Sixt has provided this guide to provide our customers with a bit of information about travelling in Spain. The guide is split into 4 parts and will give you some important tips to know before you start your trip.
Make sure you look after your valuables and personal belongings when walking through airports and busy streets. Pick pockets and thieves operate in these areas and are likely to try to steal wallets, purses and passports.
In some towns and cities people pretend to be police officers and target tourists to ask to see people’s wallets but real police officers wouldn’t ask for this. Don’t show anybody anything until you see proper ID.
If you need to report a crime or lost property make sure you go to the local police station which is the Policia Nacional or Guardia Civil Station. If you have had any belongings stolen you will need to keep hold of the police report (denuncia) for insurance purposes.
If you are out in a bar or club make sure you look after your drinks as people can spike them with date rape drugs and other drugs.
There has been an increase in the number of burglaries in holiday resorts and residential areas in major cities. Check your accommodation to make sure it’s safe and secure and lock all doors and windows where possible before you go out to prevent break ins.
If you are driving in the country be aware of bogus police officers travelling in unmarked cars who may try to stop you and ask for your wallet/purses and bags. Police officers will be in uniform when dealing with traffic related matters and they will always carry ID. Genuine police officers will only ask to see your documents and not your wallets or bags. Unmarked police cars will have a flashing blue light and a flashing sign on the rear window which will say Policía (Police) or Guardia Civil (Civil Guard).
Make sure that you follow all road laws when driving in Spain, including no use of mobile phones. All passengers and drivers should be wearing seat belts or child safety seats where necessary. Carry your insurance documents at all times and two red warning triangles in case of breakdown. Make sure you are equipped with a spare tyre as well.
Be careful when you swim in the sea as some beaches will have strong undercurrents. Most beaches have a flag system so make sure that you are aware of this before you enter the water and that you understand all the warnings. A red flag means that you shouldn’t swim or enter the water. Some beaches won’t have any flags, signs or lifeguards about so take extra care if you swim in these waters.
If you have an accident whilst mountaineering, canoeing or climbing, or you get lost or stranded in mountainous areas you should call the emergency services on 112 or the civil guard on 062.
Under Spanish law you are considered to be a minor if you are under 18. Any unaccompanied minors can be taken in by the Spanish authorities particularly in connection to criminal activities. If they are viewed to be vulnerable they can be taken into minors centres until a parent or guardian is contacted.
Drink driving laws are strict in Spain and punishment can result in heavy fines, loss of licence and imprisonment.
Carry ID with you at all times as you can be requested to show it to a police officer at any time and you can also be detained in a police station until you have proved your identity.
Possession of drugs, even small quantities will result in being arrested and detained. If you are caught with larger quantities you can be prosecuted and face a prison sentence if you are convicted.
Some local governments have banned the consumption of alcohol in the street. There are also strict controls on drinking and sexual activities in public places and these can lead to fines.
It is against the law in Barcelona to wear only a bikini or swimming trunks in the street. You are also not allowed to be bear chested or naked. The only exception to this is when you are on the beach, the seafront promenade or the adjacent streets.
In some places in Spain you are not allowed to wear a burka or niqab for security reasons. You may be asked to remove them if you are entering certain buildings.
Hotels have the legal right to take the passport details of all customers who check in. You should wait for the hotel staff to collect your passport details and hand it back to you instead of leaving it at reception to pick up at a later time.
If you are visiting Spain you should make sure you book an appointment to see your GP about 8 weeks before you travel in case you need to have any vaccinations.
Before your visit you should obtain a free European health insurance card (EHIC). The EHIC enables you to have state health care whilst you are on holiday although this isn’t a substitute for travel and medical insurance.
If you need any treatment whilst you are in Spain just provide your EHIC as this will be accepted. You don’t have to provide any proof of travel insurance as payment. If you have lost your EHIC you should contact the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to receive a Provisional Replacement Certificate.
The EHIC does not cover you for medical repatriation, non-urgent treatment or ongoing medical treatment. You will also not be able to use it at a private hospital.
In case of any accident you should make sure that you have the correct travel health insurance to cover the cost of any medical treatment you may require abroad.
Although you should be able to receive treatment in a public healthcare facility. Check with you medical/insurance company for further details.
If you need emergency medical treatment whilst in Spain call 112 for an ambulance.
Due to a rabies case in Spain on 5 June 2013 the Spanish authorities have issued alerts explaining areas where there could be a risk on this website, www.nathnac.org/pro/clinical_updates/rabies_spain_210613.htm. The risk of rabies however is unlikely and you should not need a vaccination before your trip.
If you are a British citizen or an EU citizen you will not need a visa to travel to Spain. If you have a different type of British nationality you should check with the nearest Spanish embassy or consulate to see the entry requirements here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-embassies-in-the-uk.
Make sure that your passport is valid for the time of your stay.
If you are planning to stay in Spain for longer than 3 months you must register in person at the office for foreigners (Oficina de Extranjeros) which is normally part of the town hall (Ayuntamiento) or at designated police stations.
If you are planning to live in Spain then you should visit the British embassy website for more information https://www.gov.uk/government/world/spain.
UK emergency travel documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exiting from Spain.
* Please note: All content was correct at the time of publication.