Information & Facts
To rent a car in Spain you have to have a licence, be aged 21 or over and, for the major companies at least, have a credit or debit card. Smaller firms in areas where car hire is particularly common (such as the Balearic Islands) can sometimes live without this requirement. Although those with a non-EU licence should also have an IDP, you will find that national licences from countries like Australia, Canada, NZ and the USA are often accepted.
As in 12 other EU nations, the euro is Spain’s currency. The euro is divided into 100 cents. Coin denominations are one, two, five, 10, 20 and 50 cents, €1 and €2. The notes are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. Spain’s international airports have bank branches, ATMs and exchange offices. They’re less frequent at road crossings now as Spain’s neighbours – Andorra, Portugal and France – all use the euro. If you’re coming from Morocco, get rid of any dirham before you leave. Banks and building societies tend to offer the best exchange rates, and are plentiful: even small villages often have at least one. They mostly open from about 8.30am to 2pm Monday to Friday. Some also open Thursday evening (about 4pm to 7pm) or Saturday morning (9am to 1pm). Ask about commissions before changing (especially in exchange bureaux).
No jabs are necessary for Spain. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all travellers should be covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, regardless of their destination. Since most vaccines don’t produce immunity until at least two weeks after they’re given, visit a physician at least six weeks before departure.
The law requires menu prices to include a service charge; tipping is a matter of choice. Most people leave some small change if they’re satisfied: 5% is normally fine and 10% generous. Porters will generally be happy with €1. Taxi drivers don’t have to be tipped, but a little rounding up won’t go amiss.
A plethora of companies provide bus links, from local routes between villages to fast intercity connections. It is often cheaper to travel by bus than by train, particularly on long-haul runs, but also less comfortable.
Banks and building societies tend to offer the best exchange rates, and are plentiful: even small villages often have at least one. They mostly open from about 8.30am to 2pm Monday to Friday. Some also open Thursday evening (about 4pm to 7pm) or Saturday morning (9am to 1pm). Ask about commissions before changing (especially in exchange bureaux).