Top of main content

Spain travel guide

Whether you’re heading to Madrid or Mallorca, check out our essential guide before travelling to Spain.

Spending your money in Spain

The currency used in Spain is the euro.

Find out how to order Travel Money with HSBC ahead of your trip. 

You shouldn’t have any problem finding a cash machine in larger Spanish towns and cities. In rural areas they may be more scarce.

You can also use your debit or credit card to pay for things in Spain but there may be fees to be aware of.

Find out our current rates for using your card in the EEA (European Economic Area), which includes Spain.

If you have an HSBC Global Money Account, you can order a debit card and there are no HSBC fees for using it to make payments in Spain. Other non-HSBC fees may apply. 

Global Money is only available in the latest version of the HSBC UK Mobile Banking app. You’ll need to have an eligible HSBC current account. This excludes our Basic Bank Account, Amanah, Appointee and MyAccount.

Explore: Should you use a card or travel money outside the UK?

Spain essentials

Main languages: the official language is Spanish (also known as Castilian). But there are several regional languages, like Catalan. Of course, English is widely understood and spoken

Time: mainland Spain is GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the end of March to the end of October)

Electricity: standard voltage is similar to the UK. You'll need European-style plugs with 2 round pins

International dialling code: +34

Internet domain: .es

Emergency services: 112 

Getting around in Spain

Traffic drives on the right. If you have a UK licence, you can drive in Spain for periods up to 6 months without needing an international driving permit - this includes the Balearic and Canary Isles. With most car hire companies, you’ll need a debit or credit card as a deposit.

Taxis are available at ranks or you can hail one on the street. There are also ride-hailing apps in Spain.

There's a good network of buses and trains throughout Spain if you want to use public transport. Local buses often don’t run on Sundays, however. Spain's rail network is called RENFE and there's an English version of its website if you want to find out more about its commuter trains or high-speed services. Madrid also has its own metro system.

Useful Spanish phrases

Hello - Hola

Goodbye – Adiós

Do you speak English? - ¿Habla inglés?

Could you help me? - ¿Me podría ayudar?

I’m sorry - Lo siento

Thank you – Gracias

Yes – Si

No - No

Keeping in touch in Spain

The main mobile phone networks are Movistar, Vodafone, Orange and Yoigo. 4G and 5G coverage is widespread, but you'll need to check with your network whether there are any roaming charges. There’s also free WiFi in many cafés and shops. 

There's an English online edition of Spain's main national daily newspaper El País. Some regional newspapers also cater for English speakers.

Healthcare in Spain

If you're unlucky enough to fall ill while in Spain, pharmacies are easy to find – watch out for the flashing green cross they have outside. You'll find you can buy some medicines over the counter that you’d need a prescription for in the UK.

Make sure you get a Global Health Insurance Care (GHIC) before you travel.