Spain Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Spain
How safe is Spain?
Threat level: Low-Medium
COVID-19 Situation in Spain
The nationwide state of alarm declared on the 25th of October 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. The Balearic islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) are on the UK's travel green list. However, the rest of 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 that indicates the address where they will be staying, their contact details and history of exposure to COVID 19.
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 Spain
For specific travel advice and security threat information with regards to Madrid, see our: Madrid Travel Advice, for the Canary Islands, see our Canary Islands Travel Advice and for Barcelona, see our Barcelona Travel Advice
Spain is a relatively safe country that has suffered in recent history from a number of terror attacks and that was ravaged by a civil war from 1936 until 1939. The general travel advice for Spain is to remain vigilant and report anything of suspicious nature. The Spanish threat level was set to four by the government, on a level of one to five, with one being the lowest in June 2015. High increased levels of police presence are expected at locations of interest.
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides Security and Bodyguard Services across Spain. If you are interested in these services, please see: Bodyguard Services in Spain or specifically for the Island of Ibiza, see our page: Bodyguard Services in Ibiza.
The Spanish Police have over the past few years, made a number of arrests in relation to Islamist terrorists. Spain has a history of dealing with internal threats, including the still present threat of violence from the armed Basque separatist group: Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA); a group active since 1961. Their last activity was recorded in 2010-11 and they announced a “cessation of armed activity” in 2011.
On the 18th August 2017, in the Seaside town of Cambrils, 60 miles away and just hours after the attack in Barcelona, an Audi A3 was used for another attack, where one woman was killed and seven others were injured. The Police killed the occupants of the vehicle, who were wearing what appeared to be explosive belts that proved to be fake upon further inspection.
On the 17th August 2017, in Barcelona at 17.00hrs (local time), a van was driven at high speed along a major tourist attraction, Las Ramblas, killing fourteen people and leaving more than 100 wounded, some in serious conditions.The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibilty for the attack.
Since the 2015 terrorist attack on tourists in Tunisia, the likelihood of a similar copycat attack in a Spanish resort is said to be quite high, considering the high number of tourists that visit both Spain and the Spanish islands.
The general level of crime across Spain is on par with the rest of Europe, with crime hot-spots being in busy tourist areas. The best travel advice for Spain is for tourists need to be aware of bag-snatching, pick-pocketing and muggings. Visitors should take the necessary precautions, be on their guard and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
High risk areas of possible theft are Puerta de Sol, Plaza Mayor, Gran Via, Prado Museum, train and subway stations.
There is also a high risk of theft from rental vehicles, so it is advised all personal belongings of importance are kept on persons, especially when using service areas on the coastal highways.
Demonstrations within Spain have been known to turn violent, please avoid this type of public gathering. Monitor in country media and follow advice given.
Spain's International Relations
Spain has good links and diplomacy relations globally. It is a European Union member and has had heritable ties to many Spanish-speaking countries throughout the world. However, there has been previous sovereignty and territorial disputes with surrounding countries, such as Portugal.
Travelling around Spain
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.
Travel both on the roads and via public transport is good in Spain and across the Spanish Islands. The death rate on the roads in Spain is about 50% higher than in the UK, so care should be taken when driving. There are particular requirements for driving in Spain that you will find on this page: Driving in Spain
Rail and bus services have been assessed as adequate and cost efficient.
Extreme weather in Spain
Spain is subject to forest fires during the summer season. It is recommended to monitor local media if you visit the country during this period.
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 Spain
Emergency services: 112
Emergency services: 902 102 112 (English speaking)
Tourist Police: 91 548 85 37 (Madrid)
Tourist Police: 93 290 33 27 (Barcelona)
Fire emergency: 080 or 112
Medical emergency: 061 or 112
Time now in Madrid:
Consular information for Spain
U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle de Serrano,
Telephone: +34 915 872 200
Telephone: +34 932 802 227(Barcelona)
British Embassy Madrid
Paseo de la Castellana 259D,
Telephone: +34 917 146 300
Telephone: +34 965 216 022 (Alicante)
Telephone: +34 93 366 6200 (Barcelona)
Telephone: +34 93 366 6200 (Ibiza)
Telephone: +34 928 262 508 (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria)
Telephone: +34 952 352 300 (Malaga)
Telephone: +34 93 366 6200 (Palma de Mallorca)
Telephone: +34 928 262 508 (Santa Cruz de Tenerife)
Visa requirements for Spain
Visitors to Spain from the UK, EU and US can enter Spain visa-free. For further advice can be found here: Visa advice Spain
As the UK is no longer part of the EU, British nationals can travel without a visa to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, to stay longer than 90 days in Spain whether for work, study, business travel or any other reasons, a visa will be required. Please note that visits to other Schengen countries within the previous 180 days will be cumulative and will count towards the 90-day limit.
Health Care and Immunisations
E.U. members are able to use their European Health Insurance Card to receive state-provided health care as a citizen of Spain would. You should still purchase travel insurance as the EHIC does not cover you for all medical requirements such as evacuation. Non-E.U. visitors may have to pay for medical treatment.
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.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak that is affecting the country, 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.
Health care in Spain is some of the best in the world. If you are visiting Spain from the UK or European country you will get free health care. Be sure to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. Travellers should ensure that the hospital recognises the EHIC prior to obtaining services as medical care can be very costly. Private and Heath Service hospital do look the same and it would be easy to make that mistake.
It is advised that visitors to Spain are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get a Tetanus vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.