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178|179

ELECTRICITY

220V, 50Hz

P

lugs conform to the European system of round pins with two holes.

S

tandard North American and UK plugs won't work . Buy an adapter before you

leave.

I

f you use an electric wheelchair try to get wheelchair battery charger with

settings for 110 and 220 volts (you won't need a separate converter).

G

el cell batteries are safer and more acceptable to airlines than wet batteries.

WEIGHTS & MEASURES

T

he Metric (Decimal) System (also known as the International Unit System) is

the one used in Spain.

EUROTAXIS

"

Eurotaxi" is an accessible taxi: usually a minivan, wheelchair accessible and

equipped with a ramp.

T

hey are available in all major cities and most of smaller ones, mainly in tourist

areas. It's advisable that you call well in advance to make a booking (usually 24

hours).

DRIVING IN SPAIN

T

o drive in Spain you must be at least 18 years old. To rent a vehicle, you must

be at least 21.

I

f you are a citizen of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or

Liechtenstein all you need is your valid driver's licence. If you are from any other

country, you will need an International Driver's Licence.

CURRENCY

I

In Spain, as in other countries of the European Union, the official currency is

the euro since January of 2002.

O

ne euro has 100 cents.

T

here are eight different coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, € 1 and € 2.

T

here are seven different notes: € 5, € 10, € 20, € 50, € 100, € 200, and € 500.

C

redit and debit cards are widely accepted at hotels and restaurants, especially

from the mid-range up, and also for long-distance train tickets.


180|181

FOREIGN CURRENCY EXCHANGE

T

his service is available at all bank offices, open to the public Monday through

Saturday, from 8.30 to 14.00 h (except in the months of June through September,

when they remain closed on Saturday).

I

t is also available at currency exchange shops at all major cities, as well as

selected hotels and travel agencies.

T

raveller's cheques in Sterling pounds/U.S. Dollars can be easily exchanged.

SALES-TAX (IVA) REFUND

I

f your country of residence is outside of the European Union, you may request

sales-tax refund for your purchases. Travellers to Spain are entitled to a

reimbursement of the 16 % V.A.T. (Value Added Tax, IVA in Spain) they pay on

all purchases as long as the purchases add up to no less than 90 Euros in the

same store and on the same day. The vendor must provide the purchaser with

a  filled out invoice which includes the price of each good, the V.A.T. paid for

each item, as well as the identification (name and address) for both vendor and

purchaser. The goods must be brought out of the European Union within three

months from the date of purchase.

A

 7 percent V.A.T. (Value Added Tax) tax is added to rates for all restaurants and

hotel rooms. Service is included. This 7% V.A.T. tax on services is not refundable.

A

t the time of departure from Spain and final departure from the European Union

territory, and before checking in your baggage, you must bring your invoice(s)

and the merchandise purchased to the Spanish Customs in order for them to

process your V.A.T. refund claim (there is a specific booth for this purpose just

prior to the entrance to the international area at the international port, gate or

airport).

SHOPS AND BUSINESSES OPENING TIMES

M

ost common business hours are Monday through Saturday, from 9.30 h to

13.30 h, and from 16.30 to 20.00 h.

B

ig shopping centres and department stores open from 10.00 h to 21.00 or 22.00

h uninterruptedly ( sometimes on Sundays).

FARMACIAS / PHARMACIES

M

edications are obtained at pharmacies.

T

hey are all marked with a green cross and usually open from 9.30 to 13.30

h, and from 16.30 to 20.00 h.

I

n all major cities some pharmacies open 24 hours.

F

armacias (Pharmacies) follow a rolling late-hour schedule (also works for

Sundays and holidays), which is published in the newspapers and is posted

outside all pharmacies.



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