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    Vatican City: Vatican Museums. Go Now!

    Vatican City
    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

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    Albania: Village of Theth! Go Now!

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    Albania is unique in Europe, starting with its Muslim heritage, but expanding to include food, culture, and even its natural beauty. Explore Albania!

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    United Kingdom
    This country includes England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland with four distinct cultures to match. Explore the United Kingdom!

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    Ukraine: Traditional Village. Go Now!

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    Ukrainian culture is based on village life, particularly that found in the Carpathian Mountains (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

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    Latvia is small, but has a diverse history, foods, and architecture (shown), which includes aspects from both Eastern and Western Europe. Begin Your Journey!

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Social Life in Spain

Behavior

The Spanish are very well aware of the world around them as well as the differences in opinions and behaviors. Because of this they are quite understanding of various cultures and foreigners so odd behaviors are generally accepted (but not encouraged).

Your behavior should begin with modesty as being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or dressing provocatively will get you stares. Likewise, placing yourself above others or boasting is viewed negatively.

As a visitor to Spain, just try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing in like manner (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Spain Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart.

Dress

When many people think of traditional Spanish dress they immediately think of the brightly-colored and flowing dresses found in Andalusian and on flamenco dancers, but this is just one style among many in Spain's history. In fact, Spain has almost always been a leader in the fashion industry and trying to peg a single design or outfit as being more traditional than another is a mistake. It was the Spanish who invented, or at least encouraged the spread of, hoop skirts (farthingales), the fan-shaped standing collar (wisk), the capotain, which is similar to the top hat or bowler, capes, corsets, and of course the Andalusian dresses. Today, most people consider the Andalusian dresses and styles to be the "traditional dress," but this was not worn by many people in the past or today.

Today many of the local and better-known traditional outfits of Spain are still present, but not for everyday wear. Flamenco dancers and bull fighters continue to wear these outfits as do other performers. Today, most people wear modern western-styled clothes, some of which was originally influenced from these historic Spanish outfits. No matter the style, the Spaniards tend to remain fashionable and on the verge of new styles and designs.

As a visitor to Spain any western-styled clothing is acceptable, but trying a new fashion may get you a great reaction as everyone is always looking at the dress of others... of course if your attempt fails you may get plenty of strange looks. No matter what you wear, the Spaniards are tolerant of various styles and are quite liberal in the sense that shorts and short-sleeved shirts are well accepted, as are tight-fitting clothes, although try to avoid wearing anything that is too revealing. Lastly, sunbathing naked or women sunbathing topless is only permitted in certain places so always be sure to know where this is allowed before doing so.

This page was last updated: November, 2013