Practical information tips
The official language in Spain is the Spanish, although our country is a multilingual set of nations with their own regional languages, say:
In Catalonia, the Catalan. In Galicia, the Galician. In the Basque region, the Basque. In the Balear Islands, the Mallorquín; and in Valencia, the Valenciano.
Madrid is one hour ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) official time in autumn and winter, and two hours during spring and summer seasons.
Clocks are put forward one hour for daylight savings from March to October.
The Euro (Sign: €; Code: Euro), the official currency of the Euro Zone, is the valid currency in our country since 2002.
The Euro is divided into 100 cents. The Existing coins are: 1c - 2c - 5c - 10c - 20c - 50c / 1€ - 2€. Notes: 5€ -10€ - 20€ - 50€ - 100€ - 200€ - 500€.
(Due to exchange reasons is better to use notes up to 50€ value, otherwise payment could be rejected)
Spain probably has the largest private banking network of ATMs among Western countries, so it’s easy to make cash withdrawals or get credit card cash advances 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You can find an ATM at almost any block in the city.
Visa credit card is widely accepted in most shops, restaurants or hotels. For other credit card like Amex, Diner’s Club, please check in advance.
Goods and services Taxes
Most services and goods in Spain include an 18% VAT Tax. Most retail prices (PVP) include VAT Taxes, unless stated otherwise.
Hotels and restaurants only charge a VAT Tax of 8%.
Spain's electrical current is 220/240 volts, 50 hertz. Most power sockets outlets only accept 2 round pin plugs.
Prices at restaurants and other services like taxis always include gratuity, however it's very common to leave tips at restaurants and bars at your own discretion (average 5%).
Most retail shops are open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 13:30 and 17:30 to 20:30.
Big department stores are open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 in the morning to 21:00 hours.
Bars open daily, early in the morning (around 7 to 8) to serve breakfast and close late at night (around midnight).
Restaurants open daily from 13:00 to 16:00 and from 20:30 to 24:00.
Recently (2012) shops in the Region of Madrid can open 24 hours daily. Now most of the shops located in the Centre of Madrid and in touristic areas are open daily with a large range of hours.
Madrid's water is one of the best and is safe to drink anywhere.
Call to 112 for any urgent emergency (Health, Police, Fire...)
Shop in Chueca
"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things " - Henry Miller