Is Madrid safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Madrid is the capital of Spain, but also the country's arts and financial center. With a population of almost 3.4 million or 6.5 million in the Madrid Metropolitan area, Madrid is also the most populous city in Spain.
As the heart of the land of Flamenco, siestas and paellas, Madrid attracts visitors from all over the world. Over 6 million tourists travel each year to visit the Spanish top cultural destination par excellence.
As in most countries in Europe where the peak season is summer, Madrid also sees the most crowds during the months of June, July and August. Come winter, the city slows down, with tourism picking up again around Christmas time.
The high number of tourists suggests that Madrid is a very safe city, so if you have any concerns about your safety in Madrid, you can put your mind at ease. However, with traveling in general, there are some safety considerations to keep in mind. The journey from point A to point B can turn unexpected if you don't exercise caution.
So, best to start your trip to Madrid on the right foot and store your valuables with Bounce luggage storage in Madrid. This way you can go about your day and explore Madrid's top tourist destinations without having to worry about your belongings.
Is Madrid safe to visit right now?
Madrid is considered a safe destination for international travelers, ranking 68 with Travel Safe Abroad. But as with any other major European city, you too could become easy prey for petty crime or pickpocketing in Spain's capital city, which is why you should always remain vigilant about theft.
The crime rate in Madrid is low. However, pickpocketing is still common and takes place mainly around the city center and crowded tourist attractions, where tourists are distracted by their surroundings and don't always pay attention to their belongings.
For your safety, it's best to always remain alert to suspicious behavior and be aware of your surroundings. Refrain from flashing expensive jewelry, phones or cameras. Whenever possible, use a money belt and try not to carry a large sum of cash or important documents. It's best to leave your paperwork in a hotel safe if you have one.
Since your journey starts from your home, make sure to double-check if you have the proper government’s official travel guidelines for Madrid, Spain, before making any bookings. This goes for both first-time travelers and experienced ones.
There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide and we suggest you do adequate research before you travel to any unfamiliar city. Overall, Madrid is generally safe to visit and you'll create beautiful memories there. You can make it an even safer destination by following these simple yet essential Madrid safety tips.
Top petty crimes and scams in Madrid affecting tourists
As in most major cities in the world, tourists in Madrid may also fall victim to common crimes such as pickpocketing, scams and minor burglaries. Although these petty crimes occur mainly in populated tourist attractions and crowded public transport, they can happen anywhere. To stay safe, keep these in mind.
Despite the low crime rates, international visitors in Madrid may become a target for pickpockets, especially if they are elderly or English speakers. These crimes occur mainly around busy tourist attractions, bus stations, the metro, the airport and other crowded areas. Surprisingly, pickpockets in Madrid are underaged; in most cases, they are teens under sixteen. They mainly work alone, but sometimes they operate in groups.
Should you find yourself in a situation where your wallet has been stolen, immediately cancel your credit or debit card. If your passport is missing too, you should immediately contact your embassy in Madrid and report it stolen as quickly as possible.
This is a reminder not to carry important documents such as a passport or driver's license on you. If you must, then it's best to carry a photocopy of all the documents you may need.
Although safe, Madrid is packed with people whose main goal is to deceive others, mainly tourists. If you want to enjoy your trip to Madrid without having to worry about pickpockets, remain watchful and don't accept any gifts from strangers. Most importantly, use extra caution in crowded areas. A Bounce luggage locker is an ideal spot for keeping items safe while touring too.
Taxi scammers in Madrid are unfortunately common, but you can prevent falling victim to them by getting into licensed taxis only. If the taxi driver assures you the meter is broken, it's no doubt a scam.
"Free gifts scam" is a deception pulled by scammers who approach tourists, offering them a gift such as a rose, charm, bracelet or similar item. Whatever the gift is, don't accept it, as the scammer will aggressively demand you pay afterward.
Football scammers are a bunch of people kicking a ball on the street. They ask people to join them and discretely operate on unattended bags or pick their pockets.
Is Madrid safe to travel alone
Given the low crime rates and the high number of tourists visiting each year, it's safe to say that Madrid is safe for solo travelers. This big city is always lively, and whether you're traveling alone or with friends, it's safe to walk the streets during the daytime or in the evening.
There are certain neighborhoods to avoid walking alone at night, but in general, the city makes you feel welcome, regardless of your gender, age, race or religion. Speaking of gender, Madrid is a safe destination for female solo travelers too, with Spain earning a rating of 6 on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index.
However, even the safest places in the world can quickly turn your world upside down if you're not watchful. Walking in Madrid, you should always be aware of your surroundings, regardless of the neighborhood you're in.
Safest neighborhoods in Madrid
When booking your accommodation in Madrid, it's important to know a few things about its location. Normally, Madrid's city center is one of the safest areas to stay, but here are a few more neighborhoods that will make you feel safe during your trip to the big city.
Plaza del Sol
This is Madrid's city center and historical heart and one of the safest neighborhoods to stay in. Look for monuments like King Charles III of Spain on horseback and the famous Oso y Madroño.
This trendy neighborhood in the heart of Madrid is known for its vibrant nightlife, excellent shopping and dining. From Mexican to Spanish to Korean, head to Valle de Fuencarral and the trendy food hall.
La Latina is a cool neighborhood in Madrid, known for its attractive architecture, tapas bars and the largest flea market in the city, taking place on Sundays.
Huertas is a charming neighborhood in Madrid referred to as the Literary quarter, filled with boutiques, restaurants, shops and art galleries.
Some areas in Madrid are best to avoid, especially at night. Surprisingly, some of the neighborhoods in the very center of Madrid have the highest crime rates mainly related to drug possession and attempted break-in allegations (wealthy neighborhoods do attract burglars).
Other areas in Madrid with not an excellent reputation include San Blas, Vallecas Bridge, Cuatro Caminos, Tetuan and La Canada Real. These neighborhoods are said to have more drug related crimes and prostitution.
Is Madrid public transportation safe?
Getting around Madrid is generally safe, regardless of the means of transport. The biggest threat when riding the metro or waiting at the bus and train stations is pickpocketing.
As we've mentioned, some taxi drivers will take advantage of the language barrier and the fact that you're a tourist. When taking a taxi, make sure the meter is on and look for a sticker of official taxi fares on the window of the cab.
When you find yourself in crowded public transport, keep your bag close to you at all times, or use a fanny pack that you'll wear around your waist. Remain watchful when riding a busy train or bus, and always be aware of your surroundings and suspicious behavior.
Important emergency numbers in Madrid
Should something go wrong during your stay and you need to contact the authorities, keep this must-have list of emergency numbers at you at all times. Don't store it on your phone in case your phone gets stolen. It's best to write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in your pocket.
- Emergency medical assistance: 061
- Non-urgent medical services: 1003
- Emergency: 112
- Police: 091
- Emergency fire services: 080
- Spain's country code: +34
- Madrid area code: 91
In addition to these emergency numbers, you should also be aware of your embassy number as well.
Madrid is a safe place with a lot to offer
A trip to Spain's capital city should be an unforgettable memory. Wonder through the Plaza Mayor or watch the crowd go by in Retiro Park, and don't let trivial things put you off having a great time. All you have to do to keep safe in Madrid is keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of suspicious behavior. Explore safe neighborhoods and pay extra caution when walking alone, especially at night.
Do you need help finding accommodation in Madrid? Read Where to stay in Madrid: The Ultimate Guide to help you find the right neighborhood for you and your family.
If you still haven't purchased your travel insurance for your trip to Madrid, now is the right time to do it. Whether it's your first time in Madrid or you're a return visitor, check out our How to Get Around Madrid guide to help you navigate the city with ease.