Travel information Spain

Soon you will be going on holiday to Spain. We would like to send you well-prepared, which is why we have listed some useful information for you. We wish you a happy holiday in advance. Viva España!

En Route
Tolls, environment sticker& fuel

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

All cities with more than 50,000 (sometimes 20,000) inhabitants have an environmental zone. Spanish environmental stickers cannot be obtained for foreign vehicles. However, French, Danish, German or Austrian environmental stickers are valid in Spain. If you want to visit 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, it is 90 km/h. 

You can be fined in Spain as a driver if you eat or drink something while driving, for example, smoke a cigarette, apply make-up, take something from the glove box, have bare feet, wear flip-flops or mountain boots, or have swimwear on. You can pay the fine directly on the spot. Handy: most fines are reduced by 50% if you pay immediately or within 20 calendar days.

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

In the mountains, ascending traffic has priority over descending traffic, unless the ascending vehicle is close to a lay-by.

More info on traffic rules can be found here

The fastest route is by motorway (toll) via Belgium/Luxembourg - France.

Summer holidays for Spaniards are from late June to mid-September. In 2023, Black Saturday in Europe will be on August 5. The weekends before and after are also very busy. Extra traffic is to be 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 advanced planning. 

Fuelling is generally cheapest at large supermarkets or at petrol stations in industrial areas. Petrol stations along (toll) motorways are open day and night, or at least from 6 am to midnight. Along motorways and in big cities, petrol stations are usually open at least from 07:00-22:00.


Eating & drinking
Groceries and eating out

Tap water in Spain is chlorinated and is generally safe to drink. Mild gastrointestinal distress may occur. If you are sensitive to this, it is better to drink bottled water. This is on sale everywhere.

Between noon and 2 pm, it is very common to go for a drink or tapas with friends. People then get together to have a drink before eating. Restaurants serve lunch between 1 pm and 4 pm and dinner between 8 pm and 11.30 pm. In big cities and in summer, it is normal for dinner to be served until 11.30 pm. If you eat out at the campsite, you can often go early.  Eating out is cheaper than in Ireland. You can 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 leisure centres are prepared for the needs of people with celiac disease. 

It is not compulsory to tip in Spain, as service charges are already charged everywhere. However, it is customary to tip in bars and restaurants, hotels, and taxis. 

Theatre productions, concerts, and performances usually start between 8 pm and 9 pm. In summer, performances may start later, even as late as 10 pm or 11 pm.

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

Well-known supermarkets include Esclat, Hipercor, Alcampo, and Bonpreu, but you will also find Lidl and Aldi in Spain. Prices are generally slightly lower than in Ireland. Shops are usually open from 10 am to 9 pm. Sometimes they close between 2 pm and 5 pm, especially in summer. Sunday is the normal day on which shops and businesses close.

Health
Carefree Holiday

Spanish healthcare is of good quality. First aid is guaranteed for everyone and is provided in hospitals and some health centres. In Spain, medicines are bought from pharmacies. You will recognise these by the green cross. 

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

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

No COVID-19 measures currently apply in Spain. There is also no need to get vaccinations. Are you going to the hospital, pharmacy, or doctor? Then you should still wear a face mask.

Weather & Climate
Weather in Spain

Spain is a large country with great geographical differences. As a result, there are various climates.

  • On the Costa Brava, it is pleasantly warm in summer, and not too hot.

  • On the coast of the south and east of Spain (the Costa Dorada and Costa Blanca) the summers are dry and hot. In winter you can spend the winter here.

  • Seville is the warmest city in Europe. In Andalusia, temperatures above 40 degrees regularly occur in the summer.

  • The summers in the interior of Spain are long, dry, and hot.

  • Just northwest of Spain (Calabria and surroundings) has relatively cool summers with temperatures around 20 degrees.

In addition to well-known weather apps like Weather forecast, and Daily Weather, el tiempo provides extensive weather information (in English).


Language and payment
Buenas vacaciones!

With Google translate you will, of course, go a long way, but it is also nice to know some phrases.   We'll help you on your way:  

Hello
Hola
Goodbye
Adiós
Yes / No
Sí/No
Please
Por favor
Thank youGracias
SorryLo siento
What is your name?¿Cómo te llamas?
What is your name
Me llamo/mi nombre es...
I do not speak SpanishNo hablo spans
I don't understandNo 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 swimming pool ?¿Dónde está la piscina?
Do you accept credit cards?¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?
LeftIzquierda
RightDerecha
Stop!¡Alto!
Straight aheadDerecha
Can I see the menu?¿Puedo ver el menú?
I would like a beer/glass of white wine/glass of red wine
Me gustaría una cerveza/copa de vino blanco/copa de vino tinto
Cheers / Sláinte!¡Salud!
Can I have the bill please ¿Me da la cuenta, por favor?
Where is the toliet?¿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 France, as in Ireland, you pay with the euro. The price level is about the same or a bit less than in Ireland. You can pay with your normal debit or credit card almost everywhere. There are more ATMs in Spain than in Ireland. Please note that withdrawing money with a credit card is usually not free of charge.


More Useful Info
Good to know
  • If you are traveling to Spain, you will need a valid passport or ID card with which you can identify yourself. You don't need it to cross the border.

  • Sockets in your accommodation may not be the same in Spain as in Ireland.
    In Spain, there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug that has two round pins and plug type F is the plug that has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Spain operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.  It may be handy to bring 2 pin, domestic Euro conversion plug

  • Important public 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 - May
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 of the Virgin Mary
Asuncíon de Maria
15 Aug
National Day
Fiesta Nacional de Espana
12 Oct
All Saints' Day
Fiesta de Todos los Santos
11 Nov


  • Spain is a dog-friendly country, but not all dogs are allowed. For your dog or cat, you need an EU pet passport, available from the vet. Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel. The mandatory chip must have been inserted before the rabies vaccination (may be on the same day). More information can be found here. Because this vaccination may 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.

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 attractions in Spain

Barcelona

Barcelona, capital of Catalonia

Costa Brava
Website: http://www.visitbarcelona.com/wv3/en/
https://goo.gl/maps/BZ5BPwfwVGeWMTvZA

Begur

Tourist Office of Begur
Av. Onze de setembre, 5 · 17255 BEGUR (Girona)
Costa Brava
Website: https://visitbegur.cat/en/
https://goo.gl/maps/BVbUj1XkT7npnRMJA

Pont del Diable

Caminos de Ronda

Altafulla

Via Augusta, 34
43893 Altafulla (Tarragona)
Costa Dorada
Website: https://visitaltafulla.cat/en/
https://goo.gl/maps/jRdEHJn2HPH2Wwf88



Port'Aventura

Avinguda Alcalde Pere Molas
s/n 43480 Vila-Seca, Tarragona
Costa Dorada
Website: https://www.portaventuraworld.com/en
https://goo.gl/maps/XDapEWYtjXFTf75T7

Pals

VISIT PALS
C. de l'Hospital, 22 17256 Pals
Costa Brava
Website: https://www.visitpals.com/en
https://goo.gl/maps/FqJBTMZjZ8MQDAi87

Cadaqués

Visit Cadaqués
Cotxe 1,17488 Cadaqués
Costa Brava
Website: http://www.visitcadaques.org/
https://goo.gl/maps/YSxd1NL23JDaEU5q8

Parque natural de Somiedo

El Capricho - Gaudi

Barrio de Sobrellano s/n
39520 Comillas
Cantabria
Website: https://www.elcaprichodegaudi.com/
https://goo.gl/maps/fLM8Vgft8z4yZajS7