Australian, Canadian, Japanese, New Zealand and US citizens can stay for a period of up to ninety days with a valid passport without a visa, as can residents of EU countries. If you intend staying for over ninety days you will need to obtain a visa before travelling. Citizens of South Africa are among the nationalities that need a visa to enter Spain and this can be obtained from the Spanish Embassy to the country.
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you may need a visa to enter the country, you should contact the Spanish Embassy in your home country.
The currency used in Spain is the Euro which is made up of 100 Cent. Notes come in denominations of €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 and the coins in use are €2, €1, 0.50C, 0.20C, 0.10C, 0.05C, 0.02C and 0.01C.
The official language in Malaga is Spanish.
Malaga has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. The city is most visitor friendly during the summer, as certain bars, restaurants and attractions close during the off season.
Visitors from EU countries are entitled to medical treatment under the EU Reciprocal Medical Treatment agreement. Before you travel you should collect an E111 form from your local social security office. This form may also be obtained in post offices also. For minor health problems visit the farmacia (pharmacy) where trained pharmacists should be able to assist you.
Malaga is located in the Central European Time (CET) zone which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Shops in Malaga generally open between 9.00am and 2.00pm and again from 4.30pm until 7.30pm from Monday to Saturday. Some places now open all day too.
Malaga's main tourist offices can be found in Plaza de la Marina and at Avenida de Cervantes. Opening hours vary, but are generally between 9am-6pm.
In Spain, value added tax (IVA – impuesto sobre el valor anadido) is calculated at a rate of between 7% and 16%. With regard to accommodation and restaurants the flat rate is 7% whereas retail goods, alcohol and electrical appliances are all taxed at a rate of 16%. This is usually included on a quoted price but you should confirm this prior to payment to avoid any confusion. Non-EU residents can claim the tax back on any item for which you pay over €90. In order to avail of this incentive, you need to obtain a Europe Tax-Free Shopping Cheque when you purchase the item. Upon leaving Spain, present both the item and the cheque at customs, the officials will stamp it for you and you can then cash your cheque at any of the booths with the Tax-Free logo and Cash Refund sign. This is only applicable where you are leaving the country within three months.
Banks and currency exchange offices will change your currency into Euro when you arrive. Please note they will charge a commission fee. Travellers cheques can also be used in a lot of places, but not everywhere.
Electric current in Spain is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles.
The country code for Spain is 34 so if you are calling from abroad you need to dial 00, followed by 34, the local area code and the local number. The local area code for Malaga is 952.
Post offices in Malaga are usually open from around 8.30am to 9pm. Some close for an hour at lunch time.
Because the service charge is normally included in most bills, tipping is not compulsory. If the service you receive is particularly good, however, it is customary to leave a small additional amount. With regard to taxi drivers, it is usual to round the payment up to include ten per cent of the fare
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to a country as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In Spain they take place on January 1st and 6th, Good Friday, May 1st, August 15th, October 12th, November 1st and December 6th, 8th and 25th. It is a good idea to check the particular area too as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.