Postal Services in Spain: A Comprehensive Guide for Expats (2024)

Introduction Welcome to our comprehensive guide on postal services in Spain. As an expat, navigating the Spanish postal system can be quite a challenge, especially with limited information available in English. But fear not, we are here to provide you with all the essential details and tips to make your experience with Spanish post offices a breeze. From addressing letters and sending parcels to useful Spanish words for using postal services, we've got you covered.

Post Offices in Spain: Correos In Spain, the bright yellow post offices with a blue post horn and the name Correos are easy to spot. As the national postal service provider, Correos offers a wide range of services, including sending documents, telegrams, and parcels. Additionally, Spaniards often visit Correos to top up their mobile phone plans or pay for utilities. To manage the wait times, most larger post offices in Spain use a take-a-number system, so we recommend visiting in the morning to avoid long queues.

Spanish Post Office Hours Correos' opening hours may vary depending on your location. Generally, they operate from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and are closed on weekends and public holidays. It's always a good idea to check the specific operating hours of the post office nearest to you.

How to Write an Address in Spain Addressing a letter in Spain requires familiarity with the Spanish format, which has some peculiarities. When writing a Spanish address on the envelope, make sure to include the following details:

  • First and last name
  • Street name
  • House number
  • Stairwell, floor, and door number (if applicable)
  • Postal code
  • City
  • Country

In Spain, the building number typically follows the street name, but when it comes to apartments, the address can become more detailed. Apartment addresses often include the stairwell (esc), floor number (°), and door number. Some addresses may even feature izda (left) or dcha (right) to indicate the side of the building where the flat is located. For example: C/Conde de Xiquena 7, 3º, 1A Izda, 280280, Madrid.

Useful Abbreviations and Symbols To better understand Spanish addresses, here are some useful abbreviations and symbols:

  • C/ (calle): street
  • Avda. (avenida): avenue
  • Pso. (paseo): boulevard
  • Ctra. (carreterra): highway
  • Esc. (escalier): stairwell
  • izda. (izquierda): left
  • dcha. (derecha): right
  • º symbol (piso): floor

How to Address a Letter to Spain Now that you know how to write a Spanish address correctly, let's put it all together. Imagine you've found an apartment in Spain and your friend or family wants to send you a letter. Provide them with the following format:

Hector Valdés Calle del Gral Oraá 35, esc A, 2º, 4A 28006 Madrid Spain

Template in English: [First Name] [Last Name] [Street Name] [House Number], [Stairwell], [Floor], [Door] [Postal Code] [City] [Country]

Template in Spanish: [Nombre] [Apellido] [Calle] [Número], [Escalier], [Piso], [Apartamento] [Código postal] [Localidad] [País]

How to Send a Letter in Spain Sending a letter within Spain is a straightforward process. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Write your letter or postcard.
  2. Place it in an appropriately sized envelope.
  3. Write the receiver's address in the right-center of the envelope.
  4. Write your return address on the back flap of the envelope.
  5. Affix enough stamps to the top right of the envelope.
  6. Drop the letter in a yellow mailbox or bring it to a nearby post office.

Alternatively, you can use Correos' digital service, where they handle the printing, enveloping, and sending of your letter for you. Another time-saving option is to register your letter or postcard online, pay, and print the label before visiting the post office.

Where to Buy Postage Stamps in Spain To purchase postage stamps in Spain, you have several options. You can buy them online or visit post offices (correos), stationary stores (papelerías), or tobacco shops (estancos or tabacs). While all these places sell envelopes and stamps, tobacco or stationery shops often provide faster service than post offices. If you're unsure about the number of stamps you need, don't hesitate to ask for assistance. Spaniards are usually happy to help!

How to Send a Parcel in Spain If you need to send a parcel within Spain, Correos offers the Special Parcel Service. Here's how it works:

  1. Register your shipment online.
  2. Pay for the service.
  3. Print the label.
  4. Take your package to the nearest post office.

If you don't have access to a printer, you can simply visit the post office, where they will weigh your parcel, print the appropriate label, and send it for you. Alternatively, you can opt for the home pick-up option available online. For an additional €1.49, Correos will handle everything from printing the label to picking up and sending the parcel. It's important to note that this service is only available for domestic shipments within Spain.

Sending Parcels from Spain to Abroad When sending parcels from Spain to other countries, it's crucial to consider a few factors:

  1. Avoid sending large packages and food items, as Spain's customs service may subject them to inspection, leading to potential delays or even the destruction of the contents. Correos does not assume responsibility for such cases.
  2. Stay informed about the delivery status of your parcel, as couriers sometimes fail to leave a delivery note. They will keep your shipment at the post office for up to 15 days before returning it.
  3. If you need to send fragile items, it's best to utilize specialized services like UPS or DHL. Correos does not offer a dedicated handling service for fragile parcels.
  4. Avoid using FedEx for sending packages to Spain, as they do not have offices in the country, resulting in similar delivery times as Correos.

Always opt for track & trace services to ensure full visibility of your parcel's journey. If you're shipping high-value, fragile, or urgent parcels in Spain, UPS and DHL are your best choices.

Useful Phrases for Visiting a Post Office in Spain To help you navigate a visit to a Spanish post office, here are some essential phrases to remember:

  • Mail: El correo
  • Letter: La carta
  • Postcard: El postal
  • Envelope: El sobre
  • Stamps: Los sellos
  • Parcel: La parcela
  • Package: El paquete
  • Postman: El cartero
  • Postbox: El buzón
  • Mailing address: La dirección de correo
  • Return: La devolución
  • To buy: Compra
  • To deliver: Entregar
  • To track: Rastrear

Conclusion We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with all the necessary information to navigate the Spanish postal system with ease. From addressing letters and sending parcels to understanding useful Spanish words, you are now well-equipped to make the most of postal services in Spain. Should you have any further suggestions or inquiries, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at content@housinganywhere.com.

Postal Services in Spain: A Comprehensive Guide for Expats (2024)
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