Here you'll find useful information for preparing your trip to Spain. We give you practical tips on documentation, safety, healthcare, what clothes to pack, the usual timetables in Spain, currency, tourist cards, public holidays… so you're all set when you arrive. You'll find the whole list below.
Entry requirements and procedures
What documentation do I need in order to travel to Spain?
Entry requirements and visas
A full British passport, valid for the duration of the visit only, is required to enter mainland Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands. Children included in an adult’s passport must be under 16 years of age.
EU, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland citizens do not require visas for visits whatever their length.
Holders of passports valid for the entire period of the visit, issued by Australia Canada, Japan and the USA do not require visas for visits of fewer than 90 days, but a special visa is required for longer stays.
What type of clothing should I pack?
In Spain, people dress differently according to the season, the place they are going to, and the circumstances. In the coast, because of the mild climate, it is usually not necessary to pack warm clothes; while in the interior, you should dress according to the season. In the interior of Spain, temperatures vary greatly from one season to the next, with very cold winters, and really hot summers. Spanish people don't dress up too much to go out, although of course, it depends on where you are going.
What is the weather like in Spain?
Spain, one of the warmest countries in Europe:
Spain's predominant climate is Mediterranean-temperate, with dry summers, and pretty constant temperatures during the winter. In Spain, you will enjoy more than three thousand hours of sunlight. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that this region is one of the warmest in Europe.
In this sense, we should mention the Canary Islands. Because of its peculiar location, in front of the African coastline, these islands enjoy a mild climate, with generous temperatures (the annual average on the coasts being 22ºC), without a major difference in weather between daytime and night time.
However, the main characteristic of Spanish climate is its variety, due in part to Spain's geographical diversity.
This way, if we travel north to the Cantabrian coast we will find a humid, temperate climate, with mild winters, and gentle summers that rarely go over 25º C.
In the higher areas of the country, the climate gets rougher, and snow is frequent from the beginning of winter to the end of spring. Such is the case in the Pyrenees, Sierra Nevada, the Central Mountains, the Iberian Mountains, the Cantabrian Mountains, etc.
Health and safety
How does the Spanish Health Care System work?
The Spanish National Health Care System has a vast network of medical centres and hospitals, spread across the country? They offer all primary care services, as well as specialised attention. For listings of Spanish Hospitals visit web
Where can I find the embassy or consulate of my country in Spain?
Foreign embassies and consulates in Spain
Where do I buy my medication?
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.
Can I take my own medicines when travelling to Spain?
If you have an existing medical condition and require special treatment or diet you are advised to carry a letter from your doctor, translated into Spanish, indicating the nature of the condition, treatment and medicines required. If any of your medicaments fall in the controlled drugs category, you need to comply with regulations on drugs exports in your own country. Then you need to apply for the Spanish import license at your nearest Spanish consulate with the following doccumentation: - License for exportation of controlled drugs - Full name, current address and contact telephone number of applicant or Drug Unit.- Flight details (dates) and destination address in Spain.- A FAX number or address details to send the Spanish Import License once we receive it from Spain.Special dietary products are available from health shops and pharmacies.
Where do I call in the case of an emergency?
The emergency phone number is 112, valid and free in the entire Spanish territory.
Is Spain a safe country?
Spain, one of the safest countries:
In general terms, 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.
As a citizen of the European Union, what should I know about health care in Spain?
You will require your European Health Card (EHC): The European Health Card has now replaced the former E111 temporary stay form. It entitles you to the same medical care as before, identical to that received by Spanish citizens. It is valid for the period shown on the card.
You are entitled to free medical and hospital care: Having shown your European Health Card (EHC), you will be seen by a GP during surgery hours at a local health centre or at your accommodation if you are unable to make the journey. If you need to see a specialist or go into hospital, the GP will give you the relevant medical certificate or referral. Accident and Emergency services are available at general hospitals and medical centres in holiday resorts. Private doctors and hospitals in Spain do not accept the European Health Card.
What you should know about medical care if you come from a non EU member state.
Countries that have community regulations: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. They have the same health regulations as the rest of the member states.Countries with bilateral agreements with Spain: Andorra, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay. You can also receive free medical and hospital attention in case of emergency due to illness or accident. For this you must issue the certificate corresponding to your country. If you have left it behind, you will have to pay any hospital, medical or pharmaceutical bills in advance, so keep the bills and then seek reimbursement of your expenses from the organisation to which you belong.Other countries: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.
What is the currency in Spain?
The euro. In Spain, as in most other countries of the European Union, the official currency is the euro since January of 2002.
One euro has 100 cents.
There are eight different coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, €1 and € 2.
There are seven different notes: € 5, € 10, € 20, € 50, € 100, € 200, and € 500.
How much money will you need for expenses during your stay?
The average prices for products and services can vary according to the province and the season. As a general guideline, below is a list of approximate prices for some services and products:
A single metro (underground) or bus ticket costs around €1.30.
A beer may cost between €1.60 and €6 in a fashionable venue.
A cinema ticket costs between €5 and €9.
A theatre ticket costs between €12 and €30.
A ticket to the opera or a concert could cost between €50 and €100.
A full breakfast –coffee, croissant or pastry, and juice– may vary between €2 and €4 depending on the establishment.
A daily set menu in a mid-range to inexpensive restaurant will cost around €10.
Accommodation by category (approximate prices per double room):
5-star: between €200 and €300, 4-star: between €100 and €200
3-star: between €60 and €100, 2 stars or less: less than €60.
How else can I pay?
With credit cards:
Payment using recognised international credit cards 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.
With traveller's cheques:
Traveller's cheques, accompanied by a passport, are also accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops.
Where can I exchange foreign currency?
This service is available at all bank offices, 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.
Is tipping mandatory?
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.
Timetables and public holidays
When are the shops open?
The most usual business hours are from Monday-Saturday, from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, and 4:30 to 8 pm. Major shopping centres and department stores are open all day from 10 am to 9 or 10 pm. The main department stores and shopping centres also open their doors to the public on some Sundays in the year. Establishments usually stay open until after 10 pm in the high season in coastal areas. What's more, in a number of cities opening hours are unregulated, and shoppers thus have a wider range of opening hours.
Chemists are usually open from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and from 4:30-8 pm, although in major cities some chemists stay open round the clock. There is a rota of duty chemists for night-time and weekend services which displayed in each establishment and published in the newspapers.
When are the national public holidays in Spain?
Certain dates are public holidays in Spain, and they can be national, regional or local.
At what time are meals served in Spain?
Breakfast is usually served from eight to ten in the morning. Lunch, at restaurants, is served between 13.00 to 15.30 h. Dinner is served from 20.30 to 23.00 h. Many establishments are open continuously throughout the day, especially bars and cafeterias; there you can have "tapas", appetisers, and combo meals.
Cinemas usually have flexible hours, starting around 16.30 to 17.00 h. The last showing is around 22.00, although there are cinemas with midnight shows in all major cities. Theatres usually have a single show, which normally starts around 20.00 h.
Night time in Spain has a very special meaning, specially from Thursday to Sunday. Pubs, bars, and nightclubs usually stay open until three or four in the morning. In all major cities you can find places that are open until dawn.
What time is it in Spain?
The peninsular territory and Balearic Islands go by the Greenwich Meridian time zone (GTM), plus 1 hour in the winter, and 2 hours in the summer. In the Canary Islands the time zone is that of the Greenwich Meridian, plus 1 hour in the summer, always one hour behind peninsular Spain.
What is the electrical voltage in Spain?
Voltage in Spain is 220 AC, 50 Hz. Plugs are two pin.
Which system of weights and measures is used in Spain?
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 (metre, kilogram, second, litre, ton…).
Is tap water safe to drink?
In Spain, drinking water is guaranteed everywhere in the country. Nonetheless, in some areas of the Mediterranean coast and islands it is more common to drink bottled water.
SOUTH OF SPAIN.
FOR ME, THE BEST LAND OF THE WORLD