Spain – Health and Safety
The US Center For Disease Control maintains an updated list of medical advice for those traveling to Spain.
The CDC recommends being up to date with all your regular shots. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot
They also suggest be vaccinated for hepatitis A. There is also some advice about protection for hepatitis B and rabies – but this depends to some degree on where you are heading and what you are doing.
Water is generally safe to drink in Spain. Madrid is perhaps one of the safest places to drink water from the tap. The tap water in Barcelona and surrounding is not known for its taste. If travelling in remote areas, it is best to play it safe and drink bottled water.
Spain’s national dish is seafood paella, a healthy option that is available at most eateries across the country. The dish is usually made from beans, vegetables, spices, fish, and shellfish, though it is common for pork or chicken to be used instead of fish.
There are also a few traditional tapas favourites that travellers can enjoy as part of a healthy diet, such as Spanish omelette, chilled tomato soup (gazpacho) and ratatouille. In Spain, alcohol is often consumed with each meal – whether it’s a breakfast coffee and brandy, a glass of “tinto de verano” (literally “summer red wine” made with red wine and lemonade), or some “rebujito” (white sangria). Whilst such customs are something that health-conscious travellers will want to be aware of, it is generally agreed that alcohol can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.
In Spain, it is generally to eat in restaurants. The fresh food is always great but take the usual precaution when eating uncooked food, fruit and vegetables.
Here is a link to the US State Department Travel Advisory for Spain for the latest information on traveling to Spain.
Remember the emergency number in Spain is 112. It works from any phone.
Spain is one of the safest European countries to visit. There is little serious crime. A visitor to Spain should know that there is some pickpocket theft in the metros of the big cities and in crowded places that are frequented by tourists.
At night you should not walk on a street where you are the only one. It is safe when there are many others on the street.
Use ATM machines in a bank and not the ones on sidewalks. This is to prevent youngsters from rushing to you in a group and grabbing the money as it comes out of the machine. Also some ATM machines on the street may have had their keyboards tampered with and will transmit your card number and code to someone who will try to empty your account. This is called card skimming.
Avoid women offering you a flower or rosemary. These women are Romany gypsies. They will want some money if you accept. Many are expert pickpockets.
Avoid young women who carry clipboards and ask for signatures for a good cause. They work in groups and while one is explaining something to you, the other may try to pick your pockets.