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!
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.
The summer holidays for Spaniards are from late June to mid-September. In 2024, Black Saturday in Europe is on 20 and 27 July and 3 and 10 August. Extra traffic is to be expected around the Festival of Sant Joan (in and around Barcelona) on 24 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.
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.
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.
Spain is a large country with great geographical differences. As a result, there are various climates.
In addition to well-known weather apps like Weather forecast, and Daily Weather, el tiempo provides extensive weather information (in English).
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:
|Yes / No
|What is your name?
|¿Cómo te llamas?
|What is your name
|Me llamo/mi nombre es...
|I do not speak Spanish
|No hablo spans
|I don't understand
|No lo entiendo
|What time is it?
|¿Qué hora es?
|How much does that cost?
|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?
|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!
|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.
Domingo de Pascua
Lunes de Pascua
|Fiesta del Trabajo
2nd Day of Pentecost
Start of summer
Sant Joan (Catalonië)
Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Asuncíon de Maria
Day of Day of Catalonia
Fiesta Nacional de Cataluña
Fiesta Nacional de Espana
All Saints' Day
Fiesta de Todos los Santos
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.
Pont del Diable (Aqüeducte de les Ferreres)