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Is spain safe? Hear from our experts

Is Spain safe?

Spain, like most countries in Europe, is extremely safe and welcoming, every year millions of people visit and enjoy the country incident-free. However, there are a few things you should always keep in mind.

In recent years, there have been increased calls for Catalonia to become independent from Spain, which has resulted in several demonstrations in Barcelona. Tourists or foreigners however, have never been targeted, and it is more than likely that you will not encounter one at all. Our team is always available to guide you and ensure that your trip is safe and seamless. We also recommend that you remain vigilant and avoid areas where the demonstrations are taking place.

Over the last half of the 20th century, there were sporadic acts of violence by the Basque Separatist Group ETA. But it is worth noting that there have been no such acts attributed to them since 2006, and as of the time of the writing it seems they have disarmed and disbanded. But at their most active, the attacks generally focused on the Spanish or French governments or police (Basque country is located in both France and Spain) and not foreign travelers.

The Spanish coast is beautiful, with hundreds of world-class beaches. But do remember that some have strong undercurrents. Always go to beaches with lifeguards and pay attention to the flags along the shoreline (don’t enter the water that lies between the red flags).

Inland, there are many great hiking trails but remember it can get very hot in the summer months. Always carry plenty of water and check weather reports before your hike.

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eight 8 stairs to heaven in Montserrat in Spain near Barcelona

Safety in Spain

No country is without crime. In Spain, while robberies and attacks are rare, they are not unknown. So taking some extra precautions will ensure that you remain safe. 

Popular attractions are sometimes frequented by pickpockets. When visiting such areas, it is best to keep your valuables locked up in your hotel safe. 

In some areas, thieves masquerading as police officers ask to look into people’s wallets for identification. When the victim is distracted, they may steal cards and banknotes So, if you are similarly approached, always ask for some form of identification. Genuine officers are unlikely to approach you unless they find your behavior suspicious.

One of the more popular scams in Spain is known as the “drop scam”. The most common type involves someone approaching you to say you have dropped something. When you try to explain that they are mistaken, a partner picks your pocket. Alternatively, you may see someone drop something, and as you are helping them, someone picks your pocket. Therefore, if someone either bends over to pick up something near you or casually drops something, remain alert or walk away quickly.

Transport in Spain

If you want to book a taxi, only use officially registered taxis from legitimate companies. Passengers caught using unlicensed taxis can be fined 600€ ($654).

If you want to drive in Spain, here are a few things to keep in mind:
– In Spain, as in the US, people drive on the right side of the road.
– Spain has very stringent drunk driving laws, and the police regularly stop and inspect drivers 
– You will need an International Drivers License to drive. If found driving without one, you can be fined quite heavily. It’s not difficult to get one – it is an official and recognized translation of your regular license. 

Emergency Services in Spain

In the unlikely event that you need to call the emergency services, dial 112. This works much the same way as 911, and you can call for an ambulance, the police, or the fire services. This should be used only in genuine emergencies.

If you need assistance and it’s not urgent, we recommend calling the Municipal Police on 092, or 091 for National Police (more serious crimes). Call 061 if you need medical assistance. Most phone operators should be able to speak English, but if you have doubts, look for the local number of the Servicio de Atención al Turista Extranjero (SATE), which is a police helpline designed specifically to assist travelers in Spain.

Keeping these tips in mind, you can be assured of a safe, and enjoyable experience in Spain.

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