Travel Information Costa Brava

Tips & Information

Soon you will go on holiday to the Costa Brava. We are happy to send you well prepared on your way, which is why we have listed some useful information for you. We wish you a nice holiday. Viva España!


En Route
Toll, environmental badge, refueling

In Spain there are many motorways (autopistas) toll roads. You can pay tolls in euros, by credit card, but often also by debit card (no PIN code required), or with a toll badge. On motorways and expressways, you do not pay a toll. From the French border to Alicante (Costa Brava, Costa Dorada) you do not pay tolls on the motorways.

All cities with more than 50,000 (sometimes 20,000) inhabitants have an environmental zone. Spanish environmental badges are not available for foreign vehicles. French, Danish, German, or Austrian environmental badges are valid in Spain. If you want to go to Barcelona for a day, park outside the city, make sure you have one of the above stickers or apply for a day permit via zberegistre.ambmobilitat.cat/en/AutoritzacionsDiaries.

The speed limit on motorways is 120 km/h. Outside built-up areas, this is 90 km/h.

As a driver, you can be fined in Spain if, for example, you eat or drink something while driving, smoke a cigarette, apply make-up, take something out of the glove compartment, have bare feet, wear flip-flops or mountain shoes or wear swimsuits. You can pay the fine directly on the spot. Convenient: Most fines are reduced by 50% if you pay immediately or within 20 calendar days.

It is mandatory to have a warning triangle, a safety vest, and a spare wheel in the car. If you are traveling with a trailer or caravan, you must bring a fire extinguisher.

In the mountains, rising traffic has priority over falling traffic, unless the ascending vehicle is close to a fallback point.

More information about traffic rules can be found here:
Driving in Spain. Regulations and info | spain.info 

The summer holidays for the Spaniards are from the end of June to mid-September. In 2023, Black Saturday in Europe will be on August 5. The weekends before and after are also very busy. Additional traffic is expected around the Festival of Sant Joan (in and around Barcelona) on 22/23 June and around Assumption Day, 15 August.

In Spain, there is no general driving ban for trucks on weekends or public holidays.

There are about 9000 charging points in Spain and the network is not yet covered. Driving an electric car in Spain requires some planning in advance.

Refueling is generally cheapest at large supermarkets or at petrol stations on industrial estates. Petrol stations along the (toll) motorways are open day and night, or at least from 06.00-24.00 hours. Along the motorways and in the big cities, the petrol stations are usually open at least from 07:00 to 22:00.

Food & Drink
Shopping and eating out

The tap water in Spain is chlorinated and can generally be drunk safely. Minor stomach or intestinal complaints may occur. If you are sensitive to this, it is better to drink bottled water. This is for sale everywhere.

Between 12:00 and 14:00 it is very common to have a drink or eat tapas. People then get together to have a drink before eating. Restaurants serve lunch between 13:00 and 16:00 and dinner between 20:00 and 23:30. In large cities and in summer, it is normal for dinner to be served until 23:30. If you go out for dinner at the campsite, you can often go early. Eating out is cheaper than in Ireland. You already have a simple 3-course menu for around € 20,-.

In Spain, people are increasingly aware of celiac disease and the importance of gluten-free food. Therefore, more and more hotels, restaurants, campsites, parks, and recreation centers are prepared for the needs of people with celiac disease.

It is not mandatory to tip in Spain, because a service fee is already charged everywhere. However, it is common to tip in bars and restaurants, hotels, and taxis.

Theatre productions, concerts, and performances usually start between 20:00 and 21:00. In summer, performances can start later, even until 22:00 or 23:00.

Public buses in major cities usually run between 06:00 and 23:00, and the metro usually runs later. A night shift usually runs between 23:30 and 06:00.

Well-known supermarkets are Esclat, Hipercor, Alcampo, and Bonpreu, but in Spain, you will also find the Lidl and the Aldi. Prices are generally slightly lower than in the Ireland. Shops are usually open from 10:00 to 21:00. Sometimes they close between 14:00 and 17:00, especially in summer. Sunday is the normal day when shops and businesses close.


Health
Carefree holidays

Spanish healthcare is of good quality. First aid is guaranteed for everyone and is provided in hospitals and some health centers. In Spain, medicines are purchased at pharmacies. You can recognize this by the green cross.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to necessary medical care in the event of illness or an accident during a temporary stay in Spain. Often it is not necessary to advance healthcare costs yourself. The personal EHIC can be found on the back of the health insurance card of your health insurer or in their app.

In case of hospitalization or when specialist medical care is needed, it is best to contact your insurance company directly.

In Spain, COVID-19 measures no longer apply. It is also not necessary to get vaccinations.


Weather & Climate
Weather in the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava is located in the northeast of Spain and has a real Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers. The Mediterranean sea has a major influence on the climate here. As a result, the Costa Brava does not have extreme weather conditions, as it does in the more rural parts of Spain. The Costa Brava has many sunny days, no less than 300 per year! Around May the temperatures are around 21 degrees and in the real summer months, July and August, the temperature is often around 28 degrees. Here you can often enjoy good weather from April, which can even last until November.

In addition to the well-known apps for weather and climate, el tiempo provides extensive weather information (in English).


Language & Payment
Buenas vacaciones!

Google translate will go a long way, of course, but it's also nice to know some phrases. We'll help you get started:

Hello
Hola
See you later
Adiós
JYes / NoSí/No
PleasePor favor
Thank youGracias
SorryLo siento
What is your name?¿Cómo te llamas?
I am/my name is..Me llamo/mi nombre es...
I don't speak SpanishNo hablo español
I don't understand No lo entiendo
What time is it? ¿Qué hora es?
How much does that cost?¿Cuánto cuesta?
Where is the restaurant/bar?¿Dónde está el restaurante/bar?
Where is the nearest bank?¿Dónde está el banco más cercano?
Where is the pool?¿Dónde está la piscina?
Do you accept credit cards?¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?
LeftIzquierda
RightDerecha
Stop!¡Alto!
StraightDerecha
Can I see the menu?¿Puedo ver el menú?
I would like a beer/glass of white Me gustaría una cerveza/copa de vino blanco/copa de vino tinto
Cheers!¡Salud!
Can I have the bill please?¿Me da la cuenta, por favor?
Where is the toilet?¿Dónde está el baño?
Where is the hospital?¿Dónde está el hospital?
Where is the pharmacy?¿Dónde está la farmacia?
Where can I find a dentist?¿Dónde hay un dentista?


In Spain, just like in Ireland, you pay with the euro. The price level is generally slightly lower than that in Ireland. You can pay almost anywhere with your regular debit card or with a credit card. There are more ATMs in Spain than in the Irealnd. Please note: withdrawing money with a credit card is usually not free.


Good to know
Goed om te weten
  • If you are traveling to the Costa Brava, you will need a valid passport or ID card with which you can identify yourself. You don't need it to cross the border.

  • Spain uses Type C and Type F outlets, both of which have two round holes. The difference between them is that Type F also has two grounding clips. You’ll find both outlet types throughout Spain, from Barcelona to the countryside. Both can take any plug type with two round prongs, as long as there’s not a third grounding prong. However, sockets in Spain usually sit inside a round indentation in the wall; plugs with a head that isn’t round will need an adapter to fit the outlet, even if they’re otherwise compatible.

    Like the rest of Europe, Spain’s electrical grid uses a frequency of 50 Hz and a voltage of 230V. Appliances rated between 220V and 240V are safe to plug into Spanish sockets.

  • Major holidays in Spain:

White Thursday
Jueves Santo
6-apr
Good Friday
Viernes Santo
7-apr
Easter Sunday
Domingo de Pascua
9-apr
Easter Monday
Lunes de Pascua
10-apr
Labor Day
Fiesta del Trabajo
1-mei
2nd Day of Pentecost 
Pentecostés (Catalonie)
5-jun
Start of Summer
Sant Joan (Catalonië)
24-jun
Day of Catalonia
Fiesta Nacional de Cataluña
14-jul
Assumption Day
Asuncíon de Maria
15-aug
National day
12-okt
All Saints' Day
Fiesta de Todos los Santos
1-nov


  • Spain is a dog-friendly country, but not all dogs are allowed. For your dog or cat, you will need an EU pet passport, available from the veterinarian. Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel. The mandatory chip must be inserted before the rabies vaccination (may be on the same day). More information can be found here. Because this vaccination can only be given from 12 weeks, puppies or kittens younger than 15 weeks may not be taken to Spain.

  • Spain is 1 hour ahead of the center of Ireland. We are using the Europe/Dublin and Europe/Madrid time zones.  

  • Are you traveling alone with a minor child, for example, because you are divorced? Or are you bringing your child's boyfriend or girlfriend? Then you must be able to prove that you have permission from the parent(s). This can be done with a declaration of consent.

  • Put a contact's phone number as a Case of Emergency (ICE) number in your phone.

  • Black Saturdays: In 2023, Black Saturday is on August 5. The weekends before and after are also very busy

Tip: photograph your passport/ID, insurance card, bank card, emergency numbers, and other important items before departure. Mail or app them to yourself or other travel companions, so you still have important data at hand in the event of loss or theft.


10 tourist sites on the Costa Brava

Barcelona

A day trip to Barcelona and its Sagrada Familia is a must during your holiday on the Costa Brava. Shopping enthusiasts can indulge themselves here in the large shopping streets. And for real football fans, a visit to Camp Nou should of course not be missed.


Dalí Museum

The Dalí Museum gives a unique insight into the special life of artist Salvador Dalí. All his important works can be admired here. This is also a true experience for children and the non-large art lover.


Karting

For adrenaline lovers, there are several go-kart tracks on the Costa Brava. Karting fun for all ages is guaranteed!

Karting Formula, Lloret de Mar
Karting Club Blanes, Blanes
Karting Roses, Roses (special circuit for children)
Karts L'Escala, L'Escala
Karting Palamós, Palamós

Adventure Parc Costa Brava

Climb through the trees at high altitudes and take on the challenge on the different courses. With the different routes, there is a suitable one for everyone in the family. Adventure Parc Costa Brava is located in Platja d'Aro and Pals.

More info


Beaches

The beautiful beaches on the Costa Brava offer a place for everyone. Santa Cristina can be found at Lloret de Mar. This easily accessible, wide beach is ideal for children because of the good facilities and the shallow water. The beach at Estartit and Platja d'Aro are also very suitable. Prefer a bit smaller? Then try Cala Sant Francesc on the outskirts of Blanes.


Water parks

On the Costa Brava you will find three water parks:

Water World in Llorte de Mar
Aquabrava in Rosas
Aquadiver in Platja d'Aro

All three water parks have multiple pools and slides for young and old. Water World is the largest water park in Europe and Aquabrava has the largest wave pool in Europe. A must-visit for the whole family.


Tossa de Mar

Follow the beautiful coastal route from St. Feliu de Guixols towards the family-friendly seaside resort of Tossa de Mar. This beautiful bay is a lot quieter than the surrounding seaside resorts. From the old town centre you can easily walk onto the sandy beach. The castle at the end of the beach completes the picture.


Girona

Plan a day trip to the old city of Girona. Enjoy the cozy terraces, the good food and the many shops. Especially Centro Commercial Espai Girones is fantastic for shopping enthusiasts. Explore the cathedrals, the old city walls and discover the colorful buildings.


Pals

Visit the historic centre of Pals. This small village can be seen from afar due to its location on a mountain. Stroll through the charming streets, visit the small shops and enjoy traditional Spanish dishes at one of the many restaurants.

More info


Butterfly Park

Walk through the tropical rainforest of Butterfly Parc in Empuriabrava. Discover special butterflies such as the world's largest butterfly, but also different species of birds, wallabies and many more exotic animals. A fun day out for the whole family.


Disclaimer: The information on this page has been carefully compiled. However, we do not accept any liability for incorrect or incomplete information. The links we use to other websites are for informational purposes only. These websites are not maintained, controlled or approved by us. As a traveler, you are responsible for having the correct (border) documents for your holiday. We advise you to check the latest information with the appropriate authorities just before your holiday.