Spain travel guide: everything you need to know as the country opens to vaccinated tourists

The European destination welcomes fully inoculated travellers regardless of their country of origin

Spain is reopening to vaccinated tourists today. The European country is ready to welcome visitors from from any destination.

All travellers who have been fully inoculated with an approved Covid-19 vaccine will be able to visit Spain from June 7, regardless of their country of origin.

“This summer we will safely receive all visitors that choose Spain as their holiday destination," said the country's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, speaking at the International Tourism Fair in Madrid.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 01, 2020 People use a barrier tape to set a secure social distance space at the Nord Beach in Gandia, near Valencia on July 1, 2020. Spain will allow all vaccinated travellers to visit the country from June 7, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on May 21, 2021, as the tourism hotspot aims to revive its virus-battered travel industry. / AFP / JOSE JORDAN

Spain took its first steps towards reopening to tourists from outside the European Union last month. Visitors from 10 low-risk countries, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand, can fly to the country without a PCR test.

From June 7, Spain is open to vaccinated tourists from all other destinations, including the UAE.

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After long months of restrictions, we will finally be able to see tourists back from this region to Spain

Travellers have to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before they are due to land in the country. Vaccines must be one of those authorised by the European Medicines Agency or included in the World Health Organisation's emergency use listing.

Printed certificates issued in Spanish or English will be accepted as proof of vaccinations. Accompanied minors from the same family who are unvaccinated may enter Spain with a negative PCR test taken on arrival, and children under 6 are exempt from any testing.

"After long months of restrictions, we will finally be able to see tourists back from this region to Spain, where we are waiting to welcome them with our usual warmth and with the highest health and security measures," said Daniel Rosado, director of Spanish Tourism for the Gulf countries. "Spain will be delighted to welcome tourists who decide to visit us."

Spain was the world’s second-most visited country before the pandemic, so, as it gets set to welcome travellers again, here's what you need to know if you're planning to go this summer.

Who can travel to Spain?

Travellers from countries across the EU or Schengen Area and from 10 designated low-risk countries can visit Spain for leisure travel.

From today, all vaccinated travellers can fly to Spain from any country, including the UAE. Visitors must have received both doses of a vaccine approved by the EMA.

Unvaccinated travellers from countries outside the EU, Schengen and the designated low-risk countries cannot yet travel to Spain for holidays.

Rules could change if Covid-19 case numbers increase, so travellers should keep up-to-date on local pandemic news.

"The entry of vaccinated citizens from non-EU countries without additional health requirements may be reversed in the event of a worsening of the epidemiological situation in the country of origin or circulation of variants," said the Spanish Tourism authority.

What vaccines does Spain recognise?

An agricultural worker receives a jab of the J&J/Janssen Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Alcarras, near Lleida, on May 22, 2021.  / AFP / Pau BARRENA

Spain recognises all vaccines approved by the EMA or listed for emergency use by WHO. So far, the EMA has approved four vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech; Moderna; Oxford-AstraZeneca and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson.

The same jabs are authorised for emergency use by the WHO, as is China's Sinopharm.

Which airlines are flying to Spain?

From the UAE, you can fly direct to Barcelona or Madrid. Emirates flies to Barcelona from Dubai four times a week, and to Madrid five times a week. From Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways and Air Europa operate flights to both Spanish cities, with fares starting from about Dh2,700 ($735) on both UAE airlines. Emirates will add more flights to the Catalonian capital in July, when it launches its Dubai-Barcelona-Mexico City route.

Domestic Spanish airlines offer flights to additional destinations in the country, such as Alicante, Ibiza or Seville, via connecting flights.

What do travellers need to do before they go?

Visitors from the UAE must have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccination at least 14 days before.

Travellers must also complete an online Health Control Form, no more than 48 hours before flying to Spain. Once submitted, passengers will get an email with a QR code that is needed to board flights to any Spanish destination.

What's the Covid-19 situation in Spain?

FILE PHOTO: People at a restaurant terrace at the end of Good Friday's "Rompida de la Hora" (Breaking of the hour) in Calanda, Spain, April 2, 2021. REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo

Spain seems to be on the road to recovery after being one of Europe's worst-hit countries during the pandemic. The nation is no longer categorised as high-risk as numbers of Covid-19 patients have dropped and death rates have also fallen drastically.

On Saturday, there were  4,975 new cases of the virus recorded, and 97 deaths. A six-month state of emergency was lifted on May 10 and, since then, restrictions have eased across much of the country. Only Navarra, the Balearic Islands and the Valencia regions continue to implement curfews.

What can I see and do in Spain?

There is a reason that Spain is one of the world's most-visited countries – it's a destination that can truly claim to have something for everyone.

From sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches along the coast, to Granada's Moorish Alhambra palaces or Barcelona's Sagrada Familia, Gaudi sites and buzzy Eixample neighbourhood, visitors need endless time to discover all of Spain's treasures. So don't try to; instead decide what you want to do and see and pick your destination based on that.

Scroll through the gallery above for some Spanish travel inspiration.

In the throbbing capital of Madrid, architecture, art and nightlife collide, while culture fans should make a beeline to Cordoba, where there are more Unesco-listed sights than anywhere else in the country. Culinary travellers will find delights countrywide and Spain's foray of island destinations offer an idyllic sunshine-filled getaway.

What restrictions are in place?

There are still restrictions in place across Spain with face masks mandatory in public spaces and 1.5 metre social-distancing rules. Restrictions vary depending on which region you visit, with some areas continuing to implement curfews and others limiting capacities.

This handy map from the Spanish Tourism authority lets you see what measures are in place for the different destinations you plan to visit during your stay. It details any restrictions of movement within each region, provides information on curfews and has guidance on limitations on tourist activities such as restaurant capacities, museum visitor numbers and the opening status of bars, theme parks, theatres and more.

When is the best time to visit Spain?

Spain is a year-round destination thanks to its Mediterranean climate, meaning there is really no bad time to go. Peak tourism season is typically during the summer months, where southern destinations placate sun-seekers and the north of the country is a little cooler.

Summertime in Spain typically means crowds, higher hotel prices and increased flight fares, but with so many people not ready to travel, this could be the year to see it without so many tourists around, especially if you head out of the main cities such as Barcelona and Madrid, which attract travellers from across Europe.

What do I need to do when flying out of Spain?

Travellers departing Spain for the UAE need a PCR test to return.

Airports in Spain are only open to passengers in possession of a ticket or boarding pass, so you cannot accompany others who are leaving to the airport and travellers must wear face masks and respect social distancing policies in place.

Spain was added to Abu Dhabi's Green List on Sunday, May 23, meaning there's no quarantine required for travellers flying from Spain to any airport in the UAE.

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