Spain Travel Information

For those planning to visit sunny Spain, here is some useful travel information regarding Spanish geography, health and safety, weather, airport locations, and driving laws. As of 2021, travelers who wish to visit Spain will have to apply for an ETIAS Spain. Consult the Spain travel information below to understand further about traveling Spain and certain aspects that you might have to take into account before your visit.

Spanish Geography

Spain consists of various regions that have a diverse culture, climate and even have autonomous governments. The geography of Spain makes for any vacation possibly desired thanks to the mountainous regions in the north and even some in the south, as well as sand-swept coastlines from all coastal angles.

The north of Spain is typically wetter and receives harsher winters than the more mediterranean south. However, in summer, the heat can take its toll in southern areas, with temperatures reaching 40-45 ºC. In general, the Spanish climate is altogether pleasant with mild winters and warm summers. This makes for fantastic agricultural production and aids Spain to be the world’s biggest olive oil producer, as well as a top producer in fruit and vegetables such as oranges, lemons, tomatoes and plenty more.

There are ubiquitous beach areas that are popular amongst both locals and visitors. Beach regions in Spain that are particularly popular include:
  • Costa Blanca
  • Costa de la Luz
  • Costa del Sol
  • Costa Brava
  • Costa Dorada

You can also go skiing in multiple areas of Spain. The Pyrenees are shared between Spain, Andorra, and France, with ski resorts La Molina and Baqueira-Beret in Catalonia featuring as two of the most extensive ski locations in Spain. You can also find mountains further south such as the prestigious Sierra Nevada, an Andalucian mountain range near Granada, not to mention other Spanish regions such as Castilla y León, Galicia, La Rioja, and Asturias.

Health and Security

It is always a good idea to research the country to which you are traveling to check for last-minute updates or health and security alerts. It is also wise to check the particular status of your country origin and visits to the specific country. In the case of Spain, tourism in Spain is particularly high, with Spain being one of the most visited countries in the world. Out of all the visits and trips paid every year, most are trouble-free.

If you are concerned about health and travel, it is advisable that you visit your doctor at least one month prior to departure to check if any vaccinations or preventive measures are required. Remember to organize travel insurance prior to your trip which includes any medical deemed necessary according to the individual.

In the event of any crime or health incident, dial 112 and ask for the necessary service.

The main crime that travelers in Spain should look out for is theft, with money and passports being the key targets. It is advisable to keep your money and valuables in more than one place or to wear a money belt in crowded, touristic areas. It is also recommended to keep a photocopy of your passport in a separate place, in case of an emergency.

Thieves are also likely to pretend to be police officers and ask to see identification (which most likely will be in a wallet/purse), If this is the case, be sure to establish the ID of the police officer. Remember: It is unlikely that a police officer will ask to see ID unless in the case of an incident or emergency.

In the case of an emergency, theft or other incidents, dial 112 or visit a police station to report the incident or theft, etc.

Police phone line specifically dedicated to English-speaking needs: +34 90 210 2112

Top travel tips for staying safe in Spain include:
  • Lock doors and windows of your accommodation before leaving
  • Inform yourself of the nearest police station or help point
  • If taking a taxi, make sure it is official and licensed
  • Buy your own drinks in public areas (especially bars) and remember to drink wisely and avoid losing any friends or members of your group
  • Be sure to observe the flag system on the beach to check that the sea water is safe for swimming. (Undercurrents and jellyfish are the main cause for concern).
health security spain

Spanish Climate

The weather in Spain is subject to the region that you visit. North Spain is colder in the winter and has more rainfall, although summers are also very warm. South Spain can be stifling hot, peaking 45 ºC in some areas and there are also mountainous regions that are very chilly and receive snow in the winter.

The important point to take into account is that the temperatures can be subject to a big drop overnight or in a short space of time, signifying that travelers should prepare for trips and excursions by looking up the weather forecast beforehand to check that there have been no weather warnings.

Heat waves are common from June to August and it is recommended that visitors take the necessary precautions to avoid getting heatstroke or dehydrated. Drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun from 1-4 pm if the sun is strong or you know that you are prone to heatstroke.

Hikers should take particular precaution by ensuring that they take both suncream and extra layers with them. The weather is subject to drastic changes in the mountains so it is key to be prepared prior to embarking on excursions and trips.

In case of an accident while hiking, climbing, canoeing (and other activities), you can call 112 which is the number for the emergency services in Spain. You can also call the Civil Guard on 062.

Please be aware that in areas such as the region of Catalonia, if you fail to acknowledge official weather warnings or prepare adequately, you can be billed for your rescue and putting others at risk.

International Airports in Spain

The most popular international airports in Spain are the following:
  • Madrid (MAD)
  • Barcelona (BCN)
  • Palma de Mallorca (PMI)
  • Málaga (AGP)
  • Alicante (ALC)
  • Gran Canaria/Las Palmas (LPA)
  • Tenerife (TFS)
  • Ibiza (IBZ)
  • Lanzarote (ACE)
  • Valencia (VLC)
international airports spain

Driving in Spain

Driving rules and customs, as with every country, may differ. Driving is on the right in Spain. If you know that you are going to drive in Spain on your vacation, it is recommendable to research the differences in driving customs between Spain and your native country.

Whether renting a car in Spain or driving your own vehicle, drivers must carry two red warning triangles at all times in the event of a breakdown or accident. These triangles should be placed in front of and behind the vehicle. It is also necessary to carry a spare wheel and the necessary tools for changing it. Wear a reflective vest if you have to get out of your car or need to leave it unattended on a road due to a breakdown or accident. You can be fined in Spain if you do not wear a reflective vest in these circumstances.

Regardless as to whether travelers are driving rented cars or their own, an insurance certificate is required to be kept in the car at all times. Contact your insurance company prior to your travels to make sure that your insurance will be valid for the period of time you are traveling.

You can receive on-the-spot fines for driving offenses such as speeding and driving offenses such as drink driving are taken very seriously, with penalties ranging from license withdrawals to prison sentences.

Seatbelts must be worn at all times by all passengers and children under the age of 12 years old should only sit in the back seat. Small children, infants, and babies must have an appropriate car seat or child safety seat in the back seat.

It is forbidden to use or talk on a mobile phone while in the car, even if you are not driving or have pulled over to the side of the road. The car must be away from the road entirely in order to permit the use of a mobile phone. Earpieces are prohibited, although hands-free units are permitted.

Travelers in Madrid should acknowledge the pollution policies which can cause certain mobility restrictions when pollution levels are higher than normal. In the case that a restriction is in place, cars with a license plate that end in an odd number are permitted to circulate on odd dates and cars with an even number at the end of their license plate are permitted to circulate on even dates. Cars with more than 2 passengers, motorbikes or zero-emission and hybrid vehicles may be exempt from these temporary restrictions.

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