Practical Information about Spain

Practical Information about Spain

Posted on 08 Apr 2014 Views ( 964 )

Business hours
In Spain, People work for five days a week from Monday to Friday. The Working hours are from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and then again from 4:30 to 7:30. Travel agencies and Shops will be opened in similar hours and on Saturdays as well. But many skip the evening sessions. The further south you go, the longer the afternoon break tends to be.

Big supermarkets and department stores open from 10am to 10pm all the week except on Sundays. Sometimes shops in tourist resorts open on Sunday also.

Many government offices don’t mind opening in the afternoon. In summer, Spaniards start the day as early as 7 am and ends up by 2 pm. They call this horario intensivo.

Museums all have their own opening hours: but often have their weekly closing day on Monday.
Pharmacies have a wide variety of opening hours. In the bigger centres you will find several that open 24 hours a day. Some open for extended hours; say 8am to 10pm. Local papers will help you to locate the late-opening pharmacies in the cities.

As a rule of thumb, restaurants open their kitchens for lunch from 1pm to 4pm and for dinner from 8pm to midnight. While restaurants in Madrid are still half empty by 9:30 pm, their Barcelona counterparts may already be busy at this time; At lunch and dinner you can hang back quite a while even the kitchen closes. Some close one or two days a week and some also shut for a few weeks on an annual holiday. This could be most probably in August.

Bars have a wider range of hours. Snack bars and cafes can open from about 8am to the early evening. Nightlife bars may open in the early evening and generally close around 2am to 3am. Some places combine the two roles. As the bars close the clubs open (generally from around midnight or 1am to around 5am or 6am).

Climate
There are three climatic zones in Spain. On the Mediterranean coast (from Catalonia to Andalusia), winter is mild and summer heat wave is often, especially in Andalusia. The center of Spain (Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha, and Castilla y León) has a continental climate: hot summer, dry, and cold winter. The Ocean North (Galicia, Cantabria, and Basque Country) has a climate characterized by regular rainfall and mild temperatures throughout the year. On the Mediterranean coast (from Catalonia to Andalusia), winter is mild and summer heat wave is often, especially in Andalusia. Rainfall is concentrated in the spring and fall.

Culture

Spain is a country with an existing and varied culture. From architecture to music and from painting to literature Spanish culture covers all forms of expressive art. Culture in Spain has occupied a relevant position since ancient times. Differences between regions are evident, with representations as different as Castellers from Catalonia, Galician bagpipers, or Andalusian flamenco, but they all enrich the cultural.

Heritage

Spanish Culture offer several facets to the visitors: Living in big cosmopolitan cities like Barcelona or Madrid is a joyful experience; experimenting the relaxed way of life in Andalusian towns in South helps you lose stress and communicating with the inhabitants of a small town in Castile is worth memorize.

After sun and beach tourism, comes the cultural tourism as a consolidated alternative with plenty of cultural manifestations, traditions, monuments, and Spanish museums. Spain is one of the richest countries in the world concerning monumental heritage, with the biggest number of UNESCO World Heritage declarations. A reportery has revealed that the number of important preserved monuments in the country has increased to over 20,000.

Spanish publishing industry edits tens of thousands of books annually. With outstanding film festivals like the ones in Valladolid and in San Sebastian and with world-famous directors like Pedro Almodovar Spanish cinema is becoming a reference in the world. Stage theatre stays much alive thanks to key festivals like those of Almagro and Merida. Nonetheless is the music industry that earns hundreds of millions of Euros annually. On the other hand, Spanish universities also have their mark on cultural diffusion with their summer courses, like the ones in International University Menendez Pelayo, Salamanca, Santander, and El Escorial.

Feasts and celebrations are highlights of folklore in the Spanish way of life. An evident mixture of secular and Christian traditions exists here. Religious acts, like procession of saints and venerated icons, are a fundamental element of celebrations in thousands of Spanish towns. In order to liven up the fiestas, secular celebrations are accompanied by songs, dances, and folkloric music. Bullfighting is an important part of the Spanish festive tradition, although it is a subject of continuous controversy. The running of the bulls of San Fermin in Pamplona, the Fallas of Valenica, and April Fair in Seville are some of the festivities renowned worldwide.

Food

Spanish cuisine is a part of the healthy Mediterranean diet and is interesting especially because of the quality and it variety of products. The cuisine of Spain is another major tourist attraction. All in all, we cannot talk of country’s particular cuisine or dish. However, the food of Spain has some common features and characteristic, such as olive oil liquid gold in both fries and oil. The fried so important in the time of writing prescriptions for hundreds of dishes. Onions and garlic are used as major seasonings in food preparation. Meals are accompanied with a glass of wine as a habit and consumption of bread in them. Spaniards practice the daily routine of eating healthy salads and use the time to take a dessert as a piece of fruit or a dairy product. And remember the sweetest moment in which we can find a wide variety of pastries and cakes.

Embutidos (blood sausage, chorizo, and Serrano ham) and cheese, crumbs, the gazpacho, pisto, paella, and tortilla e patatas are famous Spanish dishes. You can find dishes with beans, chickpeas, and lentils etc. Stews or soups each region has its own characteristics. Also each region has many dishes to be made with bread. However sweets and desserts are quite common all over the country. Flan, custard, rice with milk, toast, muffins or donuts is some of the most representative.

When it comes to the wine, a wide range of wines can be found throughout the Spanish territory. Each Autonomous Community has several wine regions of interest (Denomination of Origin) that produce great quality of wine such as Jerez, Ribera del Duero, and Rioja,. Cava and Penedes found in Valencia and Catalonia. Even high quality wines are made up in the other lesser-known regions on the outside.

Official Languages

The official national language is Spanish and it is also called Castilian. The Spanish constitution identified three regional languages: Galician, the official language of Galicia, Euskera, for Basque nation, and Catalonia’s official language is Catalan. The Valencian is an official language of the Valencian Community since 1982.

Driving

One needs to be over 18 in order to drive in Spain. To rent a vehicle it is 21. Many companies also require a minimum of one or two years in the drivers’ license. Credit Card is a mandatory while renting a vehicle.

Transport

Airports

Spain has multiple international airports, the most important of Barajas, in Madrid, where you can reach the city by underground, bus or by taxi. Other cities with international airports are: Santiago de Compostela, Valencia, Sevilla, Malaga, Bilbao, Alicante, and Barcelona.

Plane

The Spanish flagship airline Iberia is covering domestic and international destinations. The vast majority of international companies have services to all major cities of Spain. Air Europa and Spanair companies have planes to coastal destinations.

Car

Spain’s roadway is more than 150,000 kms. The motorways are well maintained across the nation from south to north, and in some it takes a toll on ESP (Electronic Stability Program). In high density areas the speed limit descends to 50 km/h, otherwise the general speed limit is 90 km/h and on motorways it is 120 km / h.

Train

The state company RENFE runs the railway network and connects all regions of the peninsula. The trains have mostly restaurant car and air-conditioned. High-speed train services shuffle between Malaga and Madrid and Seville and Madrid. Tourist train like Andaluz and express Transcantábrico are a good way to discover these regions. Spain’s tram service is one of the cheapest in Europe and has discounts like the Railway Tourist Card, which allows people to travel for maximum ten days in a period of two months. European train passes are also available. For intercity services, it is recommended to reserve seats.

Urban Transport Metro: Bilbao, Valencia, Madrid, and Barcelona are having underground networks. Bus: All Spanish cities enroot excellent bus networks. Some cities have common tickets for different modes of transport. Taxis are found on all large cities, and generally a tip of two or three percent will be given.