Travel information

ARRIVAL IN MADRID-BARAJAS AIRPORT

Luggage identification: Please label all pieces of luggage (also hand luggage) with your name and full home address and telephone number. A visible label showing the name of your delegation is very useful to identify any luggage left behind.

Airport terminals: Madrid Barajas has 3 main terminals through which most participants will be arriving: Terminal 1, Terminal 2, Terminal 4 and its satellite.

Police control and customs: It must be handled directly by each delegation, since no local staff can enter inside police control or customs. Remember to bring with you your valid passport and visa if necessary.

Luggage claim: Arrivals at Terminal 1, 2 and 4 exit directly on to Arrivals halls building, whereas arrivals at the satellite of Terminal 4 will be asked to follow signing to take a speed train to luggage belts and arrivals hall building, which may take 20 minutes from landing to arrival into luggage delivery section. Should any incidence concerning loss of luggage occur, please address to the air company desk by luggage belts to present your claim in written. Please inform your guide accordingly and show him/her a copy of report for further follow-up.

IMO 2008 assistance at airport: Welcome staff (delegation guide and airport coordinator) are waiting for participants outside arrival gates on each terminal, just after luggage collection.

Bus transfer to housing: Bus service has been arranged to transfer participants to their housing site, according to estimated arrival times. There will be various services gathering participants arriving within reasonable range of timings, therefore allowing in some cases a reasonable waiting time.

ENTERING SPAIN. VISA

Spain is a member of the Shengen Agreement (for example, see http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/l33020.htm). Please, be sure whether or not you need a visa before you enter Spain. Contact the Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your country to be sure about the conditions to be satisfied for the Spanish visa. Where there is no Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office in a particular country, a visitor's visa can be requested from the diplomatic mission or consular office which represents Spain in that country. See the list of representatives.

Please do check at the Spanish consulate in your country if the members of your delegation need to apply for a VISA to enter Spain.

The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has informed us of the need to apply for visas at Spanish consulates or diplomatic delegations well in advance. The Ministry has informed its consulates about the IMO celebration in Madrid, but the consulate may require an invitation letter to issue the visa. If that is the case for nationals of your country, please let us know as soon as possible, indicating the type of letter that you have been asked for at the consulate.

Visa is not required for citizens of any country of the Schengen Agreement (European Union, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) and those in the following list: ANDORRA, ANTIGUA Y BARBUDA, ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA, BAHAMAS, BARBADOS, BRAZIL, BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, CANADA, CHILE, COSTA RICA, CROATIA, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, ISRAEL, JAPAN, MALAYSIA, MAURICIO, MEXICO, MONACO, NICARAGUA, NORTH KOREA, NEW ZEALAND, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, SAN CRISTOBAL Y NIEVES, SAN MARINO, SEYCHELLES, SINGAPUR, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, URUGUAY, VATICAN, VENEZUELA

Holders of passports "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" or passports "Regiao Administrativa Especial de Macau" (People's Republic of China) do not require visa.

As the information above may change, we strongly recommend checking the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation giving official information of the visa procedure: http://www.mae.es/en/MenuPpal/Consulares/Servicios%20Consulares/Informacion%20a%20Extranjeros/Visados/

CLIMATE

The climate of Madrid is continental: mainly dry and quite extreme at times, with frequent rain in winter. Madrid sees perpetual sunshine and a characteristically hot temperature in the summer, but with a fairly cold temperature in the winter. Spring and autumn are fairly temperate with most rainfall concentrated in these seasons, together with winter.

Updated information of weather can be found in the website of the Spanish National Institute of Meteorology http://www.inm.es/web/infmet/predi/mapgen.html

ELECTRICITY

The standard current in Spain is 220 volts, with plugs with two round pins. Travel adaptors can be purchased to convert plugs from other countries.

MEDICAL CARE

Chemists (farmacias) are plentiful in Spain and are marked with a large green cross, (see below). The law states that farmacias must operate on a rota system so that there is always one open. Local press carry details of the duty farmacia. Details are also posted on the door of the farmacias. You can obtain basic medical advice there.

The organizers of IMO2008 do not provide medical care for IMO participants. Though the Spanish National Health system would attend emergencies, it does not cover the expenses for foreigners (with exception of citizens of the European Union, with the corresponding medical official identification). Be sure you have the adequate medical insurance from your country.

TAP WATER

Tap water in Madrid is completely safe. Nevertheless, unfamiliar water can still cause minor stomach upsets and you may wish to purchase "agua mineral", bottled water. "agua con gas" is fizzy water and "agua sin gas" is still water.

POLICE

Spain has three police forces and although they have different jobs to do, they all have the same powers. The Guardia Civil are primarily concerned with traffic duties, the local police deal with local matters and the national police deal with major crimes. You will always find the police helpful and polite. All police are armed in Spain.

POSTAL SERVICES

Usual opening times for the post office (Correos) are from 9am-2pm Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm Saturday. Stamp can also be bought from tobacconists ("estancos"). Post boxes are painted bright yellow although you may see a red one which is for express mail.

PHONE

To call abroad, dial 00 + country code + city code + phone number. You can find public phones in the streets, in some restaurants and shopping centres. They usually accept coins and phone cards. You can buy phone cards at the tobacconists and news-stands. Standard international mobile networks operate in Spain. Ask your company for the technical requirements you need to know before you come to Spain.

LANGUAGE

The majority of Madrid's residents do not speak very much foreign languages. You can often find someone with a fair grasp of English at larger hotels and tourism sites, but it would nevertheless be helpful to know at least a few common Spanish words and phrases: http://wikitravel.org/en/Spanish_phrasebook

WORK

The office working day starts between 8am and 9am and officially finishes around 6pm. Shops and stores follow a different routine with most small shops shutting during the middle of the day (2pm-6pm) before opening until 9 in the evening. Bars and restaurants open until 2am so the city really is 24hrs depending on the business area.

STAY SAFE

Madrid is as safe or safer than most mainstream tourist cities but a little precaution and common sense can save you some nasty surprises. Pay special attention to non-violent pickpocket crime so always watch any bags (purses, luggage, shopping bags, etc) you may have with you especially in the underground and in the Puerta del Sol/ Gran Via areas. Be extra careful with your luggage and if you are carrying numerous bags beware of anyone approaching you with an outspread map in hand asking for directions (this is very possibly a bid to distract you while an accomplice steals your luggage

CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS

The official valid currency in Spain and most European Union countries is the Euro (€). The euro coins are issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, 1 euro and 2 euros. The coins have one side common to all 12 member countries and a reverse side specific to each country. The common European face of the coins represents a map of the European Union against a background of transverse lines to which are attached the stars of the European flag.

Euro coins

Notes are issued in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros although the 200 € and 500 € notes will not be in everyday circulation. The designs on the notes are symbolic of Europe's architectural heritage.

Euro notes

Other foreign currencies (like USD) are easily changed at major Hotel, Banks and Change Offices (located in downtown).

Standard credit cards are accepted in almost all shopping centres, restaurants and hotels. They are also accepted by the ATMs in the streets. Be aware that it is common practice to be asked for photo-ID. If asked, present your passport, residency permit or foreign ID card. Basically anything with your photo and name on it will be accepted by most shopkeepers. The signatures on credit cards are usually not checked.

TAX FREE SHOPPING

Well due to Spanish legislation, visitors from NON EU countries can apply for the VAT refund of their shopping for goods value of over 90.15 €.