Spanish Living Home Page

Facts about Spain

Spain is situated in south western Europe. It occupies the Iberian Peninsula and is bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Cantabrian Sea. It also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla. Its total surface area is 504,788 sq. kms. Click here for maps of Spain

Travel

If you are a citizen of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein: all you need is your Identification Card, or a valid passport. Minors travelling with their ID card must have a document that shows parental authorisation. More about Spanish ID cards here

More about travel insurance here

Health care

As a citizen of the European Union you are entitled to free medical and hospital care:

  • You will need your European Health Card (EHC):
  • From 1 July 2004, the European Health Card will replace the current temporary stay forms - principally the E-111 and E-128 and is available from the relevant healthcare organisation in your country of origin. It is valid for the period shown on the card and entitles you to the same medical care as that received by Spanish citizens.

Please note that private Doctors and hospitals in Spain do not accept the European Health Card. If you require private healthcare you must ensure that you have an adequate health insurance policy or pay your own bills at the time.

  • In Spain, medication and prescriptions are obtained at pharmacies which can be distinguished by the green cross.
  • The phone number to ring in case of emergencies is 112 and is free to call in the whole of Spain.

Driving

If you are a citizen of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein: all you need is your valid driver's licence. If you are from another country, you will need an International Driver's Licence. To drive in Spain you must be at least 18 years old. To rent a vehicle, you must be at least 21. You must keep your documents with you at all times in Spain.

More about cars, driving & traffic regulations in Spain

Pets

Before entering Spain your pet must comply with a series of health and identification requirements. These may vary according to its country of origin. In most cases, your pet must be vaccinated against rabies and identified with a microchip or tattoo. Also remember that you may not be allowed to bring your pet into Spain if it is less than three months' old.

More here about taking pets to Spain

Currency and currency transfers

In Spain, as in most other countries of the European Union, the official currency is the Euro since January of 2002.

There are eight different coins:
1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, € 1 and € 2. One Euro consists of 100 cents.

There are seven different notes:
€5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500.

Note: Please be aware when you exchange your currency that many shops and garages do not like recieving the €500 notes.

You can exchange foreign currency at all banks which stay open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 8.30 to 14.00 h (except in the months of June through September, when they remain closed on Saturday). There are also currency exchange shops in all major cities, as well as selected hotels and travel agencies. Check with your reception desk to see if they are able to provide this service.

More about currency transfers here

National Holidays

The following days are Spanish national public holidays. Generally, for both local and national holidays, the shops and the workers will shut down. Also, in situations where an official holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, the Spanish will often take the day in between also. This is known as a Puente (Bridge day).

  • January 1 - New Year
  • January 6 - Kings Day
  • March 25 - Good Friday
  • August 15 - Assumption of the Virgin
  • October 12 - El Pilar
  • November 1 - All Saint's Day
  • December 6 - Spanish Constitution Day
  • December 8 - Immaculate Conception

Our calendar of Spanish festivals can be found here

Language

The official language of Spain is Castellano Spanish. Other languages also spoken in Spain include: Catalan, Galician, Basque and Valencian.

More about the language and learning Spanish here

Population

As of 2009 the population of Spain stands at 45,568,152

Time Zone

PENINSULA AND BALEARIC ISLANDS: GMT + 1 hour (in summer GMT + 2)

THE CANARY ISLANDS: GMT (in summer GMT +1)

Electricity

220 volts AC

Measurement System

Decimal Metric System