Need to know – Spain

A matador takes on a bull at Plaza de Toros Monumental de las Ventas.

In this extract from Lonely Planet India’s Spain travel guide, we look at some of the important information you will need while planning a trip to the country.

Quick Facts

Languages: Spanish (Castellano). Also Catalan, Basque and Gallego (Galician).
Time: 4 ⅟₂ hours behind IST.
Currency: Euro (€)
Mobile Phones: Local SIM cards are widely available and can be used in most phones.
Internet access: Common in mid-range and top-end hotels, cafes and some public areas; most large towns have one or two internet cafes.
Tourist Information: Turespaña (www.spain. info) is Spain’s national tourism body. The India branch is in Mumbai (; ph: 022 43606800; Ground Fl, Wing A, Peninsula Tower, Peninsula Corporate Park, GK Marg, Lower Parel; 9am–5pm Mon–Fri ).

When to Go

The ideal months to visit Spain are May, June and September (plus April and October in the south). At these times you can rely on good weather, yet avoid the heat of July and August. December to February along the south and southeast coasts is mild.

  • High season (July & August): Throughout the country, except in parts of inland Spain such as Madrid where it’s low season. Prices increase by up to 50%. Christmas/New Year, Easter and holiday weekends are equally busy and expensive.
  • Mid-season (April, May, September & October): Mild, clear weather and fewer crowds.
  • Low season (November–February): Except for ski resorts. Fiercely cold in central Spain and rainy in the north. Mild temperatures in Andalucía and the Mediterranean Coast.

What to Pack

  • A warm coat and sweaters for winter months.
  • Comfortable walking shoes.
  • A waterproof jacket.
  • Money belt – petty theft is a risk in some cities and tourist areas.
  • Lightweight, comfortable clothing; a few dressy outfits for clubs or high-end restaurants.
  • Enough prescription medication to last the course of your stay.
  • Namkeens or other spicy snacks, since Indian food is not available in some parts of Spain.

Getting Around

Air: Numerous internal flights, including low-cost companies. A convenient option, especially when land routes are complicated.
Train: Extensive and extremely modern network, with the high-speed AVE trains connecting Madrid with many cities. Bus: Private companies cover the country, more cheaply but slower than trains, often going where the railways don’t.
Bus: Private companies cover the country, more cheaply but slower than trains, often going where the railways don’t.