Traditions and Useful Information


Climate

Madrid has a dynamically varied climate, sunny warmth in the summer and a damp cool breeziness during the winter. Winter temperatures rarely dip below freezing, even in the coldest months of December and January. When packing, whether fall or spring, it"s best to bring clothes for layering.

International calls

To make an international call, first dial the prefix 00 and then the country code, area code and, finally, the number you want to call. If you wish to recieve calls from abroad, the code for Spain is 34. Keep in mind that if you want to make a call outside of Spain with a cell phone, the cost will be considerably higher than with a landline phone.


Business opening hours

In Spain, large department stores and shopping centres open all day from 10 am to 10 pm. Small retailers normally close between 1 pm and 4 pm approximately. Lunch and dinner times are later than is normally the case in other European countries. People usually have lunch between 1 pm and 4 pm, while dinner is served between 9 pm and midnight. 

Alcohol

In Spain, alcohol may be purchased at any supermarket, neighbourhood shop and even at petrol stations. Alcohol cannot be sold to or consumed by anyone under the age of 18. Furthermore, many regions and towns have prohibited drinking alcohol in public places, except where expressly authorised.



Smoking

Smoking has been prohibited by law in all enclosed work and public places throughout Spain, including bars and restaurants, except for open-air terraces. The consumption and purchase of tobacco is prohibited for anyone under the age of 18.


Tapas

Tapas are a typically Spanish custom that has been successfully exported recently abroad. It consists basically of small portions of food served at bars to accompany drinks. Depending on the part of the country, it may be just a bite-sized portion offered free of charge by the establishment or more or less sophisticated, complete portions that the customer selects and pays for, in place of a meal. People usuallly go out for tapas at the weekend.


Electricity

Electricity in Spain is 220 volts, and plugs have two pins. If you’re coming from the UK or Ireland, you’ll need an adapter from three pins to two pins in order to use electrical devices. In the US, where electricity is supplied at 120 volts, you’ll need a transformer from 120 volts to 220 volts. We recommend that you buy the adapter/transformer at the international airport you are flying from, since it is rather difficult to find one in the electric shops in Madrid.