Criminals are known to target obvious tourists in popular holiday resorts throughout Spain. Here’s our top tips on staying safe.
With millions of visitors a year, Spanish cities and tourist resorts unfortunately also attract the wrong kind of visitor. If you’re laden with luggage and looking lost or confused when you set foot in a new city, you’re sure to attract the wrong kind of attention. Pack light and learn your route in advance you’ll instantly be less vulnerable to those looking for an easy target.
It’s an unfortunate fact that Spain suffers from a reputation of being flooded with pickpockets. Is the reputation warranted? TripAdvisor named both Madrid and Barcelona in its list of the world’s 10 worst cities for pickpocketing, so the answer would seem to be yes.
Pickpockets are known to target tourists at metro stations by snatching an unattended bag and running out just as the doors are about to close. Another common scam is for thieves to disguise themselves as police officers claiming to be on the lookout for counterfeit notes.
Staying safe in the sun
Of course, safety on holiday is about much more than avoiding crime. The biggest danger to Brits on holiday in Spain comes from sun exposure. Use plenty of sun cream and be sure to reapply at regular intervals throughout the day, especially after swimming. Prices for sun protection products can be very high at resorts, so it’s worth buying what you need before you need Britain.
The risk of skin cancer from overexposure to sun is very real, but you don’t need to be sunbathing to be impacted by warmer temperatures than you are used to. Dehydration can strike with very little warning, so drinking plenty of water is an absolute necessity.
Solo female travellers
Touring around Spain you’re sure to bump into plenty of solo female travellers. While a woman travelling alone won’t raise any eyebrows with the locals, you could seem like an easy target for petty criminals. There’s very little for a girl to be worried about but there are a few things you can do to avoid travel hiccups, unwanted attention and uncomfortable situations.
Staying safe at night
Common sense applies if you are hitting popular nightspots or travelling during the night. Personal attacks and sexual assaults against tourists are rare but they can happen, often with other tourists as the perpetrators. In bars and nightclubs, beware of drink spiking and date rape drugs.
Turn down all offers of free drinks and don’t leave any unattended. It’s also worth noting that measures in tourist bars can be liberal, so you may be drinking more than you realise. Don’t tell anyone where you are staying, especially if you are travelling alone. Take a taxi rather than walking.
Although Spanish cities are very cosmopolitan and multicultural, Catholic conservatism still rules in many parts of the country. Although beachwear is perfectly acceptable by the water, avoid overly revealing outfits and lurid colours as you head inland. Not only is it inappropriate, it also identifies you as a tourist and increases your risk of falling victim to pickpockets, thieves and scam artists.