The electricity supply in Spain is similar to the UK, however, plug sockets are of the round 2-pin variety. Each apartment will have a fuse box, generally located by the front door. This may trip if the power supply is overloaded. The switches should be in the up position to provide a continuous supply.
There are no gas mains supplies in the area. Gas is provided in Gas Cylinders. If the rented apartment is using gas, there will be details in the Welcome Package.
The water in Spain is safe to drink, but you may find it contains a taste of mineral content, used to purify it. Bottled water as an alternative is cheaply available in all supermarkets etc.
Household rubbish can be deposited in any of the large green stack bins available in the area, or in one of the newly placed underground bins.
The local council empties these bins daily.
There are no telephones in the rental properties, however there are many public call boxes. Cellular phones services are very good in the local area, but do take caution that all calls made in Spain will be routed via your service provider from your home country, and so can prove an expensive alternative. The hire of mobile phones or sim cards can be arranged.
The currency in Spain is now based on the Euro. Many places still list prices in both Euros and Pesetas.
Spain operates with the policies of the European Community and as such there is a reciprocal agreement for medical facilities. You will require the standard European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), applications are available from your local Post Office. You will be required to produce this card in the event of treatment being required.
You are further advised to bring along additional photocopies as a copy will be taken from you by the medical facility providing your treatment.
In addition, If you have a private insurance, you are advised to consult the small print to ensure that adequate cover is included.
When driving in Spain it is the Law to carry with you all documentation relating to your vehicle. Driving licence, insurance policies and receipt, technical card, (log book) current local tax receipt, car hire contracts etc. The Spanish speed limits are similar to the UK.
Petrol is sold as: Super, Sin Plomo 95 or 98 (unleaded) and Gasoil (diesel) Most service stations are open from 7am 11pm, although there are some 24 hour garages.
Motorways - Make sure you have some Euros before taking the motorway to pay any tolls.
Although parking can sometimes be difficult in busy cities and built up areas, most towns operate a Blue Zone System with parking metres. There are also private car parks, which are more expensive.
If your car is badly parked on the public highway (especially in a Red Zone) you will run the risk of having your vehicle towed away and returning a a red triangle sticker in place of it. The local police will tow to the municipal compound where you will have to pay a fine and a fee for the tow truck.
Holiday information and advice
In general, Spain and the Costa del Sol have a lower crime rate than many areas of Britain. However, it is still around, especially in the summer when there are so many people around and more easy targets for the minor criminals to take advantage of. The simplest but often most upsetting crime is that of pick pocketing or bag snatching. Simple steps can be taken to lessen the risk, such as keeping wallets in the front pocket of your trousers instead of the back and keeping your hand in your pocket when possible. For ladies with handbags, if possible have the strap across the chest instead of on one shoulder, and a hand on the bag whenever possible. Make sure the bag is always closed securely with the opening toward your body to discourage anyone from slipping their hand inside. Try not to carry more money on you than you need, and maybe put return flight tickets, passports etc safe at your accommodation.
It is so easy to forget that the traffic on the roads will be coming from the opposite direction, so please, ensure you look BOTH ways, and try to use a crossing at all times. However, it is advisable to check thoroughly even on the crossings, as sometimes the Spanish drivers will not stop unless you are actually on the crossing. If possible, use the crossings with lights, and wait until the cars both ways are stopped before crossing.
The tap water on the Costa del Sol is perfectly safe to drink, though it does have a different mineral content to UK water, so if you have a sensitive stomach, it may be advisable to buy bottled water. For ice cubes, or cleaning your teeth etc, the local water will not cause you any problems.
Most people get around by using the local bus services. They are cheap and efficient, though in the height of summer they do get very busy. They generally run every half hour, and make very frequent stops along the main routes.
If you wanted to go on an excursion to somewhere specific, there are many different Tour operators, which are available. The coaches are almost always air-conditioned, with pick up and drop off points near to where you are staying. It is a wonderful way to see areas away from the coast, such as Gibraltar, Ronda and Nerja. There are companies that have only English speaking guides so you don't have to sit through 4 different languages for every thing you see.
The trains are clean, cheap and prompt; the main line is from Fuengirola to Malaga, and stops at all the main tourist areas in between. The name of the next stop shows above all the doors so it is a very simple way of getting around. The trains run every half hour.
Car hire is also very popular, with many different hire companies to choose from. The prices and service varies widely, so it's best to shop around if you have not pre-booked it with your flight or travel agent. You will need your passport and driving licence, and will be asked to pay for the hire and a deposit at the time of hiring. Contrary to popular belief, many of the rules apply whilst driving in Spain. You must wear your seatbelt at all times, and drunk driving is the same as UK. The Police are very strict, and can demand on the spot fines for a number of offences i.e., speeding.
The main reason people come to the Costa del Sol is to enjoy the almost year-round sunshine, yet every year there are many of those who over do it. The sun is much more intense, with the risk of burning much higher. At best, irresponsible tanners end up very sore, uncomfortable and unable to enjoy their holiday to its fullest. At worst, people do become extremely ill, dehydrated and spend the best part of their holiday in bed. Take a tip from the locals and residents, enjoy the mornings, but try to stay out of the sun at its most intense - between 12 midday and 5'o clock, chill out and have a Siesta, then freshen up for the long afternoon and balmy evening ahead. With the amount of sunshine you can expect on your holiday, don't try and 'speed tan', take it easy, use a high block cream reapplied regularly, drink plenty of water and remember, the sun will be out again tomorrow!
THE WEATHER CHANNEL
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