10 Useful tips to visit Galicia
Are you planing to visit Galicia? Maybe as a part of a Northern Spain exploration? Galicia is a unique region with a rich culture, stunning landscapes, and mouth-watering cuisine. In this article, we’ll share some tips to help you make the most of your visit to the region.
Shops are open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 13:30 and 17 to 20:30. Large supermarkets, department stores, and shopping centers typically shut later, usually around 9:30 or 10:00 PM.
Except for bakeries, pharmacies on duty, bars, and eateries, all other stores are closed on Sundays.
Service is offered in eateries from 13:00 to 15:30 and 21:00 to 23:30. The dining area could, however, stay open longer.
With a few exceptions, banks and government offices are available Monday through Friday from 9 to 14.
On Mondays, museums are closed.
Galicia has two major climatic regions: oceanic and continental. Let’s divide the chart into two by drawing a line between Ribadeo and Tuy to make things easier. Oceanic climate will prevail along the northern coasts, while continental climate will prevail interior.
Temperatures on the Atlantic coast are warmer, with a variation of 2-3 degrees between north and south and a pronounced humid oceanic environment. Winters are cold and summers are hot in the interior of Galicia. Summertime highs can reach more than 30° C, while some mountainous regions experience sub-zero temperatures during the winter.
Plugs are type C and F in Spain, 230 volts.
In Santiago de Compostela; 52, Nova St.
In Vigo: 32, Carral ST.
UTC +1. Summer: UTC +2
Spain’s legal currency is the euro. There are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent pieces, as well as 1, and 2-euro coins. As well as 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Euro bills.
The airport is the most convenient location to exchange currency. However, the prices can’t be realistic. The major Galician towns of Vigo, Santiago de Compostela, and A Coruña all have exchange bureaus. Although they might not swap every currency, the exchange rates are typically better. A current account is necessary to swap money at banks.
ATMs are widespread in both large cities and small villages. Finding one, though, might be extremely difficult in a tiny town (less than 1.000 people).
CREDIT CARDS: Credit cards are widely extended, but don’t take for granted that you can pay with them at every shop in Galicia. The most accepted one is Visa. My advice is to ask in advance, specially in small restaurants and on the Way of St. James, where cash could be the only option.
SALES & VAT REFUND
SALES: During sales season is compulsory for the shop to show both prices, the pre-discount, and the new one. Or, to show the percentage that will be discounted at the cash register. There are 2 sales seasons. Winter starts on January 7th, and Summer starts in July. Having said that, every individual shop can decide their own sales season.
VAT REFUND: available only for abroad EU residents. Each invoice must be superior to 90,15€, and you should ask for a special invoice, which not all shops have. Then you have to finish the procedure at the Airport, before flying back home. More details here.
PRICES: if you would like to know some common prices, take a look at this post.
Travellers can deliver letters or packages from Post Offices. Take a look at the tariff here.
You can also buy stamps at any Tabacos shop, and leave the stamped envelope in any of the yellow postboxes.
In Spain tips are not included. The usual is to round up the change, when going to a bar or regular restaurant, if the service was acceptable. If the service and food were satisfactory you can add a 10%. Use the same proportion for other services: tour guide, taxi driver, etc. These are guidelines, there are no rules about tipping in Spain.
As giving a tip is an expression of satisfaction, the amount that you give should be the one you feel comfortable with.
WARNINGS AND DANGERS
Theft and other crimes against travellers are quite improbable in this region. However, you should pay attention in crowded places where pickpockets could be in action. And of course, make use of common sense and instinct. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, leave the place immediately.
In Galicia tap water is potable. To drink or fill bottles at public fountains is quite usual and safe. Do it if you see an AGUA POTABLE, or just POTABLE sign.
In Spain is mandatory for drivers to stop if someone is going to cross a pedestrian crossing. However, do not put your safety in danger. Wait till the driver stops, and then cross. Sometimes they don’t have time to see you, or just don’t stop at all.
WEIGHTS AND MEISURES
In Spain, we use the metric system. We use commas to show decimals, and points for thousands.
We measure distances in kilometers (1km= 0,62 miles), and weight kilos (1 kg=2,20 pounds).
These tips will be useful to visit Galicia and, in general, other areas of Spain as well. Do you miss anything? Please, ask me!