Spain is a diverse and sometimes flamboyant country, the birthplace of the flamenco dance and the siesta! This culturally diverse country offers spectacular architecture, fascinating museums and galleries, and exciting festivals throughout the year.
Spain has a variety of climates, however most of the country sees hot and sunny summers, eased by sea breezes towards the coast. Winters tend to be mild, especially around the coast, but can be cold enough for a frost, especially inland.
Spain celebrates a number of public holidays, when most businesses close and public transport is limited. These include Christmas Eve and the week leading up to Easter.
The main airports are Madrid Barajas International Airport and Barcelona International Airport.
Spain has an efficient rail network, however most lines radiate from Madrid, so connections between some cities may be impractical. There are also international connections to Portugal and France.
Driving is on the right, and seatbelts are compulsory in the front and rear. The speed limit in built-up areas is 50kmph and on motorways and dual carriageways the minimum speed is 60kmph and the maximum speed is 80kmph.
Private companies offer various coach routes connecting the major cities, and local bus networks in larger cities tend to be comprehensive.
The official language is Spanish, however there are a number of regional languages which you might encounter, such as Catalan in the Catalonia area (including Barcelona).
English is spoken quite commonly in most tourist areas, however you may find the following phrases useful:
Hello : Hola
Goodbye : Adios
Do you speak English? : Habla usted inglés?
Please : Por favor
Thank you : Gracias
The currency in Spain is the Euro, which divides into 100 cents.
The domestic electricity voltage is 230V with a European plug, however adaptors are readily available.
The telephone country code for Spain is 34, with a number of area codes. To call another country from Spain, dial 00 before the code for the country you are calling.
In an emergency, dial 112 from any landline or mobile phone, and ask for the service/s you need- police, fire or ambulance.
Spain has four kinds of police; inside a city any offences or crimes should be reported to the Policía Nacional, but the other forces will assist if necessary. The local police (Policía Municipal, or Guardia Urbana in Barcelona) are best for getting directions if you are lost.
Most shops and offices close between around 2 and 4 in the afternoon for siesta- restaurants are usually open at this time.
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