People   Castilians, Basques, Catalans, Galicians, Moroccans, South Americans
Language   Castilian Spanish 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%; note - Castilian is the official language nationwide; the other languages are official regionally
Religion   85% Roman Catholic; 2% Jewish; 2% Muslim
Government   parliamentary monarchy, head of the government is the prime minister (president of the government), head of the state is the king
Head of Government   Prime Minister: Mariano Rajoy; Chief of state: King Felipe VI
Embassy   The American Embassy Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23 08034 Barcelona ph. (+34) 93 280 22 27 fax (+34) 93 280 61 75\
Visas   Citizens of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, or the US do not require visas for stays of three (3) months or less.
Health Risks   Sunburn, heat exhaustion
Clothing Suggestions   SUMMER: May through September – casual clothing made of lightweight fabrics and good walking shoes are essential. Sunglasses and a sun hat are also recommended.

WINTER: Mid- November through Mid-March – A wardrobe of matching coordinates, made of man-made fibers and/or wool, which allows for minimum and maximum warmth for varying temperatures is suggested. A topcoat with zip-out lining is also advised.

SPRING/FALL: Mid-March through April and then October through Mid-November – Lightweight wool or topcoat are suggested.

DINING: Informal attire, except for some selected restaurants, which require tie and jacket for men.

CASINOS: Formal attire is recommended.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES: Comfortable shoes and a sunhat are recommended.

CHURCHES: Casual, but conservative attire is recommended.

CRUISES: Casual daytime attire is suggested. For occasional special gala evenings, cocktail dress and tie and jacket are suggested.
Time Zone:   Winter: The mainland and the Balearic Isles are one hour ahead of GMT/UTC (6 hours ahead of New York); the Canary Islands are at GMT/UTC time (5 hours ahead of New York).

Summer: The mainland and the Balearic Isles are two hours ahead of GMT/UTC (7 hours ahead of New York); the Canary Islands are one hour ahead of GMT/UTC (6 hours ahead of New York).
Banking / Exchange   Banks usually have an exchange desk with a sign reading Cambio or Extranjero. A passport or other valid ID is required. You may also draw advances on major credit cards. Bureaux de change, with the sign Caja de Cambio or simply Change, charge higher commissions than banks, but they remain open later in the evening.

Banking hours for the public are generally from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday from October to May. Most banks will remain closed on Saturdays during the summer vacation period. Extended hours may be available at central branches in large cities.
Currency   Euro
Electric Current   The standard electrical current throughout Spain is 220 AC, 50 cycles. The 125 AC system is still used is some old buildings.
Credit Cards / Traveler Checks   Visa is widely accepted throughout Spain. Mastercard/Eurocard and American Express are also useful. You may be asked to enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN) into the credit card machine when it is read.


Traveler’s checks are widely accepted throughout Spain and may be exchanged easily at most banks.
Shopping   General Trade Stores Shopping Hours

Mon-Fri: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.


Large towns and cities usually have daily markets, which are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Smaller towns may have one or two market days per week. Markets commonly have the freshest produce, as well as dried fruits, seasonal items, game, flowers, and clothes.

Bakeries and bars may open at 8 a.m. Hypermarkets and department stores may stay open over lunch. In some areas shopping on Sundays is restricted to bakeries, pastelerías and newsstands.

The items most popular to buy are regional goods such as ceramics, lace, baskets, carved fiddles, and clogs. Shoes, clothing, leather goods, fans and guitars are also a good purchase.
Weights & measures   Metric
How to shop Tax Fee   1. Shop in any of the stores that display a TAX-FREE FOR TOURISTS window sticker and ask for a Tax-Free Shopping Form (formulario). With this form, you can later claim your VAT (Value Added Tax) Refund. The VAT is included in the selling price. Non-European Union residents may reclaim VAT on single items worth over a certain value.

2. When you leave Spain, make sure your purchases and receipts are readily available for inspection. Allow plenty of time for this process when you arrive at the airport. A Customs official will stamp your form as long as the purchase was made within in the previous six months. Without this stamp, a form is not valid and VAT refund cannot be made.

3. A VAT refund will be mailed to you or placed in a credit card account. You may also cash your Tax-free Shopping forms at Banco Exterior branches at the Barcelona, Madrid, Oviedo, Santander, and Seville airports.
National Airport   Barajas Airport Madrid (MAD), El Prat Airport Barcelona (BCN), Malaga (AGP)
Major Tourist Attractions   Barcelona, the Canary Islands, Leon, Madrid, Pamplona, Valencia, Granada, Seville
Tipping Suggestion   All dining establishments will include services in their prices. However, it is customary, but not expected, to leave a tip in bars, hotels, restaurants, and taxis. Tips of 5%-10% is appropriate, depending on the tipper’s generosity. It is customary to tip tour guides 5 to 7 EUR per person per day on multiday tours and drivers 3 to 5 EUR per person per day. The suggested tip for day tours is 10 to 15 EUR for the guide and 5 EUR for the driver.