Warnings for Irish tourists heading to Spain, Portugal, Italy and other European spots for 2022 summer holidays

Some European spots are known for high crime rates while others have issues with political demonstrations.

Covid is now in the rear mirror and summer 2022 is expected to see Irish tourists head abroad in their droves for holidays.

Spain, Portugal, France and the majority of popular spots with Irish sunseekers will all be open for business as the world returns to normal.

But while Covid restrictions may not be too much of an issue for Irish tourists in 2022, there are still warnings from the Department of Foreign Affairs for each country you are travelling to.

Some European spots are known for high crime rates while others have issues with political demonstrations.

Here’s what you need to know about the popular spots in Europe according to the Department of Foreign Affairs…

Spain

Security status: High degree of caution

Demonstrations

Public gatherings and demonstrations may take place with little or no warning.

Terrorism

There is a general threat from terrorism in Europe, and the threat in Spain is considered to be high. Since 2015 the Spanish Government’s national anti-terror alert level is has remained at four (high) on a scale of 1 to 5.

Social unrest

Public gatherings and demonstrations can take place with little or no warning. We recommend that you stay clear of demonstrations, as even gatherings that are intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn confrontational.

Tenerife

Safety on balconies

There have been a number of serious accidents in recent years involving falls from balconies. Several of these have resulted in the death or serious injury of an Irish citizen. It is important to exercise caution when using hotel and apartment balconies, particularly if you have consumed alcohol or drugs, and to avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Crime

Most of Spain has a moderate rate of crime. However, given the very high number of holidaymakers that visit Spain, additional security measures are rolled out in public areas at peak times, such as during the summer and at Christmas. you should be aware that in areas such as airports, bus stations, railway stations, tourist areas and major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, there is a much higher risk of pickpocketing and muggings. We advise you to take basic precautions:

• Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together – leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place

• Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home

• Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business

• Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations

• Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible

Petty crime

Be vigilant about petty crime: many of the cases we encounter involve stolen passports and credit cards.

Date rape drugs

The Spanish authorities have warned of date rape drugs, including GBH and liquid ecstasy, being used. Don’t inadvertently lower your alertness to these risks simply because you are on holiday.

Portugal

Security status: High Degree of Caution

Wildfires

Wildfires are a feature of summer in Portugal, most fires are quickly brought under control but some can escalate into major events, particular when the weather is very hot and windy. Take particular care to avoid starting a fire, and take standard fire safety precautions, keeping away from fires.

Terrorism

Along with other European countries, there is potential for Portugal to experience international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.

Crime

Crimes such as pickpocketing, handbag snatching and theft from cars are increasing in main tourist areas including Lisbon and the Algarve.

People sunbathe on Figueira da Foz beach in Portugal
People sunbathe on Figueira da Foz beach in Portugal (Image: NurPhoto/PA Images)

Pay close attention to your personal belongings at tourist attractions, on public transport (especially on the popular E15 and E28 trams in Lisbon) and at busy rail and underground stations, museums, restaurants and hotel foyers. There have also been reports of thefts from safe boxes ­in apartments and hotels.

Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together – leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.

Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.

Leave your car doors locked and the windows rolled up, both when you park and when driving through urban centres at night.

On hikes in remote areas, including pilgrimage walks, we advise that women should not travel alone. Attacks, although rare, are not unknown.

Nightclubs

In general Portugal is a safe country, however, be careful of your personal safety as there have been reports of incidents in nightclubs.

Italy

Security status: High degree of caution

Social unrest

The political situation in Italy is stable but public demonstrations can occur frequently, especially in the centres of major cities where tourists are likely to find themselves.

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Italy is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. Currently the Italian Government has assessed the level of the threat of a terrorist attack in Italy as “medium/high” (level 2).

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Italy but you should take sensible precautions:

Incidents of tourists’ vehicles being broken into and the vehicle’s contents being stolen have increased in recent months. Irish citizens are advised not to leave any valuables, including their passports, in vehicles that are unattended.

Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together – leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.

Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.

Be aware that petty crime (pick pocketing, bag snatching etc.) is common, particularly on public transport and in tourist areas. Vigilance should be paid to personal belongings in train stations (particularly Termini Station in Rome), in the public areas of the airports, at all tourist sites and when using bus, metro or tram services, including when unloading baggage from coaches travelling to and from the airports. Personal safety

We have been made aware of an increasing number of incidents recently where travellers have been drugged through substances being placed in drinks, and subsequently robbed of money, credit cards and mobile telephones. We recommend you exercise vigilance in bars, and be wary of drinks offered by strangers in night spots and areas where tourists congregate in the evenings.

Earthquake

Many parts of Italy lie on a major seismic fault line. Minor tremors and earthquakes are almost a daily occurrence.

France

Security status: High Degree of Caution

Terrorism

Irish citizens in France should exercise a high degree of caution, be vigilant in public places and follow the instructions of local authorities at all times. See the French government’s advice about what to do if a terrorist attack occurs.

Personal Identification

Irish citizens in France are reminded that they should be in possession of a valid form of photographic identification such as a passport or passport card at all times.

Travelling Minors

Any minor travelling without a parent must carry specific documentation. Please find information on travel requirements for unaccompanied minors travelling from France, which applies to Irish citizens ordinarily resident in France at: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F1359

You can contact the emergency services in France by dialling 112. Irish citizens in France are reminded that they should be in possession of a valid form of photographic identification such as a passport or passport card at all times.

Social unrest

The political situation in France is reasonably stable but there can be occasional outbreaks of social unrest. Strikes, marches and demonstrations often result in confrontation between the demonstrators and the riot police so we recommend that you avoid areas where large-scale demonstrations are taking place.

Always keep yourself informed of what is going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in France but you should take sensible precautions:

Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together – leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.

Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.

Bring photocopies of your passport when travelling and leave one your accommodation.

Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.

Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations.

Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.

Germany

Security status:High Degree of Caution

Terrorism

Germany remains a very popular destination for Irish visitors, but these incidents have reinforced the need for travellers to take seriously the global risk of indiscriminate terror attacks, which also applies to Germany. We continue to advise visitors to Germany to exercise normal precautions.

Crime

There has been an increase in pickpocketing and petty theft in Berlin (particularly around Alexanderplatz and Hauptbahnhof), and in the tourist areas and transport hubs of other cities. Be careful of your personal belongings, especially around airports, train stations and tourist attractions. Do not walk around with your passport or wallet in the back pocket of your jeans. Do not keep your valuables in a bag/pouch which someone else can open without your noticing. Keep a close watch on your belongings. Avoid falling asleep in a public place after a night out as you could become a target for pickpockets.

Reports of sexual assault can increase at events attracting large crowds including festivals such as Silvester (New Year’s Eve), Karneval/Fasching (Carnival) or Oktoberfest. If you are a victim of an assault, contact the police on 110. You can also contact the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin for advice and assistance. Outside of working hours, Germany operates a system of emergency pharmacies (Notapotheken). For details of emergency pharmacists in your area, go to the Pharmacists’ Association website www.aponet.de and enter your postcode in the “Notdienst” box on the top right of the screen.

Source: https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/warnings-irish-tourists-heading-spain-26340884

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