Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain – Practical Information FAQ

Money

  • Spain uses the Euro
  • Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents
  • Notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 200 and 500 euro
    (The last two are seldom seen in normal day-to-day transactions. It is wise not to bring these denominations as many traders will not accept them. It is not a good idea to accept these bills either. If you bring some anyway, exchange them at a bank)
  • One side of all Euro coins has the same design throughout the Euro zone. The other side of the coins will have designs that sport important figures or landmarks from any of the various countries within the Euro single currency zone. Notes all have the same design, front and back. Euro notes and coins issued by any country can be used in Spain

Time

  • Spain is in the Central European Time Zone
  • Central European Standard Time (CET) is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
  • Central European Summer Time (CEST) is 2 hours ahead of Greenhich Mean Times (GMT)
  • Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) in Spain begins on the last Sunday in March at 1:00 am GMC and ends on the last Sunday in October at 1:00 am GMC.

National Holidays

  • Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Jan. 6 – Epiphany
  • Mar/Apr (dates differ from year to year) – Good Friday, Easter Monday
  • May 1 — Labour Day
  • Jun. 24 — St. John’s Day
  • Aug. 15 — Assumption of the Virgin
  • Sep. 11 — National Day of Catalonia / Diada Nacional de Catalunya
  • Oct. 12 — National Day of Spain / Día de la Hispanidad
  • Nov. 1 — All Saint’s Day
  • Dec. 6 — Constitution Day
  • Dec. 8 — Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • Dec. 25 — Christmas Day
  • Dec. 26 — St. Stephen’s Day
  • On these days most offices, shops and banks are closed, and museums observe Sunday opening times

Opening Hours — Shops, Restaurants

  • Throughout Catalonia shops are allowed to be open for a maximum of 12 hours a day between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm, up to 72 hours a week at the most
  • Shops open at 10.00 am and close for lunch at around 1.30 or 2.00 p.m. for siesta. They reopen at 4:30 or 5:00 pm.
  • Many restaurants open at 1:00 or 1:30 pm to cater to the lunch crowd, and close at 3:30 or 4:00 pm. Later at night they open at 8:00 or 8:30 pm and close between 12 midnight and 1:00 am

Language

  • Article 3 of the Statute of Autonomy recognized Catalan as the official language of Catalonia, with Spanish and Castilian as accepted co-languages
  • From 1939-1975, during the period of military dictatorship under Franco, Catalan was banned
  • Catalan is an independent language, and not a Spanish dialect
  • Catalonia is a dual-language, autonomous community of Spain. Almost all Catalans speak Spanish as well
  • To most Catalonians the Catalan language is a source of pride. If you learn a few basic Catalan words and phrases you will greatly endear yourself to the locals — often bringing smiles, better service and an overall more positive experience
 
This post was last updated: Jan. 24, 2011    
This post was last updated: Jan. 24, 2011    

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