Spain post office: How to address letters in Spain

Angelina

Updated on May 09 • 4 minute read

With very little information available in English, using Spanish post services can be a nightmare for an expat. It gets even better when you notice peculiar characters in a Spanish address. Can it be more confusing?

Don’t worry, it’s not all that complicated if you know a thing or two about the way Spanish post offices and the postal system work.

So read further to learn:

  • how to address a letter in Spain,
  • how to send a letter in Spain,
  • how to send a parcel in Spain,
  • and useful Spanish words for using postal services.

Post offices in Spain: Correos

Spanish post offices are easy to recognise by their bright yellow colour with a blue post horn and the name Correos on them.

As you might’ve guessed, Correos is the Spanish national postal service provider.

At Correos you can send documents, telegrams and parcels. But Spaniards also go there to top up their mobile phone plans or pay for utilities.

It can get pretty busy there, so we recommend going to the post office in the morning. Most of the larger post offices in Spain use a take-a-number system to manage the wait times.

How does the ticketing system work? It’s easy:

  1. Go to the nearby post office.
  2. Walk to the machine near the entrance and select enviar (send).
  3. Take your ticket and wait for your number to pop up on the screen.

Spanish post office hours

Correos' opening hours in Spain will depend on your location.

Normally they operate daily from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and are closed on weekends and public holidays.

How to write an address in Spain

To send a letter within or to Spain, you first need to learn how to write the Spanish address on the envelope correctly as the Spanish format has some peculiarities.

When addressing a letter to Spain you need to include:

  • the first and last name
  • street
  • house number
  • stairwell, floor and door number (if sending to an apartment)
  • postal code
  • city
  • country

Like in most European countries, the building number comes after the street name.

However when we talk about an apartment, its address will often include the stairwell (esc), floor number (°), and door number too. And as if that wasn’t confusing enough, some addresses will then feature izda(left) or dcha(right) to indicate the side of the building where the flat's located.

As you can see, addresses in Spain are very detailed.

So you might see something that looks like that:

C/Conde de Xiquena 7, 3º, 1A Izda, 280280, Madrid.

The above means that it’s building number 7 on Conde de Xiquena street, third floor to the left, door 1A.

Useful abbreviations and symbols to understand:

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

How to address a letter to Spain

Now let’s put it all together!

Let's say you've found an apartment in Spain and your friend or family wants to send you a letter. When they ask for your address, it should look like this:

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

Template in English:

  • [First Name][Last Name]
  • [Street Name][House Number], [Stairwell], [Floor], [Door]
  • [Postal Code][City]
  • [Country]

Template in Spanish:

  • [Nombre][Apellido]
  • [Calle][Número], [Escalier], [Piso], [Apartamento]
  • [Código postal][Localidad]
  • [País]

How to send a letter in Spain

The process of sending a letter in Spain's pretty straightforward. Here’s how it looks:

  1. Write your letter or postcard.
  2. Put it in an envelope of a suitable size.
  3. Write down the address of the receiver in the right-centre of the envelope.
  4. Write the return address on the back flap of the envelope.
  5. Get enough stamps and place them on the top right of the envelope.
  6. Drop it in a yellow mailbox or bring it to a nearby postal office.

You can also save much of this hassle by using Correos digital service where they print, envelope and send a letter for you.

Alternatively, you can register your letter or postcard online, pay and print the label before going to the post office to save some time.

Where can I buy postage stamps in Spain?

You can buy stamps or sellos online. Alternatively, you can buy postage stamps at post offices (correos), stationary stores (papelerías), or tobacco shops (estancos or tabacs).

You can buy envelopes and stamps at any of these places, though the service at tobacco or stationery shops will likely be faster than in a Spanish post office. And if you don’t know how many stamps you need, don’t shy away from asking. Spaniards will usually be happy to help out!

How to send a parcel in Spain

How to send parcels within Spain

For domestic shipments, you can use Correos Special Parcel Service.

To do that you simply need to register your shipment online, pay, print the label and take your package to the nearby post office. If you don’t have a printer at home, you can just head directly to the nearby post office where they’ll weigh your parcel, print the right label and send it.

Alternatively, you can opt for the home pick-up option online. For only €1.49 extra, Correos will print the label, pick up the parcel and send it for you. Keep in mind that this service's only available for shipments within Spain.

How to send parcels from Spain to abroad

While the process of sending a parcel's similar to that of sending letters domestically, there’re mixed opinions about the quality of Correos’ international parcel services.

But of course, the time will come when you’d like to send a gift to your friend abroad or maybe your family wants to deliver you a little care package. In that case, keep in mind the following:

  • Restrain from sending large packages and food items. Spain’s customs service might get suspicious and search the package. It will not only delay the delivery but possibly destroy the contents of your parcel. Correos don’t take any responsibility for that.
  • Stay on top of the delivery status of your parcel. Sometimes couriers fail to leave a note when you miss your delivery. They’ll keep your shipment in the post office for up to 15 days before sending it back.
  • Don’t send fragile items with Correos. They don’t have any special handling service for it. Instead, send your breakable items with UPS or DHL.
  • Don’t use FedEx for sending packages to Spain as they don’t have their offices there and it will take just as long as Correos.
  • Always use track & trace service.

In other words, UPS and DHL are your best bets for shipping any high-value, fragile or urgent parcels in Spain.

Useful phrases for going to a post office in Spain

If you haven't already learned Spanish, it's good to memorise these words to make sure you don't get confused at the Correos counter:

EnglishSpanish
MailEl correo
LetterLa carta
PostcardEl postal
EnvelopeEl sobre
StampsLos sellos
ParcelLa parcela
PackageEl paquete
PostmanEl cartero
PostboxEl buzón
Mailing addressLa dirección de correo
ReturnLa devolución
To buyCompra
To deliverEntregar
To trackRastrear

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