Fire and rescue services
We haven't changed our level of advice:
Exercise normal safety precautions in Spain.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Terrorist attacks are likely.
The national terrorism alert has 5 levels. In 2015, it was raised to level 4, 'High'.
In recent years, terrorists have staged attacks in European cities. Targets have included:
In August 2017, vehicle attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils killed 16 people and injured many more.
The Spanish Government has increased security in public places, such as:
Security services have stopped some planned attacks.
To stay safe, you should:
If there is an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Demonstrations are ongoing in Barcelona and the Catalan region. Violent clashes have occurred between demonstrators and police resulting in injuries.
For flight disruptions contact Barcelona Tourism on +34 93 285 3834.
Demonstrations and strikes can disrupt traffic and transport, including air and rail.
Some demonstrations held close to tourist areas in large cities have ended in clashes with police.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
To stay safe:
Contact your travel agent or tour operator about your transport bookings. Be ready to change your plans.
Petty crime is common in large cities. It's a serious problem in Barcelona, especially on public transport and in tourist areas.
Petty crime includes:
Thieves are very active during the peak summer tourist season. They target:
Take care when placing bags on chairs or on the ground in restaurants and outdoor cafes.
Thieves often work in gangs. Thieves try to distract you by:
While you're distracted, another thief steals your belongings.
To avoid petty crime:
Keep your passport and other ID separate. Carry a photocopy of your passport for ID.
Road crime occurs throughout Spain.
Take care when driving along the Mediterranean coast from Marseille in France to Valencia in Spain. Cars with foreign number plates are often targets.
Thieves in pairs may convince you to stop because of a 'problem' with your vehicle, then offer to help with a flat or slashed tyre. While one helps, the other steals your belongings.
Keep luggage and personal belongings out of sight.
To stay safe when on the road:
Thieves also break into caravans and motor homes, particularly in public parking areas.
Credit card and ATM fraud can occur.
Avoid using ATMs that open onto the street, especially at night. Use ATMs in banks, shops and shopping centres.
Cases of drink spiking, followed by theft and sexual assault, are reported.
To protect yourself from crime:
Scams are common.
Be aware of the latest scams. Don't become a victim.
Some complex scam operations are based in Spain. Inheritance scams are the most common.
Inheritance scams involve receiving an email from someone claiming to be a lawyer. They tell you an unknown Spanish relative has died and left you money.
If you've been a victim of a scam, don't travel to Spain. Seek legal advice.
The annual Running of the Bulls takes place in Pamplona in July.
Taking part is dangerous. Every year, people are badly injured and sometimes killed.
People are also killed or badly injured jumping from fountains during the festivities in Pamplona.
Your travel insurance may not cover you if:
Medicare does not cover you if you're in Spain.
Check the details of your travel insurance policy. Don't take unnecessary risks.
If there's a natural disaster, follow the advice of local authorities.
Spain experiences earthquakes but major quakes are rare.
There's lots of seismic activity on the Canary Island of El Hierro. The risk level set by local authorities is Green, which is level 1 of 3.
Sometimes Spain experiences extreme storms, especially along the northern coast and islands.
Heavy snow in winter (December to February) can affect northern areas.
Forest fires can occur in summer, from July to September. The risk is higher in rural areas.
Strict fines apply for any actions that could start a fire. If camping, ask local authorities for advice on fire danger and fire restrictions.
If there's a forest fire:
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305. Ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Spain. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
You can't mail or courier medication from Australia to Spain.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Contact DFAT if you need medical documents authenticated.
Health risks are similar to those in Australia.
Monitor the media and other sources for new health risks.
Follow the advice of Spain's Ministry of Health.
The standard of medical facilities is high.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences include heavy fines and prison time.
Always carry personal ID. This may include:
Police may ask to see ID. They can detain you until they can confirm your identity.
Don't photograph military installations.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
Spain is a part of the Schengen area, along with many other European countries. This allows you to enter without a visa in some cases.
You'll need a visa if:
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Spain for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
Make sure you get a legible entry stamp in your passport when you first enter the Schengen area.
Some airlines may want to see proof of entry in the Schengen area or to check you haven't overstayed.
Carry copies of your passport in case authorities stop you. See Local laws
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The currency of Spain is the Euro.
If you're travelling to or from any non-European Union (EU) country, declare funds of 10,000 euros or more, including the equivalent in another currency. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
If you fail to declare currency or give wrong information, you'll be fined.
You don't need to declare funds if you're travelling to or from another EU country.
Since 2015, border controls in Europe have been under pressure due to the movement of asylum seekers. Carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area.
To avoid delays:
Some areas of Spain are popular party destinations. See Safety
If you're travelling to Morocco, read our travel advice for Morocco.
To drive a vehicle, you'll need both:
If you drive without an IDP, you may be fined and your car impounded.
Driving in urban areas can be dangerous due to:
Check your vehicle has 2 red warning triangles and a reflective jacket. You must use these in an accident or breakdown.
You can be fined if your vehicle doesn't have these items.
If you hire a vehicle, get safety equipment. Ask the rental company about local traffic rules.
When pollution levels are high in Madrid, temporary restrictions on using cars may apply.
To contact the English-speaking 'Línea Madrid' citizen information and support line:
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Spain's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
For non-emergency criminal issues, contact the local police.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
The Australian Government has 2 offices in Spain:
The Embassy provides the full consular services as described in the Consular Services Charter.
The Consulate provides limited consular assistance to Australians in Barcelona.
Level 24, Torre Espacio Building
Paseo de la Castellana, 259D
28046 Madrid, Spain
Phone: (+34) 91 353 6600
Fax: (+34) 91 353 6692
Facebook: Embajada de Australia en España, Andorra y Guinea Ecuatorial
Avinguda Diagonal, 433 Bis, First Floor, Door 2
08036 Barcelona, Spain
Phone/Fax: (+34) 93 362 3792
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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