Best time to visit
Spain's coastal regions experience hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. If you go inland or northward however, expect some cooler temperatures. As you travel in this region, be sure to pack a comfortable raincoat and bring a light jacket in Spring and Autumn. Winter conditions requires lots of layers and a heavier coat.
Culture & customs
Spaniards really live life to the full, and their enthusiasm for, well, everything, is contagious. Spanish life can seem a little upside-down, with days that start late and accelerate as the sun goes down. Join the locals for paeso, and enjoy the ritual of an evening stroll. Family fuels Spanish life, with much of the culture revolving around meal times spent with loved ones. Where time is often an abstract concept, things can run a little late, but that’s just part of the charm of easy-living Spain.
Language & useful phrases
Good Morning: Buenos días
Good Evening: Buenos noches
Goodbye: Hasta luego
Please: Por favor
Thank you: Gracias
Do you speak English? Habla usted inglés?
How much? Cuánto vale?
Health & safety
Spain is known for its expert pick-pockets, with business booming for petty thieves in big cities like Madrid and Barcelona. Be extra careful in transit areas, such as on the metro or on buses, and be sure to keep any money or valuables close to you. In case of any incidents, remember that your travel insurance is there for a reason.
Consult your local doctor for general immunisations and visit http://smartraveller.gov.au for current safety and travel information.
Electronics & devices
Spain uses a round, 2-prong plug.
Money & costs
The official currency of Spain is the Euro.
Bank hours are 9am - 2pm Monday to Friday. Some banks also open 9am - 2pm on Saturdays.
1 Euro (€) = 100 Cents (c)
Banknote denominations: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500
Coin denominations: 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, €2
Credit cards are widely accepted (mostly Visa and Mastercard), and you should have no problems using them in larger shops and restaurants. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.
Soft drink/Mineral water/Coffee = €2.50
Salad or sandwhich lunch with drink = €12
Dinner in a midrange restaurant = €30
Visas and Insurance
Spain is a member of the Schengen Convention. Nationals of countries including Australia and New Zealand don’t need a visa for stays under 90 days. We recommend standard travel insurance for Spain.
One of the big draw cards of Spain is its cuisine. Every region has its own speciality, and are often vastly different from that of its neighbours. With slow food mentality being a part of Spainish culture since its conception, every town and city will have its own fresh food markets. Be sure to get down to La Boqueria in Barcelona and Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid – as well as an array of fresh, local produce, these markets are packed with local cooks stirring up a storm of authentic, regional dishes.
Spain is also best experienced by foot. You never know what the next laneway will lead you to, whether that be a funky antique store or a magnificent old church. On your down time, strolling through the city is one of the best ways to experience Spain like a local.