When in Spain....

General information for travellers to Spain

The following general information about Spain may prove useful to you:

A few useful website are listed below but for a comprehensive list see our Useful Links pages

Buy travel books and maps about Spain 

Opening Hours

Most banks open from 09.00-14.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays but times may vary locally.

Church Services
Information on the timetables of religious services should be sought locally.

Most shops in Spain close for lunch between 13.00 and 16.00. Open Air Markets are held once or twice a week in most Spanish towns, and in holiday resorts supermarkets are readily available. The most common business hours are Monday through to Saturday, from 09.30 to 13.30, and from 16.30 to 20.00.

Big shopping centres and department stores open from 10.00 to 21.00 or 22.00 uninterrupted. These big stores sometimes open on Sundays.

In coastal cities, in the high season, shops usually stay open later than 22.00.

Pharmacies open from 9.30 to 13.30, and from 16.30 to 20.00. 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.

Money matters

From 1st January 2002, the Euro (€) has been in circulation in Spain.

There are eight different coins: €2, €1, 50 Centimas (Cents), 20 Cents, 10 Cents, 5 Cents, 2 Cents and 1 Cent

And there are seven different notes: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. Most shops will only accept up to €50 notes.

Credit Cards
Most hotels and retail outlets accept major credit cards, but check first.

5-10% of the bill is customary, although related to clients’ satisfaction with services received.

Duty Free
Free allowances on imports from EU countries no longer exist but are still applicable to goods purchased outside the European Union .For full information on imports into the UK, contact Customs &
Excise www.hmce.gov.uk

Health & Emergencies

Spanish Embassy in London: www.mae.es

Dial 112 for all emergencies.
Dial 061 for health service information.
Dial 091 or 092 for the Spanish and Municipal Police.

British Consulates in Spain will assist holidaymakers in emergencies. They can provide lists of local lawyers, interpreters and doctors. They can also give guidance in tracing missing persons.

Health service
British tourists visiting Spain, covered by the British National Insurance scheme, are entitled to free medical assistance under the Spanish Health Service during their stay. The E111 form needs to be completed and this can be obtained from your Post Office.

According to the Spanish and World Health Organisations, EU residents need no vaccinations to enter Spain.
You are advised to take out adequate holiday insurance and make sure you take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card with you.

Telephone Service

  • To call direct to the UK from Spain, dial: + 44 and the local UK code without the ‘0’ at the beginning.
  • Country telephone Code: + 34 to dial in (00 34 from UK)
  • Ring Tone: Equal tones, separated by long pauses
  • Engaged Tone: Short equal on and off tones
  • Internal area codes:
    Barcelona 931-938
    Gerona 872 & 972
    Madrid 911,912,914,916-918
    Sevilla 954 & 955
    Mobile 6, 700,704

Telephone tip! During the hot summer months, it is not uncommon for businesses to close during the afternoon for a siesta, resuming work in late afternoon. It is therefore advisable to plan your call times for the morning or the late evenings.


Primarily Castilian (Spanish), but a number of different languages and dialects are spoken in different regions throughout Spain.

All Spanish State museums offer free admission to under 18s and over 65s. Most other museums also have their own concessionary policies. Some museums and art galleries allow free admission to EU citizens, but you will need to show your passport.

Always post correspondence with Spanish Post Office stamps at official post boxes or hotels displaying the logo ‘Correos and Telegrafos’.

Taxi fares vary in different areas. There is a basic initial charge, and additional surcharges are added to the meter fare at night, weekends and on public holidays. Taxi drivers should have a list of approved fares for inter-city runs, railway stations and airports. Ask for your price before boarding.

Quick reference guide



Main Religion:

Roman Catholic

National Day:

12 October

Time Zones:

Spain is 1 Hour Ahead of GMT


Voltage 220 or 225 AC. Plugs are two-pin.

Form of Address:

Señor (Sir)

Señora (Madam/Mrs)

Señorita (Miss)


Buenos Dias (day)

Buenas Tardes (afternoon/evening)

Buenas Noches (night)