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