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Where can tourists and visitors in Spain get a Covid test and how much does it cost?

Depending on their Covid health status and their countries’ travel requirements, holidaymakers in Spain may need to get a PCR or an antigen test before they fly back home. Here’s what you need to know about where to get this type of Covid test, prices and more. 

Where can tourists and visitors in Spain get a Covid test and how much does it cost?
Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP

If you’re holidaying in Spain this Easter, you may need a Covid test such as PCR or an antigen test to get back home. While some countries have relaxed all entry restrictions such as the UK, others such as the US still require all passengers to present a negative Covid-19 test result or documentation of recovery. Here’s everything you need to know about getting a Covid test in Spain. 

READ ALSO: What are the Covid travel rules between Spain and the UK in April?

What are the Covid-19 rules for travel between the US and Spain in April 2022?

Where can I get a PCR or an antigen test in Spain?

Private clinics, laboratories, pharmacies – and in regions such as Madrid – even dental clinics all offer PCR and antigen tests. 

If you’re staying at your hotel in Spain, you could ask the staff if they can recommend somewhere, and if you want to ask in Spanish, you should say ¿Dónde me puedo hacer una prueba PCR? (Where can I get a PCR test?) or ¿Dónde me puedo hacer una prueba de antígeno? (Where can I can an antigen test?).

Remember that self-administered antigen tests are not valid for travel. You will have to book one at a registered clinic or laboratory. 

There’s also using Google or Google maps to find the closest facility offering PCR tests.

Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

How much does a PCR test cost in Spain?

According to the Spanish consumer association OCU, the average price of a PCR test in Spain is €120, although in some clinics it can be as high as €200. You can also find places online where you can book them for around half the average at €60. It’s worth shopping around online and booking in advance to get the best deal.

You may find results in English but it’s worth googling “precio de prueba PCR” (price of PCR test) and then your location to find all available nearby clinics and labs that perform the tests. 

In January, the Spanish government set the price of antigen tests bought at pharmacies to €2.94 each. Be aware though, they will cost considerably more if you book them at a clinic, usually around €25-€40. 

Is there anything else I should know about getting a PCR or an antigen test in Spain?

The PCR sample is collected from the patient’s nose and throat with a swab and sent to the laboratory for analysis. Sometimes it’s taken from the nose and not the throat or the other way round. The PCR test doesn’t hurt but it does feel fairly unpleasant. 

You’re likely to get your results back within 24 hours. 

If you test positive you will not be allowed to travel. In March 2021, the Spanish government announced that asymptomatic people or those with mild symptoms would no longer have to quarantine for seven days. 

If you do test positive, your test will not be repeated when you feel better. If you want to repeat it, you will have to do another PCR test and pay again.

If you develop Covid-19 symptoms while in Spain, the country’s official Travel Safe tourism page recommends “avoiding any physical contact with another person”. 

“Next, inform the local healthcare authorities immediately via the information helpline of the region you are in. If they deem you have Covid symptoms, public health workers will offer you the PCR test free of charge.

“In all cases, Spanish emergency healthcare services are guaranteed and provided at hospitals and healthcare centres,” Spain’s Tourism Ministry confirms.  

A couple of regions in Spain such as Andalusia and Murcia offer access to free insurance with Covid-19 coverage for international travellers and tourists. Several other regions like the Canary Islands and the Balearics did offer this service but have not extended it. 

READ ALSO: Which regions in Spain offer free insurance to tourists who get Covid-19 while on holiday?

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Ryanair strike in Spain kicks off with hardly any cancelled flights

The first of the six days of strike action called by Ryanair’s cabin crew in Spain began on Friday with a much smaller impact than expected for travellers, as only a handful of flights from Belgium were cancelled.  

Ryanair strike in Spain kicks off with hardly any cancelled flights

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair on Friday decided to operate 100 percent of its scheduled flights to and from Spain, considering all of them protected by the minimum services decree approved by Spain’s Ministry of Transport.

The only flights which could not take off were those heading to Spain from Belgium, where the work stoppage led Europe’s biggest budget airline to cancel some of the 127 flights to and from Charleroi airport (near Brussels) that are scheduled from Friday to Sunday.

Spain’s Transport Ministry has argued there needs to be a balance between the “right to strike” and the “interest of travellers”.

However, it only ordered 73 to 82 percent of domestic flights to and from Spain’s mainland and its two archipelagos – the Canary and Balearic Islands – to be kept, and between 53 percent and 58 percent of its internal mainland flights to go ahead.

Unions said Ryanair went beyond what was required and forced staff to maintain 100 percent of flights, adding that they would take Ryanair to court as a result.

They also reported that the budget carrier summoned 80 percent more workers than on a normal day to carry out “imaginary” shifts.

“The company informed staff that all flights were subject to the minimum service, and threatened them with disciplinary action,” Ernesto Iglesias of local USO told reporters at Madrid airport.

The airline was not “respecting the law,” he added.

Security officers stand guard as Ryanair employees gather during a strike at Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas airport Madrid on June 24, 2022.  (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has been dismissive of the strikes. “We operate two and half thousand flights every day,” he said earlier this month in Belgium.

“Most of those flights will continue to operate even if there is a strike in Spain by some Mickey Mouse union or if the Belgian cabin crew unions want to go on strike over here,” he told journalists.

Ryanair cabin crew unions in Portugal and Belgium have also called a three-day strike starting on Friday, and in Italy and France on Saturday.

The strikes come as air travel has rebounded since Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.

But many airlines, which laid off staff during the pandemic, are having trouble rehiring enough workers, forcing them to cancel flights. That includes easyJet, which has been particularly hard hit by employee shortages.