5 Very Spanish Foods from Spain

1. Paella


Paella is a very popular rice dish from Valencia that has made its way all around the country and has become a staple dish in just about every corner you might visit. Chock full of shrimp and chicken, vegetables and oysters, paella is most commonly served for groups of 4 or more because of the giant woks used to slow cook the food.

2. Tapas


There is no one specific Spanish dish that is known as a tapa. The best way to think of a tapa is as a hors d’oeuvres in terms of size and variety, but instead of eating them as an appetizer they become somewhat of the main meal. A Spanish tapa is just that; it could be a small sandwich or a slice of something and are almost always finger-food. Getting together with some friends at a Spanish bar, ordering a variety of tapas, and getting lost in conversation is perhaps the most Spanish thing one could ever do.

3. Olives

Spanish Olives

Where to begin. It could be argued that the king doesn’t in fact rule Spain; olives rule Spain. They are everywhere! Spain is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of olives and olive oil in the world, which is very evident since it’s impossible to escape them. Thankfully they are just as delicious as they are ever present. Coming in a variety of flavors and cured brines, Spanish olives are addictive like no other and can be as easily downed as popcorn. Sitting out in a Spanish plaza with a cold beer and plate of olives is an absolute must.

4. Cocido Madrileño (if you’re in Madrid)

Captura de pantalla 2018-03-07 a las 13.01.16
Cocido Madrileño (Credit:

Cocido Madrileño is a fantastic dish that’s part chickpea soup and part meat concoction that’s commonly served during the winter months. Ripe with chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage), ham bones, and sometimes chicken, cocido madrileño will fill you up like you never thought possible.

5. Jamón Serrano

jamon 1


Spain is the world’s number one producer and importer of cured meats and is known the world over for its famous Jamón Serrano (Serrano Ham). Cut from a leg of ham with skilled culinary precision, Jamón Serrano is best eaten with cheese, a glass of wine and a couple slices of bread.



If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at letting us know so we can contact you to set up a free 20 minute consultation!

5 must-see cities to visit in Spain

1. Madrid


As the capital of Spain, Madrid is an absolute must-see. Home to over 3 million people, Madrid has just about everything you could imagine: beautiful shops and world-renowned museums, breathtaking mountains, classic parks, and rich and flavorful restaurants speckled all over the city. Just about the only thing Madrid doesn’t have is a beach since it’s the furthermost point in the Iberian Peninsula from any ocean, a conscious decision made over 500 years ago to protect the capital from invading armies. Must-sees: Retiro Park (Madrid’s version of Central Park in NY), Puerta del Sol, Templo de Debod (an Egyptian temple gifted to the Spanish government in 1972), Casa de Campo, Reina Sofia and Prado Museums, and last, but not least of all, Gran Via: arguably Madrid’s version of Times Square.

2. Granada

Spain 4

Located in the South-West corner of Spain in Andalucía, Granada is one of the oldest cities in all of Spain and, at one time during the height of the Moorish rule, was one of the main focal points of art and culture in the world. Conquered again by the Spanish in 1492, Granada has since remained a city of dazzling architecture and unique buildings due to its Islamic-Christian influence that spanned hundreds of years. Must-sees: The Alhambra.

3. Barcelona


Known the world over for its unique Antoni Gaudí architecture and designed spaces, Barcelona is a real gem. Whether you are a soccer fan, an architecture nerd, tourist or wander, Barcelona has something for you. Located on the North-East coast of Spain along the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is not only home to remarkable architecture and feats of human ingenuity but also to simple and tranquil scenes that one encounters sipping a cold drink on a beach as they watch the sun set. Must-sees: Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Güell Park, Casa Milá, and Camp Nou Stadium where FC Barcelona plays.

4. Puerto del Rosario


Located on one of the 7 archipelago islands that make up the Canary Islands (yes, the Canary Islands are a part of Spain. Think of them as Spain’s Hawaii), Puerto del Rosario is the largest city on the island of Fuerteventura. The latest Star Wars movie was almost exclusively filmed on this island because of its extraterrestrial look and feel due to its volcanic and desert environment. Puerto del Rosario, and the entire island in general, are home to some of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches on the planet, as well as some of the clearest night skies around, explaining why one of the world’s preeminent observatories is located on the island. Must-sees: Lobo Island, Oasis Park, the sand dunes of Corralejo, and every beach such as Costa Calma.

5. Pontevedra


Both city and municipality, Pontevedra is located in the North-West of Spain in the Autonomous Community (the equivalent of a state) of Galicia. Those visiting Pontevedra will find delicious seafood dishes such as Galician Seafood Rice (arroz marinero gallego) or Galician Octopus (pulpo a la gallega), as well as old cathedrals and medieval-era architecture that amazingly still stands today. Pontevedra is the perfect northern-coastal city getaway with picturesque beaches and local, fresh seafood. Must-sees: Leña Plaza, Church of the Virgin Pilgrimage, and the Monastery of Armenteira.



If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year, send us an email at letting us know so we can contact you to set up a free 20 minute consultation!

How to get a driver’s license in Spain

Guest Post:

If you have moved to Spain permanently, it is likely that you will want the freedom of having your own car and driving to where you want while you living here.

You can get away with using your international driver’s license for awhile, but once you are legally residing in Spain you need to change over to a Spanish license.

If you haven’t braved driving yet in Spain, you might want to check out this How to survive driving in Spain

Spain has agreements with some countries such as those within the EU and the UK so they aren’t required to re-take the driver’s exam. If you have a license from one of these countries, you can simply exchange the license from the other country of origin to a Spanish one for a fee. For more information on this process, see this article Renewing or exchanging EU driving licenses in Spain.

If you fail to register to get a Spanish driver’s license and you get caught you can be fined 200 Euros.

Unfortunately, this agreement does not extend to either Canada or the USA.  For either of these countries and many others, you will have to get your driver’s license from scratch—by taking the theoretical and practical exams.

What is the process of getting a driver’s license in Spain?

If you do have to go through the process to get a license in Spain, these are a few things you need to know:

The laws about driving and anything related to driving, including getting your license are regulated by Departamento Generál de Tráfico.

You must be 18 to drive in Spain.

Most cars are manual shifts, and the exam is taken in a manual car.

If you are nervous about taking your driver’s license with a manual shift you can do the exam with an automatic as an exception, but then your license will be restricted and you will only ever be able to drive an automatic car in Spain.

This will limit you to choices of what to buy in the future as there are almost no manual cars. My suggestion is to bite the bullet and learn to handle a manual shift. It will make life easier for you here once you learn.

Getting your license requires two exams: theoretical and practical.

Theoretical Exam

To get your driver’s license in Spain you will need to register with a government-recognized autoescuela.

“What????” I can already hear you screaming. “I have been driving for 20 years, why would I need to go to a driving school here?”

An excellent question, one that most of us who have had to go through the process have complained about. However, in Spain the entire system is set up so that you have to get a license through a Government-validated school.

Even before you can start your 1st class in the government-recognized autoescuela, you’ll have to gather the following:

  • Proof of legal residence in Spain for a minimum of 6 months – show a valid NIE or passport with visa affixed.
  • At least one photo for your physical license. ( these are standard size and all photo stores can take one in a moment)
  • Certificate of mental and physical health, called a certificado medico (The certificado medico is an exam that tests your vision and reflexes. It costs around 20€ – 25€. Ask at your autoescuela for the one nearest you)
  • The form Obtenación de Permiso de Conducir (available at all driving schools)
  • A photocopy of your license from your home country
  • 30€ registration fee

Do I really need to study for this, it is just a theory exam after all?

The short answer is yes, you need to study.

The theoretic exam is much more extensive than I expected. It is nothing like the theoretic exam in Canada which requires glancing at the booklet for a few days and answering 20 easy questions at the nearest Government office.

The first clue of what the exam might be like is from the thick textbook you are issued when you sign up for the driving school. You need to learn not only traffic laws, but also some information about car’s mechanics—I’m not just talking about how to change a tire—but details about the motor, basic first aid skills and other a few other topics thrown in for good measure.

The exam is multiple choice and full of trick questions.

One tip:  If your Spanish is above the most basic level I strongly suggest you take the exam in Spanish. You can request to take the exam in English, but the translation is so poor that you will have no idea what they are asking you. I took the exam when I was still very new in Spain and I wasn’t confident with my Spanish. Thinking it would be to my advantage I requested the exam in English but that was a huge mistake. The grammar was a direct translation from Spanish with the English words thrown in—as for the vocabulary, I don’t know where some of the words came from, but I think it was something Shakespeare may have been better able to decipher, but for anyone who only speaks modern English it was a bust. I failed. When I retook the exam in Spanish I was able to pass.

The autoescuela books the exam for you and tells you the day and time. When you arrive you wait in a holding area as someone calls out the names of everyone being examined that day. Make sure you show up with your identification or you won’t be writing the exam. In Madrid there are usually around 200 people taking the exam at a time.  Everyone is then usured into a large exam room. You are given ½ hour to write the exam.

Don’t bother trying to cheat as not everyone gets the same exam. On any given day they will hand out about 5 different exams so it is unlikely that the person sitting next to you will have the same one.

The practical exam

Most schools offer classes to help you pass the theoretic driver’s exam and then throw in about 5 road classes for free. After that, you have to pay per road class, and they are rather pricey.

If you already have your license you won’t have to worry about the expense of extra driving classes as you can already handle that.

As I was from a small town in the rocky mountains that had more deer, elk and bear traffic than cars, I took advantage of the 5 free classes to get tips for driving in Madrid city centre, maneuvering around the roundabouts and making sure I understood some of the laws that are different here from in Canada.

As I had been driving for years I wasn’t very concerned about the practical exam.

It is about what you would expect. You have to show that you are comfortable driving, know how to tackle a roundabout, can drive on a freeway and parallel park.

The part I found odd was that you don’t show up in your own car, rather you use the autoescuela’s car. The examiner rides shotgun and two other students as well as the driving instructor from your autoescuela ride in the back. The three students take turns doing the exam.

Final thoughts:

The price of autoescuelas varies a lot so it is best to shop around. As with almost everything the cheapest is not always the best. It is better to go with recommendations of friends or put a note on a Facebook group to get suggestions.

For more information check out the DGT website.

About the author:

Author-Kimberly Shellborn copia

Kimberly is a Canadian who has been living in Spain for over 15 years. She spends her free weekends and vacations with her family getting to know her adopted country.

Her blog, is all about helping you discover the best of what Spain has to offer.

Along with many of the top tourist attractions, she also includes some of the smaller, but equally as interesting off-the-beaten-path villages, side streets or attractions.



If you found this post to be helpful, take a look at our other posts as we discuss a variety of topics related to Spain. If you are interested in teaching and living in Spain for a year or need assistance becoming autónomo, send us an email at letting us know so we can contact you to set up a free 20 minute consultation!

RVF Spain Consultants as featured in

Captura de pantalla 2018-02-26 a las 16.11.24Article Title: RVF Spain Consultants

Recently, RVF Spain Consultants was featured in an article in a prominent Spain travel blog, We highly recommend this site as an all-encompassing travel companion for all things related to Spain. The original article featuring RVF Spain Consultants can be found here.

Excerpts from the Article


Spain, a dream destination for all!! Who doesn’t want to visit this enchanting country in Europe and be lost in paradise. The sun, the sand, the beaches, the food and the culture of Spain entices you to stay longer and experience more. You can live that dream of yours to travel, live and/or work in Spain by consulting the services of RVF Spain Consultants – The experts in helping you live, work and teach in Spain

Founder, Harrison Fowler

Getting residency in Spain or a NIE card or, even for that matter, marrying a Spanish national, can be a debilitating task making you lose all hopes and future dreams. Harrison Fowler, the founder of RVF Spain Consultants, has gone through the same experience himself.

But he didn’t give up and continued to struggle, and today is well settled with a Spanish national (his wife), a job and residency. This has motivated him to make all the lives of those wishing to travel, visit, live or work in Spain easier by helping you live out your dream in Spain.

RVF Spain Consultants

I, an Indian national, married to a Spanish national and holding a job in Spain, know how difficult and exhausting the path can be, and hence, would recommend you to consult RVF Spain Consultants to be where we are.

RVF Spain Consultants  offers various services including assistance with the North American Language and Cultural Assistants program, a Spanish government program that brings in native English speakers from around the world to teach in Spain for one year as they get paid. RVF Spain Consultants will assist you with the entire process from start to finish and will make sure you are comfortanbly and succesffully settled in Spain by assuring you have all the basics such as a working phone and bank account.

They also offer Autonomo assistance, NIE extranjero assistance, Spanish residency and Empadronamiento and 1-on-1 and/or group Spanish classes via Skype. You can also book a free 20 minutes of consultancy with them to see what they offer and how they can assist you before you ever make the decision of moving forward with their services.

We thank Wander Pie for their kind words and generous article. If you are about to visit Spain for whatever reason, or currently are living here, visiting their site to help achieve the most during your stay is an absolute must.

RVF Spain Consultants as featured in

Captura de pantalla 2018-02-28 a las 10.11.15Article Title: This Kentucky boy finds love in Spain, and a niche for his business

Recently, RVF Spain Consultants was featured in an article in a prominent Spain travel blog, Travelling Around Spain. We highly recommend this site as an all-encompassing travel companion for all things related to Spain. The original article featuring RVF Spain Consultants can be found here.

Excerpts from the article

Founder, Harrison Fowler

Inevitably, some visitors find reasons to stay longer. Some for the culture, some for the weather and the fact that it is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to live in—but many for love.

The latter reason is the case of Harrison Fowler, originally from Kentucky in the USA. He studied Spanish at University so decided to come to Spain to fine tune his Spanish skills.

Once in Spain, he met Alejandra, whom he said he fell head over heels for almost immediately.

For this love story to continue Harrison needed to find a way to stay in Spain and spend more time with Alejandra. He applied for work as a Conversation Assistant in a Government program for Bilingual schools.

Once Harrison popped the question, he decided to stay in Spain. He said, “ultimately I wanted to be wherever she was.” He added that as they were both bilingual they would have job opportunities in Spain that may not be as available to them in the States.

Business Venture

After dealing with the headaches of bureaucracy when applying for his residence and work permit, Harrison realized that probably other people are having the same struggle. Out of his own bureaucratic nightmare,  RVF Spain Consultants was born.

Harrison offers the service of helping new arrivals to find their feet in Spain. As he has waded through the paperwork for the  North American Language and Cultural Assistants program for Teacher’s Assistants, he felt he can be a help to others facing the same overwhelming amounts of paperwork. (I wish there had been such a service years ago when I had to fill out the paperwork for that program! Trust me it is a nightmare if you don’t have someone walking you through it)

He also offers the service of helping people through the paperwork of getting a work visa,  a NIE, starting a business or even something seemingly simple as helping people get a sim card for their phone. Any of these tasks is daunting in a new country, but much more so if someone isn’t fluent in Spanish.

Harrison offers a free initial consultation to help people with the bureaucratic mess. If you would like to learn more about what services are included, head to his web page:

We thank Travelling Around Spain for their kind words and generous article. If you are about to visit Spain for whatever reason, or currently are living here, visiting their site to help achieve the most during your stay is an absolute must.