africa and the Americas. However, since the economic crisis of 2011, immigrant population levels have decreased each year as many have returned to their countries or have decided to move elsewhere in Europe with greater job opportunities. The highest rate of immigrants is concentrated in Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante.
The schedules of the Spaniards are different from those of other European countries, which can be a bit confusing for those who visit this country for the first time. Over the years, they are adapting more and more to European times but continue to have their particularities.
The most remarkable thing is that in Spain one eats and dines late. Food is rarely done before two o’clock in the afternoon, even eating at three o’clock is normal. For this reason it is not unusual to see people at eleven or twelve in the morning having a quick snack in a bar before continuing their working day.
Dinner is held at nine or ten in the evening and it is not unusual for restaurants and food bars to serve even at eleven in the evening, especially on weekends. However, in small towns it is common for people to eat and eat before dinner because their pace of life is somewhat different.
The famous Spanish siesta has ceased to be so common in recent years, at least in the cities. But it is not uncommon in many places for trade to close at around two o’clock and not to reopen until five o’clock in the afternoon something that is usually taken by surprise by those who do not know this particular timetable.
If you are going to travel by bike in Spain during the summer or at the end of the spring it is not bad idea that you reserve a time for napping in the hottest hours, as the temperatures can be quite high depending on the chosen area. A fresh break before continuing will help you gather strength to finish the day successfully.