The majority of banks open Monday-Friday, 8.30am-2/2.30pm. Only a few branches open on Saturday mornings. Throughout Andalusia there are cash points available 24 hours a day, most of which (Servired, 4B, 6000, etc…) offer international service.
Since 1 January 2002, Spain/Andalusia has been using the Euro, the legal currency of the European Economic Community. The Euro is sub-divided into 100 cents. Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, 1 and 2 Euro. Notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro.
You can change money at any bank, although there are also “bureaux de change” in some tourist areas, airports, railway stations, etc., and many tourist establishments also offer this service.
Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept major credit cards (American Express, Visa, Master Card, 4B…), displaying the corresponding signs at the entrance to the establishment. Traveller’s cheques, accompanied by a passport, are also accepted in most tourist establishments in Andalusia.
We should mention that in some establishments (restaurants, shops…), payment with 100, 200 and 500 Euro notes is not accepted.
Tourists from European Union countries and countries with common immigration regulations (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) need the European Health Card (EHC) to receive healthcare in Andalusia and the rest of Spain. This card is available from the health service in your country of origin.
Private Doctors and hospitals in Andalusia/Spain do not accept the EHC. If you require private healthcare you must settle your own bills or take out an insurance policy that covers it.
If you forget the EHC, you will have to pay any hospital, medical or pharmaceutical bills in advance, and then seek reimbursement from the relevant organisation in your country of origin, providing all corresponding receipts.
If you forget said certificate, you should pay any hospital, medical or pharmaceutical costs in advance, and your affiliated body will reimburse these on presentation of the corresponding receipts.
If you are from a country not mentioned above, you have to pay for any healthcare. This means it is advisable to take out a medical insurance policy.
In any case, you should contact the relevant office in your country of origin for full details regarding current requirements to receive medical care in Andalusia/Spain.
To travel to Andalusia/Spain, you do not need vaccinations against any illness, although, as in any part of the world, it is advisable to have your tetanus vaccination up to date if you are going to be in contact with nature and the countryside.
Medicines can be purchased at chemists, which are marked by a green cross. Bear in mind that only a doctor should prescribe the correct medication for each case.
HOW TO MAKE TELEPHONE CALLS, to and from Spain
If you wish to make a call to Spain from overseas, you should dial +34 (the code for Spain) followed by the telephone number (9 digits). If you see a phone number that begins with +, you have to replace the + with the international access code (00 from anywhere in Europe). Then dial the country code plus the other numbers.
If you want to call another country from Spain, then dial 00 followed by the country code and the telephone number. You can make calls from phone boxes. These work with coins or cards available from “estancos” (licensed outlets for tobacco/stamps).
Europe calling chart
The following instructions apply whether you are calling a land line or a mobile phone. The international access codes (the first numbers you dial when making an international call) are 00 if you are calling from Europe (except Finland, where it is 999), or 011 if you are calling from the U.S.A or Canada. Dial using this key: AC = Area Code, LN = Local Number.
|Country||Country Code||Calling within||Calling from Spain to..|
|Austria||43||AC + LN||00 + 43 + AC (without the initial zero) + LN|
|Belgium||32||LN||00 + 32 + LN (without initial zero)|
|Bosnia-Herzegovina||387||AC + LN||00 + 387 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|Great Britain||44||AC + LN||00 + 44 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|Croatia||385||AC + LN||00 + 385 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|Czech Republic||420||AC + LN||00 + 420 + LN|
|Denmark||45||LN||00 + 45 + LN|
|Estonia||372||LN||00 + 372 + LN|
|Finland||358||AC + LN||999 + 358 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|France||33||LN||00 + 33 + LN (without initial zero)|
|Germany||49||AC + LN||00 + 49 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|Greece||30||LN||00 + 30 + LN|
|Hungary||36||06 + AC + LN||00 + 36 + AC + LN|
|Ireland||353||AC + LN||00 + 353 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|Italy||39||LN||00 + 39 + LN|
|Montenegro||382||AC + LN||00 + 382 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|Netherlands||31||AC + LN||00 + 31 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|Norway||47||LN||00 + 47 + LN|
|Poland||48||LN||00 + 48 + LN (without initial zero)|
|Portugal||351||LN||00 + 351 + LN|
|Slovakia||421||AC + LN||00 + 421 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|Slovenia||386||AC + LN||00 + 386 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|Spain||34||LN||Just Local number (LN)|
|Sweden||46||AC + LN||00 + 46 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
|Switzerland||41||LN||00 + 41 + LN (without initial zero)|
|Turkey||90||AC (if no initial zero is included, add one) + LN||00 + 90 + AC (without initial zero) + LN|
If you wish to make national calls within Spain you should dial the number with no prefix. This number should comprise 9 digits, regardless of whether it is a landline or mobile.
To use your mobile in Spain you should be aware that coverage here uses GSM technology, meaning that it is incompatible with some countries such as the USA or Japan. In this case you need a tri-band mobile in order to call. If you have a compatible handset, you should get in touch with your mobile company to make sure that you can use your mobile in Spain (they will activate the international roaming service on your account). Once you have taken these steps at home, you will be able to use your mobile in Spain as if it were a Spanish handset: i.e. you should dial 00 + the country code to make international calls or directly just with the 9 digits to make national calls inside Spain.
Travelling to Andalusia is easy. Documentation required varies according to the country you come from.
If you are a citizen of any European Union member state, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you only need your National ID Card or valid passport. If you are under 18 and travelling on an ID card, this should be accompanied by permission from your father, mother or corresponding guardian.
If you are from one of the following countries:
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, USA, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Republic of Korea, San Marino, the Vatican, Singapore, Uruguay or Venezuela, you need a valid passport to enter Andalusia/Spain, and you will be entitled to stay up to a maximum of 90 days.
If you come from another country, you should apply for a visa from the Spanish Consulate in your place of residence, according to criteria established by the EU. You will also need to present your passport.
Given that conditions may vary, we suggest that you contact the Spanish Embassy or Consulate to verify these requirements before you start your trip.
You should bear in mind that in Andalusia/Spain:
You will not be able to travel with your pet if it is an endangered species.
The animal should be identifiable by a microchip or tattoo, and should have the relevant veterinary certificate or passport according to the species.
The animal should travel with you in a suitable container.
The majority of establishments do not allow pets.
The majority of restaurants do not allow pets.
Before you start your trip, we recommend you check with accommodation and transport companies, to see if pets are allowed, and under what conditions.
Before coming into Andalusia/Spain, your pet should meet a series of sanitary and identification requirements, which may vary according to the country of origin. Furthermore: Your pet should be vaccinated against rabies.
If your pet is less than three months old, there are restrictions for entry into Spain.
Andalusia is on Central European Time (CET), or Central European Summer Time (CEST) during the summer months, i.e. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +1 in winter and GMT+2 in summer.
Mealtimes tend to be a little later in Spain than in the rest of Europe: breakfast is continental style and is usually eaten between 8am and 10.30am. In restaurants, lunch is served between 1pm and 3.30pm, and dinner from 8.30 to 11pm. In any case, the majority of tourist establishments adapt their opening times to the European norm, and, in practice, it is normal for cafés and bars to offer all-day service, with “tapas”, combo dishes, baguettes and “raciones” (dishes to share) available at any time.
Opening times for shops is 10am-2pm in the morning and 5-8/9pm in the afternoon. Department stores are open continuously 10am-9/10pm. Shops and shopping centres open on Saturday mornings, although in larger cities it is becoming more and more common to see them open on Saturday afternoons and even on some Sundays and public holidays. It is worth mentioning that bars and nightclubs usually remain open until 3 or 4am at weekends.
Chemists open during normal shopping hours, although in larger cities it is becoming more common to find 24-hour chemists. In any case, outside normal opening times there are specific “duty” chemists open all night. There are lists showing duty chemists for the night placed in the doorway of all chemists in a town.
Museums and monuments are usually open all day and often close one day during the week, given that they tend to stay open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Main Post Offices are usually open non-stop 8.30am-8.30pm Monday-Friday, and 9.30am-2pm on Saturdays, closing on Sundays and public holidays. Opening times for other Post Offices vary according to the type of office and where it is. Stamps can also be purchased in “estancos” (licensed tobacco shops).
In general, public bodies (consulates, embassies, town halls, etc.) are open to the public 8.30/9am-2/3pm, Monday-Friday.
WHAT DO YOU NEED IN ORDER TO DRIVE IN SPAIN
To drive in Andalusia/Spain you must be 18 years old, and 21 years old to hire a vehicle. Regarding your driver’s license:
If you are from an EU member state, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you only need your valid driver’s license.
If you are from any other country you will require an International Driver’s License.
Tourists travelling in their own vehicles should be aware that a Temporary Registration Permit may be required. You can request this permit at Customs and it is valid for 6 months.
Regarding driver’s insurance:
If you are from an EU member state, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra or Croatia, you only need to carry your insurance policy along with a payment receipt showing validity of the policy.
If you come from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Byelorussia, Israel, Iran, Morocco, Moldavia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Tunisia, Turkey or the Ukraine, you will need to get a Green Card – the International Motor Insurance Certificate.
If you are from a country not mentioned above, you should take out a Frontier Insurance policy (a temporary, obligatory, third party policy for motor vehicles).
Given that conditions may vary, we suggest that you contact the Spanish Embassy or Consulate to verify these requirements before you start your trip.
The standard electrical current in Andalusia is 220-240V AC, 50 Hz. Electrical devices from some countries may need a transformer and an adaptor. Plugs have two round pins (European system), and you can find adaptors in any hardware shop
To make a complaint, you are entitled to ask for the “Hoja de Reclamaciones” (claims form), which establishments and companies are legally obliged to have available to customers. These complaints are then presented at the corresponding Provincial Consumers’ Association.
Non-EU residents can claim back I.V.A. (Value Added Tax) on purchases carried out in Andalusia. Spanish legislation states that the minimum amount spent in one establishment on the same day must reach 90.15 Euro in order to request a tax-free receipt. The refund must be requested at the establishment in question, showing corresponding proof of residence. Within the subsequent 3 months, the purchaser should present the receipt and the items purchased at Customs to be stamped, and he/she should then request the refund from one of the offices of the various management companies located at the main airports in Spain/Andalusia.
According to European Community regulations, travellers may not bring foodstuffs of animal origin into Spain as part of their baggage, with the exception of powdered milk for children, in its original packaging. Other foodstuffs can be brought in, up to a maximum of 1 kg.
The minimum legal age for the purchase and consumption of alcohol and tobacco is 18.
In accordance with Spanish Act 28/2005 of 26 December and European regulations, smoking is prohibited in public buildings, healthcare and teaching centres, railways, maritime services and city transport services (except open-air), party or leisure venues with access permitted to under 18s, etc. Given the broadly restrictive nature of the Law, it is advisable to check with staff in the establishment in question before smoking.
According to the current Bill regarding Administrative Jurisdiction, the purchase and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in the street and, in general, in other open spaces except those established by the Local Council in question.
On national and local holidays, public transport systems run and you will find some museums, monuments, information offices, shopping centres, etc. open. However, these will often have special opening times and/or conditions, given that there may be activities taking place in the area at the same time (fairs, open-air celebrations, religious events, etc.), so you should find out in advance to plan your trip correctly.
New Year: January 1st
Epiphany: January 6th
Andalusia Day: February 28th
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday: date varies year to year (March-April)
Workers’ Day: May 1st
Assumption of the Virgin Mary: August 15th
Columbus Day: October 12th
All Saints’ Day: November 1st
Spanish Constitution Day: December 6th
The Immaculate Conception: December 8th
Christmas day: December 25th
USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS
“900” numbers and some emergency numbers are free of charge.
National Police: 091
Local Police: 092
Guardia Civil: 062
Fire brigade: 080
Maritime Rescue and Safety: 900202202
Regional Government of Andalusia, information: 902505505
Women’s Line: 900200999
Child Line: 900506113
Consumers’ Line: 900849090
Healthcare Line: 902505060
Post Office Information: 902197197
AENA (Spanish airports) Information: 902404704
RENFE – National Rail Services, Information and Bookings: 902240202
RENFE – International Rail Services, Information and Bookings: 902243402
In Andalusia/Spain we use the Metric (Decimal) System, with 7 basic units of measurement. This is also known as the International Unit System (SI), and governs all units of weight, measurement and distance.
“Tapas”, a real institution in Andalusia. They are small appetisers which where originally served to cover (“tapar” – hence the name) glasses, thus avoiding dust getting into the drink. They are served in bars, cafés and restaurants, and are rarely included in the price of the drink. “Raciones” are, larger portions than tapas and are normally ordered for two or more people.
The major national newspapers print a daily Andalusia section, although there are also local papers. They are available at newspaper kiosks; sometimes kiosks in major cities and certain tourist towns also sell international newspapers.
When paying for bars, cafés, restaurants, hotels and taxis, it is common to leave a tip, in addition to the bill, or to round the total up, as long as you are satisfied with the service.
There are a host of “locutorios” (shops to make cheap phone calls) and cyber cafés (with Internet connection at varying prices) to be found throughout Andalusia, and many tourist establishments also offer clients telephone and Internet services. There are also WIFI areas at airports and major railway stations.
Although Catholic churches predominate in Spain, in large cities there are also places of worship from other religions, such as mosques, protestant churches, evangelical churches, Buddhist centres, Jehovah’s witnesses’ chapels, etc. For more information on this subject you should contact your religious community, either at home or at your destination.
Although drinking bottled water is common in some coastal areas, the supply of safe drinking water from the tap is guaranteed throughout Andalusia.
As far as clothing goes, from April/May through to September/October, it is advisable to take light, comfortable summer clothes, along with something warmer for the night or for outings in the countryside. Don’t forget your swimming costume, sun hat or cap, sunglasses and sun cream if you will be enjoying the pool or the beach. Remember that it is advisable to avoid direct exposure and physical activity in the midday sun, June-September, and don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids. In winter you will need warm clothes, and these will depend on which part of Andalusia you will be visiting. Remember that temperatures are milder on the coast, while inland and in the mountains they can fall below zero. Footwear should be strong and comfortable, also depending on the area to visit, the time of year and the activities you will be doing.
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