Everyone who comes to Spain wants to try tapas, one of the most famous of Spanish traditions. But many don’t understand it. A ‘tapa’ is not a type of food, it’s a way of eating it. Tapas are small portions, but they can be of anything. And to ‘go for tapas’ (tapear in Spanish) does not mean ordering a lot of dishes in one restaurant (though, of course, you can), but to bar-hop, eating a different tapa in each bar.

Bullfighting, the most controversial of Spanish traditions, is a mixed blessing for Spain. From abroad it is seen as a very curious thing to see and they view it as a fascinating insight into Spanish culture, but it is also a stain on the country’s reputation for others. Bullfighting is nowhere near as popular as it used to be, but it still features prominently in the country’s self-image. Bullfighting as a pastime may be dying.

Probably the most famous Spanish tradition – but so often misunderstood. Firstly, flamenco is not a dance. It sometimes has dancing in it. Flamenco actually is a musical style, with far more emphasis on the guitar, vocals and rhythm than the dancing. In fact, the whole idea of flamenco dancing is a little paradoxical. True flamenco is spontaneous. To see Flamenco dancing in Spain, you need to go to a show at a “tablao”.