Be ready to discover that there isn’t one single Spanish culture but many different cultures in one country. It’s a great idea to visit at least two (but ideally 3 if you have at least 10 days to travel) different areas: Madrid and Andalusia/Seville, or Basque Country/Bilbao and Catalonia/Barcelona.
Have a mind open to realise the differences between each community: sometimes even a totally different language, sometimes opposite politic views, always a quite different historical base (from the Romans, to the Muslims, from the Celtics and the Iberian tribes to the medieval lords). Day trips out of the city are a great opportunity to get the feel of that even more, because you get away from the noise of the city and plunge into more authentic and untouched territory.
Contributor: Marta Laurent from ForeverBarcelona.com