Updated Sunday 11th April 2021

Is it safe to travel to Spain?

Here´s updated information on the current situation in Spain.  As I live here I´m sharing detailed insight with regards to travel and tourism.

  • Spain´s Government restricted travel routes from December until March from the UK (due to Kent Variant) This has been lifted now. The UK will imposed fines on citizens travelling abroad of 5000 gbp (6000 euros) until the 17th May 2021.
  • A Traffic light system is useful for UK travellers from Mid May. Spain at the moment is an Amber zone (11th April 2020) This means travel is possible following the specific guidelines (test, quarantine at home etc)
  • Flights from Brazil and South Africa to Spain are under scrutiny to prevent propagation of new variants in Spain.  Botswana, Comoros, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Peru and Colombia. Passengers from all of these countries have to comply to a TEN day quarantene on arrival to Spain. (from 8th March 2021)
  • If you are a Resident in Spain you can travel. You need documentation to prove this. Owning a property is not the same as being a resident. You will also need a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken less 72 hours before arrival. (No quarantine necessary). Fines can be up to 3000 euros for non compliance.
  • Find a Test Location near you: World Wide COVID-19 Test Provider

Face Masks in Spain

  • In Spain face masks are obligatory at ALL times. Thats indoors and outdoors. Social distancing measures are also in place since 9th July 2020. Children of 6 years of age and older must wear masks. For 3,4 and 5 year olds it´s recommended.
  • Some specific travel bookings are being fulfilled between Germany, France and Netherlands to Madrid and Balearic Islands this month, but this tourism is minimal compared to previous Easter seasons. Local restrictions must be fulfilled by these visitors. They are permitted to travel to one specific location/municipality.

Photo by mustafa_omar on Unsplash

Restrictions in Spain

  • Travel restrictions apply between Spanish provinces, autonomous communities and on national borders.  Local authorities and police forces enforce regional restrictions. For example at the moment I can move around Granada province as I am a resident here. Yet I cannot move around Andalusia or other parts of Spain.
  • Spain is due to end the State of Alarm on 9th May 2021.
  • If you are travelling into Spain you need to have a negative PCR test. Although there are a few countries exempt from this rule. Check as restrictions can alter week by week. Further Details regarding entry to Spain on the Spanish Government Website: www.spth.gob.es
  • Depending on the specific restrictions of the area of Spain you are travelling to. You need documents to prove that you are a resident in  the municipality. Should you be travelling for business reasons, you should carry documentation with the reason for travel. Restrictions are changing often according to the rise and fall in local case numbers. Restrictions are set by municipality, province and autonomous region. Do check the rules for the specific location you are going to or are residing in. Different rules apply according to risk for healthcare and contagion levels.

Spain COVID Rates March 2021

Source:  https://covid19-country-overviews.ecdc.europa.eu/#32_Spain

Vaccine programme in Spain

  • At the moment in Spain the over 65´s are being vaccinated.
  • Here they are administering both doses. So far 12,000,000 complete doses have been done.  (source El Mundo 11.4.21)
  • Around 21% of the Spanish population have at least one of the vaccine doses as I write on 11th April 2021.
  • Mainly Pfizer, Moderna y AstraZeneca/Oxford are the types in circulation in Spain.
  • As the amount of people with the vaccine increases and cases continue to fall, we expect restrictions to ease. After Easter further government announcements are expected.
  • If you are a resident in Spain and registered with your local doctor (Medico de Cabecera) you will be contacted for the vaccine according to the Spanish Vaccine Programme. Vaccines are not covered through private healthcare schemes.

Business timetables in Spain

  • Spain continues to have high rates of infections across the country. Particular tough restrictions are in place at the moment for locations with more than 500 cases per 100,000. And for those with 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants or more. These rules are extremely limiting to daily life and businesses.
  • Businesses, shops and restaurants are closed or have limited timetables across Spain. There is a curfew at 11pm daily in Andalusia. (some regions have other curfew times) Most businesses close at 10.30pm. These rules vary from region to region.
  • Some areas have a local lockdown in place. Andalucía is confined. You can´t enter or leave Andalusia unless you are a resident and have documents to hand. Navarra, La Rioja, Aragón, Asturias, País Vasco, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Cantabria, Ceuta + Melilla all have restrictions on entry to the area . Movement is very limited throughout Spain.
  • Fines can be applied to those not following the rules by local, regional and national authorities. (policía local, guardia civil, policía nacional etc)

Carrera de la Virgen Granada Spain

COVID rules in Spain

  • In all public spaces a face mask must be worn regardless of the distance being maintained or not.
  • Smoking is not allowed in public spaces. If you need to take your mask off to smoke you need to stay 2 metres away from others and keep the minimum distance. On outdoor seating at cafés you will be asked to leave the area to smoke.
  • Visitors to Spain in 2020 felt safe according to this article.
  • On the beach you need to wear a mask to arrive, leave and walk around the beach. If you are on the sand sunbathing with people from your household you can take the mask off and also to swim (socially distancing in the water)
  • At bars cafés and restaurants you should wear the mask when you arrive and when you leave (also in bathroom). While sitting at the table you may take it off only to eat or drink. As soon as you have finished you need to put it back on.

Las Tapas de Gonzalo Salamanca Restaurant

Spanish Hotels are Open

  • Some hotels are open and receiving business travellers at the moment. Other hotels are closed. Some hotels accept bookings from people in locations that can travel. (Some areas have very low cases and travel is permitted between them)
  • It is recommendable to stay in well ventilated areas such as outdoor terraces, gardens, or semi covered areas of restaurants and bars. Indoors should have open windows or doors to keep air circulating. If you have to be inside limit the amount of time you are there.
  • There are tier systems in place with restrictions varying for Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3. You need to check the status each week for the area to be sure that you know the correct rules for that time and location.
  • In Andalusia you can check your areas level of cases here: Junta de Andalucía – Datos Sanitarios

Patatas a lo Pobre Casa Gregorio

Eating out in Spain

  • In many parts of Spain in hospitality there are reductions in capacity and limited timetables. To support restaurants and bars check and book ahead. Most restaurants are currently open for LUNCH service only. They may offer home delivery or take away service throughout the day and in evening.
  • Groups of 4 are allowed at one table. Outside in Andalusia they allow a group of 6.
  • Note: Larger fines apply if you cause an outbreak or infection of a group of people due to major negligence.
  • Schools across Spain reopened Mid September 2020. Children over 6 wear masks in their classrooms.
  • Most businesses are working to some normality. They have social distancing measures and limited capacities in place. Many offer service via whatsapp or online now.

Face Masks in Granada Andalucia Spain

Which mask do I need in Spain?

  • In some areas of Spain (e.g Galicia) the masks with valves have been banned, so they are not recommendable.
  • Acceptable versions are FP2 or FP3 masks. Also known as N95. Also the paper, blue coloured surgical masks and fabric washable cloth masks.

Quarantine when travelling to or from Spain?

  • On 23rd May 2020 the Spanish government indicated that Spain would be open to International Visitors from July 2020. Spanish Borders reopened on 21st June 2020. However currently tourism is not allowed. You may only travel to Spain for business reasons (you need documentation) or as a Resident.
  • Depending on your country of residence you may need to quarantine when you go back home. Check your local rules. The UK have announced enforced hotel stays on return to the UK in early 2021.

Reduced Timetable

  • Most businesses are working again and open daily. Some protocols may have changed. Different opening hours, limited capacity, appointments required etc. To go inside a shop you must use hand sanitizer at the door. Temperature checks are in place at some businesses too.
  • Beaches are open although there are strict rules in place. Social distancing rules are in place. Shower and toilet facilities may not open. Some dont allow inflatables. You need to be wearing a mask on the beach. There are beach patrols to check for compliance.
  • The Alhambra Palace reopened on Wednesday 17th June 2020. The tickets will be limited capacity 50% and their will be rules in place to visit the monument safely. Please see the official rules when you book the ticket to follow guidelines. They offer day and night time visits.

Situation in Spain Beach Rules

Situation in Spain 2020

To answer the question of whether it is safe to travel to Spain, this depends on many factors and in particular which country you are coming from. You may have to follow quarantine rules on returning home after visiting Spain. This depends on your local laws and the situation at the time. Announced on 25th May 2020 by the Spanish government, when you arrive in Spain you do not need to quarantine. (check specific countries)

It also depends on your personal situation and health. For some people COVID 19 can be a very serious infection. Vaccines are arriving across Europe from late December 2020.

Alhambra Palace Generalife

Is the Alhambra open for visits?

The Alhambra reopened in December. The Alhambra Palace is open with a reduced capacity of visitors and social distancing measures in place. When you book your Alhambra Palace ticket or get your Alhambra tour online you will be given the specific details. There are clear signs to follow a specific route around certain areas of the monument to ensure people remain at a distance.

Tickets are generally easier to obtain due to reduced demand as tourism numbers are still recovering. The tickets have QR codes to limit contact and you will need to wear a mask throughout the visit. On sale are 50% of tickets in each time slot.

It´s very recommendable to visit right now as there are fewer people inside the monument so the visit is much more enjoyable. Also you will have better photo opportunities.

Hairdresser guilherme-petri-PtOfbGkU3uI-unsplash-min

Current Statistics on the Pandemic in Spain

You can see this updated Coronavirus Map in Spain. Everyday the Health Minister in Spain shares figures with updated details at this link: Current Situation COVID in Spain – Ministerio de Salud (click on the 2nd item Actualización nº: enfermedad por SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)

Vaccines are being rolled out across Spain. Currently just over 2 million have been done (population is 46 million) in early Feb 2021.If you plan to travel to Spain this summer 2021, I would encourage you to keep updated with the information. The situation continues to progress. Also keep up to date with the immigration department of your own country for the requirements on returning home.

Take out healthcare or travel insurance cover. Check that they will cover any COVID related incidents or cancelled travel plans.

Photo by mustafa_omar on Unsplash

COVID Travel Insurance

As a regular traveller Safety Wing is my current go to. They are very good especially for location independent folks and digital nomads.

IATI is a good insurance provider (based in Barcelona) that offers great cover for holidays and shorter trips.

  • Buy Remote Health Insurance This coverage is for remote workers and digital nomads. Its designed for those who time abroad but also includes coverage in your home country. Of course there are no exclusions for pandemics.
  • Buy Nomad Medical Insurance This policy covers people from all over the world for medical attention while they are outside their home country.
  • Travel insurance for Andalusia. The Andalusian government  is offering a specific programme for COVID related issues to promote their region as a safe destination for tourists. Read further details of the Insurance policy.

Train Station Suitcase Trolley Valladolid Campo Grande Gladiator Grow up

Situation in Spain with COVID

Here is the information that I am sharing with the people who have written to me with questions.

Should I cancel my trip to Spain?

Travel to Spain was not possible before March or April 2020. Air routes, Tourist activities, Restaurants and Beaches closed down. The government declared a State of Emergency in Spain. International flights began their service early Summer 2020. Some routes operate with limited frequency. Not all airlines are operating but you can fly to Spain at the moment. Borders are open.

If you book travel, your airlines hotel and or travel agent will keep you updated with cancellations, date changes or new rules to travel.

Safe travel Visiting Spain in 2020

Do I need to Quarantine when I travel?

At the moment Madrid is the region most affected. Although across Spain schools & universities reopened in September 2020.  In Catalonia and Aragon the regions are also suffering high infection rates.

Cultural events are not happening. For example Easter Processions, The Feria de Abril and Las Fallas festival in Valencia are cancelled. These measures are to avoid crowds and large numbers of people together.

If you have travel booked or reservations in 2021 to Spain. Do check official websites for latest updates. This Travel Restrictions Map maybe useful that explains by country. For example to travel back to the UK you need a Negative PCR test but also need to quarantine on arrival.

Gran Via Madrid Spain by Piccavey Spain blog

Coronavirus Situation in Andalucía

In this link below you can see a map with more details and data for Andalucía, Southern Spain.

For Travel to Andalusia in 2021 the local government have launched an initiative for international travellers. More details here Free COVID insurance plan in Southern Spain

Mezquita Mosque Cordoba Situation in Spain

How to Travel Safely

It seems that masks may help but they are not the only measure to keep this new virus at bay. There are products like Nasal Barrier Sprays available too which maybe a good thing if you have to fly. Wearing glasses is thought to reduce contagion by a third according to a study carried out in India (Feb 2020)

It´s important to keep your hands clean with an Hand Sanitiser if you cannot get access to running water and soap. Use it hand gel regularly especially when using public transport.

I found this article interesting:  Flight Recommendations

  • Even the seat selection you make on the plane could make a difference.
  • Window seats towards the front of the plane are a better choice than seats in the aisle or towards the back of the plane.
  • Keeping passengers at a distance is also helpful if possible.

Piccavey Travel Insurance IATI

Travelling Soon?

If you are planning essential travel over the next months. April, May or June 2020 and maybe concerned about flight cancellations or problems. The best thing is to take out travel insurance. This should cover you in case of changes to your travel plans. If you can it is best to book with an ATOL protected travel company. Also pay by credit card for additional cover.

As new cases crop up across the world the situation can change. Airlines and different geographies are changing their protocols week by week. It is also a good time to make the most of travel deals and hotel offers.

Some travellers are cancelling or not booking holidays, when this is usually a peak time in the industry. Many companies  like Booking offer deals such as free cancellation or higher discounts for early reservations.

travel visa international trip

Cancelled Flights

Airlines may cancel or reschedule flights during these uncertain times. As the situation continues to change you need to keep up with the latest in the destination you are heading to.

COVID Situation in Spain 2020

COVID Insurance Cover

Insurance cover right now follows CDC travel warnings. Check your policy for specific details.

  • When a location (typically country or a city) reaches a level 3 (or 4) travel warning. You may lose your insurance coverage. Check if you travel after  warnings status changed.
  • If you are already in a location that has a travel warning, you have 10 days to evacuate and you do get cover during this time. The insurance covers the evacuation itself. If you stay beyond the 10 days, you will not be covered for health treatment.
  • Note that even if your coverage lapses because you stay in a country with a CDC level 3+ travel warning. You will still have cover with the rest of the policy for other eligible expenses,  but not healthcare treatment.
  • You may also find useful the website for Passenger Air Rights in Europe

COVID 19 Useful links:

Gladiator Suitcase Trolley Made in Spain

Keep Calm and Carry On

As more information develops on the Spain situation, I will update this post.

Highlighting the most important points to help you plan your future Travel in Spain

If you are feeling overwhelmed at the moment you may also like this article: When life throws you a Curveball

Updated Situation in Spain

Here are some resources to help you plan your Spain Itinerary:

Coronavirus in Spain
Article Name
Coronavirus in Spain
The current Spain situation and travel recommendations. Detailed information about local restrictions in Spain. What daily life is like at the moment across Spanish regions.
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