Health Advice for Spain

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Stay Safe and Perky

If there's one thing that can ruin your gap year abroad, it's hitting a snag with your health. Spain has good health facilities, so if you do have a problem while you travel the country, here's how to get it sorted.


Pharmaceuticals aren't generally sold in supermarkets in Spain, only at pharmacies (farmacias). These are identified by a green cross or a Hygeia's cup. Nearly every city and town has at least one 24-hour pharmacy. Those that close at night are required by law to display a poster with the address of the nearest all-night pharmacy. So it shouldn't prove too difficult to get basic medicines while you're backpacking.

The morning after pill is available over the counter in Spanish pharmacies without requiring a subscription.


If you're from the European Union or a select few other European countries, you can freely use Spain's public health system. Just make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card, which can be obtained before you leave. These will not work in private hospitals.

If you're not from the European Union, make sure you have travel insurance, and don't hesitate if you need to go to a healthcare facility. Even without insurance, it's illegal for them not to give you treatment.

Emergency Numbers

If you require emergency assistance, the number to call is 112.

If you need to report an assault, robbery, or accident to the police, the number is 902 102 112.

Tap Water

Tap water is Spain is generally safe to drink. You only need to be cautious if you're in a very rural area. If you travel to some areas of the east and south the water can have a strong alkaline taste, so bottled water might be preferable.


Smoking in Spain is prohibited in indoor public and work spaces, as well as near hospitals and playgrounds. It's also banned in all enclosed public spaces and public transportation. So be careful where you light up if you don't want a telling off.