Find out about the Spanish postal system: finding ZIP/postal codes, writing an address, redirecting mail and sending letters, parcels and telegrams in Spain…
Spanish postal codes (códigos postales) usually have 5 digits. Large cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, are divided into postal districts (zonas) Correos, the national State owned Spanish postal service, has an online postcode finder. There is also the facility online to search for a local Post Office. The Spanish postal service has recently been modernised and has increased its range of products and services.
- Correos has an online postcode finder and a post office branch finder
- Correos Customer Service
Tel: 902 197 197
Spanish Addresses (How to Read Them)
Correos advises that addresses (dirección) in Spain should be formatted as follows:
• Top line: Full name of the recipient, or company name
• 2nd line: Type of street, name of street, building number, flat number, entrance number.
• 3rd line: Post code and town name
• 4th line: Name of province
- Sra Ana Jimenez
03201 ELCHE (Alicante)
If the address is for an apartment the first line will look like this:
- C/Pescadoro, 22, 3°, 1A izda
Which can be understood as:
- C is an abbreviation for Calle (street), therefore it is – Calle Pescadoro (Pescadoro street)
- 22 is the street number of the building – 22 Calle Pescadoro (22 Pescadoro street)
- 3° indicates that it is the third floor
- 1A indicates that it is apartment number 1A
- izda is the abbreviation for izquierda (left) and this informs the location of the apartment in the building (dcha is the abbreviation for derecha – right), (cto is the abbreviation for centro centre)
Therefore the address literally means: Apartment number 1A on the left (as you face the building) on the third floor of building number 22 on Pescadoro street.
Note: In Barcelona this is slightly different as addresses are written in the local Catalan language.
How to Ask for an Address in Spain
To ask for an address the following phrases can be used: “¿Cuál es tu dirección?” or “¿Cómo se escribe su dirección?”
Mailing a Standard Letter or Parcel in Spain
Regular mail (carta ordinaria) sent within Spain and Andorra takes approximately three working days for delivery. Mail sent to European destinations takes two to four working days.
Stamps (sellos) may be purchased at post offices and tobacconists (estancos) as well as some stationary shops. They are also available for purchase online with delivery of the stamps through the mail. Stamped mail can be posted at a post office or a public post box (which are yellow). It has been reported that in some areas of Spain stamps are no longer available in outlets other than the post office. This is due to the fact that too many senders were using the wrong postage for the weight/size of letters and packages.
A variety of pre-paid envelopes and boxes are available from post offices. For standard delivery, these may be placed in a local mail box for mailing. In order to send a pre-paid envelope or box via registered mail, it is necessary to mail the item from a post office after it has been affixed with the required documentation.
- Information from Correos regarding allowable standard mail dimensions
If proof of delivery is required for a parcel or envelope, it should be mailed as a carta certificada. If the recipient is not home at the time of delivery, a note will be left notifying them they must collect the item at a specified Correos post office. It is also possible to track a registered envelope or package, for an additional fee, by requesting a tracking code (código de envío).
There are two different methods of sending parcels in Spain:
- Urgent delivery (paquetería urgente)
- National delivery (paquetería nacional)
Urgent delivery (postal exprés)
Urgent delivery can be used for sending packages (up to 20 Kg) within Spain for guaranteed delivery in mainland Spain and Palma de Mallorca, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, La Laguna and Las Palmas within 48 hours, and to the rest of the Canary and Balearic Islands within three working days. Additional options are available including delivery to a post office rather than a residence, insurance, cash-on-delivery and receipt of delivery. Parcels sent using this method must be signed for by the recipient.
- Information from Correos on urgent delivery
National delivery (paquetería nacional)
National delivery (also referred to as “paquete azul”) can be used for domestic parcels up to 20 Kg. Additional options include delivery confirmation, cash-on-delivery service and insurance.
Mailing an International Standard Letter or Parcel
Mail sent to an international destination should be marked clearly with the recipient’s address including country. The envelope or parcel should be marked with the words “Prioritario/Priority”.
- Information from Correos on standard mail dimensions
Parcels sent to an international destination from Spain can be sent by various methods of international delivery (paquetería internacional) which include:
- EMS Postal Exprés
- Priority International delivery (paquete internacional prioritario)
- International Economy delivery (paquete internacional económico)
A customs declaration (Form CP72) must be affixed to parcels sent outside of Spain (though some EU destinations are excluded).
EMS Postal Exprés
The EMS Postal Expres service is available for parcels sent to Europe, the USA, Asia, Africa (in some countries) and Oceania (in some countries). Parcels may not exceed 30 Kg. Optional insurance is available.
Delivery times vary from country to country.
- For information from Correos regarding the EMS Postal Express service
International Economy delivery
International Economy delivery is available for parcels up to 30 Kg (some recipient countries may have lower weight restrictions). Delivery times vary from country to country, though the average delivery time for parcels sent within Europe is 8 to 10 working days.
Optional insurance is available as is a cash-on-delivery service (in participating countries) and a delivery confirmation receipt.
- For information from Correos regarding International Economy Delivery
Other Methods of Document Delivery
In addition to postal services, Correos provides a home-delivery telegram service. The service includes same-day delivery of a message within Spain as well as in other countries where the service is available. A confirmation receipt is available. Telegrams can be purchased from a Correos office, via the Correos website or over the telephone. Pricing is determined on a fixed-rate per telegram plus a per-word charge.
- Information from Correos on their Telegram Service
Correos offers an express registered mail service called Burofax. Documents can be submitted online or to any Correos office. The document will then be delivered by hand to the recipient’s home address, local post office or post box. This service is available in Spain, Andorra and in some international locations. Same-day delivery and delivery confirmation is only available in Spain and Andorra.
Moving: Mail Redirection and Change of Address
The Spanish postal system offers a mail forwarding service for a period of one, two or six months. Correos must be notified in person at least five working days prior to the move. There is a fee for the service. More information from Correos Mail Redirection
Correos also offers a change-of-address service called Domiciliate which notifies businesses and individuals of a customer’s move. An electronic postcard is sent to notify selected recipients. There is no charge for the service. Registration for the service is available online, however users must visit a post office or submit an electronic signature (obtainable at a Correos office with valid ID) in order to confirm their identification.
Other Common Abbreviations
|esquerra||on the left of the building (Catalan)|
|dreta||on the right of the building (Catalan)|
|s/n||sense numero||no number|