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    17 Tourist Mistakes Everyone Has Made In Spain

    Don't even think about going to dinner before 8 p.m.

    1. Attempting to go shopping in the afternoon, when many stores are closed for lunch.

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    It's fairly common for stores to close from roughly 2–4 p.m. — aka prime lunch time for Spaniards — so get your shopping done in the morning, or wait till stores reopen in the late afternoon.

    2. Similarly, expecting stores and restaurants to be open on Sundays.

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    For many Spaniards, Sundays are reserved for rest and relaxation. Most shops and restaurants are closed the entire day, although some restaurants may be open for lunch. (A good number of restaurants are also closed on Mondays.)

    3. Being careless with their personal belongings.

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    Getting pickpocketed can ruin a trip, and unfortunately, it happens all too often in Spain. In fact, according to TripAdvisor, Barcelona is the most pickpocketed city in the world, with Madrid ranking in fourth place. Here are some tips to avoid being pickpocketed yourself.

    4. Ordering sangria instead of tinto de verano.

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    Despite its association with Spain, sangria may have actually been an "English invention in the American colonies." But origin story aside, sangria is often made with low-quality wine and eschewed by locals in favor of the more traditional tinto de verano, a combination of red wine and lemon-lime soda.

    5. Eating at restaurants in plazas or near other tourist attractions.

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    Spanish plazas — like Plaza Mayor in Madrid, for example — are an architectural feast for the eyes, but the restaurants inside them are often expensive and mediocre. Avoid these tourist traps, and your wallet — and taste buds — will thank you.

    6. Expecting the waiter to automatically bring the check at the end of a meal.

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    Waiters in Spain aren't under the same pressure as their US counterparts to turn over tables. That means two things: 1) You won't feel rushed, but 2) you will have to ask for the check when you're ready to leave.

    7. Leaving a huge tip.

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    Tipping etiquette in Spain is quite different than in the US. Since service is already included in restaurant bills, a tip of 5–10% is considered generous. For other services like cab rides or room service, simply rounding up or tipping €1 is fine.

    8. Over-generalizing the climate of Spain — and failing to pack accordingly.

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    When most people think of Spain, they picture the Mediterranean coast and its hot, dry summers or central Spain and its continental climate. What they fail to consider are the distinct climates of the North: northwestern Spain has an oceanic climate, with cool summers and winters and rain throughout the year, whereas mountainous regions in the north-central and northeastern parts of the country have an alpine climate.

    9. Neglecting to visit northern Spain.

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    Don't get me wrong: Southern Spain is magnificent, and it's popular for a reason. However, the North has so much to offer, from the Picos de Europa to the pristine beaches of Santander. Just don't try to squeeze it all into one trip!

    10. Eating lunch before 1 p.m.

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    Lunch in Spain happens a bit later than in many other countries. During the week, Spaniards eat lunch around 2 p.m., and many restaurants don't even open until 1:30, so don't show up at noon expecting to be fed.

    11. Or dinner before 8 p.m.

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    During the week, many Spaniards work until 8 in the evening, thus not eating dinner until around 9, if not later. Restaurants typically close following lunch and serve dinner from 8–11 p.m.

    12. Referring to Barcelona as "Barca."

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    Nothing marks you as a tourist faster. "Barça" refers only to FC Barcelona.

    13. Partying too hard.

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    Nightlife in Spain is indeed extraordinary, but foreign tourists occasionally take it a bit too far. With some clubs staying open till 6 a.m., it's important to remember that going out is a marathon, not a sprint.

    14. Expecting Spaniards to speak English.

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    Many Spanish people do speak limited English, but to expect them to speak your language while you're visiting their country is poor form. Learn some key words and phrases before your trip, and your Spanish acquaintances will certainly appreciate it.

    15. Wearing flip-flops anywhere but the beach.

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    One of the fastest ways to let locals know you're a tourist is to wear flip-flops around town. It's not that Spaniards don't wear them — it's that they wear them only at the beach.

    16. Not ordering the menú del día for lunch.

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    This isn't a grave mistake like, say, not protecting yourself from pickpocketers, but it is, at the very least, an amateur move. Lunch being the biggest meal of the day, many Spanish restaurants offer a three-course menú del día, which also includes a drink and bread. You typically have a few choices for each course, and rarely does the total exceed €15.

    17. Overestimating the popularity of the midday siesta.

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    Contrary to popular belief, relatively few people in Spain regularly take a siesta these days: In fact, according to a 2017 study, 60% of respondents said they never nap. So feel free to take a nap yourself while visiting — just don't expect everyone else to do the same.