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Spain is an incredibly popular destination for solo travelers. And honestly, who can blame anyone for falling madly in love with Spain?
I know it’s one of my favorite destinations in all of Europe. I feel like I will never get tired of Spain, thanks to the country’s many diverse regions, warm and vibrant people, and exquisite food (oh my god, the food).
Not to mention, in Spain, solo travelers never run out of bustling cities, charming towns, and stunning nature to see and admire. Spain reminds me of an endless festival.
So, if you’re thinking about visiting Spain alone, I highly support your decision. Spain is perfect for solo travelers for many reasons.
However, even though I’ve traveled alone to Spain more than once, I also understand feeling anxiety if it’s your first trip.
You might wonder if you’ll feel lonely or get lost or misplace your passport. I always tell solo travelers to remind themselves while, yes, bad things may happen, good things may also blossom out of a trip. Give your courage a chance.
In this Solo Travel Spain post, I’ll address safety first, before moving on to reasons you ought to go to Spain and tips to make your Spanish vacation a smooth and enjoyable one!
Is Spain Safe to Travel Alone?
Yes, solo travel in Spain is very safe.
Random violent crime is rare in Spain. I walked around Madrid and Barcelona alone, and was not always hyper focused on safety either, and I never once felt at risk. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you leave your common sense behind as soon as you cross the Spanish border.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention pickpocketing in this post, however. At the end of the day, your belongings are in more danger than you. You might already know that Barcelona is considered the “Pickpocket Capital of the World.”
Don’t be paranoid in Spain. Be smart, though.
Pickpockets in Spain
My first piece personal advice is to leave your passport at your rental apartment or locked in a safe in your hostel or hotel. You really don’t have any reason to carry your passport with you during the day. No one has ever asked for me.
In addition, you should also leave behind at least one credit card and a couple of Euros in the safe, too. If you’re the unfortunate target of a pickpocket, then you won’t lose all of your money in one swoop. Protect your money. You’ve worked hard for it.
Furthermore, if you want to take an additional step to protect your belongings, then invest in a theft-proof bag such as Pacsafe’s crossbody bag or backpack. I personally recommend these items for travelers who just know that their anxiety about pickpockets will detract from the beauty of exploring Spain.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Spain Alone
Like I said, your odds of falling victim to a violent crime in Spain are low. However, low doesn’t mean never. I’ve listed a couple more safety tips for traveling alone to Spain.
- Don’t Be Polite: No, I’m not implying you should act like a total jerk to everyone. But you’re under no obligation to be nice to someone who won’t leave you alone after you requested it. No one is entitled to your time or energy. Feel free to ignore strangers entirely and don’t feel guilty about it either, especially women. We’re conditioned to “act nice,” which isn’t always in the best interests of our safety.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Program: The Smart Traveler Enrollment program is a free service that allows Americans to enroll with their local embassy or consulate. After registering, you will receive messages about the latest safety and security concerns in your destination.
- Limit Alcohol Intake: I promise I’m not victim blaming. A crime is always the criminal’s fault. Nor does any amount of intoxication excuse someone for hurting you. However, do whatever possible to protect yourself here. Don’t go overboard guzzling the wine (although it’s amazing here). My personal limit when drinking alone is two drinks. Also don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended in Spain — which is good advice for anywhere in the world.
- Research Neighborhoods: In Spain’s big cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, neighborhoods may vary wildly. If you’re traveling alone, be sure to read about a neighborhood’s vibe and crime statistics. You also want to research your accommodation and make sure it is located in a populated area on a well lit street. Even the most innocent places might transform dramatically at night.
- Share Your Itinerary: Okay, I get it. You’re a strong independent traveler! Still, it’s always smart to share your itinerary with one or two people. God forbid if you fall off the grid and the authorities need to know your last location. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but it’s better safe than sorry.
4 Reasons You Should Travel Alone to Spain
Now let’s talk about the reasons why Spain ought to be your next solo trip. Again, I understand your nervousness, but please don’t let anticipatory anxiety put you off from taking an adventure around this fantastic country.
Solo Spain Travel is an experience that you don’t want your anxiety to talk you out of. Let’s focus on the good things now.
Tapas Culture Makes Dining Alone Fun
Tapas, tapas, tapas are a solo diner’s very best friend! Folks, I don’t know about you, but I always get nervous eating alone in public, even though I know literally no one else in the restaurant cares.
In Spain, tapas transform solo dining into a delicious dream rather than a socially awkward nightmare. No pity for a table of one. No awkwardly watching couples and families at your single table. No poor service as the waiter focuses on large groups of diners. All that additional stress is eliminated once you step inside a tapas bar.
Simply sit at the bar and point at the items that you would like to try. Or, if at a trendier tapas bar, order some tasty treats off the menu.
In large cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, many workers eat tapas alone once the work day concludes, so you will not be the only single diner either. You’ll fit right in.
Easy to Meet Other Solo Travelers
Spain is a great destination for meeting other travelers. New solo travelers understandably worry about feeling lonely overseas, but I promise you won’t have any issues in Spain.
For young (and young at heart) travelers, I suggest staying in one of Spain’s many hostels. It feels like every Spanish city has at least one highly reviewed hostel. Good hostels promote a warm atmosphere among travelers, and several organize events such as pub crawls, walking tours, and dinners, so it’s not too difficult to meet other people.
If you like your privacy, most hostels offer private rooms where you’re able to have a good night’s sleep at the end of a long day.
I’ve listed a couple of wonderful hostels in this post to start the research process for you.
Hostel Ideas for Spain
- Black Swan Hostel in Seville: This trendy hostel is located on a central side street, and has a beautiful sun terrace for you to catch some southern Spanish rays as you make new friends. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Cantagua Hostel in Valencia: Are you looking for a cozy hostel that feels just like home? Look no further than Cantagua Hostel. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- El Granado Hostel in Granada: Do you want a friendly hostel that’s located in a gorgeous historical building? Then you need to check out El Granado. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Oasis Backpackers’ Hostel in Toledo: Toledo is packed midday, but if you stay the night, then this magic medieval city is all yours. And what better place to stay than the highly ranked Oasis hostel? See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Sungate One Hostel in Madrid: One of my favorite hostels of all time!! The staff is very social and participates in all the activities. Plus the dinners are amazing and great for connecting with other travelers like yourself. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Yeah Hostel in Barcelona: Centrally located in Paseo de Gracia, this hostel has super comfortable custom beds, and has an atmosphere for every type of traveler. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
Reasonable Prices for Your Wallet
Believe it or not, Spain doesn’t have to destroy your credit card balance. Yes, I’m serious.
Avoid eating in the popular squares and on the crowded well-traveled streets. Instead wander outside the tourist areas of Madrid and Barcelona, and I promise that you will find local restaurants and shops with reasonable prices. Over all, I found a visit to Spain much cheaper than traveling around parts of the United States, especially expensive cities such as New York and San Francisco.
And if you go into the Spanish countryside? You will definitely save a lot of money, and still eat and drink very, very, very well. Plan your itinerary ahead of time, and I promise your adventures around Spain won’t break the bank.
Spain solo travel doesn’t have to be a costly affair.
Strong Tourist Infrastructure
Spain has great tourist infrastructure. As one of the most visited countries in Europe, Spain knows how to take care of its visitors well. Most Spanish cities will have a tourist office where you can collect information about tours, attractions, and transportation.
And, as you explore the cities themselves, clear directions make even large metropolitan areas feel manageable. For example, in Barcelona, nearly every street corner had signs pointing in the direction of the neighborhood’s most famous attractions, making it difficult for even a solo traveler to get lost.
Spain Solo Travel Tips
Last but not least, I wanted to include a couple of practical travel tips in this guide for your upcoming adventures around Spain. Of course, these suggestions are to help jumpstart your planning process. You still need to do your own research for your itinerary, but that’s part of the fun, right?
Always Purchase Travel Insurance
Spain is safe. However, emergencies can happen anywhere in the world. As a solo traveler, you want to protect both your physical and financial well-being, which means purchasing travel insurance for your trip.
On my solo trips, I use World Nomads travel insurance to cover everything. The prices for a policy are very reasonable.
Keep in mind that if you plan to do any adventure sports in Spain that traditional insurance might not cover everything. Fortunately, World Nomads also has an adventure travel package that will keep you safe overseas.
As a side note, if you have a credit card with travel benefits, see if your card includes an insurance policy. It never hurts to check!
Explore a Region or Two Rather Than “See It All”
Ugh, I always cringe whenever I hear that someone is planning to see “all” of Spain in a week. It’s just not possible. You’re much better off spending a week in a particular region of Spain to fully immerse yourself into the experience.
For example, when I traveled alone in Madrid, I decided to stay longer in the capital than I originally planned, which freed up time to take delightful day trips to Toledo, Segovia, and El Escorial.
I recommend researching regions ahead of time to see what interests you the most. And hey, by not trying to see all of Spain, you have the perfect excuse to return to this wonderful country in the near future.
Learn Spanish (or at Least Some Phrases)
English is widely spoken in a lot of European countries. English is an easy way for different nationals to communicate across borders. Plus it is widely taught in most schools.
Unfortunately, English isn’t as commonly spoken in Spain, especially as you go deeper into the countryside. That’s not to say you will never encounter English. It’s certainly spoken in the tourism industry, and a lot of the urban young people will speak at least enough for you to communicate.
But to truly enjoy your trip to Spain, you need to learn a couple of phrases of Spanish. I recommend reading a Spanish phrasebook, or using a cellphone app like Duolingo to brush up.
You’ll even want to learn some Spanish for destinations like Barcelona where Catalan is the primary language. It just makes communication a million times easier.
Take a Guided Walk or Tour
Last but not least, a guided tour might benefit even the most independent solo travelers. Spain has several fascinating guided walks that are easily tailored for your interests. For instance, I absolutely love history. I took a Spanish Inquisition Walk in Madrid that shed a lot of light on this bloody and tragic period in history.
Guided tours are also an ideal way to see locations that are difficult to reach if you don’t have your own transportation. I wanted to see the Valley of the Fallen while I was in Madrid, but I knew this site was impossible to get to without my own car. To save time and money, I took a guided tour out to the valley and learned so much more than if I would’ve attempted to go on my own.
Free walking tours also provide great value to travelers. On these tours, you tip the guide whatever amount you think the tour was worth. Free walking tours, in particular, tend to draw in younger backpackers who are traveling throughout Europe, and as a result, are willing to chat and make friends. I’ve lost track of the number of friends that I made on free walking tours.
Guided walks and tours are abundant in Spain. Do your research. Read reviews. And then enjoy!
I hope this guide to solo travel in Spain helped inspire you! If you still have questions, check out some of my solo travel planning services over in the shop! Have a great adventure in Spain!