Traveling to Spain during Covid-19

3 months ago 19

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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 October 21.

(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, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Jordan, Kuwait, New Zealand, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine, UAE, Uruguay, Hong Kong and Taiwan -- can currently enter Spain without proof of vaccination or recent negative Covid test. This list of exempted destinations is refreshed weekly, and this current iteration is valid until October 24.

The US was on this list until recently, but was removed in early September. 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 PCR test issued 72 hours prior to arrival.

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. This list of risk countries changes regularly and should be checked before travel.

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's state of emergency has been lifted, but some Covid-19-related restrictions remain -- individual states now set their own restrictions.

The country has seen over 4.9 million Covid infections and over 87,000 deaths as of October 21, 2021.

Recently there have growing concerns about the Delta Covid variant, although cases now appear to be falling.

In the week leading up to October 21, there were 13,089 new Covid cases reported.

As of October 21, over 70.9 million vaccine doses have been administered in Spain and over 78.6% 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 for this.

Traveling between Spain's regions is now permitted.

Useful links

Our latest coverage

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.

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. You can also find out what it's like hiking Spain's "Coast of Death" here.

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

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