ON the 1st of June, 2019, over 150,000 Brits are expected to travel to Madrid for the Champions League final. That’s before you even consider the huge numbers of expats who will also be travelling across Spain to watch Liverpool and Spurs battle it out for the trophy.
If you’re one of the lucky ones and you’ve already sorted out your travel arrangements and your accommodation, you’ve probably moved on to creating your banners, washing your football shirts and scoping out the best places for a pre-match cerveza.
That being said, there’s still plenty to plan out. Madrid is already preparing for chaos across the weekend: football fans will be arriving in throngs and Brits don’t generally have the best reputation abroad. To ensure your weekend goes off without a hitch, follow our advice below.
Travelling to Madrid: Visas, Passports and Health
For those travelling from the UK to Spain, you will not need a visa to enter the country, but you will need a valid passport. This must be valid for the duration of your stay and must be in a passable condition.
Expats should also be prepared to pack their passport. If you are taking an internal flight in Spain, you’ll need to carry accepted travel documents. This includes a Spanish or British passport or a Spanish residency card (note: your NIE is not sufficient).
Moreover, for both British travellers and expats, you’ll need at least a copy of your ID to hand at all times in the capital. In Spain, police may request to see your ID at any time and if you fail to do so, they have the right to keep you in custody until your identity is confirmed.
For Brits coming from the UK, remember to carry your EHIC card with you and to take out extra travel insurance. This will save you from costly medical bills which could really put a downer on the whole trip. Expats who are registered in Spain should carry a copy of their NIE and their tarjeta sanitaria (public health card) or their private health insurance documentation.
General Safety Advice
- In Madrid you can phone an ambulance by calling 112
- Remember to stay hydrated – Madrid may reach temperatures of around 29° C on the weekend of the final
- Thefts can be reported at any local police station – you’ll be required to have your ID to hand, as well as your travel insurance policy and your IMEI number (in the case of mobile phone theft)
- Passports are expensive and NIE cards are painful to replace, so it’s worth carrying a few photocopies of each around with you and leaving the originals in your hotel safe.
Important Spanish Laws You Need to Know
Before you get carried away in the excitement of the event, there’s a few Spanish laws which are important to consider. These cover partying, alcohol and gambling within the city.
Partying and Alcohol Laws
In Madrid, drinking on the street and the metro is illegal at all times. Doing so may result in a fine or an arrest. Letting off flares in and around the city is also illegal and Spanish police have the right to confiscate these items.
Noise complaints are also taken seriously in Spain, so please respect the locals living in the area. Police can hand out fines of around 70€ for a noise complaint, especially if it’s late at night.
Gambling and Sports Betting in Spain
If you’re thinking about placing a bet on the match, we advise you do so before leaving the UK. In Spain, it is only legal to place sports bets with Spanish licenced bookmakers.
Moreover, whilst expats can join these sites with a valid NIE number, UK residents may be blocked from doing so. This means that travelling fans will need to place their wagers before match day – this isn’t such bad news; UK bookies are currently offering great odds on what is set to be a historic match.
To learn more about betting safely, both in the UK and abroad, check out Fortune Frenzy. The site offers in-depth guides so that you can rest assured you’re Champions League wagers will be both legit and rewarding.