THOUSANDS of Irish holidaymakers will be flying to Spain – as the Easter holidays mark the start of the exodus to the summer hotspot.
But although Covid-19 restrictions are all but a thing of the past here, travel rules and requirements are still in place elsewhere.
Spanish health authorities have reported a decrease in virus cases since the last peak in January, with Covid hospitalizations falling to just 3.5%.
But Irish holidaymakers will still be subject to a number of requirements when they land in the popular holiday destination.
According to the Spanish agency Travel Health, to enter Spain, all passengers, regardless of their country of origin, must present an EU Digital Covid certificate, a negative certificate from a diagnostic test for active infection or a certificate recovery.
Passengers can produce the results of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Spain, or of a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival in Spain.
Children under 12 and international transit passengers are not required to produce any of the above.
Passengers must also complete the SpTH Health Check Form – manually entering details of their vaccination, recovery or diagnostic test certificate.
However, your second dose must have been received within 270 days of your arrival in Spain.
Otherwise, you must have a reminder or you will not be allowed to enter the country.
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And a major rule change will come into effect for people traveling to Spain after the Easter holidays.
The Spanish government will remove the requirement to wear face masks indoors, but it will remain in place on public transport.
Health Minister Carolina Darias confirmed the changes from April 20 on Thursday ahead of the expected influx of tourists as the summer months approach.
Masks will always remain compulsory in public transport, in hospitals and in nursing homes.
Meanwhile, Irish tourists vacationing in Benidorm could be forced to spend more on their sun holidays when a new tourist tax comes into force.
From next year, stays in Spain could increase in price as the government of Valencia introduces a fee per night.
The tax will be imposed on vacationers staying in various accommodations – hotels, campsites, hostels and rural houses.
The tax could cost punters 50c per night for campsites or hostels, rising to €2 for each night spent in a four or five star hotel.
The tax will apply per person, meaning an Irish family of five staying in a hotel or apartment for two weeks might have to pay an extra €140 for their holiday.
Meanwhile, Irish tourists hoping to leave the chaos of travel behind are facing the ruin of their holidays in Spain due to massive storms sweeping the country.
Beach bar owners said their Easter hopes had been dashed following storm damage in recent weeks that had already left resorts with repair bills running into the thousands.
And Irish tourists to Mallorca could be hit by hefty restaurant and pub bills this summer – as hard-hit businesses face rising costs.
And for those heading to Barcelona, a mistake on the beach could put you at risk of a €30 fine.
Council chiefs recently extended a smoking ban to ten Barcelona beaches from July.
They cite health reasons and say it takes a decade for cigarette butts to decay.
Eloi Badia, councilor for the ecological transition, said: “No one was fined last year, and only the strange absent-minded smoker had to be asked to move to the promenade.”
The ban will come into effect after an information campaign starting in April.