Summer may be coming to an end, but we’re still pining for a beach holiday. Lots of us are wondering, ‘when can I travel to Spain again?’ The land of sun, sea and sangria is Britain’s favourite holiday destination: 18.1 million of us visited in 2019. So, when the FCO removed Spain from their list of quarantine-exempt countries on 25 July, it was a bit of a shock. Especially to those who had already planned a Spanish getaway.
Things change so often at the moment, it’s hard to know what’s going to happen next. We’ve looked at the data to try and help you work out when travel to Spain will be allowed again, whether it’s safe to go and what you need to consider if you visit right now.
Note: this article was last updated on 16 September 2020, and was correct at time of writing. For the most up to date information, check our travel restrictions page which is updated daily.
Is Spain safe?
At the moment, Spain has Europe’s fastest-rising rate of COVID-19 infections. On Monday 7 September, it became the first western European country to record more than half a million cases, which surpassed 600,000 cases on 15 September. That’s compared to around 387,000 cases in France, the second-hardest hit European country.
There are a few differences from the first wave, however. Ildefonso Hernández, a professor in public health from Miguel Hernández University in Alicante, told the BBC that “mortality is very low, as is the hospitalisation rate.” Fernando Simón, the head of Spain’s centre for health emergencies, has pointed out that 50% of new cases are asymptomatic and are in lower-risk people under 40. Currently, only 5% of COVID-19 cases end up with the patient in hospital.
Which parts of Spain are safest to visit?
The second wave began in northern regions like Asturias, Navarra, the Basque Country and Catalonia, with a spike in Madrid as well. Although the most popular regions for British tourists – like the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and the Balearic and Canary Islands – had fewer cases at the end of July, cases are now rising across the country. Now, the worst-hit region is Madrid, which has seen a third of the new cases and deaths.
Is it safe to go to the Balearic and Canary Islands?
Although the second wave began on mainland Spain, it has started to spread to the islands. On 25 August the Balearic Islands – the chain that includes Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca – set a regional record, with 908 people being diagnosed with COVID-19 in one day. The Balearic Ministry of Health stresses that the ‘majority are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms’. However, there are currently local lockdowns in Palma, Mallorca and San Antonio and Ibiza Town, Ibiza.
Meanwhile the Canary Islands – which includes Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria – has been experiencing record levels of positive coronavirus cases, with Lanzarote and Gran Canaria warning of potential localised lockdowns. On 31 August, the archipelago’s infection rate was recorded at 329.99 per 100,000 people.
But the Canary Islands have introduced their own travel insurance policy, hoping to tempt British travellers back to the islands in the near future. Underwritten by AXA, it will be in place for the next 12 months and will cover the costs if you contract coronavirus during your trip. This includes medicines, repatriation and any costs incurred by self isolating. Like any insurance policy, it won’t be valid if you caught the illness before you travel.
When can I fly to Spain again?
Technically, you can fly to Spain right now. Although it’s been removed from the travel corridor list, it’s not illegal to go there. It just means you need to quarantine for 14 days once you get back to the UK. But it’s not a good idea to fly there while the FCO advises against it.
Which airlines are still flying to Spain?
Some airlines – including Ryanair, Wizz Air, easyJet and British Airways – all continued running flights to Spain after the July announcement. Jet2 cancelled all of their flights, including to the Balearic islands, for the rest of the summer. Tour operator TUI also cancelled all holidays to Alicante, Malaga, Majorca and the Canary Islands until 30 September. It’s also cancelled all holidays to Reus, Ibiza and Menorca due to depart on or before 31 October 2020. Whether this is extended or not depends on whether Spain is added to the travel corridor list again later on this month.
You can find more information about flight cancellation policies in our Coronavirus travel advice hub, which is updated every day.
What are the rules for travelling in Spain during coronavirus?
Spain entry requirements
You don’t need to self-isolate when you arrive in Spain. You will need to provide contact information to the Spanish Ministry of Health 48 hours before you travel and let them know if you’ve ever been exposed to COVID-19. When you land in Spain, you’ll have your temperature taken and go through a visual health assessment. If you have any symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll be sent to see a health professional.
As always, avoid travelling if you have symptoms or if anyone in your support bubble has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Rules for travelling in Spain during coronavirus
While most of us have got used to ‘the new normal’ in the UK, it’s important to remember that the rules in Spain are different and that it’s imperative to follow the guidance in every country you visit. As well as being polite, it can also save you from getting slapped with hefty fines.
Every region of Spain has its own regulations, but as a rule of thumb the main guidelines to remember are:
- Everyone over six years old needs to wear a face covering on public transport and in public spaces
- You need to stay 1.5m away from anyone who’s not in your household
- Track and trace is in place in shops, businesses and transportation
- Spaces at the beach are limited and in some cases you need to pre-book your spot
- If you test positive or develop symptoms during your stay, you might be moved to designated accommodation to help stop the spread
As well as following the local rules, you should also do everything that you would do to keep safe in the UK. For example wash your hands as often as possible and carry some hand sanitiser for times when you can’t reach a sink.
When can I travel to Spain? FAQs
Tourists are allowed to visit Spain already, just with some restrictions. Some travel companies hope that the FCO will put Spain back on its exemption list at the end of September.
Yes. At the moment, Brits can fly to Spain, but they need to follow a few restrictions, as the country was removed from the FCO travel corridor list on 25 July. Tourists need to submit information to the Spanish Ministry of Health 48 hours before flying, and undergo some quick tests on arrival in Spain. They’ll also need to quarantine for 14 days after coming home.
Ryanair – along with British Airways, easyJet and Wizz Air – continued flying to Spain after it was removed from the FCO travel corridor list. TUI and Jet2 have both cancelled their flights and holidays.
You’re the only person who can decide if you feel safe travelling to Spain right now. Although it’s not on the FCO’s travel corridors list, multiple airlines are still flying there from the UK. Safety measures are in place to prevent overcrowding on beaches and restaurants, and you will need to go into self-isolation once you get home. Weigh up the pros and cons, keep an eye on the news and do what feels right and safe to you.