Madrid Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Madrid
How safe is Madrid?
Threat level: Medium-High
COVID-19 Situation in Madrid
The nationwide state of alarm declared on the 25th of October due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases ended on the 9th of May 2021. However, restrictions can be applied at regional level including local curfews, so you should monitor local news.
Since the 24th of May, UK holidaymakers can travel to Spain for tourism. However, Spain is on the UK government's amber list of countries that pose a COVID-19 risk, which means that travellers should not go unless it is for essential, family or business reasons. On their return, travellers are required to fill in the passenger locator form, to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result before travelling, to quarantine at home for 10 days and to take a sequencing test on day 2 and day 8 after their arrival.
Nationals from the European Union (except Portugal) and Schengen-area countries are now allowed to visit Spain without having to quarantine on their arrival but travellers from risk countries must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result on arrival, taken no more than 48 hours before arrival. Alternatively, they can present a certificate of vaccination that shows they have received two doses of an EU-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to travelling or a certificate of recovery. Further to this, travellers will be subject to temperature check, a visual health assessment and must fill in a health declaration form 48 hours prior to travelling to indicate the address where they will be staying, their contact details and history of exposure to COVID 19. Please note that due to a surge in cases, you will be required to quarantine on your return to the UK and other EU countries.
However, people must maintain social distancing of 1.5m, facemasks are mandatory in public except when swimming, at the beach and playing sport and gatherings of more than 6 people are banned. Regional authorities have restricted the capacity of restaurants and bars as well as operational hours and in some areas, such public venues have been closed. A track and trace system is also in place in facilities welcoming the public.
See our healthcare section for preventive measures against the disease.
Security in Madrid
Madrid is deemed to be a relatively safe city with fairly low crime rates. As long as the correct precautions and safety advice are followed, trips should be trouble-free.
The city can cater for all tourists with its extensive selection of tourist attractions, from amusement parks and zoos for children and families to art galleries, museums, bars and restaurants for all, making it one of Spain's most visited cities.
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides Security and Bodyguard Servcies across Spain. If you are interested in these services, please see: Bodyguard Services in Spain.
Madrid experienced the worst terrorist attack of the millennium in 2004, when a number of bombs exploded on four commuter trains. The explosions occurred within the space of a few minutes, leaving no time for action to be taken.
The number of deaths exceeded 190 civilians and nearly 1900 others were injured. The suspects were either killed in the attacks or received heavy jail sentences; it is believed that they were directed by an al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell, although this has never been confirmed.
There have been numerous reports of pickpockets operating on subways and at restaurants, targeting tourists’ phones and wallets. Be wary of children approaching you requesting help or asking a question, as they often operate in pairs to distract and steal your valuables.
Take particular caution in the following areas: Puerta del Sol, Plaza de Santa Ana, the Gran Vía and the Plaza Mayor.
ATM machines have caused a number of issues for visitors to Madrid and it is advised that you avoid using them if possible. One problem some tourists have found is the machine swallowing the card and not returning it. This can cause great inconvenience, particularly if you are not staying in the city for long.
Another issue travellers have found is when ATM machines ask what currency you would like to withdraw your money in, you should always choose Euro (instead of dynamic currency conversion which is your own currency), as people have found they lose out on exchange rate otherwise.
Travelling around Madrid
When travelling by car in Spain, British nationals do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) but a motor insurance green card issued by their car insurer is required to drive a UK-registered car in the EU.
There are a number of ways of travelling around Madrid but perhaps the best way is to purchase a Travel Pass which will cover you for all of Madrid's Metro and Bus services within the city, together with the local suburban trains and the inner-city light railway.
The Metro runs from 6am to 2am, a single journey costs one euro which can be purchased from any station as well as EMT kiosks at major transport hubs. Buses run between 6am and 11pm and the night buses operate until 4am on weekdays and 5.30am on weekends.
Taxis are characterised by a red diagonal stripe down the side of a white vehicle. You should have an exact address to give to the drivers if you are going somewhere specific.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency services in Madrid
Emergency services: 112
Emergency services: 902 102 112 (English speaking)
Tourist Police: 91 548 85 37 (Madrid)
Fire emergency: 080 or 112
Medical emergency: 061 or 112
Time now in Madrid:
Consular information for Madrid
U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle de Serrano 75
Telephone: +34 915 872 200
British Embassy Madrid
Paseo de la Castellana 259D
French Embassy Madrid
Calle de Salustiano Olozaga 9
Telephone: +34 914 23 89 00
Portuguese Embassy Madrid
Calle de Lagasca 88
Telephone: +34 917 82 49 60
For further embassy information and locations, please see our live travel map below.
Healthcare in Madrid
In the case of emergency treatment, all foreigners are entitled to the same care as Spaniards in a public health facility. Many other health care services are also free to EU members, providing you can produce your European Health Insurance Card. Non-EU members will have to pay for all but emergency treatment. It is recommended that all travellers purchase adequate travel and health insurance.
If you are a British citizen, your UK EHIC card remains valid when travelling to an EU country until it expires, providing access to state-provided healthcare in Spain. After that, British citizens must apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which will cover them for state-provided healthcare in the EU. Nevertheless, you will be required to show proof on arrival that you have travel insurance for your trip.
A large number of COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Community of Madrid. There is no vaccination against the disease, to avoid contracting the disease, it is recommended to self-isolate, wear a face mask in public places, apply good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing and avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings.
Unidad Medica is a privately run clinic where you are able to be treated in English should you require. Some doctors may also be able to speak French or German. Consultations will have to be paid for and cost around €125.
For less serious injuries or illnesses that require treatment, you may be able to purchase medicines from a pharmacy, as many pharmaceuticals are easier to get hold of without prescription compared with other countries. In each district of Madrid, you will be able to find at least one pharmacy that is always open, and other pharmacies will often have lists of after-hours pharmacies nearby.