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Spain drops all remaining COVID travel restrictions, including for UK citizens

Tourists have been returning to Barcelona one of Spain's most vibrant cities.
Tourists have been returning to Barcelona one of Spain's most vibrant cities.   -   Copyright  Pixabay   -  
By Lottie Limb  & Hannah Brown

Spain has lifted all its remaining COVID restrictions. Until today, it was the only European country that still had restrictions in place for non-EU travellers.

From 21 October 2022, both EU and non-EU citizens no longer have to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID test. Tourists are also no longer required to complete a health control form prior to travel.

The news will be welcomed by UK citizens as it comes just in time for the half-term school holiday. The government website states: "All COVID-19 travel restrictions for travellers to Spain have been lifted. The rules that previously applied to travellers coming to Spain no longer apply."

Last month, the popular destination dropped all entry rules for anyone arriving from the EU or Schengen area. But UK, US and other tourists were still subject to restrictions. It was thought these would last until at least mid-November, but they have been lifted earlier than expected.

With its sunny beaches, rich architectural heritage and delicious food, there are plenty of reasons why the Mediterranean nation was the world’s second-most visited country pre-pandemic. And, of course, the long-running favourite of British holidaymakers.

Spain now completes the list of European nations - including Luxembourg most recently - scrapping their travel restrictions entirely. So if you’re one of the many tourists on their way to Spain, here’s what you need to know.

What are the latest travel rules for Spain?

Joan Mateu/AP
A couple pose for a picture in front of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona.Joan Mateu/AP

Tourists from all countries no longer need to show any COVID documents in order to enter the country. 

Previously, you had to show proof of vaccination, a recovery certificate or a negative test through the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) or Health Control Form. This system has now been abolished. 

Spain is now welcoming all tourists regardless of vaccination status, recovery or testing.

Joan Mateu/AP
Summer 2021 saw Barcelona's beaches packed again, and the Spanish tourism sector is expected to regain even more of its pre-pandemic size this year.Joan Mateu/AP

UK citizens are free to travel to Spain, restriction-free. Travellers are still encouraged to exercise caution to stem the spread of the virus. Local and regional restrictions may be introduced at short notice, so it is advisable to check before you travel.

Are masks required in Spain?

Manu Fernandez/AP
Masks are no longer required in indoor settings.Manu Fernandez/AP

By royal decree, masks are no longer mandatory in the vast majority of settings - from bars and cafes to museums and cinemas.

Public transport and medical settings are two key exceptions, however, as face coverings are still required in hospitals, medical centres and nursing homes and on airplanes, buses, trains, metros and taxis - as well as ferries if a 1.5 metre distance can’t be maintained indoors.

It follows the scrapping of Spain’s strict outdoor mask wearing rule earlier this year.

However, domestic rules can vary from region to region, so it’s important to check the exact requirements for where you’re headed. The Spanish Tourist Board’s Travel Safe website has more guidance on this, with a breakdown of rules for each of Spain's 17 autonomous regions on its interactive map.