Spain, Europe - Stein Travel



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Welcome to Spain

Budget airlines and affordable fares have turned Spain into a beach resort haven for northern Europeans wishing to escape their own damp climates. With sun-bleached beaches and a favourable rate of exchange for most travellers, it's easy to see why.

Some may feel that the Canary and Balearic Islands have been overrun by tourists, and this is true to some extent - Tenerife, Lanzarote and Mallorca have become synonymous with cheap package holidays and warm beer, and Ibiza's reputation has, for some, been tarnished by the revellers frequenting its famous dance clubs and beach parties; however even here you will find many magical, unspoilt corners awaiting discovery.

Spain is comprised of numerous autonomous regions, offering such variation within one country. The hundreds of miles of Mediterranean coastline provide ample opportunity to get off the beaten track, and the country's vibrant cities and colourful festivals will amaze and delight even the most seasoned traveller. There is the Spain of Gaudi, Dali, and Picasso, of Goya and Velazquez - proudly displayed in Madrid's museums and galleries.

Spain's Pamplona is a unique experience of thundering streets that vibrate to the rhythm of man and beast during the annual running of the bulls, and while the whole country celebrates each February with the Carnaval, no place does it better than Sitges. Barcelona is Spain's showcase of the unique architectural style of Gaudi's bizarre organic turrets and balconies. For a more provincial experience, the Valencian town of Buñol goes wild every year with the La Tomatina festival, a time when the region's surplus tomatoes - following the annual harvest - are dumped on the streets and pelted about in a friendly riot.

Spain is also a country rich in heritage and the historic cities of Toledo, Salamanca, Seville and Granada promise a wealth of early Christian and Moorish buildings and monuments, as well as the remains of some incredible medieval sites. Spain has six cities that have been declared Unesco World Heritage sites, more than any other country in the world.


Attraction Overview

Spain is more than a travel destination - it's a way of life. The country's many attractions and the journeys between them are infused with the warm welcome of the diverse people and the highly value laid-back lifestyle the Spaniards have perfected.

Explore some of the worlds' greatest treasure troves, from the magnificent Prado, to the Picasso and Dali museums, and even the FC Barcelona museum for football fans. Take in the open-air pleasures of the Ramblas and Bario Gotic in Barcelona, and experience the beauty of ancient towns like Toledo and Tarragona. Most visitors come to Spain for the beaches alone, and - explore our dedicated guides to these area for more details.

Spain is truly a year-round destination that has something for everyone from family of four to tour-bus of twenty. It's got rich history and easy pleasures in abundance making this just about the most diverse holiday destination in Europe.

Business

Spain is one of the most conservative countries in Europe and it is important to dress accordingly at all business engagements; formal suits are appropriate. Punctuality is expected of visitors, however, may not necessarily be reciprocated. People should be addressed as Señor (Mr), Señora (Mrs) and Señorita (Miss) unless otherwise specified. Shaking hands is usual with introductions. Business cards are common and like all documents it is recommended that they be printed in both Spanish and English. Gift giving is not common and not expected. Meetings often occur over lunches and dinners and may be characterised by several speakers. A hierarchy is generally observed with respect. Business hours are generally from 8am to 5pm.

Climate

Spain is extremely hot during mid-summer, in July and August. The rest of the year the climate is generally temperate in the north, but warm in the south. The best time to visit is during spring or autumn, except for the Atlantic coast, which has heavy rains in October and November. August is the busiest month, while May and October are the best times for both ideal weather and fewer crowds. Madrid and the high central area can get very cold during winter.

Communications

The international access code for Spain is +34. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)93 for Barcelona and (0)91 for Madrid. 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 in most towns and resorts.

Customs

Smoking in public places is banned and stiff fines will be imposed for smoking in areas such as enclosed public spaces, areas where food is prepared and sold, public transport, designated areas of bars and restaurants, and any places that cater for children. Drinking alcohol in the streets of Madrid, and in the Canary and Balearic Islands is illegal.

Duty Free

If tax was included in the purchase price, travellers form EU countries are allowed the following items duty free: EUR300 (by land) or EUR430 (by air) gifts/souvenirs, 3200 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars or 3kg smoking tobacco, 110 litres beer, 90 litres wine or 10 litres spirits, 60ml perfume. Travellers from non-EU countries may have 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars or 250g smoking tobacco, 1 litre spirits or 2 litres wine, 60ml perfume and EUR200 worth of gifts/souvenirs.

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 or 225 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.

Health

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.

Language

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.

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.

Passport Visa

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.

Safety

Generally safety is not too much of a problem for tourists in Spain. However, ETA has been responsible for numerous bomb explosions across Spain, and is blamed for the deaths of over 800 people in its fight for independence. There is a potential risk of international terrorism, as in other countries, although the risk to tourists is considered to be low. Most visits to Spain are trouble-free, except for street crime, which is common in the big cities; travellers are advised to take precautions to avoid theft of passports, credit cards, travel documents and money. Be wary of strangers offering or asking for help of any kind, as it is often a distraction for accomplices. There are also scams involving letters for outstanding traffic fines or Spanish lottery winnings.

Time

Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in October). The Canary Islands: GMT (GMT +1 in summer).

Tipping

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. Drivers of metered taxis expect small tips and it is customary to tip usually 5-10% for most services, including guides.

Accommodation Offers

Villa alojamiento y Congresos
Villa alojamiento y Congresos fr €284
ALICANTE, Alicante
Fri, 12-Jul-19 for 10 nights
Room Only

Holiday Offers

Europa Apartamentos
Europa Apartamentos fr €143
Blanes, Costa Brava
Sat, 18-May-19 for 10 nights
Self Catering
Don Miguel III
Don Miguel III fr €335
Benidorm, Benidorm
Fri, 07-Jun-19 for 7 nights
Self Catering
Goya
Goya fr €356
Alicante, Costa Blanca
Fri, 07-Jun-19 for 7 nights
Room Only


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