Things works differently here in Spain – it´s a lot more relaxed and laid back, with a "mañana" attitude to most things. Take a deep breath, slow down and you´ll have a great time. Here are some tips and information that you may find useful to make your holiday that bit more enjoyable.
Banks In Spain banks only open till lunchtime – normal opening times are 8:30am until 2:30pm and they do not open on Saturday. All banks have ATM´s with an option to change the language – press "cambio idioma"
Post Office Like banks only open for half a day. Weekdays 8:30am until 2:30pm and Saturday 9:30am until 1:00pm. Allow plenty of time – they are not renowned for their speedy service!
Chemist Here they are called "Farmacia" and there is a 24 hour one on the Avd Mediterraneo – the main road running through Benidorm. They are very knowledgeable and may be able to advise you instead of going to the doctor. In Spain you can only buy medicine from a farmacia, including asprin and paracetamol – supermarkets are not allowed to sell them like in the UK.
Taxi If you need a taxi you have to go to a taxi rank – you cannot stop one on the roadside. You can call and order one but the meter starts running the moment it leaves the taxi rank to collect you.
Parking Blue parking bays are "Pay & Display" zones which operate between 9:00am and 2:00pm then again from 4:00pm and 8:00pm. White bays are free – so use them if you can find one. If you get a parking ticket you can cancel it for 25 cents at the pay & display machine – really!
Driving Do NOT drive in flip flops or backless shoes otherwise you risk a 150€ on the spot fine if caught. Also children under the age of 12 or under 135cm are not allowed to sit in the front – massive 500€ fine. Approach and navigate roundabouts carefully – the Spanish never indicate and cut in front without warning.
Emergency 112 is the equivalent of 999 in the UK. All the operators speak English, French and German in addition to Spanish.
Doctor If you have your blue EHIC – European Health Insurance Card you can see a Social Security doctor free of charge in the case of an emergency, either at the "Centro de Salud" – health centre or at the social security hospital – "Hospital Marina Baixa", which is in Villa Joyosa. When using your card you will also need to present your passport as proof of ID.
Hospitals There are 2 hospitals in Benidorm – both private: IMED Levante and Hospital Clinica Benidorm. You will have to pay for any treatment or use your travel insurance if you are covered – the hospital usually checks with the insurance company before commencing treatment. The free Social Security hospital is in Vila Joyosa.
SATE :Foreign Tourist Assistance Office If you become the victim of any crime then this is where you should report it. Located on the 1st floor of the main Tourist Information Office, at the end of Levante beach in the Old Town. They have interpreters available and use of a free telephone and computer should you need to contact relatives or your insurance company in the UK.
Consulate The British Consulate is in Alicante and open weekdays from 8:30am until 1:30pm. In an emergency contact 965 216 002. This is where you have to go if you have lost or had your passport stolen for an emergency travel document to get you back to the UK. They cost 121€ and you will need a passport size photo – they do not have photo facilities at the consulate.
Public Bus The most commonly used buses are the No 10, which goes all the way to Altea via Alfaz and Albir or the No 2, which goes to the Carrefour hypermarket and La Marina shopping centre. You pay the driver and the fare is 1.50€.
The tram goes to Alicante one way and Denia the other, but only once every hour. The main station is in the Old Town.