A handshake? Much too formal! One alternative is a peck on the cheek, particularly in the Mediterranean countries. A brief guide to kissing
Friends? Strangers? Makes no difference in Spain: The first kiss is on the right cheek, the second on the left. Only men greet each other with a handshake.
It’s the other way around in Italy: first left, then right. Intercultural kissing can lead to a clash of noses. Unlike in Spain, Italian men greet each other with baci too – if they are friends.
The French bise is a true science: Parisians kiss right first, then left. In eastern France, they start with the left. In rural areas, three or four kisses are customary. The more reserved Northerners in Brittany make do with just one.