Easter week (known as Semana Santa) is one of the busiest and most popular times in Spain for Spaniards to enjoy some vacation time and travel: both around their own country and overseas. From taking part in colourful processions and carnivals to travelling to visit friends and family, Semana Santa (or Holy Week) is a key part of the Spanish calendar. So, will it be possible to continue these traditions and travel in Spain for an Easter holiday this year? Here’s everything we know so far:
The Current Coronavirus Situation in Spain
The good news is that coronavirus cases are falling in Spain. Throughout February the country saw fewer than 200 cases per 100,000 people in the population. Although the figures change constantly, to date Spain has experienced 3,160,970 confirmed Covid cases and 71,436 Covid deaths. The falling rates of Covid deaths, coupled with the dramatic reduction in infection rates in those Spaniards who have been vaccinated, are all good news for the country.
Despite this, the borders to the country remain closed to tourists, and the Health Ministry has requested that all autonomous regions maintain border closures throughout Semana Santa (Holy Week). The autonomous breakdown of Spanish government means that there will not be blanket rules about travel across the country, but most of the autonomous regions seem to be in agreement that travel should be limited across the Easter period. Some regions such as Madrid, however, says that they remain committed to having open borders over the holidays.
It’s important to note that if you are living in a region that has decided to close its borders over Easter, then even if you wish to travel to a region that has open borders, you will not be able to travel. In simple terms, you cannot leave a region with closed borders. It’s complicated, and the situation is changing all the time. But here are the restrictions that have currently been announced to help you make your Easter plans:
Regions Remaining Closed Over Easter
- Castilla y León will remain closed to visitors until May 9th, making travel impossible. The regions Vice President has called for nationwide consistency, announcing “Uniform rules are needed, not 17 different sets of rules.”
- The Valencia region will also remain closed. Whilst the region has begun to loosen restrictions on movement, and the restrictions on entering and leaving towns and cities of more than 50,000 inhabitants have been lifted, the overall region borders will still remain closed.
- In a similar vein, the Principality of Asturias has also relaxed the closures within the region but will still not open its borders for Semana Santa.
- Murcia’s government will also continue its long closure to outside travel. The municipalities of Ulea and Alhama de Murcia are still under an “extreme alert” and closed to travel from elsewhere in the region, so even travel within the region itself may prove difficult.
Regions That Are Still Undecided about Opening Their Borders For Easter
- The countries most spectacular Holy Week celebrations take place in Andalusia, and we know the borders will remain closed in the region until March 5th. Beyond that, however, there is no certainty about what will happen. Either the restrictions will remain in place, or if they are relaxed then this relaxation with be moderate.
- The border in Aragón remains closed for everyone within the community, but no decision has yet been announced about the Easter period.
- Similarly, the Basque Country’s government has yet to make an official announcement, but a fully open border will be highly unlikely.
- Cantabria are waiting to see how the vaccination programme progresses in the region because making a decision about Easter border closures. The government of the region have said they would do so if 15 to 20 percent of the population has been vaccinated.
- Deliberations also continue in Catalonia, where restrictions are continuing to be loosened in the region.
- Nearby Madrid has remained open throughout the current lockdown, with only a few zones restricted, so it is thought the region will remain open during the Easter period too, although this hasn’t been officially announced yet.
- Extremadura, much like Madrid, also doesn’t have a border closure in place right now, so it is unlikely that it will introduce one in time for Easter. But we are yet to receive confirmation of this at this stage.
- Galicia is currently closed, but the President of the region has said that it is too soon to make a decision about opening borders for a holiday that is still four weeks away.
- The government of the Balearic Islands is considering opening travel corridors to allow tourists to visit the Balearic Islands. Ibiza and Formentera are the only two islands that remain closed as a result of their high case rates. Currently, a negative PCR test is required from all those who enter from an autonomous community with a cumulative incidence rate of more than 150 cases.
- Municipal border closures in La Rioja were lifted on the 1st March, but the whole region still remains closed. It is thought that it will continue to remain closed throughout Easter, but as the restriction revisions are announced on a weekly basis, we have had no clarification about this yet.
- Finally, the autonomous Spanish cities of Ceuta y Melilla in North Africa remain closed and they are waiting for guidance from the central Government over whether or not they can open for Semana Santa.
Regions that will be open to tourists over Easter
- The Canary Islands are currently open to visitors and have also confirmed they will be open for visitors over Easter too. Travel from elsewhere in Spain to the Canary Islands is allowed, but only if the region you are travelling from also has open borders. You will need to present a negative covid test result taken within 72 hours before your arrival.
Are you wondering how to buy in Spain? Perhaps you’re hoping to invest in new build properties in the Costa del Sol or find Spanish villas for sale? We can help! Our local property experts are perfectly placed to offer all of the help and support you need. Why not get in touch today?