Security Briefing: Security Assessment
Normal Travel Precautions
Western governments advise you to practice normal safety precautions when traveling to Spain. Be aware that close proximity to North Africa makes Spain vulnerable to attacks by al-Qaeda terrorists in the Maghreb region. And like other countries in the Schengen area, Spain shares open borders with its Western European neighbors, which can make it easier for terrorist groups to enter and exit the country.
Tourists sometimes fall victim to petty street crime. Be particularly cautious in large crowds and while using public transportation. Thieves often utilize distraction techniques and work in groups: one thief may call for help or attention from a tourist, and once the tourist is distracted, the other thief will strike. Similarly, travelers should be aware of criminals impersonating police officers. All real officers will be dressed in official uniforms and will be carrying official identification.
Political demonstrations and strikes occur often in the city centers close to tourist areas in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and other large cities. These may result in violence and police conflict. Travelers should monitor local media to avoid these incidents.
Be wary of scam artists claiming unnecessary fees to cross between Spain and Gibraltar.
Be cautious when swimming to avoid undertows, riptides, and jellyfish. Recent lifeguard strikes have left many beaches unprotected, and visitors swim at their own risk.
Primary Sources: The US Department of State's "International Travel" website (travel.state.gov/travel/), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's "Smartraveller" website (www.smartraveller.gov.au), and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office's "Foreign Travel Advice" website (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/)
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