Every destination on the planet has its own customs that can range from seeming so insignificant to your daily lives that they go unnoticed to being so important that without them, you would feel rather disorientated. When we travel to new places, it is an opportunity to discover the customs of these places, to see the similarities and differences between them and your home country, which brings you closer to the culture and people thus helping you to have a more authentic, raw and culturally-rich holiday experience. With this in mind, we, at Gran Isla, recommend reading our 7 things you should know before your holiday to Majorca.
- “Sobremesa”, a Spanish delight. Spain is a country that is love with its food: its various tapas, Spanish omelettes, paella… So it may be surprising to find out that the most important thing about a Spanish lunch is not the food but rather what comes after. We are referring to the catch up with friends, the laughing, the telling of anecdotes, the countless smiles and endless laughter. For Spanish people, if you are going to lunch just for the food then you might as well order a takeaway. They deem lunches to be the perfect opportunity to socialise for hours on end. That is why you will sometimes find them taking up to 2 hours off for lunch, even during the working day!
- The famous siesta. Stereotypical, yes, but true? Also yes! For those who live their day to day lives in the scorching heat, it can be extremely difficult to work during the hottest hours of the day, especially if their work takes them outside with no way to cool down. People even take short naps after work to regain some energy before enjoying the rest of their evening.
- Beer O’clock. Feel free to order a beer as early as 9am without receiving any judgemental looks. Drinking beer at any time of day in Spain is not frowned upon but considered the norm which is mainly due to the fact that the Spanish do not drink to get drunk. Binge-drinking is a lot less common here and Spaniards usually start drinking slowly all day until night time, without rushing to get as drunk as possible, even when they are going on a night out which may be due to the fact that alcoholic drinks tend to be cheaper than in Britain.
- Not a touchy-feely kind of person? Then you may be in for a shock during your stay in Majorca. When you meet someone Spanish it is the norm for them to go in for a kiss on both cheeks so try not to be alarmed when they approach you. Not only that, when they are speaking they tend to use their arms a lot to explain things and you may find them touching you a lot: most of the time on your shoulders or arms. This is a natural way of speaking for them and is a way of trying to make you feel comfortable and welcomed, not the opposite, so remember to relax!
- The golden rule of eating paella. Paella is the godsend of Spanish food. In Majorca, especially, it is typical for locals to visit their grandparents or other members of the family living in other parts of the island on Sundays to enjoy paella all-together for lunch, as part of a family tradition. The biggest faux-pas you can make as a foreigner, however, is eating this culinary delight for dinner. Because of the density of the rice, seafood and all its flavourings, Majorcans consider this very bad for the digestive system and therefore not in line with their customs.
- Arrived late? No pasa nada! For those of you who always say you are on your way when you have not even stepped into the shower yet, you are going to love this norm. Whether you are meeting someone for dinner, going to a party or going round to a friend’s house, tardiness is expected and not necessarily frowned upon, with the exception of anything related to work.
- The inexistence of going Dutch. Many establishments in Majorca have not quite worked out the splitting of bills, unless you head to a restaurant in a touristy area.This means that you are expected to have the right change (but if not, do not worry as people are always happy to cover you) or if you have been invited out by someone or vice versa, then that person will normally pay, even if it is not a date.
Are they any other customs who have noticed on your travels around Spain? Let us know by getting into contact with Gran Isla here, we would love to know your experiences!