10 Practical Facts to visit Galicia
Are you planning a trip to Galicia, or Northern Spain? Discover some helpful clues:
Shops open from 10 to 13.30, and 17 to 20.30, from Mondays to Saturdays. Shopping malls, department stores and big supermarkets don’t close at midday, and usually close later, usually at 9.30, 10 PM.
Other shops are closed on Sundays, except bakeries, pharmacies on duty, bars and restaurants.
In restaurants, service is available from 13 to 15.30 and 21 to 23.30. However, dining room could remain open more hours.
Banks and gubernamental offices open from 9 to 14, with a few banks exceptions.
Museums are closed on Mondays.
There exist 2 main climate areas in Galicia: oceanic and continental ones. To simplify the issue, let’s draw a line between Ribadeo and Tuy, spliting the map into 2. Coastal northern area will be oceanic, inland area will be continental climate.
On the Atlantic strip temperatures are warmer, existing 2-3 degrees of difference between North and South, with a remarcable humid character in the oceanic climate. Inland, continental climate brings cold winters and hot summers. Temperatures can go up to more than 30º C during summers, while in winter they drop to minus zero in some mountain areas.
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
Euro is the official currency in Spain. There are coins of 1, 2, 5,10 20 y 50 cents, 1 and 2 Euros. And notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, y 500 Euros.
MONEY EXCHANGE: The easiest place where to change money is the Airport. Nevertheless, the rates can not be convenient. You will find currency exchange offices in the main Galician cities: Vigo, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña. They may not exchange every currency, but rates are usually better. Banks are not an option, as they require a current account to exchange money.
ATMs: There are many in the big cities, and in bigger towns you can also find them. However, it could be a real challenge to find one in a small town (-700 people).
CREDIT CARDS: Credit cards are widely extended, but in Galicia do not assume you can pay with them anywhere. The most accepted one is Visa. Our 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.
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 in the area, and safe, only if there’s a sign with : AGUA POTABLE, or just POTABLE.
In Spain is mandatory for the driver 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.
About the current sanitary scene, it is convenient to be informed of the latest COVID restrictions, and follow the recommendations of the authorities.
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).