Credit cards and ATMs
Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted cards, American Express and Diners are less common. You should contact your bank if you wish to find out what commission you will be charged for using your card in Spain.
Tax free shopping
If you come from a non-EU country, you can reclaim VAT [value added tax] on items worth over 90.15 Euros. Show your tickets or receipts for the goods at the tax refund counters at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport. In order to get a VAT refund, you should buy in shops displaying a ‘Tax Free for Tourists’ sign and ask the sales assistant for a tax-free form showing the refund amount.
In Madrid, shops open at 9 or 10 am and close at 20.00 or even as late as 22.00; most shops do not have lunch-time closing. The shops and businesses in the districts on the tourist map, mostly in the Puerta del Sol, Salamanca and Gran Vía districts, will normally be open even on Sundays and bank holidays.
Mobile phone coverage
Spain uses the GSM international coverage standard. American frequency ranges (850 and 1900MHz) are different from those in Europe (900 and 1800 MHz), but the widespread use of 3G and 4G devices provides support for the entire range of bands on both continents. In addition, 3G terminals include a third band that supports the band of a region other than that of purchase. For instance, European tri-band phones typically cover 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz, while American tri-band mobiles cover 850, 1900 and 1800 MHz.
If you have another type of mobile phone, check for coverage
The electricity supply in Spain is 220 V. Plugs have two round pins and some have additional earth clips on the side. A standard travel adaptor plug will enable you to use appliances from abroad. Most hotels or shops will supply you with one.
Taps in Madrid deliver some of the best drinking water in Spain. The capital’s excellent drinking water comes directly from the mountains of the Sierra Norte to the points of consumption
VAT & tipping
Service is included in the price in almost all establishments. However, this isn’t the case in all hotels and restaurants, where the words ‘IVA NO INCLUIDO’ (Value Added Tax not included) may appear next to the price. This means 10% will be added. It’s up to you whether you then want to tip or not, but if you’re happy with the service, you may want to leave a gratuity.
The weather in Madrid
Autumn: In October, temperatures are mild. This is an ideal time to enjoy the parks, wrapped in a palette of colours dominated by reddish and ochre shades.
- 20 °C / 11 °C
- 68 °F / 52 °F
Average of rainy days: 6
Spain was one of the first countries to join the Schengen Agreement, which abolished internal borders, enabling passport-free movement between a large number of European countries. If you’re a citizen of a non-Schengen country, check with the Spanish Embassy in your home country whether you need a visa.
The Schengen Agreement applies to residents of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland. In addition, under further agreements between Spain and individual countries, no visa is required if you’re coming from Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City or Venezuela. In all these cases, you only need a valid passport.
Money in Madrid
During your stay in Madrid, you’ll need Euros, the single European currency of the Euro area. The Euro has eight coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 Euros, while bank notes come in values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros.
Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, Atomic and Chamartín train stations, and the main transport hubs – Avenida de America, Méndez Álvaro and Moncloa – are dotted with foreign currency exchange offices. There are numerous bureaux de change in central Madrid, especially in Puerta del Sol. Most banks and some hotels offer currency exchange services as well.
You should check the Euro exchange rate beforehand on the day of the transaction.
How to get around Madrid
City map of Madrid https://www.esmadrid.com/en/madrid-city-map
Map of tourist areas https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-areas-map
Madrid Metro tourist map https://www.esmadrid.com/en/madrid-metro-tourist-map-pdf
Madrid Metro map https://www.esmadrid.com/en/madrid-metro-map
Tourist map of Madrid bus routes https://www.esmadrid.com/pdf_old/PlanoTuristicodelosAutobusesdeMadrid.pdf
The essential guide to Madrid https://www.esmadrid.com/en/essential-guide-madrid-pdf
– Oh my Cut!
Calle de Padre Damián, 46
– Manuel Aranda bienestar y belleza Mujer
Calle de Juan Ramón Jiménez, 12
– You Are
Av. de Alberto de Alcocer, 19
– Divine Look Design
Av. de Alberto de Alcocer, 10
– Salón Mirache
Calle de Juan Ramón Jiménez, 6
– Patricia Hurtado González
Av. de Alberto de Alcocer, 22
– María Jesús Andrés Torres
Calle del Dr. Fleming, 36
– Ángela Adeva Cerezo
Calle de Juan Ramón Jiménez, 14
– Deutsche Bank
Av. de Alberto de Alcocer, 26
Calle de Juan Ramón Jiménez, 8
Av. de Alberto de Alcocer, 13
Calle José Lázaro Galdiano, 4
– Banco Pastor
Av. de Alberto de Alcocer, 18
– La Plaza del Día
Calle del Dr. Fleming, 29
– Supercor Expres
Calle de Juan Ramón Jiménez, 2
– Carrefour Express
Calle Panamá, 10