5 Useful Tips for Eating Out Alone in Spain and Not Feel Awkward

The food culture in Spain is one of international fame and glory. Delicious wines and tapas for cheap in a vibrant ambiance while dining with the locals! Sounds like the most fulfilling travel experience when you travel in Spain, doesn’t it? But what to do when you spend your evenings eating out alone in Spain? I have some useful tips for all you solo travellers out there that will prevent feeling akward when you eat out in Spain.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.

Read more about my adventures as a solo female traveller.

Food culture in Spain

The Spanish food culture is mainly focussed on sharing. World famous is their paella. A big pan of rice, seafood and other delicious foods from the local countryside. You do not make 1 pan of paella for yourself, it is made to share with the whole family. Or the street or village, depending on the size of the pan.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
Paella for 2

Or the Spanish tapas. Little bites to eat when having a drink before dinner or a full platter of delicious meats, cheeses and other things to nibble on that make up for a whole meal! You can always order a “raciones”, which means racion or portion. You’ll get a smaller portion of a full plater, made to share.

But you don’t walk into a crowded local bar to shout your orders at the counter and then nibble on 5 different types of tapas all by yourself. No! You share it with your friends. They try some cold cuts, while you have a bunch of croquettes and you share it amongst each other to taste a bit of everything. Not really a setting you’ll enjoy as a solo traveller and you can feel quite akward with your tapas platter and nobody to share it with. Solo dining in Spain is hard!

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
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Eating out in Spain

Restaurant life and eating out in Spain is the most common thing to do. Maybe your mama will make you an excellent lunch which you will eat at home. But for breakfasts, pre-diner drinks and diner it is perfectly normal to eat out.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
Sharing Churros over breakfast

When I travelled solo in Barcelona, I was looking for a nice place to eat by myself. But the restaurants where all so crowded, they didn’t want to sacrifice a table for just one person eating in. All they could offer me, was a place at the bar on a very uncomfortable bar stool. No thanks.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
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My 5 useful tips for eating out alone in Spain for solo travellers

But I travelled a lot since then. And learned a lot about dining alone while travelling without feeling akward as a solo traveller. These 5 tips for eating out can be applied to eating out wherever in the world, but they are particularly important for eating out alone in Spain, as the Spanish food culture is quite different than the rest of the world.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
Or occupy yourself with other activities while you wait for your food.

Don’t go dining solo in Spain

Maybe a bit obvious, but if you do not like eating out alone in Spain, then don’t go solo. Because of the easy going character of Spanish food culture, it is perfectly normal to eat out with an almost perfect stranger.

In France, you’ll be stuck as a romantic table for two with candle lights in between (owh wait that was in Peru, awkward) but in Spain you’ll just stand shoulder to shoulder at a crowded bar with other strangers. Or you’re so close to the other table, you have to remind yourself not to take their bread because it is closer to you than the one on your table. (True story).

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
Pinxtos in Barcelona

Eating out in Spain with other solo travellers

One of the best way to meet new people when you travel solo, is to stay in a hostel. I have not always made instant friends with the people in my dorm room, but I did strike up a friendly conversation with the people hanging out in the common area. As most of the people staying in hostels are also travelling solo, it is very easy to just say: I am going out for diner, anyone wants to join me? Voila, instant eating out companion it is.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
A bit much for one person, so please share with others.

Join a Food tour in Spain

This must have been one of my biggest discoveries from the past year. After my food tour in Nice, I was very eager to try a few food tours in Andalusia. I joined a food tour in Malaga and realized I didn’t need to have lunch by myself. We were with a whole group of fun people! Excellent.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
Trying out new things

During my evening food tour of Seville, I had a lovely sampling of all kinds of Spanish tapas, while enjoying the company of some interesting people who became instant friends. Diner and a good conversation? This solo traveller didn’t feel akward at all while eating out alone in Spain!

Looking for a Food Tour in Barcelona? Check out times and prices for the Walking Tour with Tapas & History in the old city of Barcelona*.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
Delicious vegetarian food

Reschedule your feeding frenzy times

While travelling in Spain, I was almost constantly hungry. Only 7 pm, darn, still cannot go out for diner, it is wayyyyy to early! A sandwich in the afternoon just doesn’t cut it to last you through the whole (longgggg) afternoon until it is an appropriate time to have diner. Ugh.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
Snacks in between meals

Long lunches in Spain

In Spain, it is perfectly normal to have a 3 course warm lunch in the afternoon. It is something different than tapas but you can enjoy some local specialties over lunch too!

While I stuffed my face in the afternoon, I wasn’t hungry for the rest of the day. Eating out alone in the afternoon felt less awkward than at night and I just ate a small snack or little tapas in the evening, and I was good to go for a good night sleep and another day on my road trip around Andalusia.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
A little bit for everyone

Dine solo at a different time

Another advantage of having an exuberant lunch is the fact that places are less crowded. I had my different tapas tastings in the afternoon. There was plenty of room for me to sit at a table and I still was able to sample all the different flavours of the Spanish cuisine.

It feels more common to have lunch on your own and you feel less akward as a solo traveller eating out alone in Spain.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
Platter fit to share

Of course, you can eat out at 6 pm if the restaurant or tapas bar is open. It will not be that crowded and people will not stare at you for being alone. But then you miss out on an important part of Spanish eating out culture, which usually doesn’t start until well after 8 pm.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
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Last but not least: do not give a f*ck about solo dining!

Excuse me for the language but it is something we all think. I must confess I myself have not nailed this point a full 100% but I am getting there. When you do find yourself hungry in Spain when travelling alone and you want to eat out as a solo traveller: just do it.

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
Small portion size food for sharing

You found a nice tapas bar or restaurant, didn’t arrive too early and are ready to feast on some fantastic food tonight. GO FOR IT! Don’t give a dime for some stares or glares from others.

Truth is, you are not the centre of the universe and you are not that important. Nobody of the 125 people in that tapas bar will stop eating because you are eating out solo. It is more likely that they will ask you to join them!

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
What would be the first thing you’d taste?

Have you ever travelled solo in Spain? How did you handle the eating out alone situation? Please share your solo diner tips when traveling in the comment section below. Buen provecho!

Spanish food culture is based on sharing. As a solo traveller in Spain, you can feel akward dining solo. Here are my tips for eating out alone in Spain.
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66 Comments

  1. Pingback: Travel and The Art of Eating Dinner Solo - Eternal Arrival

  2. Oh, your article reminded me of the first day alone in Barcelona, after my friend decided not to join the day before the trip. I felt so miserable and I couldn’t get a table for one anywhere, without having a paella for 2 or a jug of sangria (made for sharing, of course). I was in a hotel, as it was supposed to be a girls weekend, so no people to hand around with. But the following day I went to the free walking tour and met another single girl traveling around Barcelona. We decided to stick together and we had the time of our life, including dinners and sangria. 🙂 We became friends and met the following year in Mallorca. How cool is that? 🙂

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