Spain is such an incredible country that offers everything a solo female traveler could want: food, shopping, gorgeous topography, beaches, historic towns, and so much more. It’s a beautiful country to explore, experience new things, meet new people and most importantly a place to discover yourself.
Spain, being part of the EU, is a westernized country so its culture, while unique, has similarities to what you might experience at home or in another European country. Still, you might be curious to know: “Is Spain safe for a solo female traveler?”
It’s 100% normal to wonder about safety, even in a welcoming country like Spain. There are just more “unknowns” when considering visiting a country as a solo female traveler.
Learn how to make sure that Spain is a safe place to visit solo below.
Just like any other western country, Spain can be a very safe place to visit, assuming you follow all the necessary safety precautions, plan travel activities with well-known businesses, keep your belongings safe, and you stay aware of your surroundings.
How Safe is Spain for Travel?
Violent crimes against tourists are rare in Spain, but they do happen, so always be aware of your surroundings and keep your ‘spidey sense’ on when traveling. And note that violent crimes can happen by other tourists, so just because someone is another tourist, doesn’t necessarily mean you can let your guard down completely.
The most common crimes against tourists in Spain are petty theft crimes, especially in larger cities in populated tourist areas. One example is the large food market in Barcelona: it is well known for pickpockets, so definitely carry your bag or backpack in front of you, and keep your phone in your front pocket.
Another scam or common petty theft is to have a motorcycle or vespa fly by you and grab your purse, wallet or phone, especially at busy intersections. It’s best to look at your phone for directions, or grab something from your bag against a building wall or in a doorway of a public building.
Tips for Solo Female Travel in Spain
1. Plan out your trip details ahead of time
Know your sightseeing destinations, guide companies, tours, dining destinations, activities and travel arrangements ahead of time. The more prepared you are heading into an unfamiliar destination, the easier it is to avoid surprises and unforeseen situations. Make sure to read reviews of your accommodations, especially the ‘bad reviews’ to ensure that this location and property is safe for a solo female traveler. And remember, you don’t have to plan everything in advance; leave yourself open to spontaneity and new adventures.
2. Connect with your hotel concierge (or lodging host)
Local hosts will be able to help you find trustworthy activities, so it’s a good idea to connect with them prior to and during your trip to make sure you’re choosing the right activities for your solo trip. I also recommend telling your concierge or host that you are traveling solo, so they can make sure their suggestions are of the highest quality.
3. Always keep track of your cash and identification
Spain has so many places to see and things to do, from hiking the Camino de Santiago, to lounging on the beach in Ibiza to Michelin-starred restaurants in San Sebastian. You want to make sure you keep your money and identification safe. I recommend leaving your passport in the safe at the hotel, and carrying your driver’s license with you for identification. I also recommend bringing 2 ATM cards and multiple credit cards. You can leave 1 ATM card and a credit card in the safe at your accommodation, and carry one of each with you. This is a great way to ensure that you will always have access to funds if you lose your wallet or are pickup-pocketed. I also recommend an RFID wallet to carry your credit cards. Check out these wallets below:
4. Use Uber/Lyft or Licensed Taxi Service
People tend to get into trouble (no matter where they are) if they’re not careful about their transportations choices. There are plenty of safe and reputable local transportation options available in Spain, including rideshare apps and licensed taxi services. Late in the evenings, it’s common to ask the restaurant or bar to call a cab for you, which will keep you from standing on a corner, trying to flag one down.
If you’re not sure which to use, consult a concierge or host. Some cities in Spain have Uber, and some have an app called Cabify. There’s also a ride share service called BlahBlah Car for shared rides between different cities. I’ve used both and felt safe every time; that being said, use your 6th sense, and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t get in the car.
5. Public Transportation
Public Transportation is efficient, easy to use and on-time most of the time. Whether you wish to travel by bus, train or metro, I find the staff helpful and accommodating. Do note that the smaller the town, the less English will be spoken, so remember google translate is your friend. Just make sure that you are aware of your surroundings and always have your belongings with you when traveling on public transport, including going to the restrooms on buses or trains. Additionally, I recommend carrying your purse or bag in front of you when traveling on the bigger city metros.
6. Renting a Car
I love renting a car in Spain, as it gives me the freedom to stop where I want, take a road less traveled and visit areas not accessible by train or bus. I find the roads to be well maintained and safe to travel even at night. That being said, I do not drive late at night in Spain or any country for that matter. Just remember to hide your belongings, and make sure to park in well lighted garages and streets.
Spanish Culture & Solo Travel
Spanish culture is a little more conservative than some other countries around the world as they are primarily a catholic population and have a history of being a conservative culture, especially in larger cities.
My recommendation is to wear clothes that are a bit more conservative in cities like Madrid and Barcelona as a solo female traveler. Choose darker colors and longer pants or skirts. (Check out my favorite Colombia skort here).
Additionally, in smaller local villages, I also suggest that you dress conservatively.
Although it’s a somewhat conservative country, in the beach towns and islands, almost anything goes. The Spanish coastline is full of tourists from all over the world, and the attire varies from conservative dresses to topless beaches and everything in between. Still, be respectful and don’t let everything hang out 🙂
Another thing that is somewhat common in Spain is for someone to hold your gaze, and I find the Spanish culture is more direct when looking at you or glancing at you from afar. For me, I find this more flattering than aggressive or unnerving, and I just look at them in return.
Quick Tips for a Safe Spain Travel Experience
- Take photos of your passport, ID & Credit cards, and email them to yourself, and save them on your phone under your favorites.
Send your travel itinerary to someone – this ensures that there’s always someone in the know about where you are and where you’re supposed to be
- Make sure you have In Case of Emergency (ICE) listed in in your contacts on your phone
- If you are using dating or BFF apps, make sure to meet people in public. Don’t let them pick you up or drop you off.
- Spanish culture is a late night culture. You will find crowded streets at 10/11pm most nights. It is safe to go out in the evenings by yourself, just make sure that you stay with the crowds and in well lit areas.
- Note that 911 in Spain is 112. I’d suggest saving this number on your phone in case of an emergency.
- Pickpocketing is common in large cities, especially Barcelona. Please make sure that you carry your bag in front of you in crowded markets, and don’t leave your phone or wallet in your side or back pocket. Also, make sure that your bag has a zipper that isn’t easy to unzip.
- Your luggage:A scam that I’ve heard about in Spain is for someone to ask you for directions or a question, while someone else comes up and swipes your luggage. Make sure to keep your hands on your luggage at all times, and if you can afford it, take taxis or Ubers with your luggage instead of public transportation in large cities.
- When in a cafe or restaurant, keep your purse in your lap, or wrap the strap over one knee and cross your other leg over the top of the strap.
Why Spain is Great for Solo Female Travelers
#1 Spaniards are friendly and they go out of their way to help you with suggestions and directions.
It’s a very social culture and life is all about getting together with friends and family. It won’t take long before you’re invited for a drink, a tapa or a coffee.
#2 The tapas culture lends itself to meeting new people.
Tapas is typically standing up at a crowded bar and having 1 drink and 1-2 tapas. It’s so easy to start talking to the person next to you about what they are eating and where they are headed for the next tapa. I’ve met so many people standing at a tapas bar, and I’ve had some incredible conversations and made long term friends over a single pinxto of queso de cabra (tapa of goat cheese)
#3 It’s relatively easy to go to dinner alone.
After the waiter realizes you are alone, he/she and the other staff usually take you under their wings and make sure you are entertained throughout your dinner. I also find that the waiter will bring you a few extra goodies to ensure you are having a good time solo.
#4 Spain has a lot of tourism, so most locations around the country are very accommodating to tourists.
Spain is one of my favorite countries in the world, and I try to spend a month every year in this gorgeous country…most of the time solo. If you were concerned about being a female solo traveler in Spain, do not worry; it’s a wonderful country with an incredible culture and so open and accommodating to the solo female traveler. Go out and buy that plane ticket and start planning your trip; it will be one of the best things you’ve ever done.
For more Spain travel tips, visit my links below:
- What to Do in Ronda Spain in One Day [VIDEO]
- The Best of Toledo Spain
- Things to Do in Caminito del Rey
- Travel Guide to Malaga (Video)
Related Spain Travel Videos: