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

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 January 6.

(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.

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

Fully vaccinated travelers from anywhere in the world can enter Spain for a vacation without proof of a negative Covid test, including travelers from countries Spain has classified as “risk” destinations, but excluding travelers from countries Spain has classified as “high risk.”

All non-EU and non-Schengen countries count as “risk” countries, aside from an exempted list that currently includes Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Kuwait, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, UAE, Uruguay, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Travelers from these countries can enter Spain without proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test.

This list of exempted non-EU and non-Schengen destinations is refreshed weekly, and this current iteration is valid until January 16.
Some countries and areas in the EU/EEA are also regarded as risk destinations by Spain — the list of European risk countries is currently extensive, but also changes regularly and should be checked before travel.
Spain has classified Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe as “high risk” countries. Spain has suspended flights between these countries until January 31 and travel from these countries is only allowed in certain exceptional circumstances — see detail on these exceptions via the map here.

People with special dispensation to travel from Spain’s designated high risk countries must show both proof of vaccination or recovery and a negative Covid test. They must also quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Spain in their place of residence or accommodation. Travelers can take a test on day 7 of this quarantine. If this comes back negative, travelers can cut their quarantine short.

Young people between the ages of 12 and 18 who’ve received a single dose of a vaccine and are traveling from EU or Schengen zone countries marked as “risk” can enter Spain with a PCR or antigen test.

Young people between the ages of 12 and 18 traveling from a country outside the EU and Schengen zone can only travel to Spain for a vacation if they’re fully vaccinated. Children under 12 do not need to present a health certificate of any kind, no matter their country of origin.

What are the restrictions?

As mentioned above, fully vaccinated travelers from anywhere in the world can enter Spain for a vacation without proof of a negative Covid test, including travelers from countries Spain’s classified as “risk” destinations, but excluding travelers from countries Spain’s classified as “high risk.”

Travelers from countries classified as “high risk” by Spain must show a negative test, regardless of vaccination status.

From February 1, Spain will not accept proof of vaccination if the final dose of vaccination was over 270 days ago.

If you’re an unvaccinated traveler from a country that’s not part of the EU or the Schengen zone — and one of the exempted non-EU and non-Schengen countries listed above — you can only visit Spain so if your trip is regarded as essential.

Non-vaccinated travelers arriving from risk countries 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.

Health assessments take place on arrival into Spain, with a temperature check and visual examination as standard.

What’s the Covid situation?

Spain has seen over 6.9 million Covid infections and over 89,800 deaths as of January 6, 2022. There are currently concerns about the Omicron variant in Spain.

In the week leading up to January 6, there were 789,409 new Covid cases reported.

As of January 6, over 84.7 million vaccine doses have been administered in Spain and over 80.8% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

What can visitors expect?

Face masks were previously required only in indoor spaces or when social distancing wasn’t possible — as of December 24, they’re now required outside too. See detail and exemptions here.
Different regions of Spain’s have slightly different Covid measures. It’s 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 for this.

Traveling between Spain’s regions is permitted.

Useful links

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In Spain’s Andalusia region, a Roman bath complex was discovered in May 2021, while amateur divers recently discovered an “enormously valuable” hoard of Roman coins off Portitxol.

Joe Minihane, Julia Buckley and Francesca Street contributed to this report

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