Find everything women travelers in Spain need to know about health, romance, women’s rights and safety.
All the information below is provided by Pink Pangea community members based on their experiences abroad. Add your voice!
Prithika says: All supermarkets, pharmacies and corner stores have feminine hygienic products. You can buy sanitary towels and tampons in all locations. You can buy the menstrual cup in some pharmacies.
Joanna says: In Spain you can find all kinds of hygienic products. You can buy them in pharmacies or most of the supermarkets.
Prithika says: Condoms are available in most shops, supermarkets, and pharmacies as well as dispensing machines in bars, clubs and on the street outside pharmacies. They are also available from the hospital. The pill is available from the doctor or over the counter. Some pharmacies also provide the morning after pill.
Joanna says: You can buy birth control pills (or patches, rings) without a prescription in most of the pharmacies. You can also find condoms in most of the stores. You also won’t have any problem finding other birth control products like creams, female condoms etc.
Joanna says: You can go to any health care center, and depending on your health insurance program you’ll get treatment for free or a small fee. The visits are the same as in most European countries.
Prithika says: Breastfeeding is acceptable in public although it’s not common. The Spanish in general are not body shy.
Joanna says: It is acceptable to breastfeed in public. You can also find special places for it- check in the shopping malls.
Prithika says: Flirting is very common, but men are generally respectful. If you say no firmly your wishes are almost always respected. If you get a persistent admirer a firm ‘con respecte por favor‘ (with respect please), will usually make the person leave you alone immediately.
Sex is often casual and doesn’t indicate anything more. Both sides may or may not contact each other after a night together. It could develop into a relationship or not. Women and men treat each other as equals.
Joanna says: Spanish guys are very eager to date foreigners. You can have a lot of fun with them but remember that they are not taking you seriously. You will have to pay your bill and the guy will insist on you going home with him on the first date. Many times they misunderstand you being a nice person with a desire to sleep with them right away. Don’t be too nice if you don’t wish to give them more than a friendly kiss!
Prithika says: I think women should approach their travels with an open mind. You can form your own opinions.
Joanna says: Typical men are self-confident, don’t speak good English and will give you a lot of compliments right away. They will stop you on the street and invite you to have a drink. They will try to talk to you especially if you are blond. They can be a bit rude and very straightforward. Depending on where you come from, you may feel uncomfortable with their way of flirting. If he is single he is probably living with his parents. And if you stay at his place for a night, don’t be surprised when his mom serves you breakfast in the morning!
Prithika says: Barcelona is one of the best cities to be in if you are gay or lesbian.
Joanna says: Yes! Barcelona is one of the friendliest places in Europe. You can find a lot of lesbian/gay events. People are completely cool with it. It’s a heaven for gays and lesbians.
Women's Place in Society
Prithika says: Hotel staff, etc. never speak to the man in the group or the older person in the group by default. They will not simply assume that the man is in charge. Women go everywhere and do everything that men do, without harassment or comment.
Joanna says: It’s Europe so of course women have all kind of rights but the family model is still a bit patriarchal. So men expect women to do all the house work and in many cases to stay at home after giving birth.
Prithika says: Women are strong, loud, vocal, and not afraid to get involved. They don’t back down and they don’t let people push them around. They are also very passionate.
Standing in line for the toilet at a concert last night, a man came to the women’s toilet and cut the line to the front. The girl behind him wouldn’t let him close the toilet door. He pushed her away but she pulled him out of toilet and threw him out!
Joanna says: Again, it depends from where you come from. I come from Europe so I didn’t really see any big cultural differences.
Perception of Foreign Women
Prithika says: Generally people react with curiosity and interest. Sometimes they may ask you about the situation of violence against women in India (or your country), sexual freedom and gender equality.
Joanna says: Catalan women are a bit closed and they don’t really like to hang out with foreign girls (opposite of Catalan men). I lived 3 years in Barcelona but I didn’t manage to make even one pure Catalan friend.
Prithika says: All public transport is completely safe in Barcelona.
Joanna says: Barcelona or Spain in general is a safe place to travel. Lot of girls from all over the world travel alone. Girls can feel comfortable traveling across the country. It’s just really helpful to know some Spanish. People there still don’t speak English that well.
Shady Areas for Women
Prithika says: Barcelona is extremely safe, but use common sense. Avoid walking alone in quiet industrialised areas at night. If a street makes you hesitate, follow your instinct and don’t walk down it.
I’ve only had issues with men following me three times and they were all Indian or Pakistani men. If this happens, turn around and shout at them loudly. There are people in houses in every street, and making a loud noise is the best way to keep yourself safe.
Joanna says: There is one area in Barcelona called El Raval that is maybe a bit less safe at night. Basically the center of the city is pretty safe but there are a lot of pickpockets so the biggest danger in that city is to get robbed.
Prithika says: Wear whatever you want. Barcelona is a casual city and you generally don’t have to dress up to go to bars and clubs.
The city is made for walking and you may end up walking a lot on a night out. Very high heels may not be practical for this.
Joanna says: Like in most of Europe, you can wear anything. People won’t really care.