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15 money saving travel hacks

Top 15 ways to save money when travelling


The reason why we should all know the best hacks and tricks to save money, whilst travelling, is simple. I need to be better with my budget, so I can travel more. To be able to enjoy a touch of luxury here and there, you don’t need to book yourself into a 5 star hotel. You can still use many of their services but save significant amounts of money. For this money saving post, I partnered up with the finance experts in Finland called Pikalaina. In this post, we will share our top 15 favourite money saving hacks, for when we travel!

Flight hacks


1. Book a package holiday – skip the hotel


Does the thought of a package holiday make you cringe? Did you know that scheduled flights to some sunny destinations can work out cheaper, if you book a package holiday including the flight and the hotel, but you stay elsewhere? You can check in your package holiday hotel, if you want, and spend a few days by the pool side. Once you are fed up and want to explore the destination, you are free to travel and arrange your accommodation.


2. Get a free night in Istanbul – your airline is paying!


Turkish Airlines has an interesting policy: if you are flying via Istanbul, you may get treated an extra night in the city, paid by your airline. How can Turkish Air just dish out free hotel nights? Read it all here.


3. Don’t just pack your luggage. Be your luggage!


Is your airline charging hefty fees for putting suitcases in the hold? There are some fun hacks to work around these extra fees. First of all, wear your most heavy clothes and don’t pack your big coat in the suitcase, carry it. Amazon is also full of amazing travel wear that could save you significant amounts of money in the long term!


4. Flight delay compensation from your airline 


Is your flight late? A European Court of Justice ruling states that you are entitled to bag up to 600 euros of compensation, should your flight be delayed. Compensation entitlement begins from 3 hours delay. You can also make claims for flights all the way down to 2005. See the table on this post to determine whether you can apply for compensation from your airline.


5. Overbooked flight? Time to do a happy dance!


An overbooked flight is sometimes a dream come true, at least if you are in Europe. Legally airlines have to compensate for your troubles, should the airline overbook and you are not allowed on the flight. Some travel hackers take advantage of overbookings and turn up at the airport before the check-in opens. Once you are first in the queue and you ask the check-in staff whether you can volunteer for a later flight in exchange for compensation, you sometimes get lucky. Once I was offered 400 euros and VIP lounge access, if I agreed to wait a bit longer. As I don’t mind a bit of champagne myself, I didn’t take too long to agree! Read how much cash you can get in compensation for an overbooked flight here.


6. Transferred on to another flight? Don’t pay for a hotel yourself!


If you have been transferred to another flight, check with your airline if they can pay for your hotel, at least in Europe. In October 2017, I got stuck in Dublin, Ireland, as the storm Ophelia caused disruption in travel. Luckily I Whatsapped my insurance broker. But as I didn’t have a proper travel insurance with them, he instructed me to call the airline and ask for them to accommodate us. The airline was happy to arrange this, as long as we made it back to the airport and accepted which ever hotel they could put us in. We spent two nights in a spa conference hotel without spending a penny on food, transport or the room.



7. Here’s what we were up to when our flight was cancelled due to the storm Ophelia


The airline asked us to get to the airport despite the cancelled flight, so they can book us into a hotel

We got to explore Dublin’s hidden parks, such as this Korkagh Park

For two extra days we explored the edges of Dublin without paying a penny for transport, accommodation or food

We got to see the pet farm at the Korkagh Park. Here’s an owl chilling. One parrot even let me stroke it’s head

Hotel hacks




8. Book and rebook trick




Did you know that once you have booked your hotel room, you can still manipulate the price? Once you have a hotel deal in the bag, you may still be able to get a discount. Hotel rates fluctuate and as long as you book a room with free cancellation, you may want to grab the opportunity when a discounted hotel room comes along. Just book your room, check the room prices later, cancel your room and rebook it, if the price drop is significant. A good time to check is on the same week of travel, but within your free cancellation period. If you find a better room with a better price at the time of your cancellation, you just go ahead with it! At a very last minute, I saved around 200€ by switching hotels in Dublin on the last day of the free cancellation. 




9. Hotel price match trick




Hotels and booking sites often claim to offer the cheapest room prices. Some go as far as backing this claim up with a price guarantee – if you find the same room cheaper elsewhere, they will refund you the difference. Again, a good time to check would be on the same week of your trip, as many hotels lower their prices to fill the unsold rooms. Just grab a screen shot of the price you see on another site, send it to customer support and request a refund, based on their price match guarantee.




10. Don’t be afraid of using a luxury hotel even if you are not staying there




This video is from the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Barcelona, but we were not guests there


This is one of my favourite travel tricks in the book. I may not want to splash my cash on luxurious hotel nights (well, yes I would actually). As I prefer to travel often and with a limited budget, rather than saving up for a longer period of time for my next holiday, it means that I can’t be staying in top hotels. However, as long as you are happy to be a paying customer in other terms, most hotels still welcome you with open arms to use their spas, restaurants and cool rooftop bars. I recommend that you dress for the part though, so you feel more comfortable asking the hotel staff whether you are ok to use their facilities. As long as you look and feel the part, most top hotels are happy to get extra income from the food, drinks and other services they are selling to you.




11. Hotel’s star system may be leading you on




Do you actually know what the hotel star system stands for? Unfortunately the system is not standardised around the world and is mainly used to describe which facilities the hotel offers. It could suggest there is a 24h recetion or a tennis court, no matter how poorly it is being maintained. Even the smallest and hairiest jacuzzis pass as spas, when it comes to some hotels. A high star rating doesn’t always mean that other customers have been happy with the hotel itself. When using travel comparison sites, use the customer ratings instead, to make up your mind.




12. Quality villas vs. quality hotels




Want to save money but not keen on compromising on the quality of your stay? Top end villas may work out way cheaper, especially for a group, than a top hotel. Usually the bigger your group is, the bigger is your saving.

On the road


13. Get free Wifi everywhere – with this app


There is a cool app that can give you the Wifi passwords of cafes, restaurants, schools and universities, libraries and shops for free. And what’s so amazing about this WiFi Password Finder app is that it works, even if you are offline. To read my app review and how to download the free WiFi Password Finder app, click here.


How does the free WiFi app work?


Before you travel, connect to a WiFi and open up the map on the app. When you move your finger around the screen, you can see lots of internet connections popping up, along with their passwords. The WiFi passwords are added to the database by the users of the app and sooner or later you find yourself getting excited about sharing the passwords with other travellers too!


14. Use your off-line maps and avoid paying for data roaming or sat-nav


Did you know that your Google maps also works off-line, which means that you don’t have to switch your data roaming on or get a sat-nav for your rental car?


How do the off-line maps work?


Your map will also work off-line, as long as you open up your travel destination when you are first on WiFi. Before you travel, just open the destination’s map on your screen and scroll around the area. Next time, you can browse the map and get directions without a working WiFi connection too.


15. Your phone operator is trying to kill you!


As this claim may be somewhat exaggerated, you want to avoid getting a heart attack after seeing your mobile roaming bill. The best way to avoid it is to contact your mobile operator before the trip. If the price of the mobile roaming package does not please you, you can often buy a local prepaid pay-as-you-go sim card once you get there. However, in countries like Brazil, you cannot get a sim card if you don’t have sufficient documents that usually only locals can obtain, so it’s a good idea to search for more information before you travel.

Money hacks


16. Paying in pounds or euros? Why knowing this matters


According to the Finnish finance expert Pikalaina, we don’t usually know what to answer when we are asked which currency we would like to pay in. Did a shop keeper ask you which currency you want to use? You should always choose the local currency, not your own. Why? If the retailer does the conversion for you, the rates will usually be higher than if you let your card do the conversion. So remember – always ask to pay in the local currency.


17. Choosing your destination based on the exchange rate and what you can get for your money


There are obvious destinations to avoid, if you want to make your penny stretch far. These holiday destinations include Switzerland, Scandinavia and the Nordic Countries, Lapland and many cities in the US, for example. Although London’s price tag has fallen in the recent times and we were pleased to find that the hotels were quite affordable, London is still not cheap. If you want to know which destinations are the cheapest holidays in Europe right now, click here! 

Taxi Palma: how to get to your Mallorca accommodation

Taxi Palma: how to get to your Mallorca accommodation

Taxi Palma de Mallorca airport – should I book online?


When you book your taxi from Palma airport beforehand, you get many advantages. One of the biggest pros why I favour booking an airport transfer in advance is that you always get an English speaking driver, who will make your life a lot easier. You don’t need to figure out if the taxi is on a meter, will they try any funny business, will the meter actually start from zero and will the driver drive you through the most scenic and also costly route to get you to your Palma hotel. As the private taxi Palma services are booked and paid online in advance, the driver has no reason to try and exploit you, the visitor. You will ride comfortably, often you are offered bottled water on arrival, the driver will help you with your luggage and if your flight is arriving late, they will know about it and hold a sign up on your arrival. With online-booked taxi Palma services you an also ask for baby seats or booster seats, that you won’t find from the Palma airport’s regular taxi rank.


Taxi Palma de Mallorca airport: regular taxi fares


If you decide not to book an airport transfer taxi to Palma online, you should queue to grab a regular taxi from the taxi rank outside the terminal building. You can find it at the terminal’s floor 0, just outside the arrivals hall. When taking a regular taxi in Mallorca, you should always ask for a receipt and hold on to it, in case you ever want to make a complaint. The drivers should be licensed by the City Council of Palma de Mallorca. The driver will charge you extra for each piece of luggage. You can find more information on the extra fees in the Mallorca Taxi Prices table below.


TimesFare starts fromMinimum farePrice per kmWaiting time
21pm-06am and
Sat & holidays 3pm onwards
Extra fare itemPrice
Trips originating or ending at the airport2.90€
Trips originating or ending at the port2.90€
Radio phone1.05€
Each extra suitcase or luggage item0.60€

Uber Mallorca: is there Uber in Palma or Magaluf?


In another article, I wrote about Uber in Spain and Madrid in particular. Madrid is an exception to the Spain-wide Uber ban, although they are only allowed to use the luxury UberX type of cars. Unfortunately, there is no Uber in Mallorca. So you won’t be able to hop off your flight, pull out your phone and book a ride via the Uber app.

Do Palma taxis have baby seats or booster seats?


If you are travelling with children, you may need to book a taxi online, as regular taxis won’t usually offer them. Usually there is no extra cost to request a baby seat.

When booking a taxi to Palma from the airport, what information do I give?


You will only need to inform the taxi company of your actual arrival time of your flight and your flight number. This way the driver can check if your flight has been delayed. You don’t need to add the waiting time for your luggage, this will automatically be taken into account by the taxi Palma driver.

Can I book a taxi to Palma from the airport if we are arriving on different flights?

If you and your friends are arriving on different flights, you only need to give the arrival time of the last flight. Just remember to give the taxi company all flight numbers. This way the driver can check if any of the flights have been delayed.

I need to pick up the house keys, before driving to the final destination. Is this possible?


Sure, this is usually possible, especially if you book a private taxi from the Palma airport. In this case, you should tell this in advance, in the “comments” field, when making the taxi Palma booking online.


Do I get a confirmation from the Mallorca taxi company?


Yes, you will receive a confirmation email, once your booking has been processed and is confirmed. If you don’t receive your taxi Palma confirmation email, check your email’s spam folder, as these folders love to swallow all of the important information when you least expect it.

Where will I meet the Palma taxi driver, once I’m in Mallorca?

The drivers are waiting for you in the arrivals hall. Look out for a sign with your name on. It’s a good idea to save a phone number from your taxi Palma confirmation email onto your phone, so you can call the driver, if you can’t find one another. You can download this free wifi finder app, in case the airport’s wifi is not working properly. This handy app will give you passwords for the wifi networks of businesses, like cafes, restaurants and cinemas. Just remember to type “Mallorca” in your app while you are connected in wifi before your flight, so the finder also works offline.


My flight to Palma has been cancelled. What do I do about my Palma taxi booking?


If your flight has been cancelled, many Mallorca taxi companies act pro-actively and contact you about your situation. If you have been transferred to another flight, you just need to give your new flight number to the Mallorca taxi company. If you are not flying to Mallorca after all, you should ask for a refund free of charge.


What to pack to Mallorca: click below to check prices on Amazon

Driving in Malta

Driving in Malta

What is driving in Malta like? Here’s what you should know

When I first hired a car and jumped behind the wheel in Malta, I had lots of questions running through my mind, like these:

Driving on the left is one of the biggest concerns many drivers have to face. I have found that watching the traffic both ways comes naturally for a driver, regardless of which side of the road you are used to drive on. Now that I think of it, I must have always checked both side mirrors as well as the rear view mirror before joining a new road or turning, as changing from one side of the road to another didn’t feel too difficult when I realised I can trust myself and remember to check both sides. What has sometimes caused difficulties is to remember which side of the road we drive on today, if I travel from country another.


How do you remember to turn the right way in a roundabout when driving on the wrong side of the road?

Luckily many roundabouts are marked with arrows, also in Malta. You are also usually not alone in traffic – you can just follow what other cars do and go with the flow.


What’s the traffic like in Malta? Are there any traffic jams and angry overtakers?

There are recent studies that show that traffic on the island is the main concern of the Maltese people. You should be prepared for them all: slow traffic and very angry, horn blaring locals.


Do other cars give way when joining a new road in Malta?

Not always. You need to claim your space on the road like you own it.


How exactly do you overtake a donkey with a carriage?

Give it as much space as you possibly can, drive slowly and avoid getting your gears wrong which can potentially surprise the animal. I haven’t needed these instructions before but there’s a first for everything!


Do you give way to a horse approaching from the right in a roundabout?

Yes! Even if it’s approaching super slooooow.


Is speeding so common in Malta that I have to hit the emergency break?

Yo should be prepared to break fast. Luckily this is a reflex for experienced drivers so just go ahead and trust yourself.

Horse carriage in Malta

In Malta you may still encounter these on the roads

The speed of driving in Malta

I felt rather confident to get behind the wheel in Malta, as I had given my driver’s license in a left-hand-drive country. The driving speed in Malta seemed mostly okay around the city centres. The only roads I was wary of were the big ones leading to the airport, where the speeds would hit ridiculous levels. By this time I had heard a joke from alocal man who said that you can get Maltese driving licenses inside a Rice Crispies packet. So I prepared myself to defend my space on the roads and hit the pedal when I saw the smallest opportunity to join the big roads or to change lanes. We hired a Hertz car from the Preluna Tower hotel and made sure the insurance would cover everything from scratches to the invasion of space mice or the explosion of the Death Star. Once behind the wheel, I felt ready for my Maltese driving inauguration.


Mysterious parking habits in Malta

This is one the main reasons the Maltese leave their car behind yours, blocking your exit. Meet your enemy, the Pastizzi.

This is one the main reasons the Maltese leave their car behind yours, blocking your exit. Meet your enemy, the Pastizzi.

The first challenge Malta’s driving gods laid upon me was untangling the mystery of “double parking”. By double parking I mean the scenario where you have parked legally in a parking space and someone parks on the road behind you, blocking all of your exit attempts. As the driver had switched the emergency lights on before vaporizing into the thin air, surely I should know which signal this sends to all of the drivers. I had to quickly put my Sherlock hat on to solve the mystery of getting out of the parking space. I weighed the options – mounting the side walk, denting the wheels and scratching the car or beeping the horn so long that I’d get shouted abuse from the balconies above. Instead I approached a Maltese looking gentleman, who kindly offered me a clue how to solve my double parking puzzle. He hinted that normally the culprit was to be found in a shop nearby. As a local this gentleman had read the emergency lights correctly, I found the parking genius and soon I was on my way again.


Crossing the road as a pedestrian

As the Maltese zebra crossings were few and far between, I have become accustomed to run over the road to get out of the way. Afterwords I stubbornly curse the city planners for placing safe zebra crossings a mile apart. I took great pleasure in surprising pedestrians by slowing down my car early when I spotted someone crossing. A few pissed off beeps from other drivers behind only made me smile inside.


The horse carriage manoeuvre

In Malta you may need to give way to horse carriages. These are not the types that take tourists around Central Park in New York. It seems that they are used as a form of transport by the owners, not for transport anything else. I came across a new type of road user when I was about to enter a roundabout and saw a horse carriage come from my right. At least this was in the afternoon when the traffic was slowing down. So I gave way to the poor horse trotting on the tarmac.


How do the Maltese drive?

I found that I was able to adapt to the driving well, as I prefer to drive on the left. As Malta gets really congested due to the high number of cars per capita, the travelling speed is very slow especially during the rush hour. Some drivers thinking they were the MacGyvers of the road emerged from time to time. Whereas in many countries you can drive economically as the traffic is predictable, in Malta I found myself speeding up and locking the breaks a lot, with a couple of emergency breaks in there too. Towards the end of the day my ankle literally needed a rest after all that gear changing and pedal pumping.


Car accident if you are a foreigner in Malta

The expat / immigrant community warns you of not getting in trouble with the police in Malta. There are circulating rumours of foreigners who have built their lives in Malta having to flee the country in a matter of days when they have been involved in a car accident that was not their own fault. Apparently it is very difficult to win a ruling against a local in the Maltese and Gozotan courts. As the legal system is accused of being corrupt and inefficient, it is best to get on the next flight and depart the country rather than face unjust court proceedings. As I don’t have personal experience in this, I only quote expat stories and articles I have come across. But having a plan B up your sleeve seems to be something foreigners living and working in Malta have developed for one reason or another.


Valletta roads are steep and narrow

How can Malta be so different from Sicily?

If you want to drive in Malta, be prepared for rush hour traffic and some random cowboys who think that speeding up just to emergency break three seconds later is the best practice. If you get a taxi from the airport, they tend to drive aggressively too. One taxi we took actually wasn’t able to break before entering a roundabout, as he was speeding completely unnecessarily. We were very lucky that no other cars were coming our way at the time. Whereas the Italians love their scooters and we saw lots of them just 100km away in Sicily, only a few are driven in Malta. I could imagine the way of driving is one reason for the lack of scooters. The difference in traffic behaviour was great between these two small islands. In Sicily, people crossed freely and drivers slowed down for them, whereas in Malta I recognise similar bad traits like driving in some cities I have lived in in England. Mainly I hate the drivers not slowing down for you when you have to walk across the road.  It is almost like the drivers want to prove a point: “there is no zebra crossing here so get the f** out of my way” without considering that the next zebra crossing is a mile away.

Overall, our driving adventure went just fine, as I was prepared to squeeze my car in gaps I would normally not invade in other countries. We spent a good chunk of time just sitting in the static rush hour traffic.

What you should know when Driving in Malta

  • Get the best available insurance
  • Only use reputable rental companies
  • If you drive a heavy van for example, you need to take extra care as the other drivers tend to speed up and then fully hit the breaks
  • You will probably hit traffic when approaching cities like Valletta, Sliema, Gzira or St Julians during the rush hour
  • If someone has parked behind you a blocked your exit, check the nearest shops if the driver was just picking up the newspaper

Read also:

International house move: where to get large cardboard boxes in Malta

Can an expat get a bank account in Malta? What you need to know

EU Citizen: looking for Brexit exit but not sure where to move?


Pastizzi photo credit: Charles Haynes

How to get from Madrid Airport to city

How to get from Madrid Airport to city

How to get from Madrid Airport to the city centre

The Madrid airport has great public transport connections that take you to the city centre in less than 30 minutes. But the premium private chauffeurs are surprisingly cheap compared to the regular taxis. This way you may be able to avoid the long taxi queues completely. If you have a long connection between your flights, you can venture from Madrid airport to city centre, enjoy great tapas and wine or cervesas under the Spanish sun before heading back for your connecting flight. You can also leave your hand luggage at the airport if you wish. Luggage storage is available in terminals 1, 2 and 4. If you are looking for ideas on what to do in Madrid, have a look here! Next, I will tell you how to get from Madrid airport to city centre in no time.

Airport transfer with private car service

Madrid’s private car service can be very affordable, especially if you share a minibus with other passengers. It will also be one of the most convenient ways to get to the city centre from the Madrid airport. The driver will meet you in the arrivals hall and help you with your luggage. And as you can get a premium car service for just couple of euros extra, it makes far more sense to forget the taxi queues and ride comfortably in style. Booking a private car in advance makes even more sense, if you have tons of luggage. As the driver will help you with everything, all you need to do is to wheel your bags into the arrivals hall. The drivers usually speak English too.


How much is the taxi from the Madrid airport to the city centre?


Taxis in Madrid: How to get from Madrid airport to city centre


The taxis in Madrid are still quite reasonably priced. They all have meters. The taxi ride from the Madrid airport to the city centre should cost around 30 euros. It’s good to check your meter is reset when you jump in the cab. The taxis run 24 hours a day.


    • Fare: fixed 30€ price to the city centre


    • Location: Outside of each terminal



Taxi apps in Spain


Is there Uber in Madrid?


In 2016 Uber in Madrid launched again and still operates in there in 2017. This new strategy that enabled Uber Madrid to re-launch its services in the capital city of Spain has brought an end to a country-wide ban. How did Uber Madrid achieve its goal to return to serve the passengers of the Spanish capital? Through compliance. Unlike in many other destinations, where Uber chooses to pay for the fines handed out to drivers after getting caught, the taxi company has chosen another route to follow in Madrid. For the time being, Madrid’s passengers are only able to book professional and licensed taxi drivers through the UberX service. However, in the summer of 2017, the city of Madrid has requested Spain’s anti-trust watchdog to investigate the fairness of the Uber Madrid airport service. At the moment Uber cannot really compete with price in Spain due to using high spec cars but the convenience of using the globally known app is something many of us have relied on for years. The future of Uber’s transfer from Madrid airport to the city centre is still under scrutiny.



Like in many other destinations Uber has expanded in, also Mardid has had their share of strikes and demonstrations against this Silicon Valley vigilante. In 2014 Uber was forced out of Madrid as a result of pressure from the local taxi companies. This is nothing unheard of in the digital age where new San Francisco digital companies batter the traditional industries, such as transport and accommodation. Recently Italy not only banned Uber but also similar apps that could be used to book rides. Since 2016, the more expensive service, UberX has been in operation in Madrid.

From Madrid airport to city with My Taxi app

The idea of the My Taxi app is very similar to Uber’s. You just download an app, type in your destination and either let the app identify your current location or type it in manually. Usually My Taxi works well if you are on a big road at the time of the booking. I don’t see a problem booking a transfer from the Madrid airport to ciry centre with My Taxi. Besides the typical chasing of the driver and looking for that right licence number plate out of a hundred identical taxis. If you have lots of luggage with you, you may want to choose a private car and book it in advance. This will save you all the trouble of chasing your car with your suitcases and dreading that your phone battery will die before you find your taxi from the Madrid airport.

We have found that unfortunately it’s too easy for the driver to cancel your trip or not pick you up at all. Once at 3 am we were only able to get a My Taxi to pick us up when we had accidentally selected a wrong destination from the list. The driver thought we needed to get to the airport, whereas we only needed a 10 minute drive this time around. We have also had problems booking a taxi to pick us up from smaller side streets. We just don’t get anyone to accept us as passengers. But once we walk for five minutes to a bigger road, all of a sudden getting a ride is no longer an issue! Again, this is not ideal if you have many suitcases and a frustrated or hungry partner.

Airport transfer in Madrid by Bus

There are also buses to choose from, if you need to get from Madrid airport to the train station or anywhere else in the city centre. You can catch any of the following buses for your airport transfer in Madrid:

  • 101, 200, EXPRES 203, N27 EXPRES.
  • The buses run every day from 6am to 11.30pm.
  • Fare: 5€
  • Location: outside terminals 1, 2 and 4
  • Duration: 30 minutes

203 or Expres Aeropuerto bus runs between the airport of Madrid-Barajas and the Atocha train station. This bus is quite convenient, as it runs around the clock and every single day of the year. However, the Atocha bus stop only works between 6am and 11:30am. After that, the Cibeles stop is in use and the bus turns into N27 Expres Aeropuerto.

Expres Aeropuerto

  • Fare: 5€ one way
  • Location at the airport: Terminal 1, 1st floor, Departures area
  • Duration: 30 minutes in normal traffic conditions
  • Runs every 15-20 minutes until 11:30pm. At night this bus runs every 35 minutes

How to get from Madrid airport to city. If you want to get from Madrid airport to train station and you land at the wrong terminal, this Madrid airport shuttle will take you to the train

Can I get from Madrid airport to the train station by train?

The trains run between the airport on the line C-1 and will take you to the Atocha central railway station. The downside is that if you don’t land in terminal 4, you need to first find the shuttle bus and then change for the train, which costs you precious time. You may want to choose another mode of getting from the Madrid airport to city centre if you land in terminal 1, 2 or 3.

  • Fare: 2.60€ one way
  • Location: Terminal 4. If you are in terminal 1, 2 or 3, you need to catch a free shuttle bus to get to T4.
  • Duration: 27 minutes


How to get from Madrid airport to city centre by Metro

How to get from Madrid airport to train station: the Madrid metro map

The Madrid Metro is a convenient mode of transport from the Madrid airport, way as long as you don’t arrive at night. The metro line 8 is also connected with lines 6, 10, 9 and 4 so you can easily get from the Madrid airport to city by Metro. This may be your most convenient way to get from the Madrid airport to city centre, as long as you don’t have lots of luggage along.

  • Fare: 3€ one way
  • Location: inside the terminals 2 and 4
  • Shuttle to the terminals: if you land in terminal 1 or 3, you can catch a free shuttle bus to the terminal 2 or 4
  • Duration: 22 minutes
  • Times of operation: 6:00-01:30


How do I get from the Madrid airport to city centre?

The best method of travel depends on which terminal you arrive at. The Madrid airport is well connected to the city centre and you may choose to get a train, the metro, a bus, a taxi from the taxi queue, an UberX, another taxi booked via the MyTaxi app or a private car that you book in advance.



Read also:

How to improve your Uber rating and why you should do it


Taxis in Turkey – what you need to know

Searching for gaming jobs online? Follow these steps to get your dream career

Searching for gaming jobs online? Follow these steps to get your dream career

Want to work abroad? This is your chance

For this week’s post I have interviewed two experts, Emmi and Joanna, who know everything about gaming jobs. The girls have recently founded a gaming recruitment agency and their clients and candidates are keeping them very busy. This article will give you simple steps to follow, if you are searching for gaming jobs online at the moment or if you would like to apply for any of the betting world vacancies you find here. These tips given by Emmi and Joanna are very useful also if you are looking for a job abroad. Some of these tips apply to a wide range of roles within the gaming industry, whereas some are more specifically  about the iGaming sector, which is also known as the online casino and betting industry.  I recommend reading their interview especially if you are considering your career options because of Brexit. If you speak more than one language fluently, your options increase immediately. I have also written a post for those people who are considering to move out of the UK because of Brexit, you can read it here.

gaming jobs online: Joanna from Magic Mondayz

Joanna from Magic Mondayz

Gaming jobs online: Emmi from Magic Mondayz

Emmi from Magic Mondayz

Even if you have not browsed gaming jobs online before, I want to introduce you to various different roles that are on offer even if you don’t have any previoius gaming experience.I asked them about many of the betting world vacancies and the technical jobs gaming companies are recruiting for at the moment, such as database jobs and developer roles. At this point I want to mention that this is not a paid or a sponsored post, which means that the recruitment agency I am about to introduce to you is not paying me to write this article.

The gaming recruitment experts – Joanna and Emmi from Magic Mondayz

Joanna and Emmi have recently founded a highly specialised recruitment agency called Magic Mondayz. Both of the ladies have built up lots of industry experience in HR and recruitment agency roles, before venturing off together to start a specialised gaming recruitment agency. As both have also worked on the hiring side in different gaming companies, they have got to know many hiring managers personally and they have also experienced the company culture first hand. This is why Joanna and Emmi are the right people to talk to, if you are interested in working for a gaming company. First I will tell you a little bit about the types of roles you can find in the gaming sector, if you don’t have experience in the industry. After that, we will start the interview with Magic Mondayz!

Looking for online gaming jobs or interested in gaming apprecticeships or other entry level gaming jobs? You can get in touch with Emmi and Joanna from Magic Mondayz to get started.

Left: Joanna, right: Emmi

Marketing jobs in gaming

Game companies are looking for enthusiastic applicants for different marketing positions all the time. Especially if you have previous marketing experience and you have played online casino games before and you can consider moving to Malta, which is an English-speaking island in the Mediterranean, you should consider a CRM Executive role. Usually CRM Executives climb up to marketing from a customer support role, where they can learn about gaming first. The CRM team is responsible for creating and sending newsletters to the customers. The CRM teams use marketing tools, data analytics and Excel spreadsheets to determine which customer gets which newsletter or offer. Online casino marketers send newsletters to their customers about new game releases and bonuses they can claim.

Entry level jobs in gaming

There are also lots of entry level jobs in gaming up for grabs. If you don’t have web development or data management skills for example, you can apply for a customer support role or even a content writer role, especially if you speak more than one language. Want an online gaming job? Find out how to get your new job in gaming now.

Betting world vacancies and sports betting jobs

There are numerous career paths you can take In the world of online gaming. Maybe  you are searching for gaming jobs online at this very moment. Where are looking from? Are you searching for jobs in Europe on CareerJet Malta or Indeed Barcelona, for example? Although both of these international job search platforms offer a large selection of roles out there, I have found a few downfalls using these platforms when I was looking for gaming jobs online. Firstly, they don’t often offer any information on the salary level. Especially if you are considering to live and work in Spain, the UK, the USA, Australia, Malta or any other country, this is a big step in your life that you should not take without a better understanding of what the cost of living in your new home country will be. I have also found that sending your CV through CareerJet or Indeed is as good as sending your application to a digital shredder somewhere in the cloud. Many of us never hear a single word from that application ever again. This is one of the many reasons I recommend using a specialised recruitment agency, when you are looking for gaming jobs online. When you search for online gaming jobs, you will find agencies that cover a broad range of roles as well as highly specialised recruitment agencies, like Magiz Mondayz. You can get in touch with the recruiters Emmi and Joanna especially if you are interested in any of the following:

  • Marketing jobs in gaming companies and specific video game marketing jobs
  • Data management jobs / database jobs / SQL jobs
  • Web Developer roles
  • Full Stack Developer roles
  • Sports betting jobs
  • Online casino jobs, also known as iGaming jobs
  • Gaming apprenticeships or other entry level gaming jobs
  • Jobs in Europe or specifically jobs in Barcelona or Malta for English speakers

Love sports?

If you are into sports, why not become a Sports Content Writer for online betting companies? You would be surprised to see how big the demand for people following sports is in the iGaming job sector, particularly in Malta. Some of the coolest iGaming jobs in Malta I have seen include watching matches and tweeting about them via the sports betting company’s Twitter account.

Gaming recruitment expert interview

How Recruitment Consultants can help you find a good job abroad and get the offer

Magic Mondayz: betting world vacancies, gaming jobs online, sports betting jobs, online casino jobs and many more

Joanna and Emmi working from Tallinn, Estonia

Joanna: Most Recruitment Consultants have a big network of companies they work with, they know the culture and the environment and can easily assess where you can fit best. They will also guide you through the whole process, get to know you, introduce you to the hiring managers and coach you for the interview. Recruitment Consultants usually know what the particular company is looking for and can guide you accordingly, in order to increase your chance to get an offer.

What does “internal recruiter” mean?

Emmi: An internal recruiter is the person responsible for the hiring process in a specific company. An internal recruiter works inside the company and normally screens candidate’s CVäs, is responsible for 1st stage interviews, liaises with the hiring managers, schedules interviews and is overall responsible for coordinating the hiring process. They are employed directly by the company that has the open positions and are physically based in the company’s office. Joanna: It’s the person coordinating the recruitment process internally in the company. Usually it’s not only going to be a someone who conducts one of the interviews but also your first point of contact in case of any questions regarding the relocation in case you apply directly on the companies website.

What is the role of a “recruitment consultant” in an agency?

Joanna: From my perspective, a Recruitment Consultant is kind of the first friend you will make while searching for the job. Perhaps it doesn’t sound very professional, but this is how I see it. Candidates trusts us with their career choices. Therefore, we need to do our best to create a good relationship with them and show them that they can rely on us, which is much easier if you treat each other like friends. Jobs for gamers, jobs in Malta, jobs in Barcelona for English speakers and much more Recruitment consultants screen the candidates and then spend a lot of time to get to know every single person in order to figure out which company can possibly be the best fit for them. They assists candidates throughtout the whole process and sometimes are also the first people they meet when they arrive to the new destination.   Emmi: A recruitment consultant who is working in an agency is recruiting for multiple different companies at the same time. They work together with variety of companies that have open positions. A recruitment consultant is not on the payroll of any of the companies, they are employed by the agency. A recruitment consultant’s place of work is the agency’s office, so they are not physically based in any of the companies premises, but are in close contact with them throughout the process.

What “secret weapons” can the Recruitment Consultant use to get my job application forward? Can the recruiter maximise my chances of getting the offer I want?

Joanna: Definitely working with a recruiter can maximize your chance to get an offer but I don’t really believe in ”secret weapons”. We know all of the clients we work with in person and know their expectations. This helps us to ensure that both sides find their perfect fit. We can also coach candidates in the preparation for interviews and give them all of the information they need to know about the company. This helps the job applicant feel confident when entering the interview room. But at the end of the day, its up to them to make the best first impression. We are just the bridge that matches people with the best opportunities and we can coach you and tell you what the client expects. But we really believe in honesty and want you to be yourself during the interview. That’s the only way to find out if a particular job is the right fit for you. Don’t be afraid to show your personality or ask questions. If you don’t have a good feeling about the job after your interview, just take your time and wait for the right opportunity to arrive.

I want to change careers but I don’t have the required experience or education. Can I still find a job abroad?

Emmi: It’s never too late to change careers. I personally know people who were very ”well-off” in their native countries, working in stable jobs and managerial positions, but wanted some change in their life! They moved to a new country and started in a new industry, completely from scratch. It’s normal that candidates start from an ’entry level’ position ( ie. entry level gaming jobs), such as Customer Service, to learn the new industry hands-on and work their way up. We recruit for positions on all levels and there is something for everyone for sure. Joanna: Of course you can. In order to apply for the entry level iGaming jobs, all you need are language skills and an awesome personality. Most of the candidates who start their adventure within the iGaming industry, don’t have any previous experience. These applicants start in Customer Support to learn about the industry, get some training and then work their way up. Betting world vacancies, gaming jobs online, jobs for gamers and more.

Do you guide candidates on how to prepare for an HR interview?

Joanna: We are quite lucky when it comes to that, because we both used to work in HR in the online gaming industry and we have conducted hundreds of interviews ourselves. We know exactly what the HR interviewer wants to know about the candidate and we make sure that our candidates are well prepared.

What types of roles does your recruitment agency, Magic Mondayz, recruit for?

Emmi: We are specialized in language jobs & igaming jobs (online casino jobs) but also recruit for a number of different positions. We recruit for jobs in Malta for English speakers, online gaming jobs, data management jobs, accounting jobs, marketing jobs, customer service jobs, sales jobs, payments & fraud jobs… And the list goes on:

  • Customer Support: Finnish / Swedish / Norwegian / German / UK
  • Fraud Analyst
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Programmatic Coordinator
  • Norwegian Content Writer
  • Nordic Affiliate Manager
  • Front End Developer
  • Back End Developer
  • Senior BI Analyst
  • Finnish Sales Agent
  • Lead UX/UI Designer
  • Nordic Country Manager

Most of the positions are based in Malta and Estonia but we also have a few clients in Barcelona and Bucharest.

What language skills is your recruitment agency interested in?

Emmi: Many of our open positions require only English language skills, but we also work with Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, German, Dutch, Estonian, French and Danish speaking candidates.

Can you tell the average salaries for roles in the countries you recruit in?

Joanna: Sure, it will be hard to compile a full list for all available roles, but just so you to get a better understanding I will list a couple:

  • Entry level gaming jobs like Customer Support or Payments Analysts: 18.0000 – 25.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Content Writer/Junior Marketing Coordinator/SEO Executive – 24.000 – 30.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Junior Affiliate Manager 28.000 – 35.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Senior Affiliate Manager 35.000 – 60.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Mid level Software Developer – 40.000 Euro gross p.a.

It’s definitely worth mentioning that most of the companies also offer other benefits on top of the salary like a gym membership, lunches in the office and events.

Moving abroad costs a lot of money. Does the company help pay for my relocation?

Jobs abroad: gamejobs, datamanagement jobs, web developer jobs in Malta and more Emmi: Most of the companies we are recruiting for, especially in Malta, do pay for your flights and accommodation for the first 1-2 weeks, so you won’t need to worry about where you will stay while searching for your own place. Joanna: Yes, most of the companies understand that some candidates might struggle to cover all the costs by themselves and offer them relocation packages. Usually they cover the flights, two weeks accommodation and organise a pick up from the airport. Some of the HR Managers we work with actually go to the airport themselves to welcome the newbies even if they arrive middle of the night, which is pretty cool.

I searched gaming jobs online and see lots of support roles. What does “support role” or Customer Care Agent mean exactly?

Emmi: “What Agent” you might ask.. FBI Agent? 007 Agent? No, (sadly for some) Customer Care Agent, also known as Customer Service Representative, may sound like an odd job title. Basically, it’s just like any other customer service role but in an online environment. A Customer Care Agent’s primary task is to answer customer’s queries usually with email & live chat and in some companies via phone as well. On top of this, a Customer Care Agent can be involved in other tasks such as small translations, content, payments processing etc.. depending a bit on the company’s structure & size. Joanna: These are the stars who help to resolve customers queries and answer all their questions on a daily basis, mainly over live chat, email or phone. If you decide to start your career within iGaming as a Customer Support Agent, you will spend the first couple of weeks in intensive training to learn about the industry and the brands. This means that this job can really be a great start of your iGaming career for someone who doesn’t have any previous experience.

What happens if the job abroad doesn’t work out?

Emmi: From my experience, it doesn’t happen very often that the job is not what our candidates expect. This is why we take time in finding out the candidate’s as well as the company’s expectations. Joanna: It all depends on the reasons of course, but if you just feel like a particular job is not for you, we will definitely be there to help you to find something new as soon as possible.

How do I find reliable information on the cost of living in the new country?

How to find information on living costs in a countryJoanna: When I am relocating someone to another country, I always have a quick Skype session with them to go through this. It’s a good idea to join Facebook groups for expats in the place you are planning to relocate to. Most of the questions are being repeated all the time and if you search information in these groups, you will most likely be able to find all the answers. Emmi: There are different websites like Numbeo you can visit to compare cost of living in different countries. To get an idea on the apartment rent prices in a specific country, you can also join some groups on Facebook, ie. Apartments Malta, Barcelona Apartments etc. In these groups there are apartment ads from independent landlords as well as real estate agents.

How do I find an apartment in Malta, Barcelona or Berlin?

Jobs and apartments in Malta, Barcelona, Tallinn and BucharestJoanna: First of all, most of the companies will offer you to stay in the company flat for a couple of weeks when you arrive. This will give you some time to look for something suitable. You can either use real estate agents (most of the companies have good discounts schemes) or you can turn to Facebook and search in different groups. It’s definitely easier to relocate outside of the holiday season, especially if you are planning to go to places like Malta or Barcelona, because the prices in the summer can be almost double. Emmi: How quickly you find an apartment depends slightly on the time of the year. During the tourist season from May-August it can be a bit harder to find your own place, but there are always apartments available. Don’t be shy to ask the company’s HR for tips, as many companies have good connections that can help you with the apartment search. You can also join the Apartment search Facebook groups mentioned earlier. There are also other expats like you on these groups, who are searching for a flatmate to share an apartment with. It’s quite typical to rent a shared apartment in the beginning, where everyone has their own bedroom but the common areas are shared. It’s worth looking into this option too, and it’s a good way to make new friends in your new home country. If you want to use the help of a real estate agency, you should know that their fee in Malta, for example, is usually 50% of one month’s rent, but some companies have discount deals with certain agencies. The good thing about getting help from an agency is that they usually pick you up and drive you around to show you multiple apartments at once, so you can get a better insight on what’s out there quicker.


Any more advice on finding an apartment?

My advise would be to never rent an apartment without actually seeing it. It is also important to never ever pay any money up front before you’ve visited the apartment. Once you do find an apartment in Malta, the moving in happens usually quite quickly. The case is often that you find an apartment today, you move in within a couple of days. To read more about apartment scams, click here. 

Do I need a European passport or visa to get a job in Europe?

Joanna: Yes, you will most likely need a European passport to get the job. Visa/work permit are required for the Non-EU nationals, which makes the process a little bit more complicated. But Malta, for example, just introduced a quick work permit application process for more senior employees, so there are ways to get around it.

How do I find information on tax in the country I’m interested in?

Joanna: Ask your HR Manager or Recruiter, they will be able to provide you with all info straight away. Should you still have any doubts, just contact the local Inland Revenue Department. In most countries you can get all info over the phone. Emmi: For information on taxes in Malta you can have a look at: Maltasalary IRD For information on taxes in Barcelona you can visit: Salary Atfter Tax.

How do I make friends in the new country?

Jobs in gaming: making new friendsJoanna: It’s really easy to find friends living as an expat. I remember my first day in my previous job when I thought “oh my god, there will be 100 new faces and I won’t know anyone. How am I gonna deal with it?” The thing is that 90% of the people working in iGaming are expats, exactly like you. They know how it feels to be new in a new country, so they will make sure that you have a warm welcome. Companies also organise plenty of events on a monthly basis for the newbies, to make sure they blend in quickly. So yes, usually the first friends you make (after your recruiters) will be your colleagues. I usually also advice to be active and follow the expats groups in your new country. I really wouldn’t worry about that at all.

I’m interested in working abroad but I’m not 100% sure I have the guts to try. What should I do?

Joanna: Skype me or Emmi 🙂 We both have lived in 7 different countries between us and know exactly how it feels to move to another country or get a job abroad. We can have a chat, answer all of your questions and we can take it from there. Emmi: If you find yourself wondering whether to move abroad or not, you should definitely GO FOR IT. Some people are perfectly happy living in one place their entire lives, and that’s great, but if you find yourself wondering about life & work abroad, you have to do it. You don’t want to regret it when you’re 80 years old. Moving abroad when I was in my 20’s was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life… both for my personal life and especially for my career. 

I don’t have any savings. Can I still move abroad?

Joanna: I don’t think moving abroad without any savings is a good idea. The company will support you with the relocation but you will definitely need some money in the beginning to cover the initial expenses. These could be paying for the deposit of your flat, for example. I think having some savings will enable you to have an easier transition without unnecessary stress. Emmi: You don’t need to save for months to be able to move abroad, however it’s good to have a little bit saved up for the first month’s expenses ie. the deposit and first month’s rent for your apartment. There are a lot of furnished apartments for rent, so you don’t need to worry about buying new furniture either. Most apartmens even include things like kitchenware, towels & sheets etc. Magic Mondayz: Roles in Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, Design, Fraud, and Tech.Some, if not most companies, also pay for your relocation flights, have a taxi to pick you up from the Airport and cover your stay in their company apartment or hotel for the first 1-2 weeks. Convenient, huh?

What kind of roles are you hiring for at the moment?

Emmi: Right now we’re hiring for roles in Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, Design, Fraud, and Tech. You can have a better look at all the roles at: You can also send us an open application through the website, as we have new roles popping up every week! You will then be the first one to hear from us once something interesting that matches your skills comes up. Joanna: In general, Magic Mondayz specializes in language jobs and recruits for positions mainly in such fields as Customer Support, Marketing, Content and SEO but I personally really like IT recruitment so if any of our clients need help finding Developers or BI Analysts, I am always happy to jump in.

How can I get in touch with you?

Joanna: All of our contact details or on our Magic Mondayz website. Email and Skype are the best ways to communicate. Its enough to send the CV too. If your profile can be a good match with our clients, we will schedule a Skype call in order to find out more about you and your interests.

Additional resources

GoodMigrations: Lots of relocation advice and international mover quotes

Rent Indicator: Surprisingly detailed information on living costs and apartment prices

Read also: Use these digital tricks to bust an apartment scam

Dreaming about living abroad? This village in Italy pays you 2000€ to move there

Can an expat get a bank account in Malta? What you need to know

NIE Barcelona: How I Got My NIE Number & Residencia Fast

International house move: where to get large cardboard boxes in Malta

Best Scottish Highland Tours

Best Scottish Highland Tours

Looking for a Scottish Highlands tour? Explore the Isle Skye, the lochs or enjoy these Scottish mini cruises

Loch Ness tours

Scottish Highland tours and discover Scotland tours. From Inverness to Skye. Loch Ness

Loch Ness is not only the home of the famous “Nessie” monster but is also a great day trip destination in the Scottish Highlands. Loch Ness is a deep freshwater lake that stretches over 56 square kilometers (21.8 square miles). The high levels of peat that flow around the lake may have inspired the birth of the Loch Ness Monster tale.

Some great sights around the Loch Ness lake include the Urquhart Castle on the western shore as well as the lighthouses at Lochend and Fort Augustus. There is only one island in the Loch Ness, which is located near the Fort Augustus.

Urquhart tours

Loch Ness tours and the Urquhart Castle

The Urquhart Castle

You can explore the Loch Ness and also visit the Urquhart Castle in 2 hours.  The ticket price includes your visit to the Castle and its visitor centre. You also get to listen to the underwater sounds with a sonar and check whether the Loch Ness Monster is approaching. You will find a selection of hot and cold snacks on board the ship. Free WiFi is also offered on all of the cruises.

From Inverness to Loch Ness and the Urquhart Castle


How to book the Loch Ness and Urquhart tour & how to get there

  • Both mobile and printed vouchers are accepted
  • Easy cancellation up to 1 day before the trip for a full refund
  • The Loch Ness Freedom Cruise and Urquhart Castle Tour begins from the Clansman Harbour, 9 miles of Inverness. To get from Inverness to Loch Ness, Follow the road A82 to the harbour
  • The cruise sails to the Urquhart Castle in 30 minutes, where you can explore the castle’s history for an hour, before returning back to the Clansman Harbou
  • Information booklets will be available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, Russian, Polish, Portuguese ad Dutch

Other Loch Ness & Urquhart tours from Inverness

Eilean Donan Castle

Scotland Highland Tours: Eilean Donan Castle

The incredibly beautiful island of Eilean Donan is located on a small island that used to get cut off by the changing tides. The castle was built under the ruling of Alexander II in the early 13th century. A foot bridge was later opened in the early 20th century to help access to the mainland. This tidal island sits where three lochs meet – Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh. The Eilean Donan Castle dominates the island which is also a part of the Kintail National Scenic Area. The Eilean Donan Castle is not inhabited, although a census from the 2001 reports a population of one person.

From Edinburgh to Skye tour with a visit to the Eilean Donan Castle

Experience one of the best mini cruise from Scotland, an Isle of Skye tour and the magnificient Eilean Donan Castle over 3 days. This Scottish Highlands tour not only takes you to probably the best Scottish isle but invites you to take in some of the most breathtaking scenery Glencoe in Scotland. The first leg of this day trip takes you from Edinburgh to Skye. On the way there you will get glimpses of tall mountains and crystal-clear lochs. Some of the valleys are so deep that even the radio signal disappears. The roads curve between the mountains and the route is just incredibly scenic. This Scottish Highlands tour will stop at the Eilean Donan Castle, which is cited to be probably one of the most photographed castles in the whole country. You have plenty of time to visit the castle and learn about its history. You will also visit the magnificent and mountainous Isle of Sky. Soon you will arrive in a picturesque harbour town called Portree, where you will also be staying. These tours support the local economy by lodging the visitors in family owned, lovely B&B’s. In Portree you can sit down for lunch and watch the bustle of the village. Next you will be able to visit some of the stunning sites on the Skye, such as the Glen Shiel and the Loch Clunie. There may be extra costs for the entry of the visitor attractions as well as meals and refreshments as these are not included in the price of this Edinburgh to Skye tour.

The Black Isle

A bagpipe player in the Scottish Highlands

The Black Isle is not actually an island but a peninsula in the Scottish Highlands. The peninsula is surrounded by water from three angles: The Beauly Firth to the South, the Cromarty Firth to the North and the Moray Firth to the East. The Black Isle is famous for its castles that include Redcastle, Kilcoy Castle, Castlecraig, Cromarty House and Kinkell Castle. Redcastle that is located on the shore is said to be the oldest inhabited house in the North of Scotland.

Scottish Highlands tour from Inverness

Experience a full day Scottish Highlands break complete with a trip to the Black Isle and a visit to a malt whisky distillery. This one day excursion will take you across the Moray Firth from Inverness. You will visit the picturesque Black Isle and visit the fabulous estuary of the Cromarty Firth. This unspoilt estuary is particularly important spot for wildfowl and waders migrating South. Next you will be able to experience a sleepy fishing village called Cromarty. Small cottages, grand stone mansions and winding streets once served as one of the key ports of North of Scotland and has been successfully conserved for our enjoyment. Next this Scottish Highlands tour will take from the village of Cromarty into the Moray Firth. This is the home of 130 bottlenose dolphins. You will be able to spot many of these wonderful mammals from the Chanonry Point. Finally, this day trip to the Highlands leads you to the Glen Ord Malt Whisky Distillery. You will be able to get a peek behind the scenes of this working distillery and also taste the products. However, there is an additional price for the distillery tour as it is not included in the Scottish Highland tour package. Moving on from the Glend Ord Malt Whisky Distillery, it is time to explore the last stop on this day trip. You may get an opportunity to spot the famous Loch Ness Monster during your visit to the village of Drumnadrochit. You can also learn all about this mysterious creature in the Official Loch Ness Exhibition Center.

  • Both mobile and printed vouchers are accepted
  • Easy cancellation up to 1 day before the trip for a full refund

Hogwarts Express – take the Harry Potter train

I recently discovered that there is a real Harry Potter train in Scotland that any fan should go and see. This awesome stream train takes you from Fort William to Mallaig. You can have a closer look at it on a blog called Wunderlander. 


Read also:

Northumberland hotels: amazing castle stays, spa breaks, boutique hotels and other places to stay in Northumbria

Northumberland hotels: amazing castle stays, spa breaks, boutique hotels and other places to stay in Northumbria

Northumberland hotels: amazing castle stays, spa breaks, boutique hotels and other places to stay in Northumbria

Northumberland Hotels: pick your stay in Hexham, Morpeth, Alnwick or Bamburgh

Best Getaways in Northumberland

Northumberland hotels vary from the small B&B’s to grand castle hotel stays and hotels with golf courses. There are also numerous options for anyone looking for a quick day trip or a weekend getaway to a luxurious spa hotel. What is so special about Northumberland is its breathtakingly beautiful coastline, the surrounding nature and the and rich heritage of the county. The most of the iconic castles are within an easy reach from Newcastle upon Tyne and other bigger cities like Edinburgh in South East of Scotland. If you are on a longer tour and not looking for just a quick weekend get-away, you may enjoy taking the train along the North East coast of England. When the train pulls up to the Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne stations, the views are breath taking. The Durham roof tops and a magnificent view of the Durham Cathedral are unforgettable. And upon arrival to Newcastle, the view over the river Tyne and the eclectic mix of new and old architecture is just fabulous. The train track offers you glimpses of the blue sea on the way from Newcastle to Edinburgh. But next I will share which are my favourite spots to visit in Newcastle upon Tyne and which hotels are recommended. Here are the Northumberland hotels I recommend for couples, weekend getaways or golf and spa trips. The hotels offer high quality rooms and service to their guests, whether you are looking for hotels in Morpeth, small and independent boutique hotels anywhere in Northumberland, hotels near Alnwick Castle or hotels in Hexham.

Northumberland Hotels near Alnwick castle

Hotels in Alnwick have enough variety to cater for all tastes. The Doxford Hall Hotel is a country house that offers fantastic spa facilities with a jacuzzi and beautiful gardens for the enjoyment of their guests. The hotel is set in 36 acres of beautiful Northumberland countryside. The Doxford Hall has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Trip Advisor, with a big majority of their past visitors rating their stay at this hotel as “excellent”. Check the prices for The Doxford Hall here. By creating a free account you can get up to 60% off all your hotel bookings.


Best hotels in Northumberland: hotels in Bamburgh, hoetls in Hexham, hotels in Morpeth, hotels in Alnwick


Northumberland Hotels in Hexam

The best Hexham hotels are great historic sites that are must-sees if you are visiting the Northumberland area, even if it’s only for one day. The best hotels in Hexham are called the Langley Castle and Slaley Hall.

Slaley Hall Hexham

Slaley Hall is also an incredible, 1000 acre site that you should go and see if you are visiting the Northumberland county. Slaley Hall is a 4 star hotel that has just recently undergone a 1 million pound refurbishment. Slaley Hall has a golf course and beautiful spa facilities with a gym, a large pool and a steam room. You can also find over 100 quality drink brands at the Whisky Snug room. Slaley Hall is also great for golfers and anyone looking to enjoy the fresh country air of Northumbria. Watch the video of Slaley Hall to get a glance at their rooms, facilities and services.



Check for the Slaley Hall deals and availability here.

Langley Castle in Hexham

The luxury hotel Langley Castle in Hexham, Northumberland

Imagine sleeping in a four posted bed in a real castle, followed by a fabulous breakfast which is carefully laid out for the guests celebrating a special occasion or just having a quick weekend break. Enjoy a very special afternoon tea and get treated like royalty of the castle. This is what the Langley Castle does best! The Langley Castle was built in the mid 14th century by Sir Thomas de Lucy. This H-shaped, four storey castle has since been attacked and damaged in 1405 by the troops of Henry IV. The castle was abandoned as a ruin for a long period of time, until a local historian called Cadwallader Bates bought and restored it around 1882. During the Second World War the Langley Castle was used as barracks, which was later turned into a girl’s school. In the 1980’s the Langley Castle changed hands a couple of times and was bought by a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986. He turned the Langley Castle into a luxury hotel it is today. The Langley Castle is set in 10 acres of beautiful woodland estate in Hexham, South Northumberland. Check for Langley Castle prices and availability here.

Looking for rail travel ideas within the UK?

Northumberland Hotels in Bamburgh

The hotel selection in Bamburgh may be slightly smaller than in other Northumbrian towns such as Hexham or Alnwick. However there is a very popular option with a very good location if you are looking for hotels in Bamburgh. The Victoria Hotel is a 3 star hotel with castle views and room service. The majority of the guests of the Victoria Hotel have rated their stay either excellent or very good on Trip Advisor. You need to pay a reasonable extra price for the castle view room but the guests on Trip Advisor recommend it is really worth it. The check in staff is available 24 hours and are very happy to give you tips of the best things to do in Northumberland and what to do in Bamburgh. The hotel offers its guests lovely rooms with a four poster beds and jacuzzi baths – what a perfect Northumberland break for couples this is! Check the hotel prices and availability in Bamburgh here.


Northumberland hotels and coast line

The sunset view of the Bamburgh Castle. Click to check hotel prices and availability in Bamburgh, Northumberland.


Hotels in Morpeth

The best hotels in Morpeth are getting great reviews on Trip Advisor, which is not at all surprising. The Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club is by far the most popular choice for a Morpeth Hotel. It is a 4 star hotel that constantly gets either excellent or very good reviews from their guests. The Macdonald Linden Hall is a perfect spa break in Northumberland – the spa facilities in include a sauna and a relaxing steam room. You can explore the beautiful grounds and the fresh air before enjoying well crafted cocktails in the cocktail bar or sitting down for dinner in the hotel’s main restaurant. Check the prices and availability for The Macdonald Linden Hall or other Morpeth hotels here.


Best hotels in Northumberland: hotels in Bamburgh, hoetls in Hexham, hotels in Morpeth, hotels in Alnwick

Photo credit: Darrel Birkett 

If you choose to book hotels via this site, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This will go towards running this site.

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Barcelona WiFi: Best Cafés to work from

Barcelona WiFi: Best Cafés to work from

I have asked Claudia from the amazing Coffee & Brunch Barcelona blog to give my readers some top tips on which are the best cafés for freelancers in Barcolona! She knows all about Barcelona Wifi spots that are there to help a freelancer or a travelling nomad to get through a productive day. Check out her blog for more great advice on best speciality coffees and brunches in Barcelona and around the world. 


My name is Claudia and I’m the author of the blog Coffee & Brunch.  Because of my blog I’ve been exploring cafes and brunch places in Barcelona for almost 5 years. Also, since I love to make lists, you’ll find different types on my blog, from “Brunch with Terrace”, to “Healthy Brunch”, but also “Cafes
with Specialty Coffee” and one of the most visited post on the blog “Cafes with Wi-Fi to work


Here is a selection of some of my favorite spots:


Cafetería de la Fundación Gaspar – Carrer de Montcada, 25 – Born


Mon: closed

Tues – Fri: 10am-8pm

Sat: 10am-9:30pm

Sun: 10am-8pm

Barcelona wifi: Best cafes to work from

Sitting in this cafe will make your day better simply by looking at the amazing architecture that
surrounds you. Most of the customers are tourists that don’t stay a long time and usually
there are no children around.

Frenesí – Carrer del Comte d’Urgell, 115 – Eixample Esquerra


Monday: closed

Tues-Fri: 8:30-8pm

Sat: 10am-8pm

Sun: 10am-5pm

Barcelona wifi: Best cafes to work from

This place is paradise for freelancers who are looking for a cafe to work in. The reason for this is
that the owner has organized everything to make our lifes easier. Cushions on the benches, plugs
everywhere, even with usb, and a fast wi-fi connection. Plus, here they serve specialty
coffee, so it’s just perfect for coffee loving freelancers.

Itacate – Carrer del Comte Borrell, 107 – Sant Antoni


Mon: closed

Tues-Fri: 9am-8:30pm

Sat-Sun: 10am-8:30pm


Barcelona wifi: Best cafes to work from

This café is perfect for those people who are looking for a place where they could have
healthy food option. This place is run by a young couple and they assure me that
freelancers are welcomed in their cosy cafe.

La Clandestina – Baixada Viladecols, 2 – Gòtic


Mon: 10am-10pm

Tues: closed

Weds-Sat: 10am-10pm

Sun: 10am-10pm

Barcelona wifi: Best cafes to work from

Quite hidden in one of the small streets in the Gothic neighborhood, this place is open from
10am to 10pm and they are closed only on Tuesdays. You don’t have much natural light inside but
it’s cosy and quiet.

Laie – Carrer de Pau Clarís, 85 – Eixample Dreta


Mon – Sat: 10am – 9pm

Sun: Closed

Barcelona wifi: Best cafes to work from

It’s located on the first floor of the Laie Bookshop. It’s pretty big and has many tables in three
different spaces. There is also a little terrace. If you like strong air conditioning in the summer, this is
your place.

If you would like to find more cafes with Wi-Fi in Barcelona to work from, check out my blog
post and save it as a favorite because I’ll keep it updated and keep adding new places in.


Are you looking for free wifi passwords anywhere?

Then read this post, where I test a free wifi password app that also works offline.


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NIE Barcelona: How I Got My NIE Number & Residencia Fast

NIE Barcelona: How I Got My NIE Number & Residencia Fast

NIE Barcelona 2017 – How I got my NIE number & Residencia quickly in Spain

In this post I’ll telly you how I was able to get a NIE number in Barcelona and how I got past the obstacles the system threw in my way. Like many of you readers right now, I was going through the gruelling bureaucracy of trying to get a NIE number and my resident status or “residencia” in Barcelona just recently. As you probably know, all of those EU nationals that plan to stay in Spain for over three months required to sign into the Registry Central de Extranjeros by law. This means that you should get yourself that green, little card, if you plan to stay in Spain for longer than 3 months. Once given a little green card, you will also have your own Numero de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE), which translates to Foreign Identity Number. As you can imagine, also I was struggling to find recent information online on how to get this piece of green paper with numbers on it.

  • I used Google’s time tools to find new posts and articles searching “NIE Barcelona”.
  • I tried to read only those articles that had been written within the past year, but I wasted a huge amount of time following old links leading to outdated information.
  • I read through numerous posts online and spent way too much researching how I could get a NIE as fast as possible.
  • Most articles I read through were about Spanish rules that have already expired.

That is exactly why I want to give you most recent information on how you can get through the process, like I did. 

NIE Barcelona: click for affordable insurance

Cita NIE Barcelona – Do They Even Exist?

They do, but if you need to get your appointment fast, read this first to stop wasting time:

Here is what did NOT work for me when getting an appointment in Spanish

  1. I tried to book an appointment online, also known as CITA NIE or Cita Previa. I kept visiting their website (link to the Barcelona NIE City Previa service is at the bottom of this page), but the issue was that there just were no appointments available. It wasn’t a matter of not having appointments left for this week, this month or even this year. There were just no NIE Cita Previa appointments for Barcelona in the system at all! I kept getting this error message: “En este momento no hay citas disponibles. En breve, la oficina pondrá a su disposición nuevas citas”
  2. I had read that you need to try to book your appointment at exactly 8 am, as the appointments would be released then. This did not work for me, there just were no appointments for NIE numbers available, ever. When we decided to move to Barcelona, we didn’t think the biggest challenge would not be finding an affordable apartment that we liked or arranging our moving boxes all the way to Spain from Malta. The NIE application was beginning to look like a monster that we would just have to tackle face on, although our odds were slim!
  3. Some articles I saw suggested that I would have only a 2 minute window during the whole week to get an appointment – this would be 8:00 – 8:02. Some claimed the window would be at midnight at 00:00 while other sites tell you need to try at noon. None of these times worked for me. But just imagine how much coffee I was putting into my system! Going to bed after midnight and not getting sleep for all the stress… Then getting up with the alarm at 07:45 to get disappointed once again. I was beginning to believe these “Cita NIE Barcelona” nightmares that featured a certain office at Rambla Guispuscoa 74, were going to haunt me forever. In these nightmares the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona would mystically close its doors and relocate to the Himalayas when I was about to go in for my NIE number appointment.
  4. Some of the sites I found online advice you to have a booking app ready and try getting the appointment through the app and the website simultaneously. This has to be done exactly when the Cita Previas are released in the system. Apparently the app is only available for Samsung devices, so as an iPhone user I was nowhere near the goal. I have gotten feedback from a reader that she had luck with the app twice – as you can save your details on the app and keep refreshing over and over, you stand a much better chance of booking a NIE appointment than going through the website.


Click For Cheap Flights to Barcelona


5. In the past, people have been able to get a NIE without a Cita Previa. Many have travelled to nearby towns like Badalona or Girona early in the morning. On a few expat groups on Facebook I was advised to get to the Badalona police station for 5 in the morning. If you get there around 6 and you are number 11 in the line, you won’t get seen the whole day and you have to keep getting up after 3 in the morning until you succeed. This turned out to be a massive pile of rubbish. Someone from the same Facebook group travelled all the way from Barcelona to the Badalona police station and waited there from 5am onwards, only to be given an appointment for two weeks later. Apparently the authorities found out about the practice of Barcelona residents travelling over to their side and cut this option out of the limited pool of options of us expats.

How I finally got a NIE Barcelona appointment

We were running out of time, as we were also spending too much time apartment hunting at the same time. I turned to 3 agents that deal with NIE Barcelona queries and who take you through the whole appointment at the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona. The prices of their services were all pretty much on the same level, around 90€. As we were in a rush to secure a cita previa, I proceeded with the first agent that answered on a Sunday night. I was so thankful for getting the same day email reply on a weekend evening and it really lifted my moods from the dumps back to hopeful. I sent the agency the details of my passport – my name and the passport number. The payment was to be made after the NIE appointment. Now it looked like having the little green card in my hands was turning into reality!

NIE Barcelona: Click here for cheap hotels

My appointment was scheduled to be in 2 weeks based on my own availability, which was fine, as we were heading out of the country anyway. Soon we got some Cita NIE Barcelona documents to fill out online, which didn’t take me more than 5 minutes. We were also referred to a great insurance broker, who gave me a call on WhatsApp soon after and explained everything I needed to know about our health insurance options. If you are applying for the NIE with a job offer in hand, you don’t need to worry about a private health insurance, like I did.

On the day of my NIE Barcelona appointment, the agent turned up with filled out forms that I had seen online in the past, when I had been doing my research. Having him do all of the necessary paperwork was a massive weight off my shoulders, as these documents were all in Spanish. I was very concerned was that I could accidentally leave important information out. Now I didn’t have to concern myself with any of these worries and I could focus on more important things, like booking house viewings in my spare time. Actually house hunting had turned out to be another nightmare, which inspired me to write this post: Use these digital tricks to bust an apartment scam. Barcelona is full of scammers that try to steal your rent deposit and run with it, so don’t get fooled by these incredibly resourceful and clever criminals!

My Cita Previa at Rambla Guispucoa 74 – how my appointment went

We met outside the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona, which is located at Rambla Guispucoa 74. As standing outside the police station is not allowed for security reasons (the guards will tell you that), I waited in the pedestrian lane in the middle of the road. We had scheduled to meet at 8:00 with the but in fact the appointment was actually for 12 o’clock. Regardless, once the doors were opened exactly at 8, I and the NIE agent were first in line. It was great being there with him, as I watched other applicants trying to work out which queue they needed to be in. The correct line for those applicants with a Cita Previa (appointment in Spanish) was on the left hand side. Everyone else, who came without an appointment had to queue on the right.

We were the first ones to be given a number and after a couple of minutes wait, our turn was up. The whole appointment was in Spanish and the agent kept handing my documents over to the lady behind the desk. I found the whole appointment actually quite nice, as I trusted that the agent knew what he was doing. I didn’t have any concerns over my paperwork – they had been filled out carefully by a pro that speaks Spanish, understands the process and does this every single day. I knew things were going well when the lady reached out for a green paper card and printed my details on it.

And how long did my appointment take?

We were out of the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona exactly at 08:06. This was quite impressive, given that we had agreed to meet outside just before eight. Next I’ll walk you through the frequently asked questions so keep reading! 


NIE Barcelona - view


NIE Barcelona FAQ – These answers have been confirmed with a NIE agent

Can I get a temporary NIE?

  • There was lots of outdated information online regarding temporary NIE numbers. These don’t exist anymore (this was confirmed by my NIE agent). Applicants should now be added to the permanent system. This means that you should have a written job offer in hand when you walk into your NIE appointment, unless you intend to show them that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in Spain. I will tell you more about this below.

If I can’t get a Cita Previa, can I live in Spain without a NIE number?

NIE will be required if you plan to stay in Spain for 3 months or more. This also stands if you are an EU citizen. It is also needed to do any of the following:

  • Opening a bank account with some banks (see exceptions below)
  • Getting salary from your employer
  • Registering as a freelancer (autónomo)
  • Starting a business
  • Getting utilities accounts, such as electricity, water and an internet connection for your home
  • Paying tax
  • To become eligible to get a loan
  • Getting a driver’s license
  • Applying for social security benefits
  • Registering with the social services
  • Buying or selling a property and getting an insurance to that property
  • Getting a Bicing card that you can use to rent bicycles all year round for very low cost


Which documents do I need to get a NIE in Spain if intend to prove I can support myself financially and I don’t have a job offer?

  • The original health insurance policy, signed by the insurer
  • A letter from your bank, stating that your balance is at least 6 000 euros. This document should be recent and not older than 2-3 days
  • A tax document, stamped by the bank. This will cost you 10,60€.
  • Your passport and a photocopy
  • A receipt for paying your NIE tax at a bank. This should be done before your appointment. This is why I recommend using an agent – their company provided me with the tax papers so I could easily walk in and out of my Cita Previa NIE appointment in Barcelona


Do I need to prove I have money in my bank account if I have a job offer?

  • No you don’t and this is probably the best way for most applicants to apply for their NIE


Do I need a private health insurance if I have a job offer?

  • No, you should be covered within the public system but it’s good to check with your employer


Do I need a permanent address to apply for NIE?

No you don’t, as nothing will be sent to your address. Some use the address of their hotel, others their AirBnB or a friend’s address.


If I get a private health insurance for the NIE purposes, what will it cover?

  • You can discuss the price plans with your insurers but as a rule of thumb you should have the full coverage with no excess if you want your NIE application to be accepted
  • Usually private health insurances don’t cover pre-existing conditions
  • Usually private health insurance kicks in with an un-written 6 month rule: within that time frame you can only make a claim for accidental incidences like trips, falls or other accidents. When you see the doctor, make sure you get a stamped document that says: “person X has been diagnosed with X that is due to an X type of accident, which could not have been prevented”. 
  • That’s why you should also have an EHIC card from your country, if you are a EU citizen. According to some forums, you can still visit the clinic and send them a picture of your EHIC card once you get it, if you had to see a doctor urgently but it was not covered by your private health insurance. My insurance broker gave me an example: a client was diagnosed with cancer in Spain a few weeks after the insurance policy came into effect. The insurance company denied the claim for the treatment costs as they didn’t think it was likely that a cancer was not a pre-existing condition that had already been diagnosed in another country. This person was able to get great care in the Spanish public health system with the help of his EHIC card.
  • After 6 months with a private health insurance, they tend to get a bit more flexible with your claims


If I am to apply for NIE based on proving that I can afford to support myself without a job in Spain, how much money do I have to have on my bank account?

I was told to have 6 000 euros on my bank account. This could be a joint account with your partner (however we didn’t apply the NIE at the same time).


How do I prove I have these funds on my bank account?

You need a stamped letter from your bank. My bank tried to order me some kind of a certificate from the head office that would have cost 12€ and taken 4 days to do. This is unnecessary – a printed balance is sufficient as long as it is stamped by the bank.


What if I have under 6 000 euros on my Spanish bank account?

A small variation should be ok, when you plan to prove your finances at your NIE Barcelona meeting. I was 15 euros short to begin with, until I had been able to squeeze the last missing cash into the account.


What is the best Spanish bank account for non residents?

I personally believe in Banco Sabadell. Their app is in English and also offers the finger print login option. Another major bank is La Caixa bank. It’s good to choose a big bank, as other banks can charge you 2€ or more for any cash withdrawals from an ATM that is not your own bank’s ATM.


Which bank in Barcelona has English speaking staff?

Go to Banco Sabadell at Atlantico, Calle Muntaner 242, Barcelona. They are very familiar with expats and know what will be required to get the NIE. You can open your non-resident bank account without NIE, which is helpful, considering your circumstances! Make sure you go early as most banks close at 2pm for the rest of the day!


Can I apply for a NIE by proving I have the financial means to support myself and then accept a job offer or start freelancing?

Yes, as people’s circumstances change


Are you looking for travel insurance, flights or hotels? 

Here’s the partners I recommend. 


My favourite NIE and Residencia horror stories from readers

The cleaner saves the day

Someone recently commented this post with an experience of their own. This guy had travelled to the Oficina de Tramitació del DNI i del Passaport – Sant Feliu de Llobregat office. This trip was made in August 2017. He had got there at 8:15 and there were 15 others waiting to be seen. At 8:30 a police officer shouts something from the steps. Some visitors stay put whilst others head towards the door. At 9 sharp the doors are opened. Those asking for numero de NIE wait whilst those applying for a passport are prioritised. My reader is given number 3. Whereas numbers 1 and 2 are seen quickly, numbers 3 and 4 have to wait 3 hours. After 3 hours he tries to speak to someone about the appointment as it’d be nice to be able to use the bathroom too once in a while. With Google Translator in hand, he wasn’t able to work out what the answer may have been.


Finally it’s his turn. As the employee doesn’t speak a word of English, a cleaner is brought in to discuss the needs of the applicant. The cleaner translates that he is applying for the NIE for the first time. Luckily the employee then fills out most of the form on behalf of the applicant. Next, the cleaner steps in again to save the day by guiding the applicant to a photo booth in the town centre. A copy of the passport was taken and an invoice for something, what ever it was, was 2,70€. Next the photographer guided him to a bank nearby, where he paid 10€ for something. My guess is that it may have been the tax document. Returning to the police station, the applicant walked straight back to the desk of the lady he “spoke with” earlier without too much care for the waiting numbers.

Total: 5 hours spent and a massive need for a toilet break! 

This is by far one of my favourite NIE number stories. DreamWorkAndTravel congratulates this applicant for his perseverance as he is now a holder of that precious document!

Empadronamiento Barcelona

I will soon apply for the Padrón from the city hall. I will of course let you know how it all went! The empadronamiento is a census and registering yourself on one is compulsory for anyone, who is planning to live in Spain for over 6 months of the year. There is no fee involved, which is good news!

Here’s a few frequently asked questions about the empladronamiento application process in 2017

Do I need padrón or empadronamiento?

You should apply for one if you are planning to do any of the following:

  • Applying for a health insurance card
  • Buying a car or another vehicle
  • Planning to get married
  • What documents do I need to get the empadronaimento in Spain?
You should bring these along, when applying for the padrón:
  • Your passport and a photo copy
  • NIE
  • A receipt for paying the rent
  • Proof of address, which can be any of the following: the original copy of your rental agreement that is written in either Spanish or Catalan. This tenancy agreement must be for over 6 months and it should have been signed within the last 5 years. If you own the property, you should bring the original copy of the title deeds, also known as “escritura”. If you only rent a room, you need a written document from the owner, stating that you live there. You also need a signed copy of his or her ID. If you wish, instead you can also bring along a “autorización expresa, which is a document signed by someone who is already registered at the same address. You will also need to take a signed copy of this person’s ID.


Good luck booking your NIE appointment in Barcelona! The site is entirely in Spanish too, which is convenient for us foreigners!

Still not sure about something regarding your NIE application? Then have a look at this official source

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