Spaniards like to relax, have fun, hang out with friends, stay up all night and sleep late. It is the perfect country for teenagers. Teens in Spain enjoy socializing at parties but double-dating is rare. Instead, dating is done as a couple, and the cost of the date is split between the two people. The customs of Spanish teenagers are a mixture of the old and the new -- much like Spain itself. Some customs enjoyed by Spanish teens date to the Middle Ages, while others are as new as the Internet.
Hanging Out in El Centro
Hanging out with friends in "el centro" (downtown) is a custom enjoyed by teenagers around the world, but nowhere as much as in Spain. Teens get ready to go out at 10 or 11 p.m., and stay out until 6 a.m. socializing with their friends, dancing at the discotecas, and eating tapas or small snacks. Eighteen-year-olds can drink alcohol in Spain, but they rarely drink excessively. Binge-drinking is frowned upon. Sloppy dressing also is frowned upon. Spanish teenagers dress nicely to go dancing, and closed footwear is required to enter many of the clubs.
Fiestas are regular occurrences in every town in Spain. Teens enjoy the feasts and parades often associated with fiestas. Some fiestas are based on religion, and occur around major religious holidays or events associated with a town's patron saints; other fiestas celebrate the anniversary of some historic event. In Spain, a teen is never far from a fiesta.
Spain has beaches on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Teens enjoy sailing, scuba diving, surfing and wind-surfing all year long at the beach. They wear full wet suits during the winter, but shorts during the summer. Spanish teens often go to the beach as a pandilla -- a club or group of friends with a shared interest.
Theme parks, amusement parks and water parks are popular with Spanish teenagers. Inland Spain is a hot dry country, so a day at a water park is a summer custom for many inland teenagers. Some of the more exciting water parks are Aquopolis in Madrid, Aqualandia in Benidorm, and Aquarama in Benicassim. All of these parks have rides, slides, waterfalls and zip-lines to cool off teen visitors. Theme parks include Universal Studios' Port Aventura near Barcelona and Warner Brothers Park in Madrid. Some of the amusement parks in Spain are more than 100 years old. Parks such as the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid, the Parque de Atracciones del Tibidabo in Barcelona, and Tívoli Park in Malaga have been renovated but retain their classic appeal.
Flat Land Sports
Football, or what Americans call soccer, also is popular with Spanish teens. Kids grow up playing soccer in school and on the weekends. It is a customary part of daily life for many Spanish teens. Moreover, every four years, the entire country is glued to the television to watch the World Cup. Formula One racing also is popular with Spanish teens. Although the Grand Prix runs only one weekend a year, famous Spanish drivers such as Fernando Alonso are treated like rock stars all year long. Finally, bullfighting, the national sport, is enjoyed by children with their parents, and by teens attending as a pandilla.
Going to one of the mountain regions in Spain is a year-round custom for many Spanish teenagers. In summer, they go to escape the heat and to do some rock climbing. In the wintertime, skiing and snowboarding are popular. A mountain adventure is the perfect getaway for city-dwelling teens.