Unlocking the World

Traveling to Spain during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 17th September 2021
Barcelona's unfinished architectural symphony -- the Sagrada Familia cathedral.
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on September 17.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Spain, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Spain has suffered greatly from Covid-19, with a high number of cases and deaths. After one of Europe's strictest lockdowns in spring 2020, the country reopened to visitors over the summer, but in November 2020 entered a state of emergency that ran until May 9, 2021.
This has now been lifted, but some regional restrictions remain -- see more below.

What's on offer

One of Europe's biggest hitters for good reason, Spain pulls tourists in by the millions thanks to its warm weather, laidback vibe and excellent food and wine. Plus, of course, there are some of Europe's best beach resorts, mountains, and cultural cities such as Madrid, Seville and Barcelona.

Who can go

Anyone who has been fully vaccinated can enter Spain for a vacation without proof of a negative Covid test, even if they are arriving from destinations categorized as "risk" spots.
Also, travelers from most, but not all, places in the European Union and Schengen Area -- alongside Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Jordan, New Zealand, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine, Hong Kong and Taiwan -- can currently enter Spain without proof of vaccination or recent negative Covid test.
This list of exempted countries is refreshed weekly -- and the US was on this list until recently, but as of September 6 has been removed. Americans over 12 now must prove they've been fully vaccinated if they want to enter Spain. See more below.
Travelers from the UK must show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test issued 48 hours prior to arrival. Right now, Spain -- including the Balearic Islands -- is on the UK's "amber list." For full details on the UK's traffic light system, see here.

What are the restrictions?

Fully vaccinated travelers from anywhere in the world can enter Spain and the Canary Islands without needing to provide proof of a negative Covid test.
This rule applies even if travelers are arriving from destinations categorized as "risk" countries.
If you've not been vaccinated and you're traveling from a country that's not part of the EU or the Schengen zone, or one of the exempted countries listed above -- you can only do so if your trip is regarded as essential.
Travelers arriving from these "risk" countries who've not been fully vaccinated must undertake a PCR test within 72 hours of departure and show proof of a negative result on entry.
All travelers -- wherever they're coming from and whatever their vaccination status -- must complete a Health Control Form (HCF), which can be completed via the Spain Travel Health website or app. It will generate a QR code which must be shown on arrival in the country.
Spain also now recognizes the European Union's Digital Covid Certificate -- which EU travelers can use to demonstrate if they have had Covid-19, recently tested negative and whether they've been vaccinated.
This list of risk countries changes regularly and should be checked before travel.
Health assessments take place on arrival into Spain, with a temperature check and visual examination as standard.

What's the Covid situation?

Spain's state of emergency has been lifted, but some Covid-19-related restrictions remain -- individual states now set their own restrictions and need judicial approval to do so.
The country has seen over 4.9 million Covid infections and over 85,700 deaths as of September 17, 2021.
January 2021 was reportedly the worst month for the pandemic in Spain since the summer, and on February 8, Spain recorded the biggest weekend rise in cases since the pandemic began.
A month later, case rates were falling but numbers rose again in late March and early April, with authorities urging caution amid fears of a third wave hitting Europe.
Rates then stabilized again, but more recently there have growing concerns about the Delta Covid variant, although cases are now falling.
Over the past week, there were 23,303 new Covid cases reported.
As of September 17, over 68.9 million vaccine doses have been administered in Spain and over 75.8% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

What can visitors expect?

A rule requiring face masks in public places was eased on June 26, but masks must still be worn indoors, and outside when it's not possible to socially distance.
Even before the state of emergency was lifted, the exact detail of the restrictions varied by region.
It's still best to check in advance what individual restrictions are in each region before planning a visit. Spain's official tourism website is a helpful resource.
Traveling between Spain's regions is now permitted.

Useful links

Our latest coverage

Find out what it's like hiking Spain's "Coast of Death" here. In Spain's Andalusia region, a Roman bath complex was recently discovered.
Meanwhile, it wasn't long ago that the world's oldest restaurant, in Madrid, was trying to escape Covid's grasp, while last summer the Balearic Islands were questioning whether a 40-year-old party was drawing to a close.
If you're after culture, Cordoba has more UNESCO-rated sights than anywhere else in the country, or if you want cool, Barcelona's Eixample neighborhood has been named the top spot in the world. Not far off, in Figueres, is Dali's bizarre self-curated museum.