Expat Life

What is lockdown in Spain like?

  • April 13, 2020
empty street spain

I’ve written a couple of posts about our life in lockdown but haven’t finished them as I didn’t really know what the point of telling everyone what we’ve been up to is. I can tell you that it’s not much to be honest! We’re all in the same boat with trying to work and homeschool, money worries, and going a bit stir crazy. We’ve all been raiding the craft supplies box and trawling Pinterest for ideas of things to do with the kids.

Instead, as most of my blog readers are in the UK and the US, I thought I’d write a post about why lockdown in Spain is a bit different to what the rest of you are probably experiencing. Not to have a moan, but just because it’s interesting to see how other countries are dealing with the crisis. If you’ve been reading the UK press then I will say that their reports of lockdown being ‘relaxed’ is absolute rubbish.

Here’s what lockdown life in Spain is actually like…

No daily exercise

Unlike the UK there’s no daily exercise allowance here in Spain. We’re not permitted to walk, run, cycle, scoot, anything at all. If you have a dog you can take it on a short walk close to home (only one person from the family can go),  but otherwise you aren’t allowed to go out for any exercise.

Kids not allowed out at all

The no exercise rule means that kids have so far been inside for a month, since schools closed on March 13th. There’s no reason for children to be allowed out of the house during lockdown in Spain as they can’t go to the supermarket with you unless you absolutely have no one to help. Yes that’s right, dogs are allowed out for exercise but not children!

If you have a garden you’re lucky, but many people in Spain live in apartments so children really have been locked up for a long time. We’re grateful for our small garden so we can all get outside, even if it’s not big enough for Little H to run around or kick a ball in.

Beaches and parks are closed

This doesn’t really matter because we can’t go for a walk anyway, but even the beaches have been cordoned off to stop anyone attempting to going down there during quarantine. I keep seeing photos of friends from the UK going for a walk along the beach, but there are always other people in the photo. It baffles me that this is ok, probably just because it’s so different to our situation!

Only one person per family allowed out

Lockdown in Spain means the only time we are allowed out is to go to the supermarket or chemist. Only one person per family is allowed out, so no family trip out in the car even if you stay in the car while the other person goes into the shop. If you absolutely have to go out together (maybe taking a disabled or elderly relative to the doctor) then you must have one person in the front of the car and one in the back.

Strict police checks

I’ve seen photos of the police in the UK breaking up large gatherings, but here in Spain the police are stopping most people when they go out to check they’re making an essential trip. My husband has been stopped twice, once when going to get petrol and once when going to the supermarket. The police wanted to know where he’d come from, where he was going to, and why – luckily they were happy with his answers! My Dad even got told to go inside by the police when he was sweeping the path outside their house.

The police are also checking receipts to make sure you’ve visited your nearest supermarket and haven’t only been out for ‘non-essential’ items. The army are also in the nearest large town to us to make sure people are staying indoors.

Only supermarkets are open

The only shops open in Spain are supermarkets or chemists, there’s no DIY stores or shops like The Range open. This means that there’s no opportunity to stock up on any household goods or DIY supplies, or even craft supplies for the kids, as most supermarkets here only sell food and toiletries. I haven’t even been able to get ink or paper for the printer as that’s not sold in supermarkets, and all seems to be sold out on Amazon!

Large fines

I had to laugh when I read that a few people in England had been fined £30 for breaking the ‘lockdown’ rules. During lockdown in Spain the minimum fine is €600 and the maximum is €30,000. This is definitely enough of a deterrent to keep most people indoors. The police are using drones in the larger towns and cities to check no one is breaking the rules. Though, as always, there are people being fined for some crazy reasons!


At the moment we are on lockdown until 26th April, but this is likely to be extended into May. It seems to be working, with the daily death and infection rate decreasing so fingers crossed these strict measures will work and can be lifted soon.

What’s lockdown like where you are? Is it different to here in Spain?



1 Comment

  • Dee

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I am amazed at how relaxed the ‘lockdown’ is in the UK, while it is called the Lockdown. It’s so not. I’m currently in Sweden (work), and they are not lockdown but have never claimed they are.
    Sending you lots of strength and good vibes. We can all get through this, I have no doubts 🙂


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