OVERVIEW

OVERVIEW
SPAIN TRAVEL GUIDE. OVERVIEW If you were to ask most travellers to draw up a list of their top 10 dream holiday destinations, it would be a safe bet to suggest that Spain would feature on every single one of them. Seeing nearly 53 million visitors a year, Spain is among the most popular tourist destination in the world.

Home to an unbelievable 43 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (only Italy has more), Spain also boasts a glorious array of sun-soaked beaches and resorts. Tourists looking to enjoy a beach holiday in Spain will be spoiled for choice: the country boasts 5,000 miles (8,000km) of beaches, and many of the most popular areas – Ibiza, the Costa Blanca, Alicante, the Costa Brava, the Green Coast and the Costa del Sol – are deservedly world-famous. An idyllic climate, friendly locals, famously vibrant nightlife and world-class shopping opportunities only add to the incredible attraction of Spain.

With so much to see and do in Spain, visitors will have a delightful time drawing up their holiday itineraries. Whether they head straight to gorgeous Barcelona to admire the architectural feats of Gehry and Gaudi, or to the capital Madrid to check out the cultural treasures of the Prado Gallery; whether they wish to go high into the Sierra Nevada mountains to do some skiing or wish to sunbathe on the warm sands of the Canary Islands, visitors to Spain are ensured a holiday that they will treasure for the rest of their lives. Featuring the warmest climate on mainland Europe, there is no ‘bad time’ to visit Spain. The high tourist season is summer (June to August), when an amazing amount of foreign visitors flock to Spain’s famed beaches.

THE BASICS

THE BASICS
Electrical current is 220 or 225 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard. Spanish is the official language, but English is widely understood in areas frequented by tourists.

Catalan, Galician and Basque are spoken in the relevant areas.

There are no health risks associated with travel to Spain, and no vaccination certificates are required for entry.

Spain has a reciprocal health agreement with most EU countries, including the UK, providing emergency health care on the same terms as Spanish nationals. EU travellers should take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Note that the scheme gives no entitlement to medical repatriation costs, nor does it cover ongoing illnesses of a non-urgent nature, so comprehensive travel insurance is advised.

Hotel and restaurant bills usually include service charges, but additional tips are welcomed for services rendered.

In established restaurants tips of about 10% are expected. In Mallorca value-added-tax is usually included in restaurant bills, designated ‘I.V.A’, and may be mistaken for a service charge.

Pay phones are either blue or green and accept either coins or phone cards, which are sold at post offices, tobacco shops and newsagents. Mobile phone operators provide thorough GSM 900/1800 coverage throughout the country and the Balearic and Canary Islands. Email and Internet access is available at Internet cafes and many public parks in most townss.

TRAVEL HEALTH, MONEY, PASSPORT & VISA REQUERIMENTS

TRAVEL HEALTH, MONEY, PASSPORT & VISA REQUERIMENTS

SPAIN TRAVEL HEALLTH ADVICE: There are no health risks associated with travel to Spain, and no vaccination certificates are required for entry. Bird flu was detected in Spain in 2006, and although there is little risk to travellers, close contact with live birds should be avoided and all poultry products well cooked as a precaution (no human deaths or infections have been reported). Spain has a reciprocal health agreement with most EU countries, including the UK, providing emergency health care on the same terms as Spanish nationals. EU travellers should take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Note that the scheme gives no entitlement to medical repatriation costs, nor does it cover ongoing illnesses of a non-urgent nature, so comprehensive travel insurance is advised.

MONEY: Spain’s official currency is the Euro (EUR). One Euro is divided into 100 cents. Money can be exchanged at bureaux de change and major hotels, but banks give the best rates. All major credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and shops. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining money.

SPAIN PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIEREMENTS:

If you are a non EU national applying for a visa to Spain then you will need to start the visa application process at the embassy of Spain in your country of residence. It is likely that in order to be successful in your visa application for Spain that you must attend the embassy of Spain in person, where you will be interviewed and asked to provide evidence of your ability to fund yourself in Spain. This usually means producing a bank statement or a hotel reservation in Spain. Non EU nationals wanting a visa to visit Spain are advised to apply for a Schengen visa. The Schengen visa is issued at the embassy of Spain and allows entry to Spain as well as other countries within the EU. This type of visa is preferable if you are intending to visit other countries in Europe other than Spain as it saves you from having to apply for a separate visa for every country you visit after Spain. The Schengen visa for Spain and the rest of the EU is valid for 90 days from the day of entry into Spain or whatever EU country you arrive in. The Schengen visa for Spain and the EU is not extendable. If you intend on remaining in Spain past the duration allowed on the visa then you must report to the local police station in Spain and apply for a residence card.

United States citizens require a passport valid for at least period of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to three months within a 6 month period. Those travelling to Spain for touristic purposes need to apply for a ‘Carta de Invitacion’ at a police station or a confirmation of hotel booking. Visitors to Spain need to show proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay, this is usually calculated as EUR62.40 per day with a minimum of EUR561.60.

British citizens must hold a passport, but no visa is required for a maximum stay of three months for those holding a passport endorsed British Citizen, British National (Overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizen, or British Subject. Other passport holders require a visa.

Canadians require a passport valid for at least period of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to three months within a 6 month period. Those travelling to Spain for touristic purposes need to apply for a ‘Carta de Invitacion’ at a police station or a confirmation of hotel booking. Visitors to Spain need to show proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay, this is usually calculated as EUR62.40 per day with a minimum of EUR561.60.

Australian citizens require a passport valid for at least period of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to three months within a 6 month period. Those travelling to Spain for touristic purposes need to apply for a ‘Carta de Invitacion’ at a police station or a confirmation of hotel booking. Visitors to Spain need to show proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay, this is usually calculated as EUR62.40 per day with a minimum of EUR561.60.

South Africans should apply in advance for a Schengen visa to enter Spain. Passports should be valid for at least three months beyond expiry date of visa. Those travelling to Spain for touristic purposes need to apply for a ‘Carta de Invitacion’ at a police station or a confirmation of hotel booking. Visitors to Spain need to show proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay, this is usually calculated as EUR62.40 per day with a minimum of EUR561.60.

New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for the period of intended stay, but no visa is necessary for a stay of up to three months. Those travelling to Spain for touristic purposes need to apply for a ‘Carta de Invitacion’ at a police station or a confirmation of hotel booking. Visitors to Spain need to show proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay, this is usually calculated as EUR62.40 per day with a minimum of EUR561.60.

PASSPORT / VISA NOTE: The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. Non-EU nationals must hold a return or onward ticket, all necessary documents for onward travel and sufficient funds. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources. Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.