Get us in your inbox

Frigiliana, a village in Andalucia, Spain
Photograph: Botond Horvath /

Spain has officially reopened – but UK travellers face quarantine on their return

The country has lifted its quarantine for European travellers, plus residents of ten other nations around the world

James Manning

Joining the wave of European countries reopening their borders in time for the height of summer, Spain became the latest Mediterranean destination to let holidaymakers jet in without a quarantine period back in June. The country has since reopened its borders to members of the EU’s Schengen zone and the UK.

Spain, which enforced a strict lockdown in March, brought its initial reopening date forward from July following advice from the EU Commission. As of July 1, travellers from Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay are also allowed in, while the land border with Portugal has reopened too.

UK holidaymakers, however, may want to rethink any trips they have planned. In late July, British government reimposed its quarantine rules on people arriving in the UK from Spain following rising numbers of cases across the country. It has since removed Spain from its official list of ‘air bridge’ countries.

The Canary Islands, including Tenerife and Lanzarote, were exempt for a couple of months, owing to their low infection rates, but as of December 12, they will join the rest of Spain on the UK’s ‘quarantine list’.

The rule means anyone travelling from Spain will have to provide an address where they will self-isolate for 14 days (or risk a fine of up to £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or £480 in Scotland).

On arrival in Spain, visitors will face no mandatory quarantine, but will have to go through three ‘health checkpoints’: an information form, a temperature check and a visual inspection. As of November 23, all travellers must also provide a negative test result from within the past 72 hours.

Once you’re there, the holiday experience may well feel a little different too. Masks are compulsory in outdoor public places in Barcelona, the Costa Brava and other parts of Catalonia, although you are allowed to remove them while sunbathing. The same goes in the southern Andalucía region.

So if you do manage to make it on your long-awaited Spanish beach break any time soon, you’ll have to come prepared with masks, sanitiser and plenty of alternative night-out plans. And with the ever-present risk of lockdown rules being tightened even further, you should also be ready to up sticks and go home at very short notice.

Remember, many countries are still warning against all non-essential travel and some are quarantining all overseas arrivals, including their own returning citizens. Check all the relevant restrictions before you think about travelling.

Where can you travel right now? Here’s what you need to know.

How safe is flying right now? We asked an expert.

Latest news