On this page we would like to provide you with some useful information regarding your trip to Spain.
On Spanish mainland and in the Balearic Islands it is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 1 hour in the winter and +2 hours in the summer. On the Canary Islands it is GMT -1 in the winter and GMT+1 hour in the summer. More easily, it is always 1 hour less on the Canary Islands than the time on the mainland and the Balearics.
For citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland a visa is not required for your holiday in Spain. The only thing that is necessary is a passport or a valid identity card.
Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and the USA who visit as tourists do not require a visa for a stay up to 90 days.
Citizens of all other countries please check with a Spanish embassy in your country.
Make sure that your passport will still be valid 90 days after your departure. If not, some country could decline your visa requirement. The passeport should also have un-used pages, to leave space for new stamps, if necessary, at arrival and departure.
If you are coming to spain by plane, if you have a flight connection, be aware that some countries you will pass through en route to your destination might require a transit visa. Transit visa can be asked in embassies at the same time as the regular visa. Transit visa can also be found at the counter of the airport, this one is used if you want to get out of the airport during a flight connection.
Money and tipping
The official currency of Spain is the Euro (€). Major credit cards such as Visa and Master Card and to some extent American Express are accepted all over Spain. You can also use them to withdraw money from an ATM and pay in most of the restaurants, shops and hotels. Be aware that cheques are not accepted.
In case of loss or theft please call your provider's emergency number immediately:
- VisaCard: 900 991 124
- MasterCard: 900 971 231
- American Express: 902 375 637
Restaurants in Spain are required by law to include a service charge in their prices. Nevertheless most guests leave a small tip if they are satisfied with the service of the restaurant. Commonly, you also tip hotel porters and taxi drivers.
To avoid any robbery, we advice to keep on your person the only money necessary for the day. Money should also be kept in different part and places of yourself. It is still safer to come to Spain with different means of payments in case of theft.
Health and Safety
In crowded areas pickpockets can be an annoyance. Please watch your belongings when visiting famous sights, on the metro and in other touristic areas. If you see an attempt just create attention by shouting, in this case the pickpockets usually disappear quickly. It is adviced to avoid the lower half of La Rambla ( after Liceu Opera Hourse) at night.
Mobile phones are the main targets of pickpockets after the wallets. Make sure you don't leave it on a cafe or restaurant table while enjoying your lunch or snack as many of these devices got stolen this way. For more information about safety you can consult this website but also read the traveler's recommendation in forums online.
In comparison to other European countries traffic in Spain is quite hectic so please pay attention on the streets. This especially accounts for traffic lights: If the green light for pedestrians starts flashing, get off the road right away because cars and motorbikes will start driving within a few seconds.
In case of an emergency please call the EU standard emergency number 112.
If you get sick just ask your hotel's reception for the nearest medical center. As a EU citizen you can use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for free treatment in most of the cases. For further information please consider your insurance company. Visitors from other countries should have a travel insurance, otherwise you might have to pay the treatment immediately. There are also many pharmacies all over Spain where you can go if you have minor aches and or some sort of pain. Many of them are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Before travelling, make sure all your vaccines are up-to-date.
Food and water in Spain are smilar as countries such as France, USA, Germany and so on. There is no special precaution to take, and tap water is potable and can be drink without any risk.
For more information about safety in Spain, please consult the goverment website.
Business hours and holidays
Banks are normally open from Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 2 pm. You can also change money there.
Opening hours for museums vary considerably between 10 am to 6 pm.
Shops outside the tourist centers are open from 9 am to 2 pm. Then they close for the so-called “siesta” and open again around 4 to 5 pm until 8 to 9 pm.
In the most touristic and major shopping streets most of the shops do not close for siesta anymore. They are open the whole day from Monday to Saturday. Some of them also stay open on Sundays and public holidays. During August many shops and restaurants are closed the whole month for vacation. But in big cities such as Barcelona and Madrid, most of the shops on the shopping streets are opened from 10 am to 9pm.
Spanish people have different meal times than most other Europeans, they tend to eat later. Normally they have a light breakfast between 9 and 11 am and lunch between 2 and 3 pm. Thus dinner is considerably later between 9 and 10 pm and in many restaurants the kitchen does not open before 7 pm or close before midnight.
If you would like to send a postcard, please check the opening hours from Correos. Correos is Spain's national postal service where you can send postcards, letters and documents. You can also buy sellos (stamps) at most of the tobacco shops. A postcard up to 20g costs 0,75 € from Spain to other European countries and 0,90 € to the rest of the world.
Transportation in major cities
In the big cities of Spain, several ways of transportation are offered.
Madrid public transportation is made of metro, bus and taxis.
The metro is easily accessible in many streets and areas of the city. You can look at the lines and the part of the city deserved by looking at the Metro map. Tickets can be bought directly at the station. The price depends on the ticket option you select ( e.g. 1 way ticket, a 2 day ticket, a 1 month ticket...). To get more information on the prices please visit Madrid's metro website.
The bus is also as useful way to move around Madrid. To see the different lines and itenary of the bus please check this map. A single bus ticket costs around 1.50 euros.
Taxis are the quickest but also most expensive way to move around. Taxis in Madrid can be recognized by their white colors with a red line on each side. It is a safe way of travelling in town. Lots of taxi drive all around the streets, so catching one will only be a matter of seconds !
Barcelona public transportation is made of metro, tramway,bus and taxis.
The metro station are easily accessible and present in many streets areas of the cities. Tickets can be buy directly at the station and the prices vary a lot according to the kind of ticket you chose ( one way, multi-day...). For more information on the prices please check the Barcelone Metro Website. To get more information about the metro route, please consult the map.
Tramway. You can move around town with the tramway in Barcelona. The price of a one way ticket is of 2.15 euros. Some of the metro tickets, such as the Multi-days tickets can also be used for the Tram. For more detailed information on the prices please check the tramway website. 6 different lines go all around the city, to see their number and itinerary please check the map.
Buses lines cover all Barcelona's city. Buses are a comfortable way to travel in town. They are easily recognisable as they are big red buses. For more information about the bus map, go directly to the city website. Bus tickets are the same as the metro tickets and can be bought in any metro station in town.
Taxis are the fastest and most comfortable way to get from one point to another. It is also the most expensive way, but taxis prices in Barcelone are still quiet low compared to other countries. Thousands of taxis drive all day and night long around the city, so getting one won't be long. Official taxis are easily recognizable by their black and yellow color. There are also many online sites allowing you to book a taxi in advance.