Things to Know Before Traveling to Spain

📄 Documents

Traveling to Spain is an exciting experience, but just like any other country in the world, getting in requires a series of documents and formalities.

For instance, if you are a citizen of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein you must hold a valid ID card or passport, but no Visa is required.

Otherwise, contact the nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate for specific entry requirements. This is, in fact, recommended for anyone planning a trip to Spain, given that passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice.

⛅ Climate

Although most people think of Spain as a Mediterranean destination, considering its geographic location and the variety of landscapes, the country enjoys at least six different climatic zones:

Mediterranean climate with mild temperatures year round on the Balearic Islands and the south-eastern coasts, especially Costa Blanca, Costa Brava, and Costa del Sol.

Continental climate with cold winters and hot summers in the central plateau (Castile-La Mancha, Castile León, Extremadura, and part of Aragon and Navarre).

Alpine climate characterized by snowy, cold winters and mild summers in the Pyrenees, Cordillera Betica, and Granada’s Sierra Nevada.

Oceanic climate with extensive rainfall in northern Spain, including the Basque Country, Asturias, Cantabria, and partially Galicia.

Semiarid climate with very little rainfall in the south-east of Spain (Murcia and a small part of Andalusia).

The Canary Islands are characterized by a subtropical climate with very small temperature variations between winter and summer, hence the nickname of “eternal spring”.

🗣 Language

Spanish, also known as Castilian (castellano), is the official language in Spain, but some of the territories across the country have their own particular language or dialect.

Other languages recognized in Spain include:

Basque / Euskera – spoken in The Basque Country (Spain and France) and Navarre

Catalan (catala) – spoken in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community

Galician (galego) – spoken in Galicia and some areas of Asturias and Castile and Leon

🚗 Driving

In Spain all traffic drives on the right side of the road. Documentation required includes driver’s license, insurance policy and payment receipt, ownership/rental documents, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance.

Most of the roads in Spain are free and in good conditions, but there are also a number of toll roads marked with “peaje”.

⏰ Opening Hours

Opening hours in Spain vary by season and region, but the typical business day is usually fragmented by the famous siesta, which is still honored in most parts of the country.

Accordingly, the majority of stores are open between 9 am and 2.30 pm, and then from 5 pm until 9 pm, from Monday to Saturday. Banks, city halls, and other public services are open Monday to Friday between 8:30 am or 9:00 am and 2:00 pm.

📱 Emergency Numbers

General emergency services: 112
Traffic Department: 900 123505
Ambulance: 061
Fire service: 080
National Police: 091
Municipal Police: 092
Civil Guard: 062

💬 Useful Expressions

Hello – Hola
Yes – Si
No – No
Please – Por favor
Thank you – Gracias
Sorry – Lo siento
Do you speak English? – ¿Hablas ingles?
What time is it? – ¿Que hora es?
How much does it cost? – ¿Cuanto cuesta?
How are you? – ¿Como estas?
Where is…? – ¿Dónde está…?

🍹 Others

Currency: Euro
Drinking age: 18
Driving age: 18
Spain Time Zone: CET (UTC + 1)
Canary Islands Time Zone: WET (UTC 0)