For those that have traveled to Madrid, Toledo, Barcelona and Seville in the past year, did you feel like your safety was threatened in any way? I'm talking more than just petty pick pocketing incidents.
In a word.....no.
Of course not.
We were in Madrid, Toledo, and Cordoba in May and felt perfectly safe. No problems at all!
Absolutely not but you must have had a reason for asking? Did someone tell you a horrible story about something that happened to a friend of a cousin?
We were in all 4 cities in April and did not feel like our safety was threatened at any time. Just like at home, we did not walk alone or late at night in certain areas either.
Thanks for all your responses and advice. As someone had mentioned, a friend who visited Madrid last month told me a story of their car being broken into as he parked in an area just off the tourist area.
I was in the same places in Aug. I was traveling on my own. I did not feel unsafe at all. Even at night, I walked back to my hotel in Seville at midnight on my own and there were lots of people around. Wendy
In terms of personal safety I've never had any concerns. However, I've had a very bad experience in Barcelona as we made the mistake of parking our car just in a side street instead of a secure/guarded parking lot. We got broken into and all our luggage was stolen. As it included the entire camping equipment that was pretty much the end of our trip :-(
There are areas in some of these cities that tourists should not wander alone at night. Such areas are not within the typical tourist areas and you are unlikely to just happen upon them.
Some idiot ran the red light while I was crossing a street this morning. Does that count? Madrid, Barcelona and Seville are all large population centers in a country where unemployment is roughly 40% for uneducated young men. Statistically, uneducated young men are more likely to commit violent crime than most other demographic groups. If you go into a neighborhood where these people live, you might have a problem. (Even then, I still vote that the jerk who ran the red light poses a greater risk.) Luckily for you, things of touristic interest are not usually located in scruffy neighborhoods. (On the other hand, the highly recommendable cemetery in Seville (a must see if you're in town on Nov. 1st) is located right next to the worst slum in town. Do not go wandering through the cardboard shantytown behind the cemetery after dark. You will run a severe risk of being submitted to beggars, rats and mediocre flamenco artists!) Certainly, the possibility of a life endangering crime ,with the possible exception of DUI, is lower in Spain than in equivalent population centers in the US. Use your head and you'll be fine.
I visited the same four cities and never felt in danger at any time. A few of the nights we were out pretty late. Take a little time to familiarize yourself with the areas to avoid, and you'll be fine. Enjoy your trip.
I have visited every six months for several years and felt safe in Toledo, Monfraque, Zamora, Madrid, Barcelona, Salamanca, Valdevilla, and every other place I have visited, any hour of the day or night, alone or with a group... Much more safer than in Atlanta, Georgia, in the bright day of sunlight. Go and enjoy yourself!
I don't think I've been in a place that I felt more 'safe' in than San Sebastian or Bilbao.
Well, Luis, I have had my car broken into in Chicago when it was parked on a side street near Northwestern Hospital, and again in a "secure" parking garage near the Chicago Theater. That hasn't stopped me from going to Chicago.
I traveled alone to Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Segovia, and El Escorial in 2006 & 2007. Never had a problem. I kept my essentials (passport, credit cards, and larger sums of money) in my money belt. I rented a flat outside of the touristy areas, but I always made it back home safely, using common sense and remaining mindful of my surroundings. (I earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do several months before traveling alone). Be safe and have fun!
Went to all four places in July. We walked extensively day and night, read tourist maps on busy street corners, spent time in bus & train stations, and stayed in relatively modest hotels. Never once felt threatened.
Luis - with all due respect, cars being broken into is not violent crime. In fact, it's pretty standard all over Europe and many folks on these boards can relate such experiences. Such break-ins occur in tourist zones and even in parking areas of popular tourist sites. NEVER leave anything of remote value in your car - even your trunk. Don't even leave things in plain sight that might make a would-be thief think your car is a tourist rental with maybe something hiding in the trunk.
It is pretty easy to find yourself in a red light district in Madrid. Just keep moving and avoid eye contact. It doesn't appear unsafe, just a bit seedy. Returning to hotel one evening and found someone had jumped or fell (or maybe was pushed) from a balcony and was lifeless on the street. Police were investigating. Sad scene that can happen anywhere I suppose. Big thumbs up to Madrid all the same.
I lived in Madrid last year...Madrid is fine besides the pickpocketers on the subways. I had a friend also have her car broken into in Barcelona. They stole everything. Apparently it happens semi often. But overall Spain is not anymore dangerous than the United States. In fact I felt safer there.
We spent 3 weeks in Spain last year and always felt safe. Just use common sense and have fun!
I have never felt unsafe in Spain. That said, I was in Seville earlier this year and was greatly annoyed by the Roma (gypsies) with their Rosemary sprigs. It wasn't a minor annoyance. I didn't feel like I could stand still for 2 seconds without being repeatedly harassed by them. I had encountered their tactics on previous visits to Spain, but nothing compared to the harassment I endured in Seville. It was oppressive and more than enough to spoil my visit to the city.