Healthcare. What do you need to know?


If you need to purchase medicines or see a doctor during your trip to Spain, remember that emergency treatment is guaranteed. For other cases, we recommend that you read our advice. Here is information too about where it is forbidden to smoke and where you can find restaurants if you have celiac disease.

  • How can you see a doctor in Spain?

    Emergency treatment is guaranteed for everyone and is provided in hospitals and some health centres. Care at private centres will always be charged. We recommend always travelling with international medical insurance, especially if you are not a citizen of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein or a country with a bilateral healthcare agreement with Spain that covers assistance.

    Medical care for illness or accident is free to citizens of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein as long as they have a European Health Card (EHIC) and the reason for the trip is not to seek specific medical treatment. If you forget your EHIC, you will have to pay all the costs and request reimbursement back in your country. If you require scheduled medical treatment, this must be authorised by the competent institution in your country of origin. In all cases, dental treatment (with the exception of extractions) are excluded, and repatriation the in case of illness.

    Andorra, Chile, Morocco, Peru and Tunisia have bilateral agreements with Spain that guarantee medical and hospital care to their citizens in Spain. However, you will need to have the appropriate certificate issued in your country of origin. If you forget your certificate, you will have to pay all the costs and request reimbursement back in your country. Here you can consult the different bilateral agreements with Spain on healthcare.

    UK citizens will be covered by the Spanish National Health System. It is envisaged that the UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC) or the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will provide this coverage. Find more information in the Brexit info section.

  • Where can you buy medicines?

    In Spain, medicines are purchased from chemists. You will see these in the streets with the green crosses. If you come from a European country or a country that has a healthcare agreement with Spain, you'll be eligible for the same pharmaceutical services as Spaniards.

  • Smoking. Where is it prohibited?

    In Spain, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public areas (including public or collective transport vehicles).

    It is also prohibited to smoke in healthcare facilities (including outdoor areas that are part of their premises), educational or training centres (except in outdoor spaces in universities and adult education centres) and playgrounds and play areas (outdoor spaces equipped for children).

    Many hotels and other establishments have rooms for smokers. These must be in separate areas with separate ventilation.

  • Celiac disease. Is it easy to find food for celiacs and how do you ask for it?

    In Spain there is a growing awareness of Celiac Disease and the importance of providing gluten-free food. Therefore, more and more hotels, restaurants, campsites, parks and recreation centres are prepared for the needs of people with celiac disease. You can find a list of them on the official website of the Spanish Federation of Associations of people with celiac disease. In turn, the Federation recommends that tourists who do not speak Spanish carry a piece of paper with this text written on it.

    “I’m a celiac. If I eat any kind of food containing wheat, rye, barley, oats, kamut, spelt or triticale, it can make me ill. This includes flour, bread, pasta, croquettes, sweets, sauces, and some cured meats. Celiacs can eat meat, fish, eggs, pulses, fruit, vegetables, rice, maize, soya, and also potatoes. These products should be cooked without flour, boiled, grilled, barbecued or served raw. If you have any questions during the preparation of the meal, please let me know. Thank you.”