General Information

  1. About Estepona
  2. Security
  3. Electricity
  4. Churches
  5. Newspapers
  6. Tipping
  7. Toilets
  8. Pronunciation
  9. Telephone and Post
  10. Festival Dates
  11. Motoring
  12. Getting Around
  13. Getting to Spain
  14. Land/Sea Travel
  15. Insurance
  16. Shopping
  17. Eating/Drinking
  18. Sport
  19. Health
  20. Money
  21. In an Emergency
  22. Other Useful Telephone Numbers
  23. Conversion Tables
  24. Clothing Sizes

About Estepona

  • Vibrant reasonably large Spanish town.
  • 21km coastline including many sandy beaches (some Blue Flag). Many also have lifeguards operating a safety flag system:
     
    • GREEN - Safe to swim
    • YELLOW - strong swimmers only
    • RED - No swimming
       
  • Easy journey from Malaga and Gibraltar Airports on dual carriage or new Peaje (Toll Road).
  • “Escuela de Arte Ecuestre” - Famous Riding School with shows every Friday.
  • Bullfighting & Concerts at the Bullring.
  • Local museums (Bullfighting, Maritime & Country, Palaeontology & Archaeology).
  • Inexpensive shopping in Estepona town.
  • Big selection of Restaurants, Bars, Tapas, Ventas, Mesons; Bodegas and Chiringuitos).
  • Five large supermarkets in town.
  • Two markets in Estepona (Wed: Top end of Avda Juan Carlos - Sun: Port).
  • Tourist Train (Summer only).
  • Golf, Tennis, Bowls, Putting, Water Sports, Horse Riding.
  • Places of Worship: Roman Catholic, Anglican & Jewish.
  • Around 3000 hours of SUNSHINE!
  • 9-19” of rainfall per year.
  • Winter often reaches mid-60° Fahrenheit. (Midnight 31-12-03 it was 16° C)
  • Pretty white - walled villages including Casares, Manilva, Gaucin & Benahavis.
  • Selwo Wildlife Park - 2,000 animals.

Outside the Estepona Area

  • Exciting port shops and nightlife of Puerto Banus.
  • Orange Square and the old town of Marbella.
  • La Canada shopping centre
  • Horse Racing at Mijas.
  • English Cinema in Puerto Banus (certain days only).
  • The Old villages of Istan, Ojen, Monda, Mijas, Jerez de la Frontera, Castellar de la Frontera and Frigiliana, supposedly the prettiest village in Andalucia.
  • The Barbary Apes and duty free shops of Gibraltar (Passport required).
  • A visit to North Africa by Catamaran (Passport required).
  • Dolphin/whale watching via Estepona or Gibraltar boat companies.
  • Pre-booked coach to Seville (189km), Granada (212km), Cordoba (270km), Gibraltar (45km), Ronda (62km), etc.
  • Go-Karting, Para-Gliding, Jeep Safari, large Aqua Park at Mijas.
  • Cable car ride to mountaintop - views and restaurants from Arroyo de la Miel.
  • Malaga old town and port (83km).
  • Crocodile Park near Torremolinas.
  • Tivoli World (Arroyo de la Miel) amusement park.
  • Sea-Life centre (Benalmadina).
  • Jardin de la Aguilas - Garden of Eagles (Benalmadina Pueblo) Falconry Centre.
  • Donkey Taxis – Mijas, Malaga and Nerja.
  • Casinos - Marbella and San Roque.
  • Picasso Museum in Malaga
  • Caves at Nerja.

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Security

Always be aware of pickpockets, especially in crowded places such as fiestas; markets; the beach, etc. The Spanish nearly always blame crime on foreigners, either European tourists or more often Moroccans. There are however some Spanish criminals as well although Estepona is comparatively crime-free compared to say Fuengirola, Benalmadina and Torremolinas.

However, do keep wallets/purses concealed from view. Be careful when using Credit Cards. Don’t all go swimming at the same time leaving valuables and keys on the beach towels. They may not be there when you return so how are you going to dry yourselves?

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Electricity

220 or 225v A.C. 2-pin plugs are used.
Adaptors are available in the UK (Boots, WH Smith and Airport shops).

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Churches

To enter any churches, shorts, vests, short skirts, scanty tops and bare-footed people will be refused entry.

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Newspapers

“SUR” is a free Spanish newspaper. However, on Fridays they publish an English language version. Go early to your newsagent or Western Union Office as they are often in big demand. “The Town Crier” and the “Euro Weekly News” are other free weekly English papers. A variety of other places also distribute these.

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Tipping

Giving a tip is not as obligatory or uniform as it is in the UK. 10-15% seems the norm there, but in Spain especially in bars, restaurants and ventas, the loose change given on the saucer is more usually left. Some restaurants add a fixed percentage to the bill, especially top-class establishments. Check whether I.V.A (the Spanish version of VAT) is included in the price of foods/drinks or not. It is 7% in most places, but 16% in “5 fork” top-class restaurants.

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Toilets

Are known as “Servicios” or “Aseos”. Public loos are a rarity but most large supermarkets have them. When using a loo in a bar/café that you are passing, it is customary to buy a drink as a “thank you” to the owner. Toilets at petrol stations are usually locked. The key is normally at the cash desk. Carry a full toilet roll with you.

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Pronunciation

Although written, there is no “V” in Spanish.
“V” is pronounced as a “B” i.e. Valencia is pronounced Balencia and Visa is “Bisa”.
“LL” is pronounced as “Y” as in Marbella (Mar-bayah).
The letter “H” is always silent, i.e. Hola (hello) is pronounced “o-la”.
The letter “J” is pronounced as an “H”, i.e. “Don Juan” is pronounced “Don Huan”.
Other than the above, every other letter is pronounced when reading the words.

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Telephone and Post

To dial the UK lift handset, dial 0044 and omit the first zero from the UK number. Directory Enquiries for Spanish Numbers is 1003 and 025 for the rest of Europe including the UK.

Letterboxes are yellow/white. We recommend putting Post Cards into envelopes and posting them at the main Post Office (Correos) on the Passeo Maritimo behind BBVA Bank. Stamps can be purchased here, normally after queuing, or at a “Tabacos-Y-Timbres” state owned cigarettes and stamp shop. They are easily recognisable with brown/orange name signs. Tobacco is roughly half the UK price and double the price of cigarettes in Gibraltar. There is also a Post Box opposite Puerto Estepona Residencia.

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Festival Dates

  • Second week in February Carnival with Jesters and colourful Masquerades in street.
  • March/April Easter week: Religious processions.
  • May Feria (fair) (Location of the Wednesday Market).
  • 15th May: Festival pilgrimage to chapel of Saint Isidro the Farmer in Los Pedregales Park. Livestock contest - tractor/products exhibition Procession through the streets.
  • Late May / Early June: Medieval fair colourful straw floor market in Plaza de los Flores with unusual products & food
  • 1st or 2nd week July: Main annual fair. Music, dance, floats, parades of horsemen, musical and folklore shows.
  • 16th July Festival of Virgin del Carmen. Land and sea procession in honour of Saint of Fishermen.
  • 15th August Festival of Virgin Mary at Benahavis. Street orchestra parades though town following the statue of Mary.
  • October 13  Festival of Saint Pilar. Church service. Shops closed.

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Motoring

Remember, you are a foreigner and that puts you at a big disadvantage. Here a few tips we’ve picked up.

  • Fuel is about 65% of the UK price. Some petrol stations have attendants, others are self-service.
  • Cambio De Sentido: Means that there is a slip road/overpass enabling you to change direction.
  • “Lleyno por favor” means “Fill it up please”, but alternatively you can show the attendant the amount of Euros you wish to spend.
  • “Diez Euros por favor” is “10 Euros please”. Places on the N340 (the main coast road) also known as the “Carreterra” are often identified by the nearest kilometre marking, i.e. Costalita is A7 (formerly N.340) KM 164.
  • If you decide to drive your own car to/in Spain, discuss this with your insurance broker well before you embark. You may require a Green Card and Bail Bond which, together with your driving license, insurance policy and proof that the premium has been paid, must be kept in your car whenever driving.
  • DON’T drink and drive as the acceptable blood/alcohol level is even less than in the UK and penalties are heavy.
  • DON’T use your mobile when driving. You may be fined £300 (10 times the current UK fine). Minor driving violations are dealt with by on-the-spot fines so you should carry about €200 in cash.
  • Keep to the speed limits. Although speed cameras are few and far between there are plenty of radar guns/traps and make sure you stop when crossing over the “Estepona” roundabout from the Shell Petrol Station. This is a favourite hiding place for the Guardia Civil to spring out and give you a ticket!!
  • Enjoy the wonderful motorways of Southern Spain, notably the AP7/E15 that runs from the French border via Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Malaga to Estepona and onto Gibraltar.
  • The E05/A4 from Cadiz to Sevilla and the 331/359/A92 from Malaga to Granada are also worth mentioning. A “Peaje” is a toll road payable with cash or credit card.
  • Unlike the courteous Brits, Spanish drivers in town rarely use indicator lamps when turning, slowing down or pulling in to park. They will rarely thank you for letting them out of a side turning and the pedestrians won’t thank you for allowing them to cross either. They park all over the place including on zebra crossings, double parked, facing the wrong way down a one-way street and on taxi ranks. Don’t copy them – you will certainly be fined for your trouble. There are two large town centre car parks currently charging 1.20 euros (82p) per hour.
  • Out of town, the Spanish will overtake on blind corners, brows of hills, etc. They have even been known to ignore red traffic lights and dart from lane to lane without warning. Remember that your correct driving position on a two-direction road must always be in the middle of the road, not kerbside.
  • In theory seat belts are only obligatory out of town, but bearing in mind the above, it is best to clunk-click every trip. Lock doors and leave valuables out of sight.
  • A “Peaje” is a toll road payable with cash (or credit card - follow orange road markings.)
  • Remember: if you are in a traffic accident, you start off with a disadvantage. You are foreign, driving on the wrong side of the road, don’t speak Spanish fluently and don’t know their accident/insurance system. Call your car hirer straight away who should be able to advise you.

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Getting Around

Avoid hiring mopeds, as they can be dangerous if you are not used to them, Spanish roads and drivers. Hiring a car is safer and is a protection against the weather (rain as well as the often fierce midday sun).

If you would prefer not to hire a vehicle, we can arrange to collect you from Malaga or Gibraltar airports. Most of Estepona is within a walk of the port, but there is a very good local taxi service (952-80-29-00). They can be hired from the ranks at the junction of Avda Espagna and Calle Terraza or there is one by the Bus Station. You can also hail one if they are driving with their green rooftop light on. Local trips are metered but for longer journeys, agree a price in advance.

Buses are far cheaper and go to a variety of destinations from the bus station (Termination Auto bus Estepona Automoviles/Portillo - 952-80-29-54) on Calle San Roque. Pay the driver entering at the front, leave from the rear.

Viva Andalucia Tours (952-93-11-86) or (619-81-42-33) accept Visa over the telephone open 9.30am - 1.10pm. They have regular coaches that travel to Gibraltar, Seville, Cordoba, Jerez, Granada and even Morocco. They do a train and coach journey to Ronda as well.

The Tourist Information Office is located behind the fountains at the junction of Avda España and Avda Juan Carlos I.

If you feel that taxis, coaches and buses aren’t for you, please speak to us about competitively priced car hire. Remember that you need to be 23 plus and bring a European style full driving license with you together with a recognized Credit Card. (This is preferred to a Debit Card).

Extra drivers must also bring their license. Insurance is normally included, but beware of the excess in the case of minor accidents. Carry your license, hire agreement and ideally a mobile phone in case of breakdown on every trip. If you haven’t a phone, you can hire one from us.

Speed limits are:

  • Built up areas 50kph
  • Outside built up areas 90kph
  • Dual carriageways100kph
  • Motorways 120kph

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Getting To Spain

You may wish to obtain travel tickets from one of the following:
 

Company Telephone Flies From Lands At
AIR 2000 01293 596 620
 
Birmingham/Bristol/Cardiff
Glasgow/Manchester/Newcastle
Luton/Gatwick
Malaga
Airtours 0870 241 2567 Luton/Gatwick/Heathrow Malaga
BIMI 0870 264 2229 East Midlands Malaga/Jerez
British Airways 0845 773 3377
 
Gatwick
Heathrow
Malaga/Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Buzz 0870 240 7070
 
Stanstead Jerez
Easijet 0870 600 6000
 
Gatwick/Luton/Liverpool Malaga
Iberia 0845 601 2854
 
Heathrow
 
Malaga
 
Monarch 0870 040 5040
 
Luton
Manchester
Malaga/Gibraltar
Malaga

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Land/Sea Travel

Car on Train
Motorail
0870 241 5415
Calais to Narbonne

Ferry
Britanny Ferries
0870 536 0360
Plymouth to Santander

P & O
0870 242 4999
Portsmouth/Bilbao

Bus
Eurolines
0870 514 3219

Train
Rail Europe
0870 584 8848

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Insurance

Please remember to take out holiday insurance. This normally covers travel problems, health, loss, injury, theft, death, etc. you may wish to try Sainsbury’s and Nationwide Building Society who were recently featured in a TV documentary as offering highly recommended policies. Remember to bring with a completed E111 Form. (available from your local Post Office). Should you need to consult a doctor or hospital, show them the policy and make sure you ask for and get receipts (Recibos). When completing your claim form at home, you will need to send them with the form.

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Shopping

You must take your passport/driving license with you when paying for goods by Credit Card in supermarkets and other selected shops. Fresh milk tastes different from its UK equivalent and in summer goes off very quickly. You may wish to try the long life milk available at every supermarket. Salad type vegetables, especially lettuce needs to be checked as they deteriorate often before their sell-by date. Goods are often NOT removed from the shelves when the sell-by date is up. In some large shops i.e. El Corte Ingles, Carrefour, any plastic bags taken into the food section will be sealed.

Trolleys need a 50c, €1 or £1 coin.

Alcohol and cigarettes are generally cheaper to buy in Spain, but even cheaper in Gibraltar. Perfumes/After Shaves are a little less costly. Always ask for a receipt (receibo) and ideally keep it until the end of your holiday (longer if you buy something with a Europe-wide guarantee such as certain electrical goods). Even though there is a very large allowance for cigarettes / alcohol when returning from Spain to the UK, please remember that Gibraltar is non-EU. The limits are still 200 cigarettes and 1 litre of Spirits per person. This applies if you are flying to the UK or travelling back to Spain.

Most shops have a “Complaints” book, which you should ask for if you have a complaint that cannot be amicably resolved. The shopkeeper must pass this to the relevant local authority within 48 hours and the threat of asking for it can often assist the shopkeeper in re-opening discussions with you.

Meat/cheese/fish/delicatessen counters at supermarkets often have a ticket system. You must weigh fresh fruits and vegetables in some supermarkets, in others by the staff.

Most shops open around 9am - 2pm and 5pm - 8pm. Supermarkets, hypermarkets and department stores often open from 10am - 9pm without a break. Carrefour is also open on Sundays in the summer.

Wine is cheap. You may wish to try Vina Sol and Antonio Barbadillo for dry and white. Cava for sparkling white and Rioja for red. Lager (Cerveza) is also cheap. Best-known make is San Miguel.

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Eating and Drinking

When in Spain, decide if you want to keep to UK mealtimes or go native. Many restaurants cater for 7pm diners, especially those with children. You may however like the idea of breakfast on the Terrace at 10am in the morning sun. Lunch (main meal of the day for the Spanish) anywhere from 1.30pm – 4.00pm. Ask for “Menu del dia” a fixed price filling tasty meal available in some eateries.

Enjoy a lovely lazy Siesta from 4pm - 6.30pm and then a shower, make up and out in your finery at 9,30pm to eat between 10pm and midnight.

Fall into bed exhausted anytime from 1.30pm or later depending upon what time the disco or piano bar closes.

Do try Paella when you are here. It’s nothing more innocuous than saffron rice, onion, green/red peppers, bean and peas, olive oil and a choice of chicken, pork, lamb, beef, fish and shellfish. It is usually served in the pan, takes 20-30 minutes to prepare and is for a minimum of 2 people. Some restaurants require you to order it the day before so check before you sit down.

Restaurants range from inexpensive to costly (Puerto Banus and Marbella) but are still cheaper than their UK equivalents. Less expensive are Ventas, Mesons, Bodegas and Tapas bars.

Tapas bars are all over the place. They serve a variety of hot and cold dishes some of which are on display at the bar. “Tapas” is the size of the dish. It is large enough for say three small meatballs. “Media racion” is the next size up (6 meatballs) and “racion” the largest (12 meatballs). Order the type of food and the size of the portion.

Spanish tea is a different drink to the UK version. Tea lovers should avoid it unless in an “English” area like Gibraltar, Benalmadina or Torremolinas. Coffee is excellent everywhere. White coffee is “Café con leche” and milky white is “Café sobre”.

Drinks, especially alcoholic are cheap and standard measures are at least doubles. As well as Spanish food, you can also experience Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese, American, Argentinean, Indian and of course English food.

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Sport

  • Tarifa (Just West of Gibraltar) best windsurfing in Europe - Sailing - Yachting
  • Golf - Over 40 courses (bring your handicap certificate.
  • Book tee times well in advance.
  • Tennis
  • Angling
  • Horse Riding
  • Bird Spotting - with John the Birdman
  • Swimming
  • Rambling & Hill Walking
  • Go Karting
  • Polo - At Sotogrande
  • Boules
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Skiing - near Granada (in season)
  • Big and small game hunting (in season)
  • Jogging
  • Scuba Diving in Gibraltar
  • Horse Racing - At Mijas
  • Bullfighting - Watching, not participating!
  • Boat Hire
  • Paddle Tennis
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Squash
  • Jet & Water Skiing
  • Pool Motorised Paragliding
  • Cycling - In Fuengirola Jeep Safaris - Marbella Rangers
  • Cable Ski - Learn how to water ski - San Pedro
  • Putting
  • and FINALLY …………… RELAXING!!!

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Health

Most “farmacias” (Chemists) - illuminated green cross - speak English and can help with minor ailments. They will often sell items over the counter that are only available on prescription in the UK. If you are on any medication or regularly suffer from a particular ailment always assume YOU CAN’T GET IT IN SPAIN. They will often have a similar potion or lotion, but not necessarily identical. The duty “chemists” name and address should be displayed outside farmacias that are closed.

Well before coming to Spain, go to the Post Office and ask for a Form E111. Complete it and take/send it off. This form, when presented in Spain entitles you to free medical treatment and reduced cost prescriptions.

Always use a high factor sun cream/oil especially in June, July & August. Your first few days should be limited to an hour or two per day, gradually increasing thereafter to hopefully give you a golden glow by the end of your vacation.

It is best not to lie out between noon and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest. If you do, take plenty of breaks in the shade and drink lots of non-alcoholic beverages, as alcohol will dehydrate you.

When swimming in the sea take note of which flag is flying (see Estepona Town & Area). Also be aware of buoy markers and rocks and try to swim within your depth.

If the Spanish are not swimming and it’s a nice day it probably means they have heard on the local radio that jellyfish are nearby!!

Mosquitoes and other insects are occasionally a problem. Bring repellents with you (available in most UK chemists) or buy them here. In the main, there are sprays and creams to put on your body and plug in tablets/liquids and room aerosols. Mosquitoes are normally around between dusk and dawn, but only in certain conditions dependant on the time of year, rainfall, humidity and other factors. The location of our accommodation is however not known for mosquitoes.

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Money

The peseta ceased to be legal/acceptable on 28th February 2002.

The Euro currency has the following values.


COINS: 1c / 2c / 5c / 10c / 20c / 50c / €1 / €2

NOTES: €5 / €10 / €20 / €50 / €100 / €200 / €500
 

When obtaining euros in the UK, specify that the largest note you want is 100 euros as larger denominations are difficult to get shops to accept.

There are many cash dispensing machines (A.T.M.s) all of which being compatible with Visa/Master Card and most UK bank cards. (At present, they do not accept for example Link Cards or Bank of Scotland although this may have changed). Also you cannot present your Visa Card to a bank teller and withdraw cash, so make sure you remember your PIN Number!

When paying by Credit Card in a supermarket and certain other large stores (but not petrol stations) you must show either your passport or driving license with photograph as proof of identity. Your signature is rarely checked!

Banking hours are 9am-2pm Monday-Friday and 9am-12pm Saturday in some banks, but not on Public Holidays and Fiestas. Expect long queues. Although the crime rate in the Estepona area is relatively low, it is still not advisable to carry a lot of cash. The usual precautions should be adhered to regarding wallets, purses, handbags, etc.

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In an Emergency

Loss or theft of valuable items must be reported in person to the Guardia Civil within 24-hours and a “Denuncia” form completed. You can also initially get the form completed over the phone in English by dialling 902 102 112. You then call in at the local Guardia Civil within five days to sign the form. You must get a stamped version in order to present it to your insurance company if applicable.

If you have a motor accident immediately phone your car hire company plus the Policia Local and us. If you do not have a mobile with you (with international call bars lifted) you can hire one from us. Ask us for details.

  • Policia Local: 092 - Traffic fines and property crimes
  • Policia National: 091 - Serious crime (theft/rape/mugging)
  • Guardia Civil: 062 - Highways, rural areas and immigration
  • The national health style ambulance/emergency service is 061
  • Doctor: Doctor Peter Furness is in practice in the next-door block (Puerto Paraiso - Block 4)
    Telephone: 952 802 907 or 670 665 730 in emergency.
  • Dentist: Nick Daws who is an English Dentist on Calle Real (the Walking Street) Telephone: 952 806 209.
  • Crime: If you wish to report a crime in English, especially if you want to make an insurance claim, either go to the Guardia Civil (they have translators at certain times of the day only) or telephone 902 102 112. This is a multi-lingual police helpline. They will take down all relevant facts, ask you where your nearest Guardia Civil office is: (Estepona) and e-mail the report to them. You must go and sign it using the reference number that they will provide to you.

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Other useful telephone Numbers

  • Municipal Police: 952 800 243
  • Fire Brigade: 952 792 121
  • Fire Service (Bomberos): 080
  • British Embassy, Madrid: 913 190 208/190/200
  • British Consulate, Madrid: 952 217 571

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Conversion Tables

Temperatures

Fahrenheit 68 77 86 95
Celsius 20 25 30 35


Measures

0.39” 1cm
1" 2.54cm
1ft 30.48cm
3.28ft 1 metre
5 miles 8,000 metres (8 kilometres)


Weights/Quantities

3.5oz 100 grammes
9oz 250 grammes
1lb 454 grammes
2.2lbs 1 kilogramme (1kg)
1pt 0.5681 litres
1.76 pints 1litre

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Clothing Sizes


Lady's Clothing

UK 8 10 12 14 16
Spain 34 36 38 40 42


Men’s Pullovers

UK 34 36 38 40 42
Spain 44 46 48 50 52

Men’s Shirts

UK 14 15 16 17 18
Spain 36-7 38-9 40-1 42-3 44-5

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DISCLAIMER:
All information is provided as a guide only. No bookings, flights, etc. should be made based solely upon the information that we have provided. We believe that the information is correct at the time of printing but do not guarantee its accuracy.

© The Extramile Holidays 2002-2013