On 9. May, the state of alert due to the health crisis in Spain was lifted and it feels like everything is back to the way it used to be. Stores, restaurants and bars have reopened, although many fell by the wayside during the long lock-down and subsequent restrictions. Tourists are also making a tentative comeback. But many people are still uncertain about what to expect in Barcelona.
This post is to help you get an idea of what it's like in the Catalan capital at the moment and whether it's safe to travel to Barcelona.
From June 2021, tourism in Barcelona is set to be boosted again
Ironically, Barcelona's city council was considering 2019 in light of record numbers of
12 million visitors, how to stem the overwhelming flow of tourists that spills through Barcelona every year or at least steer it in a different direction. As it turned out, in 2020 no one could complain about all-taking vacationers, on the contrary. The pandemic caused a 70% drop in tourism sector revenue; Barcelona realizes how economically dependent it is on its international visitors and has plans to lure them back.
The Barcelona tourism consortium is confident. In the fall of 2020 it still predicted for 2021 the best year in the history of tourism. This time frame has since been revised to the second half of 2021. Numbers have also been set a bit more modestly, but at least the goal is to reach half the number of tourists compared to years prior to Corona.
Barcelona focuses on business travelers and national tourism
Barcelona has become a popular headquarters for international startups in the technology industry in recent years. The city government is looking to build on this and attract even more business travelers by hosting tech conferences and trade shows like the Mobile World Congress.
Barcelona also relies on national tourism; as in many other countries, Spaniards are rediscovering their country and even Catalans and Barcelonese are taking advantage of the absence of international visitors to explore Barcelona at their leisure.
Barcelona, a safe destination – Corona measures at a glance
But Barcelona also wants to bring back international tourists, who are the region's main source of income, and is going to great lengths to enforce anti-covid measures to present Barcelona as a safe travel destination.
Spain's government is also counting on the redemptive effect of the Covid vaccinations, 70% of the Spanish population should be immunized by August and the vaccination propaganda is in full swing.
Entering Barcelona with QR-Quode and with negative antigen rapid test
80% of tourists reach Barcelona by plane. In order to avoid a further spread of the pandemic, airports are being specially controlled and a number of security measures are being implemented.
Generally, masks are mandatory in enclosed public spaces throughout Spain for people over 6 years of age and there should be a minimum distance of 1.5 meters are respected. Outdoors, the masks have been allowed since 26.06. secluded, if the minimum distance can be guaranteed.
Who symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.) that indicate Corona or has tested positive in the last 14 days, may not travel.
Sporadic temperature measurements will be taken, and more extensive investigations will be conducted if the temperature is elevated.
In addition to the usual documents such as passport or identity card, to enter Spain you need the so-called QR-Quode, the proof that you have filled out the form of the SpTH for health control.
The link for the form can be requested through the Spain Travel Health website (or directly through the app). The QR code must be presented at the airport on the cell phone or in paper form or on a cell phone. to be scanned. Caution, if the form was filled out more than 48 hours before departure, the trip can be denied, according to experience reports even if only minutes were exceeded! In other cases, the QR code is not checked at all.
The following information is required when filling out the FCS (Formulario de Control Sanitario) form of the SpTH:
- Flight data: Airline, flight and seat number, date of flight
- Personal data: Name, ID number, contact details
- Home address and address at vacation destination
The following questions must be answered:
Have been in contact with people diagnosed with covid within the last 14 days? Which countries one has traveled to in the last 14 days and for which reason?
In addition, one must tick whether one is vaccinated, recovered from Covid, or has taken a test, in the latter case the type of test must be indicated, as well as the result. If you are the proud owner of the EU Digital COVID Certificate, you can also select it here.
Last but not least, one undertakes that all the information has been filled in truthfully.
All travelers over 6 years of age from countries at risk, which includes Germany, must also carry a negative PCR or TMA test, which must not be older than 72 hours. Since 7.6. a rapid antigen test is also sufficient, but it must not be older than 48 hours.
Those who are fully vaccinated against covid and the vaccination was given more than 14 days ago, do not need a test. Likewise, travelers who can prove that their recovery from Covid was not longer than 180 days ago.
Those who have symptoms related to covid should go to one of the health centers (CAP – Centro de Atencion Primaria) or dial 061, a type of medical advice center (you can choose from 90 languages and dialects). The emergency number in Spain is 112.
All data are without guarantee, because they are subject to constant changes.
Entry to Germany with rapid test
All entrants in Germany must carry a negative result of a PCR, TMA or antigen rapid test, which must not be older than 48 hours. The German tourist in Barcelona will most likely have to do two tests, one for entry in Barcelona and the other for entry in Germany. Alternatively, proof of vaccination or complete recovery can be shown.
Catalonia is no longer considered a risk area, therefore the entry registration and quarantine are no longer required.
All information without guarantee, since the regulations change constantly.
How to get the antigen rapid test in Barcelona for entry into Germany
The Covid antigen test can be purchased through the following website and the voucher can be redeemed in one of the health centers. Depending on the center, an appointment (cita previa) must be made in advance, usually the test, in which a nasal swab is taken, is quick and uncomplicated and the test result can be viewed online shortly or taken away immediately. In the centers where you do not need an appointment, it is best to go early in the morning to avoid waiting time.
Is a vacation in 2021 in Barcelona worthwhile?
Update December 2021 – All sights, museums and cultural institutions, as well as restaurants, bars, clubs and discos are open again (almost) without restrictions.
For more detailed information on the current Covid measures, I have created a recent post.
The state of alert has been lifted in Spain, restaurants and bars in Barcelona are open again in the evenings and there is limited nightlife. Discotheques and clubs had to be visited since 7.7. close again for at least 14 days.
New restrictions (as of 15.07.)
On 15.07. new measures were enforced due to the rising cases of covid infected people in Barcelona:
- All social activities will be closed at 00:30 at the latest (restaurants, bars, concerts)
- Meetings are limited to max. 10 persons, unless all persons belong to the same household
- Access to the beach and parks is forbidden between 00:30 and 6:00
The last two measures are intended to put an end to the so-called botellones, a kind of open-air mass boozing that is especially popular among young people who have no money to get drunk in a bar, as this is the group that is considered the main culprit of the new covid wave in Barcelona.
Is the situation in Barcelona really so serious? It is true that suddenly many people you know seem to be sick with Covid. However, it is mainly the younger generation that has been hit, making it easier to cope with the virus, so the situation is not as serious as it was a year ago, and although the curve of infected people is rising, the number of fatalities is steadily decreasing.
Most attractions have reopened normally (see list below), and some, like Casa MilA, have used the time to modernize their visitor experiences. Also the Sagrada Familia opened its doors again as a latecomer at the end of May. However, many sights have restricted opening hours and not full visitor capacity is allowed.
Also beaches have a maximum capacity and have to be closed by the police from time to time if they are too crowded, which can happen especially on weekends.
You can go shopping or to the hairdresser without any restrictions and without an appointment and a negative test result (a test never had to be done in Spain).
Outdoors, wearing the masks is no longer required if the minimum distance of 1.5 meters can be guaranteed.
Opening hours of restaurants and bars in Barcelona
On 09. May, the state of alert in Spain was ended and with it restrictions like the night curfew. Punctually at 00:00 on 09. On May 5, people in Barcelona and other major cities in Spain took to the streets to loudly celebrate the regained "freedom" to celebrate, leaving behind corpses of alcohol and mountains of empty drunk bottles and other trash in Barcelona's squares, streets and beaches; because even though the festivities of that night were compared in the media to the New Year, all the good intentions made in the social medias seem to be forgotten and it continued as it left off more than 14 months ago.
The Spaniards still disinfect their hands eagerly at every corner, this should, according to experience, subside after they have all been vaccinated, already now you will have a hard time finding a full soap dispenser (or any soap dispenser at all) in a bar.
Masks are compulsory in closed, public places
Masks are still compulsory in the supermarket, in the metro and inside the monuments. Only in the open air are the masks now allowed to be removed, if the minimum distance is respected.
In the restaurant, the mask should only be taken off when you are shoving food into your mouth or sipping your sangria. Fortunately, no one complies and in most restaurants the masks are removed as soon as you sit at the table. The only ones who always wear the mask are the poor waiters.
Tren del Silenci, Train of Silence, sounds good, I thought. Finally, no more loud train chatter at night through our small, quiet suburb of Barcelona. But behind it there is unfortunately something completely different.
The Spaniard is known to shout a lot and with pleasure, even on the train. This has changed in the meantime and you almost feel like you are on a German train. The fear of Corona is behind this, of course, because signs and loudspeaker announcements in the metro stations warn people to avoid speaking on the trains as much as possible, so as not to throw their viruses at passengers.
Only children under 6 years of age and persons with verifiable health problems are exempt from the mask requirement. The mask may also be removed during sports activities, and during activities that would be hindered by the mask, such as eating, drinking, and drinking . smoking.