Safety in Spain: guide to travel worriless in 2024

safety in spain

Contrary to other countries, safety in Spain is relatively high. You’ll rarely have any problem in the areas most people visit.

So if you’re wondering: is Spain safe for travel in 2024?

Absolutely! Spain is extremely safe and welcoming. As a matter of fact, every year millions of people explore and enjoy the country incident-free.

Just follow the same precautions you would apply at home and everything will be fine.

Nevertheless, for the best experience you should consider getting a travel and health insurance before traveling.

So whether you’re just embarking on a city break with some friends, or if you’re wondering whether it’s OK to explore certain areas in Spain’s biggest cities, don’t worry. This guide is going to help you travel safely and stress-free in Spain.

Is it safe to travel to Spain right now?

Spain is still very safe at the moment. However, there are a few things that you should take into consideration.

1. Pro-independence protests in Catalonia

With intermittent protests around Catalonia throughout the last few years, you may wonder if it’s safe to travel to Barcelona.

A few years ago, a pro-independence majority government in Catalonia had a referendum to separate from Spain. Spain constitutional court declared that this vote was illegal. As a result, there have been protests within Catalonia.

However, they ended a long time ago. At the moment, Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia is perfectly safe for visitors. So there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.

2. Is Spain safe from terrorist attacks?

In the past decades Spain has seen its fair share of attacks from terrorists, and the alert for terrorism in Spain is usually relatively high.

Unfortunately, Spain remains a target for terrorist activity, but no more than any other Western nation.

In fact, the rate of fatal attacks was much higher in the 1970s and 1980s, when political extremists on the right and left, and separatist forces such as ETA in the Basque Country (dissoluted in 2018) used to operate.

So the best you can you is to keep yourself informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. Follow any instructions issued by the local authorities and be vigilant in public places, particularly at tourist sites, shopping areas and transport hubs, such as airports and railway stations.

That’s it.

The information in this section was accurate at the time of writing, however, the world is a changeable place, now more than ever. My best piece of advice is to do your own research and practice common sense. That will be enough to have a safe trip to Spain.

Safety in Spain: beware of pickpockets

Violent crime is incredibly low, and Spain is one of Europe’s safest countries for tourists.

Whilst Spain is safe, crime can happen anywhere.If it’s going to happen while you’re traveling around Spain, it will most likely occur in one of the cities, particularly around the main tourist landmarks.

Pretty much like in any big European city, there are pickpockets in most big cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, etc. So be particularly careful if you plan to visit any of these destinations.

Go unnoticed

Tourists often carry more cash and more valuables on them than locals do. That’s one of the reasons they are targeted.

Moreover, they’re typically not paying attention to what’s going on around them because they’re so focused on exploring the area or taking pictures.

So it’s essential to make yourself less noticeable. Don’t look like a tourist!

That means avoiding gawking at maps and appearing like you don’t know where you are. Before going out, have a good idea of how to get there and move like you know where you’re heading to.

Use common sense

This should go by itself, but unfortunately it often doesn’t. Use common sense:

  • Don’t believe for a minute that the back pocket of your jeans a safe place for your wallet or phone (it’s not!).
  • The most secure place to stash your goods is the inside (ideally zipped) pocket of your jacket.
  • If you can, avoid carrying a backpack or shoulder bag while out and about.
  • But if you do need to carry one, move your backpack from your back to your front when you’re on public transit, and don’t put anything in the back pocket.
  • Keep your smartphone tucked away on your person while you’re eating or having a coffee.

Be cautious in crowded areas and in public transports

While you can encounter pickpockets anywhere in a city, some locations are a magnet for pickpockets.

Here are the most frequent places with a questionable safety in Spain.

Tourist attractions. For obvious reasons the landmark or museum will distract you and take your attention off your possessions. Oftentimes there’s high pedestrian traffic – tons of people bumping into each other and thus less likely to notice the magical abilities of a thief.

If a popular tourist attraction is on your list of must-sees while traveling, take extra precautions with your valuables while you’re in the area.

Public transportation. Because public transportation is often crowded, it offers tons of opportunities to pickpockets. With just a bump from an accomplice, a pickpocket can take your wallet and be off the bus or subway and far away before you even realize it’s missing.

Restaurants and bars. Pickpockets love going to cafeterias and bars that are popular with tourists. You’ll be focused on your meal and the people you’re eating or drinking with. So you won’t the hand that slides into your purse or backpack to snatch a wallet. Also, don’t leave your phone on the table!

Hotel lobbies. When you arrive at your hotel and you enter the lobby, you’re distracted looking for your booking information and you may leave your luggage unattended. Don’t do so. Pickpockets will take advantage of your diverted attention by stealing what they can from you.

Keep the bare minimum in your wallet

The best piece of advice regarding safety in Spain that I can give you is to carry as minimum cash with you as possible.

The less you have in your wallet, the less of a hassle it will be if you do get robbed:

Be careful when using ATMs

It’s generally safe to withdraw cash from ATM machines, but be aware of your surrounds while you’re using the machine:

  • Be particularly careful when typing your pin-code.
  • Avoid withdrawing cash alone at night in very early hours of morning. If you must do it, be extra cautious.

In my opinion, the best way to prevent any trouble is to avoid ATMs using a travel debit card during your trip to Spain.

What to do in case you get robbed in Spain?

I can’t stress it enough.

Make a copy of your important documents before you leave.

Before you leave for your trip, make a copy of your passport, national ID and driver’s license (both your local one and the international one). I’d suggest storing these in Dropbox or Google Drive. These will come in handy in the event you lose anything and need to go to the embassy to get a new passport.

The safety in Spain is reasonably high, especially in terms of a popular travel destination, but it’s not perfect. Even if you follow the above advice, there’s still a small chance you’ll get robbed.

So what should you do if this happens to you?

  1. Cancel your travel money card company. If your wallet goes missing or stolen, immediately cancel your travel debit card using the app on your phone. Alternatively, call the issuing company and let them know. Any attempted transactions with your card will then be blocked.
  2. Contact your travel insurance company. Contact your travel insurance company to report your valuables as missing or stolen. Most of the time, it won’t cover any financial loss if your debit or credit cards are skimmed or used fraudulently. But it may cover other valuables depending on your policy. So it’s good to check with them.
  3. File a report with the police. You surely won’t get your passport or national ID and travel debit card back, but you will need it if you lost other valuables and your travel insurance covers it.
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