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TRAVEL TO SPAIN - Useful information

When we speak of Spain is immediately related to bulls, flamenco, beach and sun, but apart from this, this country offers much more. It is worth mentioning its great cultural and artistic content throughout the territory. Centenarian cultures have passed throughout the centuries leaving a legacy of immeasurable value. Spain has forty sites declared World Heritage Site by Unesco, with thirteen of them cities. This makes it the country with the largest number of cities with this distinction and the second with the highest number of sites in the world.

It also stands out the contrasting landscapes from South to North and from East to West. Travelling to both, the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary and Balearic Islands, can be discovered from beautiful beaches to majestic mountains.

This landscape contrast is accompanied by a difference in climate depending on the area and the time of year. You can appreciate the contrast between the colder north and the warmer south region.

If you are looking for active tourism you have chosen the right country. This diversity of climate and landscapes makes Spain the perfect country for developing mountain and aquatics sports, hiking and much more.

We must not ignore the abundant and diverse cuisine. Spain is a country rich in fresh and varied products. Each region is distinguished by having its typical products and, dishes cooked using the most traditional method.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the best of Spain is the spanish character; expressive, cheerful and hospitable. Discover the only country in Europe where you can find a place to have dinner at 23:00H in the cities, and you'll feel better than at home in the villages.

 Data  Visa requirements  Languages
 Public Holidays  Currency, exchange and payments  Climate
 Security  Electricity  Telephone
 Tips  Medical Assistance  Opening Hours
 Save money in Spain

Spanish Tourist Offices in other countries


Area: 504,645 km ²
Population: 47,150,819 (INE 2010)
Capital city: Madrid
Form of Government: Parliamentary Monarchy
Head of State: King Juan Carlos I
President of the Government:   Mariano Rajoy


The documentation required to travel to Spain will depend on the country of origin.

If you are a citizen of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein you will need a passport or valid identity document.

On the other hand, if you are a citizen of one of the following countries: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Uruguay and Venezuela, will need to show a valid passport, allowing you to stay in Spain for up to 90 days.

If you come from another country should request a visa at the Consulate of Spain in your place of residence in addition to the passport. You may be required to specify the reason for your request to enter Spain.

Remember that before you travel you should contact the consulate or embassy of Spain in your country of residence to confirm this information.


The official language and spoken all over Spain is Spanish (or also called Castilian). In some regions coexists other official language: Valencian in Valencia, Galician in Galicia, Basque in the Basque Country, Catalan in Catalonia and the Balearic language in the Balearic Islands.


The public holidays in Spain are:

January 1 (New Year)
January 6 (Epiphany)
Holy Thursday (in Spain except in Catalonia)
Good Friday
May 1 (Labor Day)
August 15 (Assumption of the Virgin)
October 12 (National Holiday of Spain)
November 1 (Feast of All Saints)
December 6 (Day of the Spanish Constitution)
December 8 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception)
December 25 (Christmas)

Also, each autonomous region has its own holidays that change from one region to another.


As Spain is part of the European Union the legal currency is the Euro.

This coin is divided into 100 cents. We can distinguish:

• Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 and 2 Euros.
• Tickets: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros.

You can change money at banks or exchange offices in major cities or airports.
At the cash points you can withdraw money with credit cards.
In some Spanish shops you can pay with international credit cards, do not forget to show your passport or identity card.


Spain is one of the warmest countries in Europe. Still, the climate is very different depending on the area of the country you go. The north is more cold and rainy, and it is advisable to carry a jacket regardless of the season. The south is warmer and temperatures over 40 degrees can be reached in  summer.
The contrast is also evident if you compare the warm climate of the Mediterranean region and the continental climate of the interior.
Prior to travel we advise you to check the weather forecast of the area you are visiting.


Spain can be defined as a safe country. It should be noted that in recent years have proliferated bands that are dedicated to petty theft in the larger cities. We recommend always go out with just enough money and leave your passport at the hotel. Also never leave your belongings unattended, close your bag tightly and use extreme caution in the underground of large cities.


The electrical current in Spain is 220 volts (voltage) and 50 Hz (Frequency).


The country code is 34 so if you call from outside of Spain, you must dial 0034 or +34 and then the local phone. For overseas calls from Spain, dial the number of the member country with its international code. For domestic calls just dial the local number.


In Spain tipping is not mandatory. Yet, if you are very satisfied with the service given or the waiter who has served you, normally a tip is given and we advice you to do so.


Visitors of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are entitled to medical assistance of a regular or emergency consultation. They must provide the European Health Insurance Card. This card is only valid for public attention, because private care is paid in Spain. Other countries that Spain has signed agreements (Andorra, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay) should issue the certificate corresponding to the country. Other countries shall contract a private insurance before traveling because they do not have included medical care.
We recommend visiting the health authorities of your country to confirm which assistance is included.


Shops are usually open from 9:30 to 13:30H and from 16:30 to 20:00H, Monday to Saturday. This will depend on the area and city you go as big and touristic cities extend their opening hours. Shopping centers usually have a continuous schedule from 10 to 21:00H or 22:00 H. This also happens with many shops in the cities such as franchises.


The value added tax (IVA in Spain) is 8% or 18%. This depends on the product or service purchased. By law all products or services must indicate whether VAT is included.

Residents outside the EU may claim a refund of VAT on their purchases if the amount is above 90.15 Euros. For this you have to request the "Tax free" check in the store. At airports and borders of Spain there are offices where you can handle this operation. You would have to show the article and "Tax-free" check to be stamped. You can request the return to the management company, or the payment of the amount into your credit card, by bank transfer or international check.


In the Balearic Islands and the Iberian Peninsula applies Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). In the Canary Islands applies the same time zone but has an hour difference less than the rest of Spain.
The official time change during the year: the clock goes ahead one hour the last Sunday in March (time change from winter to summer) and backward one hour on the last Sunday in October (time change from summer to winter).


By bus

Spain has very good bus connections both nationally and internationally. The two main cities are Madrid and Barcelona. If you are interested in reaching a destination that has no direct connection can always be reached via Madrid or Barcelona

We recommend the following website to search for domestic and international routes: www.movelia.es

By train

All provincial capitals are connected to Spain's capital, Madrid. In recent years, is being developed a fast line (AVE) connecting the most important cities. Likewise, each region has its own local lines.
Spain is also connected with other countries: Portugal, France, Switzerland and Italy. You can find more information on the website of the national railway network in Spain (RENFE): www.renfe.com

By air

Most large cities have an airport. The two most important airports in Spain are Barajas (Madrid) and Prat (Barcelona).

There are airlines that connect Spanish cities with domestic flights: Vueling,volotea, Iberia, Iberia Express and Air Europa . There are also daily flights connecting the peninsular territory to the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

By boat

You can reach Spain by boat from countries such as UK, France and Italy.

On the other hand, from the Iberian Peninsula there are connections by boat to the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands. The main companies and connections are:




Cádiz - Gran Canaria


Cádiz - Tenerife


Cádiz - Lanzarote


Cádiz - La Palma


Inter-Islands conections

Armas, Fred. Olsen & Trasmediterranea




Barcelona - Formentera


Barcelona - Ibiza

Balearia, Iscomar & Trasmediterranea

Barcelona - Mallorca

Balearia, Iscomar & Trasmediterranea

Barcelona - Menorca

Balearia, Iscomar & Trasmediterranea

Denia (Alicante) - Ibiza

Balearia & Iscomar

Denia (Alicante) - Mallorca


Valencia - Ibiza

Balearia, Iscomar & Trasmediterranea

Valencia - Mallorca

Balearia, Iscomar & Trasmediterranea

Valencia - Menorca


Inter-Islands conections

Balearia, Iscomar &  Trasmediterranea




Algeciras (Cádiz) - Ceuta

Balearia, Euroferrys & Trasmediterranea

Almería - Melilla


Málaga - Melilla


If you travel to Spain  do not miss our list of recommended hostels

How To Plan a Cheap City Holiday in Spain

Even if you’re strapped for cash during these difficult times in Spain, with a bit of careful planning you can still get to see many of the wonderful Spanish cities at a fraction of the price.

First of all, choose your dates carefully and avoid the major price-hike dates such as El Pilar in Zaragoza (12 October) or the Fallas in Valencia (15-19 March), but also don’t forget other events such as the Barcelona World Mobile Congress (check dates annually) or international sporting events when hotel prices are prohibitive (if you can find a room!).

Once you’ve decided upon your dates, remember that if you choose a city-centric hotel just based on the star rating, you could be paying more for your room based on hotel installations you won’t even be using, such as conference facilities. A far cheaper alternative is a hostel that also has private, rather than shared, rooms.

Everyone knows where to find cheap flights these days, however from the initial price you start off with and what you actually end up paying depends on some savvy shopping. To make sure you don’t pay over the odds for your flight look at combinations of alternative dates for your chosen accommodation and flights – there’s no point getting a room at a rock-bottom rate if your flight will cost triple flying that specific day. Avoid credit card charges by paying with your debit card and some airlines now even accept Paypal payments. Extreme savings can be made by wearing a multi-pocket jacket (no airline weighs their passengers – yet!!) sold at camping stores to hold your book / e-reader, phone, sandwich etc. Also don’t forget to wear your heaviest clothes and footwear rather than packing them so you can take hand luggage only and avoid the extra costs for suitcases.

Travel insurance depends on each person’s risk averseness. If you’re a resident, for a holiday in Spain first check on your home insurance as you may already be covered and, if you’ve paid by credit card for flights, this may offer enough coverage too. On the other hand if you travel often and go abroad more than once a year, an annual policy usually works out more cost-effective.

When you get to your chosen city, even if you’ve already planned your itinerary for your stay, head to the nearest Tourist Office first of all. Why? Well, there you can often pick up leaflets with discounts for expositions and other events. Remember to check when museums have free entrance, some are free on Sundays whereas others have free hours in the afternoons.

Regarding travelling around your chosen city, remember to check out the public transport ticket options for tourists, but remember that these are only cheaper if you’re going to be hopping on and off public transport all day. Most cities offer tickets valid from 1 to 7 days with discounts for children and cover the different types of city transport such as buses, trains, underground and trams on a single pass. These tickets are available at Tourist Offices as well as the transport offices.

If you don’t take your own car, beware of hidden extras when renting which can make a seemingly cheap offer suddenly extremely expensive. Many cities in Spain now offer car sharing or energy efficient car hire options such as BlueMove in Bilbao and Madrid, HelloByeCars in Zaragoza and Madrid or Avancar in Barcelona. Or what about renting a bike – an eco-friendly option that’s starting to become available in many Spanish cities?

So, as you can see with just a bit of careful planning you can save lots of euros on your holiday in Spain.

This guest post was written by Maxine Raynor who runs the website MoneySaverSpain.com

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