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Is Spain Safe for Travel in 2021?

ViaHero
Updated May 3, 2021

Is Spain safe for travel in 2021? Generally, yes! With the right precautions, travelers can absolutely reduce their risk while visiting Spain. 

Locals in Spain gave us some tips about staying safe in their country. With their help, we put together this guide, which covers everything from the coronavirus pandemic to tips for solo travelers. 

Looking for insider info on safety in Spain? Work with a local for on-the-ground access as you plan your trip. Learn more

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

Spain and the coronavirus pandemic

A man and a mannequin wearing masks in Spain |  Mehrnegar Dolatmand/Unsplash 

Like most destinations around the world, Spain has struggled to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Cases peaked in October 2020 and January 2021. They've remained low ever since; however, Spanish officials are concerned about the possibility of a third wave. 

Spain is hopeful to open up to travelers this summer, provided that they can prove that they've been vaccinated, tested negative, or recently recovered from the virus. 

But for now, travel to Spain remains tricky. Americans are not permitted, at this time, to enter Spain. However, travelers from most places in the E.U, Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand, and Uruguay can enter Spain without having to quarantine. 

Anyone who does go to Spain should educate themselves on travel requirements, pandemic restrictions, and any rules in place, like wearing a mask. This can feel overwhelming, which is why we recommend reaching out to a local in Spain who can make things clear. 

Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe

Barcelona | katerina198/Pixabay

Generally, Spain is considered to be a safe place to visit. In fact, Spain ranks as one of the top 10% of the safest countries in the world.

Locals tell us that you should exercise the same kind of caution you would anywhere else. This is especially true in big cities like Madrid, Barcelona, or any other high-traffic area. Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings—just like you would do at home. 

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There’s little serious crime, but watch out for petty theft 

Generally, Spain is a safe to place to visit. However, given that Spain is filled with travelers the country also attracts a lot of pickpockets. Locals say they tend to strike in crowded places like bus and train stations.

Our locals recommend keeping your extra cash, credit cards, and passport locked in your hotel safe. Only take what you need when you’re out and about. 

Use local insights to stay safe. These are some common scams that our locals recommend you watch out for:

The trileros scam 

This scam is commonly known as the “shell game”. A seated performer will put a ball, pea, or other small objects under a cup or shell, mix the cups or shells around, and ask you to bet which one contains the object. It’s rigged, and you won't win. More importantly, though, it makes the spectators easy targets—while they’re concentrating on following the shells, they’re not concentrating on watching their stuff. 

The Rosemary gift scam

In this scam, a Roma (gypsy) woman will offer you a small rosemary plant as a “gift”. Often, she’ll also grab your palm to read your fortune. While you’re distracted, someone may pick your pockets. Or, if she’s working alone, she’ll simply demand money for her “service”.

Transportation is as safe as you make it 

Train station in Bilbao | Arjan Richter/Flickr

Public transportation in Spain is really safe and reliable.

Locals tell us that buses, trains, and metros are the best ways to get around Spain. However, they note that you should keep your wits about you when you’re in a crowd—pickpockets will use the close quarters to try to grab your belongings.

It can be overwhelming to figure out transportation in a new country. So take the stress out of travel planning—our locals will provide detailed transit instructions (and ideas for what to do once you arrive in your destination).

Local Tip:

If you find yourself on the metro at night, avoid riding in an empty carriage. 

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The water is safe to drink 

All tap water in Spain is safe to drink—but as with any place where you’re not used to the water, you will have to get used to the taste. You may notice a chlorine-like aftertaste in some coastal areas of Spain.

To travel in a more sustainable way, invest in a filtered water bottle that you can carry with you instead of buying bottled water.

Make your time at the shore a safe one

Beach in Spain | akaJune/Flickr

Lying on the beach is one of the more popular things to do in Spain, but locals say to keep a couple of things in mind. The Mediterranean coast is hot and sunstroke is a real concern. Stay hydrated and don’t overdo it with the sangria. Our locals note you should be aware of the flag systems at the beaches:

  • A red flag means it’s not safe to go in the water.
  • A yellow flag means use caution (undertows).
  • A black flag means the beach is closed. 

Local Tip:

The best beaches sport blue flags—that means they meet the highest standards of international health and safety.

Tips for solo female travelers

Spain is safe for solo travel | marcinjozwiak/Pixabay

Spain is a great place for solo female travelers. To stay safe as a solo traveler, locals recommend:

  • Carry your purse in front of you and close to your body when you're on the metro or in a crowded place. 
  • Go out a night with a group of trusted people; don’t walk on deserted or poorly-lit streets.
  • You may experience catcalling as you walk down the street, but it’s no worse in Spain than anywhere else in Western Europe.
  • Buy your own drinks so you know what’s in them.
  • Don’t share too much info with people you don’t know.
  • Always use licensed taxis. 

No one knows a place like the locals do. Our locals in Spain can explain how they stay safe in their hometown. 

Emergency numbers you should know

Here are some emergency numbers to know in case you run into trouble: 

  • Emergency - 112 
  • Police - 091 
  • Health emergencies - 061
  • U.S. Embassy Madrid (34) 91-587-2200
  • Website - U.S. Embassy Madrid

Our locals are also available with phone support in case you need them.

Still have questions about travel to Spain?
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You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

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