BEFORE YOU COME…
You will probably feel intimidated when traveling to a foreign country. Here are some tips that will help you. If you have more questions or doubts, please, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will answer them!!
U.S., Canada and Australia passport holders don´t need a visa for stays of up to three months in Spain
To travel to Spain it is not necessary to get vaccinated against any disease.
The time zone on the Spanish mainland and the Balearic Islands is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 1 hour in winter and + 2 hours in summer.
Spain changes its time between summer and winter for daylight saving. This means that the last weekend in October the clocks go back 1 hour (at 3am it is 2am) and the last weekend in March they go forward 1 hour (at 2am it is 3am).
Calling to Spain: Dial your international access code followed by Spain country code: 34 and the phone number you want to contact.
Calling from Spain: Dial the international access code: 00, followed by your country and the phone number you want to contact.
Electricity supply in Spain is AC 220 Volts, 50 Hertz. Sockets meet European regulations and use the round pin system. Make sure that the electrical appliances you are going to use (computers, mobile phone chargers, electrical shavers…) work at this voltage or that you have the proper adapters and transformers.
The currency in Spain is the EURO (€), as in other European Union countries. The euro is divided into 100 cents.
- There are eight different coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent, and 1 and 2
- There are seven different bank notes, for the following amounts: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500
However, paying your purchases with 200€ or 500€ bills can be problematic in certain shops or stores. You will probably see signs telling that they do not accept them.
ATMs are located throughout Spain so, debit and credit cards are the most efficient and convenient way to get money.
Payment using recognized international credit cards, Visa is the best, is also commonly available in Spanish shops. They usually have signs indicating this option at the entrance to the establishment. When you make a payment you should show your passport or ID card.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT FORGET to talk to your bank before you leave your country. Inform them that you will be travelling to Spain and make sure that you have the correct PIN. If not, your account could be frozen after one transaction.
At all bank offices. Usually, they open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 8.30 to 14.00 h (except in the months of June through September, when they remain closed on Saturday). It is also available at currency exchange shops at all major cities, as well as selected hotels and travel agencies.
Non-European Union residents may request a reimbursement of the V.A.T. sales-tax (Value Added Tax, IVA in Spain) when taking goods out of the EU. This applies to minimum purchases of 90.15 Euros.
Dial 112 free of charge (valid throughout Spain). Service is given in Spanish, and also in English, French and German in some tourist areas.
Although you will receive medical attention in an emergency, this will be liable for payment. It is therefore advisable to take out medical insurance. In any case, you should contact the relevant office in your country of origin for full details regarding current requirements to receive medical care in Spain.
The Spanish National Health Service has an extensive network of health centers and hospitals throughout the country. The Health centers offer primary health care services (family/GP services, pediatrics and nursing, with availability of midwives, physiotherapists and social workers). They are aimed to be located within 15 minutes of any place of residence. If circumstances require, medical attention can be given at the patient’s residence.
Also, in rural areas and in small villages there are local surgeries open on certain days with visits from healthcare staff from the region.
Hospitals offer specialized attention, with access via referral from primary healthcare services. There are also Accident and Emergency services available at hospitals and some health centers. You can check hospitals and health centers in Spain at the website of the Ministry of Health.
In Spain, medications are obtained at pharmacies. They are all marked with a green cross. You will get your prescriptions from your doctor. If you come from a country in the European Union, or your country has health agreements with Spain, you will have the same prescription drug benefits as Spanish citizens.
VARIETY is the main characteristic of the climate here, due to Spain’s immense geographical diversity. So that if you travel to the north or west, Galicia and the Cantabrian coast, you will find a mild climate with high rainfall. Winters are mild and in summer temperatures rarely exceed 25ºC.
Nevertheless, Spain is one of the warmest countries in Europe and has a predominantly warm Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and winters with balanced temperatures.
Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe for visiting tourists.
As in any country, there are basic security measures to bear in mind…
- Try not to walk around empty streets or poorly-lit areas, and avoid street gambling stalls.
- Try to carry only the money you need for any one excursion.
- Take care of your possessions in crowded places such as public transport or department stores.
- When relaxing in public places, keep valuable objects like mobile phones and cameras out of view.
Do not forget advice from security experts: Prevention is the best cure for this kind of problem. If you need help you can contact the Police on 112.
No; in every single establishment in Spain, service is included with the price of the meal or drink. However, tipping is a common practice at bars and restaurants, hotels, and taxis, depending on the total price for the service, and on the generosity of the client. It is usually around five to ten percent of the total price.
Drinking water supply is guaranteed throughout Spain. We have stringent control systems that guarantee water quality. Although, and just to play safe, we recommend drinking bottled water.
Spain uses the Metric (Decimal) System, with seven basic units of measurement, known as the International System of Units (SI), which is valid throughout the European Union. The system governs all units of weight, measurement and distance (meter, kilogram, second, litre, ton…). You have to know that:
- 1 kilo= 2 pounds 3 ounces.
- 1 meter = 3 feet and 3 inches
- 20ºC = 68ºF / 25ºC = 77ºF /30ºC = 86ºF
- Breakfast: is usually from 8 - 10 or 11 am.
- Lunch: at restaurants, is served from 1 - 3.30 pm.
- Dinner: is usually served from 8.30 to 11 pm. Many establishments are open continuously throughout the day, especially bars and cafeterias; there you can have "tapas", appetizers, and combo meals.
Night time in Spain has a very special meaning, specialy from Thursday to Sunday. Pubs, bars, and nightclubs usually stay open until 3 or 4 am. In all major cities you can find places that are open until dawn.
However, during our tours we try to ensure that meals will be served following the European or Anglo-Saxon countries schedule, not the Spanish.
Big shopping centres and department stores open from 9 - 10 am to 9 - 10 pm uninterruptedly. These big stores open sometimes on Sunday.
The most common business hours are Monday through Saturday, from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm and from 4.30 to 8.00 pm. In coastal cities, in high season, shops are usually open past 10 pm. Pharmacies open from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm, and from 4.30 to 8 pm. In all major cities you can find pharmacies that open 24 hours. Pharmacies follow a rolling late-hour schedule, which is published in the newspapers, and is posted at all pharmacies.
- Consulate and Embassy address: Calle Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid
- Phone number: 34 915 87 22 00
- Web page: http://madrid.usembassy.gov/index.html
- Consulate and Embassy address: Torre Espacio, Paseo de la Castellana, 259D, 28046 Madrid
- Phone number: 34 91 382 84 00
- Web page: canada.gc.ca
- Email address: email@example.com