people walking near church during daytime
two brown table outside
city scale under blue sky

Is Spain Safe?

Spain is generally a safe travel destination, but tourists should exercise caution against petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching, especially in crowded areas and on public transportation. While violent crime rates are low, travelers should remain vigilant, particularly at night. Terrorism is an ongoing risk in tourist hotspots, though Spanish authorities have robust security measures. Familiarizing oneself with local customs and being culturally respectful can further enhance one's safety and overall experience.

Download Vigilios

Your Pocket-Sized Travel Safety Guide

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store

Safety & Security

Spain is generally a safe destination for travelers, but it's important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks. While violent crime rates are relatively low, petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching are common, especially in crowded tourist areas and on public transportation. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure.

  • Petty Crime: Pickpocketing and bag snatching are prevalent in major cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville. Exercise caution in crowded areas, on public transport, and near tourist attractions.
  • Scams: Be wary of common scams targeting tourists, such as fake police officers, street vendors, and taxi scams. Research common scams beforehand and avoid engaging with suspicious individuals.
  • Civil Unrest: While rare, political demonstrations and protests can occur, particularly in major cities. Avoid areas with large crowds and follow local news for updates.
  • Terrorism: Spain has experienced terrorist attacks in the past. Remain vigilant in crowded public spaces and follow the advice of local authorities.

It's advisable to register with your embassy or consulate, purchase travel insurance, and familiarize yourself with local laws and customs to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Health & Medical

Spain is generally a safe travel destination with good medical facilities and infrastructure. However, there are a few health risks that travelers should be aware of:

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date. Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for some travelers.

  • Insect-Borne Diseases: There is a risk of insect-borne diseases like Zika, dengue, and chikungunya in some areas, especially during warmer months. Use insect repellent and cover exposed skin.

  • Air Pollution: Air pollution can be a concern in larger cities like Madrid and Barcelona. Those with respiratory issues may want to take precautions.

  • Sun Exposure: The Mediterranean climate means intense sun exposure, especially during summer months. Use sunscreen and stay hydrated.

  • Medical Facilities: Spain has a well-developed healthcare system with good medical facilities, especially in major cities and tourist areas. However, costs can be high for those without travel insurance.

  • Food and Water Safety: Tap water is generally safe to drink. Take precautions with street food and unpasteurized dairy products to avoid foodborne illnesses.

  • Hiking Risks: For those planning outdoor activities like hiking, be prepared for heat, dehydration, and potential injuries. Carry adequate supplies.

Overall, Spain is a relatively safe destination from a health perspective, but travelers should take standard precautions and be aware of the potential risks mentioned above.

Natural Disasters

Spain is generally not prone to major natural disasters, but there are a few weather-related risks that travelers should be aware of:

  • Wildfires: Forest fires can occur during the hot and dry summer months, especially in central and southern regions. Travelers should follow local advisories and avoid affected areas.

  • Flooding: Heavy rainfall and storms can lead to flash flooding, particularly in coastal areas and urban centers with poor drainage systems. Exercise caution when driving during heavy downpours.

  • Heatwaves: Spain experiences intense heatwaves, especially in the interior regions during summer. Travelers should stay hydrated, seek shade, and limit outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day.

  • Earthquakes: While not a major risk, Spain lies in an active seismic zone. Tremors are possible but rarely cause significant damage. Familiarize yourself with safety procedures in case of an earthquake.

  • Snowstorms: In mountainous regions like the Pyrenees and central Spain, heavy snowfall can disrupt transportation and outdoor activities during winter months. Check weather advisories before traveling to these areas.

Overall, Spain has a relatively low risk of major natural disasters compared to many other destinations. However, it's still advisable to stay updated on weather forecasts, follow local guidance, and take necessary precautions during adverse conditions.


Spain boasts an extensive and generally reliable public transportation system, including trains, buses, and metro systems in major cities. However, travelers should exercise caution and remain vigilant, especially in crowded areas prone to petty crimes like pickpocketing.

  • Trains: Spain's high-speed rail network, AVE, is efficient and connects major cities. However, be cautious of theft on trains, particularly overnight services.

  • Buses: Long-distance buses are a cost-effective option, but be wary of luggage theft and pickpockets, especially in bus stations.

  • Metro Systems: Metro systems in cities like Madrid and Barcelona are convenient but can be crowded, increasing the risk of pickpocketing and bag snatching.

  • Taxis: Licensed taxis are generally safe, but confirm the meter is running and agree on the fare beforehand, especially from airports or tourist areas.

  • Driving: While roads are well-maintained, exercise caution as driving habits can be aggressive, and rental car theft is a concern, especially in larger cities and tourist hotspots. Secure rental cars and avoid leaving valuables inside.

Overall, Spain's transportation is reliable, but travelers should remain vigilant against petty crimes, especially in crowded areas and tourist hotspots.

Cultural Norms

Spain is a culturally rich and diverse country with a blend of traditions and customs. As a traveler, it's essential to respect the local culture and be mindful of certain practices. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Religious Customs: Spain has a predominantly Catholic population, and religious events and holidays are widely celebrated. Be respectful when visiting churches or religious sites, and dress modestly.

  • Meal Times: Spaniards typically have a late lunch around 2-4 PM and dinner around 9-11 PM. Many restaurants may be closed during the afternoon siesta hours.

  • Greetings: Greet people with a handshake or a light kiss on the cheek (for acquaintances), depending on the region. Maintain eye contact and use formal titles until invited to use first names.

  • Dress Code: While casual attire is generally acceptable, avoid revealing clothing when visiting religious sites or more conservative areas.

  • Gestures: Be mindful of gestures, as some may be considered offensive, such as using the thumbs-up sign or snapping fingers.

  • Bullfighting: While controversial, bullfighting is deeply rooted in Spanish culture. Respect differing views on the topic.

  • Fiestas: Spain is renowned for its vibrant festivals and celebrations. Participate respectfully and follow local customs and traditions.

  • Language: While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, learning a few basic Spanish phrases can go a long way in showing respect for the local culture.

Remember, cultural sensitivity and respect can greatly enhance your travel experience and foster positive interactions with locals.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Spain are generally reliable and well-equipped, though quality may vary slightly between regions. Major cities tend to have comprehensive emergency response capabilities, while rural areas may have more limited resources.

  • Ambulance Services are available nationwide through emergency numbers and are typically well-staffed and equipped, especially in urban centers.

  • Fire Services are professional and efficient, with modern equipment and training. Response times can be longer in remote areas.

  • Police Services are present throughout the country, with a mix of national, regional, and local law enforcement agencies. Tourist police units are available in major cities to assist visitors.

While not as extensive as some other European countries, Spain does offer some Tourist Assistance Services, particularly in popular destinations. These can provide support with matters like lost documents, translation services, and general guidance for travelers in need of assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful illustration with three people and the letters "FAQ" representing a Frequently Asked Questions section

Is Spain safe for tourists?

Spain is generally a safe destination for tourists. However, it's advisable to exercise caution against petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching, especially in crowded areas and tourist hotspots. Remain vigilant, avoid carrying valuables, and use authorized taxis or public transportation.

Is Spain safe for solo female travelers?

Spain is relatively safe for solo female travelers, but it's essential to take precautions. Avoid walking alone at night in deserted areas, dress modestly, and be cautious of unwanted attention or harassment. Research your accommodation and transportation options thoroughly.

Is Spain safe for families?

Spain is a family-friendly destination with a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of activities for children. However, be mindful of the hot summer months, as the heat can be challenging for young kids. Plan your itinerary accordingly and ensure your accommodation has suitable amenities.

Is Spain LGBTQ+ friendly?

Spain is generally LGBTQ+-friendly, with same-sex marriage legal since 2005. Major cities like Madrid and Barcelona have vibrant LGBTQ+ communities and events. However, some rural areas may be more conservative, so exercise discretion.

Do you need a visa to go to Spain?

Citizens of the European Union, the United States, Canada, and many other countries do not require a visa for tourist stays up to 90 days in Spain. However, a valid passport is mandatory, and visa requirements may vary based on nationality and purpose of travel.

Can you drink tap water in Spain?

Tap water in Spain is generally safe to drink, as it undergoes rigorous treatment and meets European Union standards. However, some travelers may prefer bottled water due to taste preferences or as a precaution against potential contamination.

What is the currency in Spain?

The official currency in Spain is the Euro (€). Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, but it's advisable to carry some cash for smaller purchases or emergencies.

Related Content

Download the App

Map, Insights & Support - Vigilios is your Personal Safety Companion

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store QR LinkApp Store
Google Play QR Link
Coming soon to Android
Google Play