8 Myths about Spain debunked!

Before my move to Madrid, Spain there were a couple of things that I was always almost certain happened here. These were the images I had of Spain based on hearsay, television and novels. Boy was I in for a shock when I found out how untrue most of these stereotypes or should I say myths were. Below are a few of these myths I have put together.

1.  Shorter working hours!:


When I think of Spaniards, I think of people that love to live life to the fullest. i.e work less and play hard. During my time in the office, I have been aware of individuals who come in at 8 or 9 am and stay late up to 9 pm sometimes. Some of my Business students have told me that Spain is actually one of the European countries with the longest working hours. I would say this was the biggest shock for me. 

2. Siestas:


Excerpt: www.pinterest.com

When I was in high school during my very first Spanish class, my teacher told us about her study abroad experience. She kept mentioning how everyone would have a hearty lunch and then take a nap from 2-5pm and then continue working for the day. This idea of a siesta was a new concept for me then and I thought it was pretty cool. 7 years later, now in Madrid I don’t know any Spaniard here that does this. Especially if they have a full time job. Whenever I mention siesta to them, they scoff like it was a fairy tale they wish they could experience. 

3. Watch out, a bull!


Excerpt: minnesotaconnected.com

Well this one was not really my idea of Spain. It was more of my parent’s. Every year in the U.S. they show on the news the running of the bulls and how many Americans are gored. My parents being very apprehensive, called me during my first week in Spain and this is exactly what they said “Be careful with the bulls on the street. Try and avoid their pathway”. I actually laughed out loud when they said this. After laughing for a good 10 minutes, I explained to them that it only happened in Pamplona, Spain on special occasions. 

4. All Spaniards look like Antonio Banderas


Excerpt: instinctmagazine.com

There was just one look I thought when it came to Spanish men; Antonio Banderas *Spanish guitar strung*.  I have come to learn that the Spanish come in a variety of looks. In the north of Spain, many possess western/ northern European features while in the south many are more tan, dark hair and so forth. In Madrid, the Spanish didn’t look too different from the people (Caucasian) back home in America.

5. Everyone is a football fanatic



The whole world knows how crazy the Spanish are when it comes to football (soccer). Two teams are well known worldwide: Real Madrid & Fc Barcelona. In my mind, every single Spanish ate, breathe, slept, or at least thought football. Right now, I have met so many Spaniards that couldn’t give a hoot about football.  

6. The Spanish can’t get enough of Flamenco


Excerpt: guideinmadrid.com

The number one cultural symbol about Spain is Flamenco. I had to make it a duty to watch a flamenco show. Naturally when I came here, I couldn’t stop talking about how I looked forward to seeing one. I have come to realize that most Spanish don’t care for flamenco and it could even be a sensitive or awkward topic to discuss. It is  mostly the tourists who are excited for Flamenco than the Spanish themselves. 

7. Zara is cheap


Excerpt: birminghameastside.com

Zara Zara Zara. For those shopaholics, you guys can’t get enough of Zara. In the U.S. shopping at Zara is seen as classy and chic. When I used to do my intercambio online with a Valencian, he told me how Zara is like the forever 21 of Spain and how cheap it was. I was excited to hear this because, it meant I could be able to buy a lot of clothes from there for a good amount. 

Upon my arrival, I felt slapped on the face when I saw how expensive (for an English teacher) it was for me. Ain’t no body paying €50 for a blouse! In addition many fashionable Spaniards shopped there. I don’t think I can compare Zara to forever 21. #nowayjosé

8. All schools wear uniforms.



Lastly, I always had the idea that all schools in Europe wore uniforms private or public. This was not the case during my stay here. 

Those were a few of my myths for Spain. Traveling has broadened my knowledge and has given me the ability to separate facts from opinions/myths.

What are a few myths you’ve had about Spain or another other country?

I hope you felt inspired! 

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Myths about Spain

2017-05-12T02:49:36+00:00 June 7th, 2016|YOUR VOICE|21 Comments


  1. Anita May 10, 2017 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Very true! I’ve been to Spain and did notice a “siesta” down time in the afternoons and it was hard to find a place for a snack. Maybe it only happens in smaller towns?

    • Hijabiglobetrotter May 11, 2017 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      Yes in smaller towns and in the south, it’s more likely however in major cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao etc it’s only in a few places.

  2. Janie May 10, 2017 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    My first international trip was in Spain and I think I had the same ideas as you about it! I think debunking myths is one of my favorite things about traveling. Great post! 😊

  3. departureandarrivals May 10, 2017 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    I love this post. Have to admit I also had some of these prejudices about Spain and Spanish people so it was nice reading about what you experienced 🙂

  4. Mia May 10, 2017 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    It’s so easy to have preconceived notions of places before we visit and it’s exciting to see how our perceptions change. As a Francophile, I’m not well versed in Spanish culture, so this was a great topic to learn about!

  5. Mia May 10, 2017 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    As a Francophile blogger, it’s fun to read more about preconceived notions of Spanish culture. Thanks for sharing your insight, I’ll make sure not to make point of asking for flamenco dancers when I visit this summer!

    • Hijabiglobetrotter May 11, 2017 at 1:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Mia! Thanks for your comment. Yeah the flamenco topic is a hit or miss with some Spanish, but for the majority of the Spanish people I spoke to, they didn’t seem so excited to discuss it. I would like to know some debunked myths about France 🙂

  6. Priyanka Banerjee May 10, 2017 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    I loved this post as it brought back such great memories from 2011 when I did an Erasmus semester in Madrid. I can totally relate to the siesta culture and in general, I miss so many things about the sunny country. Great post

    • Hijabiglobetrotter May 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      I know! I love Spain so much especially Madrid and I already miss it. Thanks for your comment

  7. Mercae Benge May 10, 2017 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    I’ll be honest, I’m disappointed not all Spaniards look like Antonio </3.

    • Hijabiglobetrotter May 11, 2017 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      hahaha. I was disappointed too but I’ve seen some rare gems. I couldn’t stop staring haha

  8. Jenn May 10, 2017 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    Darn It, I was really hoping to meet an Antonio Banderas looks alike! J/K I loved your post. I didn’t’ realize there were that many misconceptions, but i’ve heard them all.

  9. Stella the Travelerette May 11, 2017 at 1:54 am - Reply

    It was interesting to read about these myths. I learned the same thing about flamenco when I was in Barcelona. I am glad to hear that you don’t have to take a siesta to live in Spain. I hate naps!

  10. Memoirs of a Globetrotter May 11, 2017 at 2:35 am - Reply

    This was an interesting read! I thought Spanish people had short working hours and took siestas too.

    I saw a flamenco show in Madrid. I didn’t know it could be a sensitive or awkward topic for Spanish people.

    • Hijabiglobetrotter May 11, 2017 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      Thank You! Yes I based on my encounters with many Spanish people it felt uncomfortable talking about flamenco with them. except very very few people that actually loved the dance or danced it. Did you enjoy the flamenco show?

      • Memoirs of a Globetrotter May 12, 2017 at 3:00 am - Reply

        Yes, I did! The costumes were beautiful too. 🙂

  11. Ufuoma May 11, 2017 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Not all Spaniards like football? Shocking. It’s like saying not all Canadians like hockey but truly, some just do not care. Lol. This was fun to read and thanks for debunking these myths as I really thought Spaniards loved their siestas way too much.

    Thanks, loved it!!!

    • Hijabiglobetrotter May 11, 2017 at 2:05 pm - Reply

      Hahah yes! I thought everyone breathe football in Spain but I was so wrong. Lovely site you’ve got. Following you 🙂

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