USEFUL INFORMATION 

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How to make and receive phone calls
  • If you want to call another country from Andalusia/Spain, dial 00 followed by the country code and the phone number. Calls from phone boxes work with coins or cards available from post offices, kiosks and "estancos" (licensed outlets for tobacco/stamps).
  • If you wish to make calls from Andalusia to the rest of Spain, dial the number with no prefix. This number should comprise 9 digits, regardless of whether it is a landline or mobile.
  • Remember when using your mobile phone - anyone phoning you from England pay the same amount as they would to call you in England and you pay the difference i.e. the cost of connecting their call from England to your phone in Spain  - at the time of writing you pay 18p per min. to receive the call.
    • Approx. cost 35p per min to call England from your mobile.

Banking

  • The majority of banks open Monday-Friday  8.30am - 2-2.30pm. A few open
    Saturday mornings. There are lots of Cash points throughout Andalusia. 
    The majority accept most types of Cash and Debit cards.  Current withdrawal fee is approx £2 to withdraw £150 using your Visa Debit Card.

Health Care

  • Tourists from European Union countries need the European Health Card
    (EHC) to receive healthcare in Andalusia and the rest of Spain. This card
    is available from the health service in your country of origin. (Free).
    Private doctors and hospitals in Andalusia/Spain do not accept the EHC.  
    If you require private healthcare you must settle your own bills or
    take out a Travel Insurance policy prior to travelling.

    If you forget your EHC you will have to pay hospital, medical or pharmacy
    bills up-front and then seek reimbursement when you return home, providing all corresponding receipts. 
    To travel to Andalusia/Spain, you don't need any vaccinations although it
    is advisable to have your Tetanus Vaccination up to date if you are going
    to be in contact with nature and the countryside.
    Medicines can be purchased at
    Chemists, which are marked by a Green Cross.

Driving in Andalucia

  • They drive on the right side of the road

  • New-type English Driving Licences are acceptable while on hols.

  • To drive in Andalusia/Spain you must be 18 years old but 21 years old to
    hire a vehicle.

  • When booking your Hire Car search for the best deal and make sure that
    there are no hidden excesses such as extra insurance  (to cover wheels and windscreen) to pay when you arrive and collect your car
    - ask B4 you book!

  • Make sure when you book your Hire Car that you book the car in the name
    of the person who will be driving.  It costs extra to get another Driver
    covered to drive.  So, if you book the Car and give your details but your husband is going to drive, then it will cost you to change the booking details!!

  • Hire Companies usually fill the tank with fuel (and charge you at "their rates") then tell you to bring it back empty - which often means they "gain" as you would never actually risk driving when the tank was heading for empty

  • Petrol and Diesel is only fractionally less to buy than in England at the mo.

  • Roads going up into the Sierra Nevada's are quite narrow and like a
    slalom in places. Smetimes don't have barriers on the side with the
    drop - so drive carefully. There are white lines on the edges but often
    no middle lines and def. no Cats eyes!

  • They blow their horns before tight hairpin bends to warn oncoming drivers.

  • There are a lot of new roads and motorways which, if you have a SATNAV, aren't programmed in and you can often end up in some
    strange places.

    • So always carry an up-to-date road map as well as using a SATNAV

  • The maximum speed limit for any vehicle is 120 kph (75mph) with
    lower limits on certain roads.
  • Use of seatbelts is obligatory
  • Use of helmets is obligatory when riding motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles.
  • Mobiles may only be used with "hands free" systems while driving.
  • Children under 3 years must be strapped into a suitable seat for their
    weight and height.
  • A reflective jacket must be used when getting out of the car on the road
    or the hard shoulder.
  • If your car is stopped on the road or hard shoulder, use of Warning
    Triangles is obligatory.
  • Maximum alcohol permitted is 0.5 g/litre in the blood.

Use of snow chains may be necessary. You may find some road sections closed at certain times of year. Plan your route and check the state of roads with the "Dirección General de Traffico" (Highways Agency) before setting off.

Eating out

  • Tapas are small appetisers which where originally served to cover
    glasses, ("tapar"– hence the name)  to stop dust getting into the drink.
  • They are served in bars, cafés and restaurants and are sometimes
    included in the price of the drink.
  • "Raciones" are larger than tapas.
  • When paying your bill at bars, cafés, restaurants, hotels and taxis,
    it is common to give a tip or to round the total up, as long as you are
    satisfied with the service.
  • Water from the tap or Natural Springs in the many Mountain Village Wells
    is safe to drink throughout Andalusia.
     
  • Min. legal age for the purchase and consumption of alcohol
    and tobacco is 18yrs 
  • Smoking is prohibited in Public Places - the same as in England. 
Main Post Offices
  • usually open  8.30am-8.30pm Mon-Fri. 9.30am-2pm on Sat.
  • Closed Sundays and public holidays.
  • Opening times for other Post Offices vary according to the type of office
    and where it is.
  • Stamps can also be purchased in "Estancos" (licensed tobacco shops)

Currency

  • Spain has used the Euro since 2002
  • Current rate of Exchange 1.13 Euros to £1
  • All information correct at Sept. 2009

Currency Converter

 

Passports
  • Make sure your passport is in date b4 you travel for both outward and return journeys.

  • So long as the passport is not out of date you can travel - even if it's due to expire within a week of your return journey.

Electricity

  • The standard electrical current in Andalusia is 220-240V AC, 50 Hz. Plugs have two round pins (European system) you can find adaptors in any hardware shop or take some with you.

Climate / Weather Andalucia

  • Andalusia has a warm, Mediterranean climate. Mild winters lower down. Colder plus snow at higher levels during winter months. Dry, hot, sunny summers. Average year-round temp. is approx. 18ºC.  30 -  35ºC. is not uncommon. Over 300 days of sunshine per year. January is the coldest month and August the hottest. In Andalusia you can go from the Desert climate of Tabernas (Almería) to the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Granada) or the marshlands of the Doñana National Park (Huelva).

Clothing for the Climate

  • From April/May through to Sept/Oct take light, comfortable summer clothes, with something warmer for the nights. Sun hat/cap, sunglasses and sun cream (high factor) if you're at the pool or beach. Avoid direct exposure and physical activity in the midday sun June-Sept. Can be 30deg+/-  Drink plenty of fluids. In winter Nov-April you need warm clothes higher up.  These will depend on which part of Andalusia you will be visiting. Remember that temperatures are milder on the coast, while inland and up in the mountains they can fall below zero esp. higher up - they have SNOW and ski resorts.

Useful Tel Nos.

  • 900 Numbers and some emergency
    numbers are FREE of charge.

  • National Police: 091

  • Local Police: 092

  • Guardia Civil: 062

  • Guardia Civil: 062

  • Emergencies: 112

  • Ambulance: 061

  • Fire brigade: 080

  • Highways Agency
    (Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT)) – Roadside Assistance: 900 123 505

  • Almeria Airport (Tel: + (34) 950 213 700)

Opening Times / Mealtimes / Time

  • Andalusia is on Central European Time (CET) Central European Summer Time(CEST) during summer months, i.e. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +1 winter and GMT+2 summer

    Mealtimes tend to be a little later in Spain
    than in the rest of Europe

  • Continental style Breakfast 8 -10.30am

  • In restaurants, lunch is served between 1pm - 3.30pm. Dinner 8.30 to 11pm.

  • the majority of tourist establishments adapt their opening times to the European habits.

  • In practice it is normal for cafés and bars to offer all-day service, with tapas, combo dishes, baguettes & "raciones" (dishes to share) available at any time.

  • Shops open 10am-2pm then 5pm- 8/9pm . Department stores open all day 10am - 9/10pm. Shops and shopping centres open on Saturday a.m's

  • In larger cities it's becoming common to see them open on Sat. afternoons + some Sundays
    + public holidays.  Bars and nightclubs usually stay open until 3-4am at weekends.

Chemists

  • Chemists open normal shopping hours.

  • 24-hour chemists can be found in larger cities.

  •  There are some duty chemists open all night. Lists showing duty chemists are on the doors of all chemists.