Spain is a country located on the Iberian Peninsula, sharing it with Portugal at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. This country, although mostly known for its beaches, is actually filled with historical and cultural heritage: it is the country with the third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, coming after Italy and China. Its perfect coastline implies fun nightlife, but apart from that and its historical and cultural heritage, Spain is actually very geographically diverse: apart from its beaches that everyone knows it for, in this country, there is everything from vast meadows and snowy mountains to huge deserts in the south east.
It is also popular in Europe due to its friendly inhabitants, a laid back feel to it (especially near the coast), relaxed lifestyle, its delicious cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and world-famous festivities. Some of the places that are a must-see in Spain, are its thriving capital Madrid, the cultural capital of Barcelona, the famous “Running of the Bulls” at Pamplona, gorgeous Andalusian cities with Islamic architecture, like Seville, Granada and Córdoba and of course, the dreamy, picturesque Canary Islands.
Warnings & Dangers in Spain
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Spain is very safe to visit. Apart from the pickpockets, which are common in this country, tourists should encounter no other problems. Use your common sense and your trip should go smoothly.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Transportation in Spain is very safe and reliable, even though taxi drivers might try to overcharge their services or demand a tip. Also, be careful on public transport, as it's the place where pickpockets operate.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Spain is filled with tourists, and naturally it attracts a bunch of pickpockets so watch out in crowded places such as bus and train stations. There is even a message played on repeat at stations, reminding you to be wary of pickpockets. Be careful when carrying your valuables and never leave them out of your sight.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
There are no threats of natural disasters, apart from an occasional avalanche which can only be a threat when skiing in the Pyreenes.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Do not fear mugging or kidnapping in Spain, since it is a rare occurrence here. Still, do not accept any unsolicited help or drinks from anyone you don't know (even though drink spiking is also not an issue in this country).
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There haven't been recent terrorist attacks in Spain, but in the light of recent events in this part of Europe, they shouldn't be ruled out, so you should remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
There are a couple of ways to get scammed in Spain. You should avoid gypsy women offering you some rosemary: they will read your future and ask for some money or pick your pockets with the help of another gypsy woman. Be wary of "trileros" and their "shell game" where you might get ripped off or stolen from. Always check the bill twice in restaurants and bars since the staff may try to overcharge you or charge for something you did not order.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women traveling alone should have no problems in Spain. You should use your common sense, and be careful at night, avoid desert and poorly lit streets, and finding yourself alone with strange people in abandoned areas. Apart from that, you should have no safety problems in Spain.
So... How Safe Is Spain Really?
Spain is a safe country to visit, but it is recommended that you take some basic precautions measures since it is known to be crawling with pickpockets, especially around popular tourist landmarks and larger cities. There have also been cases of thieves on motorbikes driving by women and grabbing their purses, so keep it tightly by your side at all times. Be extremely careful in bus or train stations and other similar crowded places, since pickpocketing is so common there that a voice message reminding you of pickpockets is always played on repeat. Also, exercise caution at the Spanish Flea Market (el Rastro) in Madrid over the weekends. Here, the pickpockets operate in groups.
Also, be well prepared for people trying to scam you. This can happen with taxi drivers trying to trick you into paying a fixed price from an airport to a city, even though they have a visible fare table. They may also demand a tip.
Be wary of so called ‘trileros’ playing the “shell game”. They will probably rip you off you if you play, and if you stop to see other people play, they’ll probably pick your pockets. Before paying the bill in bars and restaurants, always check the bill twice since the staff sometimes try to squeeze in a few extra euro by charging for something they did not eat or drink, or just by overcharging.
- Visas - Most countries do not need a visa to enter Spain for any stays shorter than 90 days. Any longer than that, you will have to obtain a visa. Also, make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your planned date of return. However, if you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Euro is the official currency in Spain. ATMs are widely available throughout the country, and credit cards accepted in most establishments such as hotels and restaurants. Allow yourself a budged of around 150e per day, including accommodation
- Weather - Spain has three different climate zones, due to its size, but tourists can expect a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The vast central part of the state has a more continental climate with a bit colder winters.
- Airports - Spain's busiest airport is Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas located just 9 km from the Madrid's financial district and 13 km northeast of Plaza Mayor de Madrid, which is Madrid's historic centre.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Spain, since it covers not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.