Spain's national mail carrier is known officially as the Sociedad Estatal de Correos y Telégrafos, though it's more popularly known as simply Correos. Based out of Madrid, the service operates daily, except for Sundays and national holidays, and handles about 5.4 billion pieces of mail each year.
When you arrive in Spain, you'll be assigned a post office branch to service your postal needs – from telegrams to post paid bills. Their website (in English) is fairly extensive and lists prices, services and tracking information.
At its most basic level, the central post agency provides users with sending documents, telegrams and parcels. Rates will vary depending on size, weight and the form of delivery. If you are sent a certified package, a signature is required upon delivery, and will be sent to your local branch for pick-up with a photo ID if you're not available. Note that packages must be picked up within 15 days of missed delivery, or be sent back to its origin.
Stamps, envelopes and postcards are available at any post office branch, or tobacco shops, called estancos. Standard letter or postcard under 20g cost:
Additional rates apply over 20g.
Mail can be sent from the freestanding yellow mailboxes or from Correos offices, but never from a personal mailbox.
Addresses in Spain are written as follows:
Name of recipient
5-digit Zip Code, Town (Province, if not the province capital), ESPAÑA
The street address is perhaps the most difficult, starting with the type of road
Then, the street number followed by the building or door number. If applicable, include portal and the house number, which may even include the specification of which floor the recipient is on!
Presidente del Parlamento Rajoy
Palacio de la Moncloa
Avda. Puerta de Hierro, s/n
28040 Madrid ESPAÑA
While you can't pay all of your bills at any Correos office (this is done through your bank branch), wire services are available at all correos offices. This includes international wire and posting money, too.
Each branch of the postal service includes a small number of P.O. Boxes available for rent. The original registration will set you back €70,29 with yearly fees totaling €58,35.
Any piece of mail can be forwarded in one-, two- or six-month increments to another address within Spain. At least five days' noticed is required, and delivery is between 1-2 working days. Prices are between €31,07 for one month and €61,30 for six months.
Correos offices also have services for topping up mobile phone plans, paying bills through national utilities companies like Mapfre and Ono, as well as for certain villages, leisure companies and fines. You can also buy prepaid envelopes and boxes at the main branch in each city.
By Cat Gaa, who left her native Chicago five years ago to live in the olive groves of Andalusia. Residing in Seville, she teaches first grade at a private school, but all she wants to really do is write.