Customs in Spain

Spanish is the official language of Spain, spoken by over 70% of the population.

The currency used in Spain is the Euro (EU) - €.

Family is the foundation of social structure in Spain, and it is not unusual to see several generations living in the same household. Obligation to one's family is number one priority.

Customs and Etiquette in Everyday Life and Socialization

The proper way to greet someone in Spain is by shaking hands, maintaining direct eye contact. Shake hands with everyone present, including children. Start with the oldest people first. After a friendship is established, big hugs or light kisses on the cheeks may be exchanged.

If you are invited to a Spanish home for dinner, bring your hosts a gift of flowers or dessert. If they have children, bring a small gift for them as well.

Wait to sit down until you are shown to your seat. Do not start eating until the hostess begins, and use utensils for everything, even fruit and bread. The host will give the first toast; return it later in the meal. When you are finished eating, place your knife and fork parallel on your plate, handles to the right.

When it comes to gratuity, tipping is acceptable and appreciated in Spain.

• Restaurants: 7-10%
• Taxis: 10% of fare
• Porters and Bellhops: €1 per bag

Customs and Etiquette in Business

When attending business in Spain, men should dress in stylish dark suits and ties. Women should wear fashionable suits or smart skirts and blouses. Modest accessories are acceptable.

Appointments for meetings are necessary and should be made well in advance by telephone. Reconfirm a week prior by telephone or fax. Arrive on time for your meeting, punctuality is a must in Spain.

As the Spanish prefer to do business with people they know and have confidence in, it is recommended to try get well acquainted with your new associates before getting down to business. If no business is conducted during the first meeting, do not be surprised, initial meetings are typically used to get to know one another.

Have your business card printed in Spanish, and when you present it to your new colleague, make sure that side is facing them.


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