- What is the weather like in Spain?
- What type of clothing should I pack?
Healthcare and Safety:
- If I am not a citizen of the European Union, what should I know about health care in Spain?
- Is Spain a safe country?
- Where to call in case of emergency?
- Where do I buy my medication?
- Where can I find the embassy or consulate of India in Spain?
- How does the Spanish healthcare system work
Money & Currency:
- Is tipping mandatory?
- Where can I exchange foreign currency?
- How else can I pay?
- How much money do I need for my stay?
- What is the currency in Spain?
- How to get IVA (VAT) back on shopping.
Time, Schedule and Public Holidays:
- What’s the time in Spain?
- At what time are meals served in Spain?
- When are the national public holidays in Spain?
- The following are the national public holidays for 2010:
- At what time do shops and businesses open?
- How to call to and from Spain.
- How to send a letter, fax or telegram?
- How to find an Internet connection, and check your email in Spain?
Languages and Religion:
- What religions are practiced in Spain?
- What languages are spoken in Spain?
- Can you drink the tap water?
- Which system of weights and measures is used in Spain?
- How do electrical appliances work in Spain?
What is the weather like in Spain?
Spain has a predominantly warm Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and winters with balanced temperatures. The weather of Spain is the most diverse in Europe due to its position, coasts, mountains and large land If you travel to the north, to the Cantabrian coast, you will find a mild climate with high rainfall. Winters are mild and in summer temperatures rarely exceed 25ºC.
However, in the higher parts of the country like Pyrenees, the mountains of Sierra Nevada, the Central and Iberian ranges, and the Cantabrian Mountains, the climate is harsher and it is common to see snow from the beginning of winter to the end of spring.
The interiors of Spain have extreme winters and summers.
Canary Islands facing the coast of Africa, has benign climate throughout with mild temperatures (22ºC year-round average on the coasts), with only small temperature differences between day and night.
Balearic Islands temperature in December (winters) ranges between 9.7 and 16.5 degrees celcius on average. In June the summer temperature increase to between 18.4 and 25.9 degrees celcius. By the autumn the climate in Balearic Islands has average temperatures that fall to between 19.8 and 27.1 degrees in the month of September.
In the east of Spain (mediterranean coast)climate typically means hot dry summers and mild winters. Sunshine is abundant - averaging 6hrs a day in winter and 12 in summer. Rainfall is highest in autumn and winter and very low in summer.
Below is the maximum and minimum average temperature of few cities of Spain:
What type of clothing should I pack?
In Spain, people dress differently according to the season, and the place they are going to. Spanish people don't dress up too much to go out, although of course, it depends on where you are going.
In the Mediterranean coast, because of the mild climate, it is usually not necessary to pack warm clothes.
In the North cost you have to pack rainproof clothes.
While in the interior, you should dress according to the season, as temperatures vary greatly, with cold winters, and hot summers.
Healthcare and Safety:
If I am not a citizen of the European Union, what should I know about health care in Spain?
In case of emergency you will be treated, but after that you will need to pay for medical attention, so you have to purchase health insurance. In any case, we recommend that you find out from your health insurance provider, or social care institution, about their requirements and policies about getting medical attention in Spain.
Is Spain a safe country?
Spain is a very safe country, for both men and women. A lot of women travel on their own in the country, as there is no harassment to women.
As in any country, there are basic security measures to bear in min: 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.
If you need help you can contact the Police on 091.
Where to call in case of emergency?
Dial 112 free of charge (valid throughout Spain). Service is given in Spanish, and also in English, French and German in some tourist areas.
Where do I buy my medication?
In Spain, medications are obtained at pharmacies. They are all marked with a green cross. Medicines are sold strictly as per the original prescription given by your doctor. Prescription should be in English or Spanish. Please note that if you do not have the original prescription of the doctor you will not be given medicines.
can I find the embassy or consulate of India in Spain?
How does the Spanish healthcare system work?
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. 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 centres in Spain at the website of the Ministry of Health.
Money & Currency:
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.
Where can I exchange foreign currency?
Indian Currency cannot be exchanged in Spain, however USD can be readily exchanged. 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.
How else can I pay?
With credit cards:
Payment using recognized 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 traveler’s cheques:
Traveler’s cheques, accompanied by a passport, are also accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops.
How much money do I need for my stay?
The average price for products and services varies depending on the province you are visiting, and the season. As a reference, we provide a list of approximate prices for services and products:
Accommodations by category (informative prices for a double room):
- A single metro (underground) or bus ticket costs around €1.
- A glass of beer costs between € 2 and € 6, the latter at a fashionable place.
- A ticket to the cinema costs between € 4 and € 6.
- A ticket to the theatre costs between € 12 and € 30.
- A ticket to the opera or a concert could cost between €50 and €100.
- A breakfast special, including a cup of coffee, a bun or pastry, and a glass of juice costs between € 2 and € 4, depending on where you go.
- A daily special at an inexpensive restaurant costs between € 7 and € 10. If you are choosing from the regular menu, the price starts at € 18, while at a medium-priced restaurant, it would start at € 36 per person. At a "three-fork" restaurant, the price per person can come to € 90.
- 5 stars: between € 200 and € 300
- 4 stars: between € 100 and € 200
- 3 stars: between € 60 and € 100
- 2 stars or fewer: less than € 60
What is the currency in Spain?
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 Euro.
- There are seven different bank notes, for the following amounts: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro.
How to get IVA (VAT) back on shopping.
If a buyer’s residence is outside the European Union, then he/she can claim back the tax on purchases, as long as together they reach a total in excess of 90.15 Euro. In order to do so you should ask for a tax-free receipt at the point of sale, which is a form stamped and signed by authorized signatory in the point of sale.
There are various companies in Spain authorized to process the reimbursement of I.V.A. (Value Added Tax) to tourists. The procedure is very straightforward. You just have to complete the following steps to get your tax back:
For more information: www.taxfree.es, www.spainrefund.com, www.premiertaxfree.com, www.globalrefund.com
- You can claim IVA refund, if you shop from a sales point which provide tax free declaration form.
- Ask for a tax-free declaration form and give photocopy of passport.
- Show your purchases and stamp the tax-free declaration at customs before immigration. The custom officer will put a stamp on it. (Declaration must be stamped within 3 months of purchase.)
- After immigration show the stamped tax free receipt to the processing company like American ExPRESS. Most of the processing company have I.V.A. reimbursement points at the main Spanish airports and borders, for payment in cash. You can also have the I.V.A. repaid onto your credit card, by bank transfer or international cheque.
- The Customs for the VAT refund can always ask you to show items purchased. Especially when it comes to high-priced items. You can either go to the stop "outside" of Customs for VAT refund, before checking in and display the items you purchased. Or check before and after the stop-go "inside" of customs. Although you may require to show the items you purchased. It is therefore recommended to carry in hand luggage at least the items over € 1,000 (jewellery, watches, etc.)
- The tax would be refunded in the last airport of European Union you touch, for instance
- If you are flying Malaga-Madrid- Mumbai then tax would be refunded in Madrid
- if you are flying Malaga-Frankfurt-Mumbai then tax would be refunded in Frankfurt
- if you are flying Malaga-Dubai-Mumbai, since Dubai is not in European Union, tax would be refunded in Malaga
Time, Schedule and Public Holidays:
What’s the time in Spain?
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 i.e.in winters it is behind India by 3 hrs and 30 minutes and in summers it is behind India by 4 hrs and 30 minutes. On the Canary Islands, it is 1 hour less than the time on the mainland and in the Balearics i.e. in winters it is behind India by 4 hours and 30 minutes and in summers it is behind India by 5 hours and 30 minutes.
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).
At what time are meals served in Spain?
Breakfast is usually had from eight to half past 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", appetizers, and combo meals.
Theatres usually have a single show, which normally starts around 20.00 h. Flamenco Show generally starts between 2200 h - 2300 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.
When are the national public holidays in Spain?
There are 14 public holidays in Spain. 10 of them are “national” it means in any part of the country. The other 4 can vary depending on the city or the Autonomous Region.
The following are the national public holidays for 2010:
1 January, New Year’s Day
6 January, the Epiphany.
1 April, Maundy Thursday (throughout Spain, except in Catalonia and the Region of Valencia).
2 April, Good Friday
1 May, Workers’ Day
12 October, National Holiday in Spain
1 November, All Saints' Day
6 December, Constitution Day
8 December, the Immaculate Conception
25 December, Christmas Day
At what time do shops and businesses open?
The most common working hours for shops are Monday to Saturday, from 9.30 h to 13.30 h, and from 16.30 to 20.00 h. Big shopping centers and department stores open from 10.00 h to 21.00 or 22.00 h uninterruptedly. These big stores open sometimes on Sunday. In coastal cities, in tourism season, shops are usually open passed 22.00 h.
Business and Offices are usuallu open from Monday to Friday, from 9.00 h to 14.30 h and from 16.35 h to 19.00 h.
Pharmacies open Monday to Friday from 9.30 to 13.30 h, and from 16.30 to 20.00 h. And Saturday from 9.30 to 13,30
At weekends and in closing times there are rolling late-hour schedule, which is published in the newspapers, and is posted at all pharmacies
In all major cities you can find pharmacies that open 24 hours.
How to call to and from Spain.
If you wish to make a call to Spain from overseas, you should dial +34 (the code for Spain) followed by the telephone number (9 digits).
If you want to call another country from Spain, then dial 00 followed by the country code and the telephone number. You can make calls from phone boxes. These work with coins or cards available from “estancos” (licensed outlets for tobacco/stamps).
If you wish to make national calls within Spain you should dial the number with no prefix. This number should comprise 9 digits, regardless of whether it is a landline or mobile. There are no regional codes.
There are three option to use mobile phone in Spain:
How to send a letter, fax or telegram?
- To activate your Indian SIM card for international roaming - You should get in touch with your mobile company, prior to departure from India to make sure that you can use your mobile in Spain (they will activate the international roaming service on your account). Once you activate your SIM card, you will be able to use your mobile in Spain as if it were a Spanish handset.
So the local outgoing call charges would be similar to the ones for a Spanish mobile. However if you receive a call either local or international in your Indian Mobile when you are in Spain, you will be charged as an international call.
- To buy Spanish SIM card- You can buy local SIM card from local cellular service shops, passport is mandatory document to be provided to SIM service company.
- To buy Spanish SIM card in India – Couple of cellular service companies provide Spanish SIM card in India. The tariff for outgoing and incoming are similar to local SIM card bought in Spain.
You can send letters from anywhere in Spain. To do so you should buy stamps, available at the licensed tobacco shops known as "Estancos" (licensed outlets for tobacco/stamps).
To send the letter or postcard you need to put it in a post box (yellow color), to be found in the streets, at railway stations and at airports. You can also leave it at your hotel’s reception for them to send, if they offer this service.
If you want to send a package, make a money transfer or send a telegram, then you should go to a branch of the post office (“Correos”). These offices also offer fax and registered fax services. Faxes can also be sent from most hotels.
You will find full details on this kind of mail services at the Correos website.
How to find an Internet connection, and check your email in Spain?
If you wish to get online to check your email, or for any other reason, you should go to one of the many establishments that offer this kind of connection: telephone houses, cybercafés, etc. Internet connections are also available at airports, major railway and bus stations, and at some shopping centres. Generally, these services work with coins.
You can also buy a temporary USB moden, Passport should be produced.
Languages and Religion:
What religions are practiced in Spain?
Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Spanish Constitution, although the majority of the population is Catholic. Other religions also practiced in Spain include Islam, Judaism, Protestantism, and Hinduism, all of which have places where to conduct their rituals.
What languages are spoken in Spain?
Spanish is the official language in the entire national territory. However, other languages coexist with Spanish in certain regions of Spain. These are: Catalan in Catalonia, Galician in Galicia, Euskera/Basque in the Basque Country, Valencian in the Valencia Region and a particular variety of Catalan spoken on the Balearic Islands.
Can you drink the tap water?
Drinking water supply is guaranteed throughout Spain. We have stringent control systems that guarantee water quality. Nevertheless, in some Mediterranean coastal areas consumption of bottled water is widespread.
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….
What you should know if you have a complaint about a tourist service.
During your stay in Spain, you have the right to receive tourist services according to the quality and characteristics advertised by the companies which offer them. If you are not satisfied, you are entitled to lodge a complaint or claim. The current legislation requires all establishments to have documents known as “claim forms” available for customers, and to advertise this fact on a notice placed so as to be clearly visible to the clientele. These forms must be submitted in the establishment itself or in the Municipal Consumer Information Office (OMIC). In the event that the claim is proved to be true, the Administration will impose a fine on the establishment or tourist service company which was the object of the complaint.
How do electrical appliances work in Spain?
Electricity supply in Spain is AC 220 Volts, 50 Hertz. Sockets meet European regulations and use the round pin system. However, most hotels have adaptors for different plugs.