Safety in Spain
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Nov 30, 2012 9:06 AM Last Post By: Cyberia
Nov 25, 2012 10:09 PM
Safety in SpainI’ve just returned from Spain for 2 weeks’ vacation. My friend and I had rented a car and travelled mainly in Andalucia and Madrid.
Prior to the trip, I’d spent some time in TT to obtain the updated information and advices. I became very worried after reading several posts on the pickpockets, muggers and tyre-punctured scam. I also read a post which said that Asians are the popular targets. Yes, we’re Asians and I worried even more.
We took the car from the Madrid airport and immediately drove down to Toledo and cities in Andalucia, then went up to Segovia and Avila and finally returned to Madrid. Except in Madrid, we all felt very safe. We didn’t feel any threat or have the feeling of being watched. The people in most of the cities were nice and polite. We saw police quite often in many tourist areas.
We also did do street parking in several cities such as Toledo, Jerez, Cadiz, Tarifa, Malaga, Segovia and Avila and were perfectly okay. Of course we were very discipline that we left nothing (not even a piece of paper) in the car when we left it.
Though the LP guidebook states that Madrid is a relatively safe city, we met the same gang of pickpockets in the metro twice on the same day. They were a group of 4 people, 2 males and 2 females, doing their business on Line 10. My friend and I were standing near the metro door. When these 4 people got into the train, they stood very close to us although the train was quite empty. I immediately alerted my friend. 2 of them were holding the metro maps pretending as tourists. When the train was approaching to a station, a man suddenly threw a piece of paper to my friend. At the same time, a woman slipped her hand into my friend’s front pocket. My friend discovered and shouted at her. Of course she denied it. Then we got off the train immediately.
On the return trip, we saw them on the train again. My friend stared at them sternly. They also recognized us, so they moved to the next compartment. This time, they targeted at a pair of tourists. When a man was managing his luggage to prepare for getting off, the same woman stole the phone from his coat’s pocket. Luckily his friend noticed her action and shouted at her. She immediately threw the phone onto the floor and said the man had dropped his phone himself.
Overall, I felt the cities that I travelled were safe as long as the necessary precautions were taken. We used money belt and neck pouch. Dressed down. Left nothing valuable in the coat or pants’ pockets. Be alert when travelling in metro or in crowded area. Avoid quiet streets…..
Finally, I must say we enjoyed the trip very much. The Mezquita in Cordoba and Alhambra in Granada are so impressive. White villages around Ronda are also interesting. The aqueduct in Seville is stunning. We tried a lot of tapas and bought quite a bit of Jamon Iberico back home as souvenir. My friend said he will visit Spain again definitely.
Nov 25, 2012 11:05 PM
Nov 26, 2012 12:25 AM
2I'm sorry for your bad experience in Madrid, but I think that it was only bad luck.
Usually (not always), the pickpockets and similar "people" aren't spanish or are spanish gipsies.
They usually works in the turistic cities like Seville, Madrid, Barcelona, etc..
I enjoyed reading about your fast reaction, and I hope that the final opinion of Madrid isn't bad, 'cause there are a lot of good people here (like me!), and, if you become to Madrid, I hope you'll be better luck.
Nov 26, 2012 2:31 AM
Nov 26, 2012 7:43 AM
4The aqueduct in Seville is stunning.
I think you mean the aqueduct in Segovia is stunning, don't you?
Nov 26, 2012 8:53 AM
5I had someone from a gang of eastern Europeans try and steal from me on a metro in Madrid. I threatened him in such a way that his friends could not do anything and allowed the boss to talk me into letting him go. About eight of them got off of the crowded carriage at the next stop, all part of the one gang. The leader was not happy.
That is how they make their living, riding the trains all day.
Note: I do dress down.
Nov 27, 2012 5:19 PM
Nov 30, 2012 9:06 AM
8The UK has an act of a violence against a stranger every 30 seconds according to reports. Yet unless you read the newspaper article concerned you would probably be unaware of this.
America does have a bad reputation for shootings, stabbings, etc but in over 70 weeks there over the decades I never had any problems or saw anyone who did.
Is Hong Kong violent? I've been there several times and seen no sign of violence, or read of any in English newspapers.
I was in Spain from September 2011 to August 2012 (and have been many times before) and though I read of violent incidents in the English language newspapers, I have had no problems there with violence.
I did get my pocket picked in a market in Lloret de Mar a few years ago and the eastern European woman who did it was taken to the police station along with an accomplice (both known to the police) but they she had immediately passed the money on. They both had five euros each on them, to buy water and something to eat while out picking pockets.
I think it is mostly being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
(5 star Hotel)
From US$504.99 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$173.14 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$288.56 per night