In Spain the post codes have a total of 5 digits and there is an online search facility on the website of Correos, the national postal service in Spain. Addresses in Spain should feature the name of the recipient on the first line, the street and building number on the second line, the post code followed by the town name on the third line and the name of the province on the final line. Apartment numbers should also feature on the second line, after the building number and street name.
Most mail sent within Spain will take around 3 days to arrive and post within Europe takes around 4 days. Stamps are sold at a number of outlets other than post offices, such as tobacconists and stationers. It is also possible to order stamps online. Post boxes are yellow although private companies use boxes of other colours. It is also possible to purchase pre-paid envelopes and boxes. Registered post (carta certificada) is also possible if the sender requires proof of delivery. These items can be tracked online with the identifying code for the package.
If you wish to send a parcel there are two ways of doing so – an urgent delivery (paqueteria urgente) and a national delivery (paqueteria nacional). The urgent delivery is for items of up to 20 kg and is for items which are being sent within Spain or to one of the Spanish islands. National delivery is also for domestic deliveries of up to 20 kg and items can be insured.
International deliveries need to be marked with ‘prioritario’ to indicate international delivery. There are three delivery services for international mail. These are the EMS Postal Expres, Priority International Delivery and an economy delivery option. For some destinations it may be necessary to complete a customs declaration to affix to the outside of the parcel.
Correos has a telegram services which offers same day delivery of messages both within Spain and other countries if the service is available there. Telegrams can be ordered by phone and payment is usually based on the number of words as well as a basic charge for the service. There is a mail forwarding service for those who are moving house, for which there is a small fee charged. Many post offices are also able to offer a range of banking services such as basic savings and cash withdrawals.
There are more than 6000 post offices across Spain and these can also be found in railway stations and airports. Some of the post offices in the larger cities are open around the clock although there may be limited opening hours in rural areas. Most small villages have a post office, although larger towns will have several as well as private services.
Correos is not the only postal service in the country. Offex Courier Services is another major provider of postal services and has been in operation for more than 10 years. These services are available to individuals as well as businesses and can deliver all over the world. This service is also aimed at expats, giving them access to other postal services in Europe such as the UK’s Royal Mail and Swiss Post. British shops in some areas of Spain are also offering a service where mail can be left with them and taken directly to the UK where it is posted on using the UK mail service.
The postal service is considered to be quite efficient. It is frequently the case that mail is not delivered directly to the home of the recipient but there are usually communal boxes, particularly in apartment complexes. Renting a post office box is considered to be the best way to receive your mail. These cost from €40 a year if using the Correos post offices but there are private post offices which charge up to €100. Post office boxes are known as ‘apdos’ and customers are able to access their box only while the post office is open. In order to get the box a contract must be signed and if there is registered mail or a parcel the staff leaves a note in the box for you.