Here you'll find useful information for preparing your trip to Spain. We give you practical tips on visa info, tipping, healthcare, what clothes to pack, currency, and more… so you're all set when you arrive.
There are excellent air connections between the major Spanish cities. The largest airports are Adolfo Suárez Madrid - Barajas in Madrid, and El Prat in Barcelona, offering the greatest number of daily flights.
Spain's extensive air services network also includes daily flights between the islands and the mainland. The most important airports in the Canary Islands are Gran Canaria, Tenerife Sur and Tenerife Norte, operating services to the principal mainland cities with flight times of less than three hours. In the Balearic Islands, the biggest airport is Palma de Mallorca.
Furthermore, bear in mind that the majority of airports are less than 20 kilometres from main city centres, which you can get to by train, taxi, bus or metro.
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.
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 traveler's cheques:
Traveller's cheques, accompanied by a passport, are also accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops.
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.
The Spanish National Health Service has an extensive network of health centres and hospitals throughout the country.
The health centres offer primary health care services (family/GP services, paediatrics and nursing, with availability of midwives, physiotherapists and social workers). 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 specialised attention, with access via referral from primary healthcare services. There are also Accident and Emergency services available at hospitals and some health centres.
Dial 112 free of charge (valid throughout Spain). Service is given in Spanish, and also in English, French and German in some tourist areas.
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 Spain, medications are obtained at pharmacies. They are all marked with a green cross. You will get your prescriptions from your doctor.
The majority of Spanish airports offer services from airlines that connect with some of the world's most important cities. The airports are, in turn, linked with an extensive network of transport for you to get to your final destination by train, taxi, bus or metro. The majority are located less than 20 kilometres from the city centre.
The Spanish National Railway Network ( RENFE ) connects all the capitals with Madrid and is operating more and more high speed (AVE) trains. Furthermore, there are also long-distance services and trains between different nearby cities.
Bus services in Spain run to more than 170 destinations in a maximum journey time of 12 hours - there are a host of companies operating buses over the 16,000+ kilometres of motorways to be found throughout the country.
Spain has more than 16,000 kilometres of motorways, some with tolls.
Spain's sea links will take you to the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Ceuta and Melilla.
Spain, one of the warmest countries in Europe:
Spain has a predominantly warm Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and winters with balanced temperatures. Here you can enjoy more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. It is no surprise, then, that this is one of the warmest parts of Europe.
When talking of weather, special mention should be made of the Canary Islands. Their special location, facing the coast of Africa, gives them a benign climate with mild temperatures (22ºC year-round average on the coasts), with only small temperature differences between day and night, whatever the season.
Nevertheless, variety is the main characteristic of the climate here, due to Spain’s immense geographical diversity.
So that 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, the climate is harsher and it is common to see snow from the beginning of winter to the end of spring. This is the case of the Pyrenees, the mountains of Sierra Nevada, the Central and Iberian ranges, and the Cantabrian Mountains, amongst others.