Is it safe to come to Malaga?

Since Spain opened her borders to international travellers on 21 June, we’ve received lots of emails asking the same question: is it safe to come to Malaga? Over the last week (since the UK advised against all non-essential travel to Spain on 1 August), the emails have become an avalanche. We therefore thought it made sense to compile some FAQs to give you the facts to help you decide the answer to the question.

How have you compiled this information?

As Guide to Malaga followers know, our team headed by Joanna Styles lives in Malaga city. Since covid-19 first appeared on the scene, Guide to Malaga has offered updated information on coronavirus in Malaga; the lockdown; the easing out of lockdown; and the ‘new normal’.

All our information is a) based on official figures from government sources (links are always included) and b) our experience out and about in Malaga. Using these we have attempted to answer the question “Is it safe to come to Malaga?”

Restrictions in Malaga – UPDATE

Update 11 December: Spain entered a state of alarm on 25 October giving regional authorities the legal power to set their own restrictions. The following applies in Malaga:

From Sunday 18 January until further notice

  • Travel permitted within each province in Andalusia if the municipality is in Level 4 grado 1 (see below), but not in and out of Andalusia (by land to the rest of Spain).
  • Shops open until 6pm.
  • Bars, cafés and restaurants open until 6pm.
  • Maximum number of people allowed to get together is 4.
  • Curfew 10pm to 6am.
  • If the municipality is in Level 4 grado 2 (see below), you cannot travel outside the municipality and all non-essential services are closed.

Municipal lockdown in Andalusia

Municipal boundaries will close if the rate of infection rises above 500 per 100,000 people in 14 days. This means you cannot travel outside your municipal borders unless you have a justifiable reason (e.g. work purposes, taking your children to school, healthcare etc). In municipalities with infection rates over 1,000 per 100,000 people in 14 days, all non-essential services must close.

From 18 January, this restriction applies to Malaga city. The map below shows the city’s municipal borders.

map of municipality of Malaga

Find out latest lockdown rules in Andalusia – add the municipality you want to check in ¿Dónde vives?  and click on Entrar. The data is updated daily so check before you travel anywhere.

Malaga Airport remains open so that if you want to come (and can come) to Malaga, you can unless your home country isn’t allowing travel to Spain. Update 21 December – UK nationals are not allowed to enter Spain until further notice unless you are resident in Spain.

Covid-19 infections have dropped sharply in most of Andalusia over the last month, although the deaths remain high and some areas still have very high infection rates. Numbers in Malaga city continue to be low, but as we all know, the situation is very volatile. If you plan to travel to Malaga, check with official sources before setting out.

What happens if my travel involves an area in lockdown?

You can only travel to and from an area in lockdown for very specific reasons. They include for work, studies (school or university) or “matters of extreme importance” (e.g. court appearance, caring for family members, etc). If it’s for work, you need to download and fill in the file in this document and get it approved by your employer. If you’re a resident in a particular area, you are allowed to return to it, but you’ll need to show proof that you live there.

What’s the covid-19 situation in Malaga now?

On 22 January 2021, Malaga had the following figures:

  • No. of new cases of covid-19 in Malaga province in last 7 days: 13,208
  • No. of people hospitalised for covid-19 in Malaga province in last 7 days: 336 (7 in ICU).
  • No. of people died from covid-19 in Malaga province in last 7 days: 24
  • Population of Malaga province: 1.64 million
  • No. of new cases of covid-19 in Andalusia region in last 7 days: 32,678
  • No. of people hospitalised for covid-19 in Andalusia in last 7 days: 1,011 (54 in ICU).
  • No. of people died from covid-19 in Andalusia in last 7 days: 147
  • Population of Andalusia: 8.4 million

You can check the latest figures (in Spanish only) here. They are updated daily.

Are these figures getting higher?

Yes, they have risen sharply since Christmas. Those for Malaga have almost tripled in the last week.

Can I come to Malaga?

As of September 2020, Spain in common with the rest of the EU is allowing travellers from a list of around 15 countries to enter the country. The EU revises this list periodically. You can find out if your country is on the list here.

The list is not fixed and can change at any time to check it regularly.

If your country is on the list and you come to Malaga, you will be allowed in. This applies even if your country has advised against travel to Spain.

Note that even although some internal borders in Spain are closed, air corridors are still open and you can travel to Malaga by plane from abroad and from other Spanish airports.

What are entry requirements to Malaga?

You need to fill in the Health Control Form (Formulario de Control Sanitario/FCS) via the website or mobile phone app prior to arrival. Full details are here. Note that from 23 November, the form includes a question about whether you have a negative PCR test (see below).

Is there a required covid-19 test to enter Spain?

Yes. As from 23 November, most travellers arriving in Spain by air or sea (land travellers are exempt) must carry proof of a negative PCR or TMA test for covid-19 carried out within 72 hours before your arrival in Spain. You must bring the certificate with you (in English, French, German or Spanish, in paper or digital form) and may be asked to show it on entry. The border officers won’t necessarily ask you to show proof of the test, but if they do and you don’t have it, the fine is €600 and you need to take a test at the airport.

At the time of writing, the test is necessary for nationals from all EEA countries and a long list of others including the UK and US.

What about quarantine?

Spain is not applying quarantine requirements to citizens arriving from the countries in the EU-approved list.

Where can I get a covid test in Malaga?

Numerous clinics in the city offer PCR and antigen tests. PCR test results take between 24h and 48h and cost from €110. Antigen tests take anything from 15 to 90 minutes and cost around €50. Some clinics (such as the Quirón) have walk-in clinics while at others, you need to book an appointment.

The following clinics offer covid tests in Malaga:

Centro Médico Mapfre, Avda de Andalucía 24. PCR test only.

Clínica Pilar, Paseo de Sancha 15. Family testing available.

Clínicas Muelle Heredia, Muelle Heredia 14.

Laboratorios Echevarne, Plaza Arriola 10.

Quirón Málaga, Avda Imperio Argentina 1.

Should I come to Malaga?

That depends on your circumstances and what the government in your home country recommends. Check with your foreign office for the latest advice.

Are flights safe?

We haven’t flown since lockdown so can’t offer a personal experience. However, we do know lots of people who have and the general consensus is as follows:

  • Hygiene on planes appears to be good enough.
  • All passengers and airline staff wear masks all the time (except when eating).
  • Malaga Airport has high hygiene standards and social distancing rules appear to be observed with the exception of some boarding queues.

arrows on the seafront in post-lockdown Malaga

Safe Travels Stamp

On 6 August, Malaga city received the Safe Travels stamp, awarded by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The seal recognises tourist destinations that have applied health and hygiene protocols according to WTTC guidelines.

Andalusian Covid-19 Insurance

From 1 January 2021, all non-resident foreign tourists can benefit from guaranteed covid-19 insurance. The policy guarantees cover for any circumstances caused by the virus and includes hospital healthcare, accommodation in an apartment and repatriation. Read our guide to covid-19 insurance in Andalucia.

What health and hygiene measures has Malaga introduced?

Since lockdown, Malaga city council and all businesses have worked extremely hard to keep the city as clean as possible. We certainly have never seen it looking cleaner. Hygiene measures are in place everywhere, from museums and monuments to buses and taxis; from hotels to restaurants; from shops to beaches, etc, etc.

You can read full details of the measures in our article about the new normal in Malaga.

Do I have to wear a mask?

Yes, masks are compulsory in all public spaces, indoors and outdoors. Exceptions are when you are sitting down and eating and/or drinking, sitting on the beach or doing individual sport and can socially distance. There are fines of €100 for non-compliance and in our experience, the vast majority of people are wearing them. While there are exceptions, most people have accepted masks and feel they’re part and parcel of their responsibility in helping combat the virus.

And here’s how to wear your mask correctly 😍

graphic showing how to wear masks in Malaga

Mask pack

Guide to Malaga has teamed up with Positively Organics and La Planta Sabia, 2 local companies who have put together a mask pack, perfect for these covid-19 times. The pack costs €25 and includes:

  • A reusable organic cotton mask in the choice of 4 different designs.
  • Anti-bacterial essential oil spray for freshness.
  • CBD tea bags and sweet for calmness.

Buy yours for just €25 here – add the discount code MALAGA at the checkout.

Stay calm,fresh and organic behind that mask! (And support local Malaga businesses at the same time 💪)

Is it safe to come to Malaga?

We certainly feel very safe in Malaga. The city has the advantage of offering lots of attractions outdoors – most bars and restaurants have terraces, there are lots of al fresco cultural events and there are the pedestrian spaces, parks and beaches. Inside spaces (shops, museums, tourist offices, public transport etc) all have limited capacity, so you won’t find it difficult to social distance.

On balance, we think it’s a safe city at the moment providing you follow the basic rules of wearing your mask, keeping your distance and washing your hands a lot.

Avoid the (very few) eateries where staff aren’t wearing masks and the (very few) venues that appear to have too many tables to social distance.

covid-19 rules on Malaga beaches

Will I enjoy coming to Malaga?

Obviously, it isn’t the same as it was, but we are enjoying the city this winter. The museums are as good as they were (and quieter!), we have been to some lovely cultural events, our favourite places to eat are all squeaky clean and we love the social distancing on the beach so much that we hope they keep it in place forever!

But, remember, this is our opinion and not official advice. In the current pandemic, you could catch covid-19 anywhere in the world including Malaga. The decision to come to Malaga is yours and yours only.

We hope to see you in Malaga as soon as you feel ready to come here. Meanwhile, stay safe.

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Disclaimer: the information included in this article is based on facts available on the links provided and the personal experience of Guide to Malaga. It should under no circumstances be used as a recommendation to take (or not take) action. The decision to travel to Malaga (or anywhere in the world) is entirely yours and Guide to Malaga takes no responsibility for the outcome of that decision.

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