How to party with Spaniards: the ultimate Guide

How to party with Spaniards: the ultimate Guide
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Spaniards love to party. But there are unwritten rules to having a good time.

How should you dress when you go out for a night on the tiles with a group of Spaniards?

How do you greet someone you've never met before, and why is it bad luck not to look someone in the eye when toasting?

The answer to all these vitally important questions and many more are answered below.

Here's The Local's ultimate guide.


Photo: AFP

Most Spaniards are quite understated when it comes to all matters clothes related, so leave your sequinned mini-dresses at home and don’t forget to wrap up: Spaniards are also good at dressing weather-appropriately and would not go out in winter without a warm coat. Unless it's carnival of course. In which case, anything goes!

READ ALSO: 12 signs you've totally nailed the Spanish language 


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Tapas culture means that drinking goes hand in hand with eating in Spain: order a drink and you’ll more than likely be given a plate of tapas to nibble away on. That should help you pace yourself during long Spanish nights out, important given getting very drunk in public is frowned on.


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Greetings are always a bit of a social minefield, but in Spain a couple of basic rules apply. In a social context, women generally kiss each other on both cheeks when they meet for the first time, while men will shake hands. If you're meeting a member of the opposite sex, or anyone for that matter, for the first time and you're not sure what to do, you can always play it safe and shake hands.


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Spaniards are a superstitious lot and never have a 'last drink' thinking it sounds unlucky, more your last drink on earth than last drink of the night. Instead Spaniards always suggest having the 'penúltimo', or second-last drink, no matter how late it is.


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Spaniards cherish their elders and adore their children and it is not unusual to see many generations of a family socializing together. Children stay out late here and are welcome everywhere so if you have got kids, take them, and grandmother, along to the party.


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When it comes to toasting in Spain, people under 40 look each other in the eyes in a relatively new tradition, taken from the German legend that says if you do fail to do so, you will have seven years of bad sex.


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A botellón (Spanish for big bottle) involves socializing while drinking outside. It can mean anything from hanging around in a doorway to going to a mega, council-sponsored event with thousands of people. You should take your own booze either spirits and mixers (rum with lemon is a firm favourite) or Kalimotxo, red wine mixed with cola. Botellónes start to wind down around 3am when people tend to move on to clubs.


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Smoking is viewed as more of a sociable activity than a dirty vice in Spain and Spaniards have a tolerant attitude towards smoking with many of them lighting up indoors when at a private party. In restaurants and public buildings however, smoking is banned.


Photo: Gianni Cumbo

Be prepared to stay out very late. Everything starts later in Spain: mealtimes are much later than in English-speaking countries, lunch is around 2pm while dinner can be after 10pm. Most clubs open their doors at midnight, but you will find that people generally do not turn up until 2 or 3am and can stay out way past sunrise

READ MORE: How to sound cool on a night out in Spain


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In many Spanish bars you pay up at the end of the night, so splitting the bill is more common than buying rounds. In terms of tipping, while Spaniards do sometimes leave small change, 10 percent is usually more than enough.