Spain Guide

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Travel Essentials Spain


The Euro became official Spanish currency on January 1, 1999, but didn't enter into circulation until early 2002 when it replaced the traditional Spanish peseta. Currently one Euro (€) is worth around US$1.20 and £1.50. For up to the minute currency conversion refer to

It should be simple to use your ATM card in Spain which accepts bank cards with four digit PIN numbers. Cards linked to Cirrus and Plus networks should have no problems dealing working within Spanish bank networks.

Important telephone numbers

  • For emergency assistance from police, ambulance or fire services call 088 in the Basque country and 006 in the rest of the country.
  • For directory assistance within Spain call 1003.
  • If you require operator assistance for making international calls, call 025.

The British EmbassyBritish Embassy in Spain is in Madrid (ph: 91 319 0200). Offices of the British Consulate can be found in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Alicante, Las Palmas, Málaga, Santander and Palma de Mallorca. Offices of the Consulate General are in Bilbao (ph: 94 415 7000) and Madrid (91 308 5201).


Post Postcards and letters weighing up to 20 grams can be sent to the United States and Canada (€0.75), and to Britain and other European countries (€0.50). Postcards are charged at the same rate as letters and post can take anywhere from a week to over two weeks to arrive at its destination.

Telephone The country code for dialling Spain is +34.


Visitors to Spain who carry EU passports require no visa to enter the country. EU citizens have no time restrictions on their stay and can work throughout Spain with no need for work permits. Citizens of the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand require no visa for holidays of up to three months.

Language While Castellano is Spain's official language (the one we generally know as Spanish), regional dialects abound. These local languages were repressed under dictator Franco's regime but are flourishing since the end of his era in the 1970s. Catalan is spoken in Valencia, Catalonia, Barcelona and on the Balearic Islands, and the Basque country boasts its own specific language. Gallego, similar to Portuguese, is spoken in Galicia, and of course English is widely understood.

Business hours

Since regular business with other EU nations commenced less and less Spaniards take the traditional siesta, and modern office hours are a standard 9am to 5:30 pm Monday to Friday. Banks are open each weekday from 9:30am to 2pm and on Saturdays from 9:30am to 1pm. Major stores are open Monday to Saturday between 9:30am and 8pm, but are quite often closed for several hours in the afternoon.