Fact file: Spain

Did you know?
Antoni Gaudi, Spain's most famous architect and the brains behind Barcelona's eye-catching Sagrada Familia church and Parc Guell, was born in 1852 in Reus, Catalonia.
Language
Catalan, although everyone speaks Castilian Spanish too.
Visas
Not required for UK citizens.
Getting there
Direct scheduled flights to Catalonia's capital Barcelona and budget flights to Girona near the region's Costa Brava.
Flying time from London
Two hours.
Getting around
Buses are good and often cheaper than the train, though less regular in country areas. There is a good network of coach routes in Spain. They are generally comfortable and also cheaper than trains. Pre-book at weekends.
Currency
Euro.
Costs
Prices vary greatly, but as a rough guide: bottle of beer 75p, bottle of local wine from the supermarket £2-£4, a 24-exposure film for your camera £3.50, moderate three-course restaurant meal £6-£8, litre of petrol 60p, short taxi ride (about 3kms) £2-£3.
Weather
May to early October are pleasant just about everywhere along the region's Mediterranean coast. July and August are the hottest months with daily averages of 28C/82F. The wettest months are September and October.
Time difference
One hour ahead of the UK.
International dialling code from the UK
00 34.
Voltage
220V AC.
Opening hours
Large supermarkets and department stores Monday-Saturday 9am-9pm; other shops and businesses 9am-2pm and then 4.30/5-8pm. Banks Monday-Friday 8.30am-2pm, Saturdays 9am-1pm (some not on Saturday in summer).
Health — before you go
Spain has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. Make sure you have an EHIC health form (from post offices).
Health — when you are there
The fierce heat in Spain's cities can reach 35C (95F), so drink plenty of water and be sensible about exposure to the sun.
Warnings
Very occasionally, people may attempt to short-change you so, without being paranoid, keep an eye on your transactions.
Emergency
Police, Tel. 091. British Embassy, Calle de Fernando el Santo 16, 28010 Madrid, tel (34 91) 7008200
Customs
Drinks after dark are as popular as tapas before lunch.
Pets
You may bring your pet to and from Spain provided you have the correct documentation under the Pet Travel Scheme. This takes some time to set up, so see your vet.
Tipping
Service charge is included in restaurants, so tipping is a personal choice: 5% is plenty, or odd change in cafes and bars.
Tourist office
Spanish National Tourist Office, 22-23 Manchester Square, London W1M 5AP. Tel 020 7486 8077; brochure line, 09063 640630 (60p per minute).
Did you know?
More than 60 million foreigners a year visit Spain.
Language
Castilian Spanish throughout; Catalan, Basque and Galician in some regions.
Visas
Not required for UK citizens.
Getting there
Direct scheduled flights to the capital Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and Palma de Majorca; charters to other destinations.
Flying time from London
Two hours
Getting around
Internal flights are expensive. Buses are good and often cheaper than the train, though less regular in country areas. There is a good network of coach routes in Spain. They are generally comfortable and also cheaper than trains. Pre-book at weekends.
Currency
Euro
Costs
Bottle of beer 75p, a film for your camera £2.50, moderate meal £5-£8, litre of petrol 45p, short taxi ride £5.50. All prices are approximate.
Weather
Averages 15-36C (59-97F) in the south, 5-28C (48-84F) elsewhere. Spain has a very diverse climate - Galicia is cool and damp, for example, while Andalucia is hot and dry. In general, you can rely on pleasant to scorchingly hot temperatures everywhere from April to early November. Snow in the mountains starts as early as October.
Time difference
One hour ahead of GMT
International dialling code from the UK
00 34
Voltage
220V AC
Opening hours
Large supermarkets and department stores Monday-Saturday 9am-9pm; other shops and businesses 9am-2pm and then 4.30/5-8pm. Banks Monday-Friday 8.30am-2pm, Saturdays 9am-1pm (some not on Saturday in summer).
Health - Before you go
Spain has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. Make sure you have an EHIC card (from post offices).
Health - When you are there
The fierce heat in Spain's cities can reach 35C (95F) - so drink plenty of water and be sensible about exposure to the sun.
Warnings
Very occasionally, people may attempt to short-change you so, without being paranoid, keep an eye on your transactions.
Emergency
Police, Tel. 091. British Embassy, Calle de Fernando el Santo 16, 28010 Madrid, Tel. (34 91) 7008200
Customs
Drinks after dark are as popular as tapas before lunch. In summer, many city dwellers make trips to the taverns in the villages just outside the city, known as ventanas sevillanas.
Pets
You may bring your pet to and from Spain provided you have the correct documentation under the Pet Travel Scheme. This takes some time to set up, so see your vet.
Tipping
Service charge is included in restaurants, so tipping is a personal choice: 5% is plenty, or odd change in cafes and bars.
Tourist office
Spanish National Tourist Office, 22-23 Manchester Square, London W1M 5AP. Tel. 020 7486 8077; brochure line, 09063 640630 (60p per minute).


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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