Can I hire a car in Spain during COVID-19? Will I be required to take a test on arrival? As visitors from Europe and beyond prepare to holiday in Spain for the first time since lockdown, we’ve put together a guide that will help you plan your summer getaway with confidence.
After months of lockdown, Spain’s State of Emergency, or “Estado de Alarma”, ended on 21 June. Since then, Spain has slowly been getting back to a “new normal”, with many restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions re-opening across the country.
As visitors from Europe and beyond prepare to holiday in Spain for the first time since March, we’ve put together a comprehensive travel guide that answers the most commonly asked questions from travellers. From entry requirements to hiring a car during COVID-19, below you’ll find everything you need to start planning a safe summer getaway to one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations.
Know before you go
Is Spain in lockdown?
At the end of July 2020, a rise in coronavirus cases in northern Spain forced the government to reinstate lockdown measures in Catalonia, Aragon, and the Basque region. At the time of publication, travel to these destinations is currently not advised, but the rest of Spain continues to welcome tourists. To keep up to date with regional lockdowns in Spain, check out this Ministry of Health Map.
Are there any restrictions for travellers entering Spain?
If you’re entering Spain from the EU, Schengen area, or any other country that has a travel agreement with Spain (this includes Morocco, Canada and Australia, among others), you will not be required to self isolate on arrival, nor will you have to take a COVID-19 test. You will, however, need to fill out a health control form (FCS) before your arrival.
Important note: If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms before travelling, such as a persistent cough or fever, you are advised not to travel to Spain. If you are visibly ill upon arrival, you may be refused entry.
Will my insurance cover travel to Spain during COVID-19?
If you’re travelling from a country whose government advises against all but essential travel to Spain (such as the UK, for example), chances are that your insurance won’t cover you. However, if the country from which you are arriving from has a safe travel corridor established with Spain, then you should be covered, although some insurance companies aren’t covering coronavirus-related incidents. As with any travel plans, it’s best to check with your travel insurance provider directly.
I’ve got a mild cold. Will I be allowed on the plane?
Most airlines insist that if you’re experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, including a common cold, that you stay at home. If you’re visibly ill, or if your temperature is taken and is higher than average, you may be refused. However, this depends on the protocols of each airline or airport.
On the ground
Are hotels open in Spain?
Hotels and self-catered apartments in Spain were permitted to reopen after the state of emergency ended on 21 June. While some hotels chose not to open due to lower demand, there are still many accommodation options available throughout the country, particularly smaller independent hotels, boutiques, and Airbnbs. All accommodations should be following strict hygiene protocols, from the regular disinfection of rooms to the removal of self-service breakfast buffets. Be sure to check (either by calling the hotel or checking recent reviews) that your accommodation is complying with these rules before you travel.
Are swimming pools and beaches open in Spain?
In areas without lockdown restrictions in Spain, beaches and communal pools are open. Some regions with busier beaches have introduced capacity restriction measures, such as the dividing of sunbathing plots and the use of online booking systems. Many swimming pools also have additional COVID-19 safety measures, such as compulsory showering before and after entering and the use of hand sanitiser. Check with your tour provider or accommodation host before you travel to see what the local restrictions are in your chosen destination.
Will I be able to rent a car in Spain during COVID-19?
Yes. Most of the large car rental companies in Spain, such as Centauro, Avis and Europcar, are currently operating. However, be aware that some companies have reduced their office hours or even closed some of their smaller pick-up locations due to a drop in demand. We would recommend pre-booking your car, and be sure to check whether you’re able to collect it from your chosen location before you travel.
Will I have to wear a face mask while on holiday in Spain?
Rules on wearing face masks in Spain can vary from region to region. However, in most areas it’s compulsory to cover your nose and mouth in both indoor and outdoor public spaces if you’re over the age of six. This includes public transport, walking along the street, going into shops and supermarkets, and visiting tourist sights such as museums and galleries. Failure to do so could lead to a fine of up to €100.
You don’t, however, need to wear a mask if you’re exercising, sitting at the beach or pool (as long as you’re at a safe 1.5-metre distance from others), or when eating or drinking at a restaurant or bar.
How to stay safe while holidaying in Spain
Spain is working hard to implement safety measures across the tourism industry, but there are things you can do to keep yourself and others safe while you travel.
Keep your distance
Staying at least 1.5 metres away from others is one of the most effective measures you can take to avoid spreading or contracting the virus while travelling. When at the beach or in a restaurant, sit as far away as possible from other people and be especially mindful of those who may be more vulnerable than you.
Avoid busy periods and popular sights
An easy way to stay safe during COVID-19 is to avoid crowds. You can do this by visiting popular sights in the week rather than at the weekend, or choosing some of Spain’s lesser-known attractions. You never know – you might find a hidden gem in the process, too!
Wash your hands often
Washing your hands regularly with soap and water remains one of the top recommendations from health experts. If you’re the forgetful type, set a reminder on your phone to wash and sanitise your hands in regular intervals throughout the day.
Advice for European travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic
We’ve put together a comprehensive COVID-19 travel guide for international travellers, where we publish updated travel rules and regulations for various destinations in Europe. For more detailed information, and before you book your travel, please visit each country’s government advisory website.