Going out in Spain: What are the rules for bars and nightclubs?

Nightclubs are now open across most of Spain's 17 regions and many have also eased restrictions on capacity limits and closing times. Find out what the rules are for going out in your part of Spain. 

Clubs in Ibiza are allowed to open
What are the current restrictions for nightlife venues in Spain? Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

After Spain’s fifth wave, many regions started to relax their nightlife restrictions and now nightclubs are open in almost all areas. Find out what capacity limits remain in place and in which regions you need a Digital Covid Certificate to access nightlife venues. 

Here are the current nightlife rules for each of Spain’s 17 regions: 


The government of Andalusia has introduced a new level 0. 

Bars in municipalities at this level will have no capacity or opening time restrictions. At places in level 1, bars can operate to a 75 percent capacity limit indoors and stay open until 2am. Eight people are allowed per table indoors and 10 outdoors. 

Nightclubs in places at level 0 also have no restrictions on capacity or opening times. At places in level 1, drinking at the bar is allowed and tables can seat eight people inside and 10 outside. 


Bars can open to a capacity limit of 50 percent indoors and 100 percent on the terraces. Ten people are allowed per table inside and 15 outside. Closing times now depend on each venue’s municipal licence. 

Nightlife venues are allowed to open until 4am, if their licences permit them and they have the same capacity limits as bars and restaurants. It is not permitted to smoke at nightlife venues or use the dance floors. 


There are no more limits on the opening times of bars. Eating and drinking at the bar is allowed and up to 10 people can sit at tables both inside and outside.  

Nightlife venues can open until 4am with six per table inside and 10 outside. 

Balearic Islands 

The Superior Courts of the Balearic Islands have approved the use of Digital Covid Certificates to access nightclubs. This means that you will need to either be fully vaccinated, show that you have a negative Covid-19 test or show that you have recovered from Covid-19. 

From October 8th, bars will be allowed to increase their capacity limit from 50 to 75 percent and will be allowed to stay open until 2am. The number of people allowed per table is eight indoors and 12 outdoors.

Nightclubs are also allowed to reopen from October 8th to a 75 percent capacity and can stay open until 5am. Masks will be required on the dance floor. Cocktail bars can open until 4am. 

Basque Country

There are currently no limits on capacity or opening times for nightlife venues. The use of masks is still required and the government ask that people still maintain their distance from one another. 

Canary Islands

Fuerteventura is at level 2, while Tenerife, Gran Canaria, El Hierro, Lanzarote, La Palma and La Gomera are at level 1.

Bars in level 1 can operate up to 75 percent capacity indoors and 100 percent capacity on the terraces. They can stay open until 3am and 12 are allowed per table. Those in level 2 can operate up to 75 percent capacity outdoors and 50 percent capacity indoors. They can stay open until 2am and are allowed eight per table. 

Nightlife venues have been allowed to open on all islands from October 1st without the need for a Digital Covid Certificate to access them. Places in levels 1 and 2 can open until 4am. 

Nightclub in Ibiza

Clubs in most regions are now open. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP


    All of Cantabria’s 24 municipalities have now moved to level 1. This means that bars can open to a 75 percent capacity indoors 100 percent on the terraces. Six are allowed per table inside and 10 per table on the terraces.

    Nightlife venues can operate to a 50 percent capacity with six allowed per table indoors and 10 outdoors. They can stay open until 3am.

    Castilla-La Mancha 

    There are currently no restrictions for nightlife venues on capacity or opening times. The only rule that remains is that you must use a mask indoors. 

    Castilla y León 

    Castilla y León has lifted all Covid restrictions on capacity limits and opening hours. This means that bars and nightclubs don’t have to abide by a regional closing time but will have to shut at the time set by their municipality. 


      On October 6th, the government of Catalonia announced the reopening of indoor nightlife venues. Nightlife venues can reopen to a capacity of between 60 to 70 percent and stay open until 5am on weekdays and until 6am on weekends.

      A Digital Covid Certificate will be required to access them and for those who haven’t been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19, a negative test (PCR or antigen) will need to be taken 72 to 48 hours ahead of time. Masks must be worn at all times (except when drinking) and drinks will not be allowed on the dancefloor. 

      Music bars will be able to stay open until 2.30am on weekdays and 3am on weekends.  

      The interior of bars can open to 50 percent capacity. Up to 10 people are allowed at tables both indoors and outdoors. They can stay open until 1am and eating and drinking at the bar is allowed. 


      The western region next to Portugal lifted most restrictions on September 30th. However, they recommend that nightlife venues and bars don’t exceed 80 percent capacity. A mask is also required for indoor venues. 


      The government of Galicia has announced that from October 9th, the number of people who can sit per table in bars will increase from eight to 10 people inside and from 15 to 20 people on the terraces. 

      New rules for nightlife venues came into force on the first weekend of October. Those places that require Covid-19 certificates and have the maximum safety measures can stay open until 4am with an indoor capacity limit of 75. The rest are limited to 50 percent capacity and can stay open until 3am. 

      La Rioja

      Bars and nightlife venues can open to 75 percent capacity inside and 100 percent capacity on the terraces. The use of dance floors is permitted. 


      On October 4th, Madrid relaxed all rules on capacity limits and opening hours.

      Smoking is not allowed on the terraces if there are not at least two metres between tables and you can eat and drink at the bar only if you’re seated. 

      Club in Barcelona

      People sit at an outdoor club in Barcelona. Photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP


      For places at level 1, bars can operate at a 75 percent capacity indoors. There is a 50 percent capacity limit indoors for places in level 2 and a 30 percent capacity limit for places in level 3. There are no capacity limits on the terraces at all levels. They can stay open until 4am. 

      From October 6th, nightclubs have also been allowed to stay open until 4am with the same capacity limits as bars and restaurants. 


      On October 1st Navarre relaxed all restrictions on capacity limits and opening hours. 

      Smoking on the terraces is prohibited unless there are at least two metres between tables.

      Valencia region 

      On October 9th, the government of Valencia will relax all restrictions on capacity limits and opening times. 

      Eating and drinking at the bar will be allowed and dance floors can open in nightclubs, but masks must be worn. 

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      Rampant branch closures and job cuts help Spain’s banks post huge earnings

      Spain’s biggest banks this week reported huge profits in 2021 and cheered their return to recovery post-Covid, but ruthless cost-cutting in the form of thousands of layoffs, hundreds of branch closures and the removal of many ATMs have left customers in Spain suffering, in this latest example of ‘Capitalismo 2.0’. 

      A man withdraws cash from a Santander branch in Madrid.
      More than 3,500 Santander workers lost their jobs in Spain in 2021 and a further 2,000 more employees working for Santander across Europe were also laid off. Photo: PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

      Spanish banking giant Santander on Wednesday said it has bounced back from the pandemic as it returned to profit last year, beating analyst expectations and exceeding its pre-COVID earnings.

      Likewise, Spain’s second-largest bank BBVA said on Thursday that it saw a strong rebound in 2021 following the Covid crisis, tripling its net profits thanks to a recovery in business activity.

      It’s a similar story for Unicaja (€137 million profit in 2021), Caixabank (€5.2 billion profit thanks to merge with Bankia), Sabadell (€530 million profit last year), Abanca (€323 million profit) and all of Spain’s other main banks.

      This may be promising news for Spain’s banking sector, but their profits have come at a cost for many of their employees and customers. 

      In 2021, 19,000 bank employees lost their jobs, almost all through state-approved ERE layoffs, meant for companies struggling financially.

      BBVA employees protest against layoffs in May 2021 in Madrid. Spain’s second-largest bank BBVA is looking to shed 3,800 jobs, affecting 16 percent of its staff, in a move denounced by unions as “scandalous”. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

      Around 11 percent of bank branches in Spain have also been closed down in 2021 as part of Spanish banks’ attempts to cut costs, even though they’ve agreed to pay just under €5 billion in compensation.

      Rampant branch closures have in turn resulted in 2,200 ATMs being removed since the Covid-19 pandemic began, even though the use of cajeros automáticos went up by 20 percent in 2021.

      There are now 48,300 ATMs in Spain, levels not seen since 2001.

      READ MORE:

      Apart from losses caused by the coronavirus crisis, Spain’s financial institutions have justified the lay-offs, branch closures and ATM removals under the premise that there was already a shift to online banking taking place among customers. 

      But the problem has been around for longer in a country with stark population differences between the cities and so-called ‘Empty Spain’, with rural communities and elderly people bearing the brunt of it. 


      Caixabank laid off almost 6,500 workers in the first sixth months of 2021. Photo: ANDER GILLENEA/AFP

      Just this month, a 78-year-old Valencian man has than collected 400,000+ signatures in an online petition calling for Spanish banks to offer face-to-face customer service that’s “humane” to elderly people, spurring the Bank of Spain and even Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to publicly say they would address the problem.

      READ MORE: ‘I’m old, not stupid’ – How one Spanish senior is demanding face-to-face bank service

      It’s worth noting that between 2008 and 2019, Spain had the highest number of branch closures and bank job cuts in Europe, with 48 percent of its branches shuttered compared with a bloc-wide average of 31 percent.

      Below is more detailed information on how Santander and BBVA, Spain’s two biggest banks, have reported their huge profits in 2021.


      Driven by a strong performance in the United States and Britain, the bank booked a net profit of €8.1 billion in 2021, close to a 12-year high. 

      It was a huge improvement from 2020 when the pandemic hit and the bank suffered a net loss of €8.7 billion after it was forced to write down the value of several of its branches, particularly in the UK. It was also higher than 2019, when the bank posted a net profit of €6.5 billion.

      Analysts from FactSet were expecting profits of €7.9 billion. 

      “Our 2021 results demonstrate once again the value of our scale and presence across both developed and developing markets, with attributable profit 25 per cent higher than pre-COVID levels in 2019,” said chief executive Ana Botin in a statement.

      Net banking income, the equivalent to turnover, also increased, reaching €33.4 billion, compared to €31.9 billion in 2020. This dynamic was made possible by a strong increase in customer numbers, with the group now counting almost 153 million customers worldwide. 

      “We have added five million new customers in the last 12 months alone,” said Botin.

      Santander performed particularly well in Europe and North America, with profits doubling in constant euros compared to 2020. In the UK, where Santander has a strong presence, current profit even “quadrupled” over the same period to €1.6 billion.

      Last year’s net loss was the first in Banco Santander’s history, after having to revise downwards the value of several of its subsidiaries, notably in the UK, because of COVID.

      The banking giant, which cut nearly 3,500 jobs at the end of 2020, in September announced an interim shareholder payout of €1.7 billion for its 2021 results. “In the coming weeks, we will announce additional compensation linked to the 2021 results,” it said.


      The group, which mainly operates in Spain but also in Latin America, Mexico and Turkey, posted profits of €4.65 billion ($5.25 billion), up from €1.3 billion a year earlier.

      The result, which followed a solid fourth quarter with profits of €1.34 billion, was higher than expected, with FactSet analysts expecting a figure of €4.32 billion .

      Excluding non-recurring items, such as the outcome of a restructuring plan launched last year, it generated profits of 5.07 billion euros in what was the highest figure “in 10 years”, the bank said in a statement.

      In 2020, the Spanish bank saw its net profit tumble 63 percent as a result of asset depreciation and provisions taken against an increase in bad loans due to the economic fallout of the virus crisis.

      “The economic recovery over the past year has brought with it a marked upturn in banking activity, mainly in the loan portfolio,” the bank explained, pointing to a reduction of the provisions put in place because of Covid.

      In 2021, BBVA added a “record” 8.7 million new customers, largely due to the growth of its online activities. It now has 81.7 million customers worldwide.

      The group’s net interest margins also rose 6.1 percent year-on-year to €14.7 billion, said the bank, which is undergoing a cost-cutting drive.

      So far, it has axed 2,935 jobs and closed down 480 branches as the banking sector undergoes increasing digitalisation and fewer and fewer transactions are carried out over the counter.

      At the end of 2020, BBVA sold its US unit to PNC Financial Services for nearly 10 billion euros and decided to reinvest some of the funds in the Turkish market.

      In November, it launched a bid to take full control of its Turkish lending subsidiary Garanti, offering €2.25 billion ($2.6 billion) to buy the 50.15 percent stake it does not yet own.

      The deal should be finalised in the first quarter of 2022.