Safety, Security and Health in Seville


Keeping yourself and your stuff safe is something most travelers read about before arriving. However it's easy to let your guard down when your checking out the sites or just relaxing at a cafe or bar after a long day. Unfortunately there may be someone out there keeping an eye on you and/or your bag and they've likely practiced enough to know just the right moment to take advantage of you.

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Seville seemed to pick up a reputation somewhere as a place with a lot of petty crime. While I have heard stories and been witness to a few problems here I have never once been robbed nor had anyone attempt to rob me. I've had more problems in Italy, Morocco and France than I've had here. That's not to say it doesn't happen, as a trip to a local police station quickly showed me it happens every day. Here are a few rules to help you hold onto your stuff:


If you are staying in a hotel and it has a safe for valuables use it. Stash your passport and maybe one extra credit card in there in case you lose your wallet while your out.


If you plan to use it keep your wallet in your front pocket and not your back. I've heard of some carrying a dummy wallet in their back pocket, but must ask why? Unless your idea of a good time is attracting the local pickpockets. Although I don't personally like them I do recommend using a money belt. Always have a back-up plan so you have a credit card or traveler's checks located in another place - be it your bag, your hotel safe or someone else traveling with you.


Keep a small lock on any pockets of your backpack with valuables. Decide whether locking every pocket or zipper is wise - would it really be the end of the world if someone stole your sweatshirt or a pair of socks? These locks are easy enough to cut if you lose the key, but think about keeping an extra one in your hotel room or apartment.


When at a cafe or bar on the street with your camera (or other) bag try placing one leg of your chair through the strap. Now anyone taking of with it has to drag you and your chair with them. Keep you bags on your lap, or in your direct line of sight while you are sitting. Try keeping at least an arm or something through a strap on the bag.


Don't withdraw a lot of money from an ATM at night. If you need to take money out at night have a friend accompany you or just be aware of who is around you when make the transaction. Choose a location on a main street with a lot of light.


Don't carry your passport with you at all times. Do take it with you if you need to exchange money. Carry a copy of it with you in your wallet when not exchanging money. When using a credit card almost all establishments will accept a driver's license or other form of ID in place of a passport.


Many visitors are tempted to take advantage of the siesta to take photos or see more of the city. Don't do it. Don't wander the back streets of Santa Cruz or any place with few people during siesta (2:30-5pm) if you want to avoid problems. More often than not you'll be ok, but why not relax and eat lunch, take a nap and then head out at 5pm with everyone else.

Cars and Taxis:

never, ever leave anything in your car whether it is the trunk, glove box or under the seat. Taxi drivers are generally nice folks but to be safe remember you don't have to put your camera bag in the trunk. You're camera will thank you for not being jostled around in the back and any driver who insists on putting it in the trunk can be politely ignored.

Helpful Information & Links
Virtualtourist.com - warnings from fellow travelers


Variations exist of the examples below.


A common theft involves 1 or 2 people on a scooter who target the bag hanging over your shoulder. They zip by and one grabs your bag and then they race off. This is common in the smaller and winding streets where they can easily get away. I was witness to one in July where the victim lost everything except her passport. I was witness to another in November where the person lost only come cash and a few personal items. Wear both straps on your backpack and keep your purse or camera straps over the shoulder and around your neck. If you do carry a bag on one shoulder try making it the shoulder which is opposite the road.

Cafe/restaurant table

especially in tourist areas keep your hands on your bags. A camera in the seat next to you or on the table is an easy target. If you must place a bag on the ground try lifting up your seat and placing the strap underneath one of the legs of the chair and then sit down. It's much harder for the thief to drag the bag with you and the chair holding it down.


especially for women keep an eye on your purse. Basically keep over on your shoulder and around your neck. Be aware of people quickly making friends with you, too. One student met four "friends" and had a good amount to drink with them. After heading to another bar the four decided they liked his expensive watch and fought him until they could take it along with his wallet.


these spontaneous street and plaza parties are where a lot of alcohol is consumed make for easy prey. Watch your bags and other valuables.


many variations on this tactic. A person may come up to you in the street to ask you a question or for directions while another is behind ready to take something from you. I've even heard of a water pistol being used to squirt a tourist with water. It took them by surprise, and as they looked to see where it came from another person quickly grabbed the person's bag and ran off.


thriving in crowded areas the old bump and grab the wallet is common. Especially during Semana Santa when you have little choice but to wedge yourself between people to get to your destination.\ On a crowded bus beware of people looking for wallets or putting their hands in purses. Also beware of hanging your jacket over a chair if you have anything valuable in it.

Sometimes avoiding trouble means disguising yourself a bit from the people who prey on tourists. What I'm not saying here is that you should avoid walking the streets doing these things, change your hair color or height, and buy new shoes. What I am saying is in the list below are several things which, to varying degrees, can make you stand-out from sevillanos. Some of them are in conjunction with others. Example: wearing shorts does not always make you stand out, but shorts with blonde hair and a baseball cap will make you an obvious foreigner. One small recommendation - if you can stand a day without your camera, your day-pack and water bottle you can sometimes enjoy yourself more. Take a day off from taking pictures and just wander around feeling "light" and see what you may encounter.

  • baseball caps, especially if worn backwards, in different languages or one recently purchased here with something about Seville, toros, etc. Ok, I guess that's just about any baseball hat.
  • tourist t-shirts (similar to above baseball hat types)
  • shorts
  • Nike (or other popular brands) cross-trainers, hiking boots, Teva-type sandals and sometimes flip flops when worn outside of summer months.
  • city maps and big guidebooks
  • fanny packs
  • camera bags
  • large backpacks with the ever popular wear the smaller backpack on your chest.
  • constantly staring up at everything that amazes you (i.e.: not keeping your eye on the people around you in "touristy" areas.)
  • height - sorry for the taller travelers, but they will notice a 6'6" person every place you go.
  • blonde hair
  • speaking loudly in English or other foreign languages
  • behaving too carefree, as in being drunk and not paying attention to your surroundings
  • eating, drinking and shopping in the "touristy" places


If you have been the victim of a crime the first thing you should do is contact the local police. You can do so by calling the number 092 from any phone. You will be required to make a denuncia, or an official police report about the crime. If your car has been broken into it is wise to call and wait for the police to arrive on the scene. If you have been robbed and are unharmed you should visit the nearest local police office to file a report. In the center the nearest location is the Patio de Banderas police station (Tel. 954 289 564). If you do not speak Spanish there is a telephone line in the office where you can give your report over the phone in English and a few other languages. The report will then be given to an officer and you will confirm the details. The latter is more difficult as the officer may not speak much English. You will need a copy of the report to make any kind of insurance claim (travel, auto, etc.) or to receive a new passport in the case that it was stolen. For U.S. and many other citizens replacing a passport means a trip to Madrid. They will not be able to replace the passport at the consulate in Seville if you are a U.S. citizen. The wait in Madrid could be several weeks, so this can really ruin a trip, especially if you are without financial resources. To limit the damage to your vacation follow these three simple rules:

  • Passport: Avoid carrying your original passport with you unless you need it to exchange money or for proof of ID. Carry a copy with you instead. If you need to have your passport with you store the copy in another location. Always keep them separate.
  • Credit Card: Keep one credit card in a separate location. If possible make sure you have a sufficient amount of credit to last you a week or more. Make sure you have a PIN for the credit card so you can withdraw cash from a machine without needing to provide identification in a bank (they may not accept a copy of your passport as ID).
  • Telephone numbers: Always keep handy the numbers to call your bank and cancel your ATM or other credit cards.

If you don't have the numbers to call your specific bank to cancel credit cards you can use the numbers below. Don't worry too much about whether you bought into that credit card protection plan: in almost all cases you will only be responsible for up to $50 of fraudulent charges, then the bank covers the rest.

Card type telephone
American Express 915 720 303
Master Card 900 971 231
Visa 900 974 445


Like any hospital in the U.S. or other parts of the world every hospital in Seville also has an emergency room for urgent care needs. An alternative to public hospitals are the private clinics, or clínicas. There are also several separate emergency care facilities or centros de urgencias, throughout Sevilla. One of the closest to the center was Centro de Urgencia el Porvenir, just across from the Jardines Murillo and clearly marked as a Centro de Urgencias. Looks like against the wishes of many, this has now closed. The address and telephone for the two largest hospital facilities, and most likely destinations for medical care in the center of Seville are below.

Main hospitals in Seville

Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio
telephone: 955 012 000
Address. Manuel Siurot, s/n

Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena
telephone: 955 008 000
Address: Dr. Fedriani, s/n

More hospitals in Seville

Hospital Infanta Luisa
Address: San Jacinto, 57. telephone: 954 330 100

Hospital San Juan de Dios
telephone: 954 939 300

Hospital San Lázaro
Address: Avda. Dr Fedriani, 56-58. telephone: 954 008 000

Hospital Universitario de Valme
Address: Ctra. Cádiz, km 549. telephone: 955 015 000

Hospital Victoria Eugenia
Address: Avda. de la Cruz Roja, 1. telephone: 954 351 400

Health clinics in Seville

Clínica Sagrado Corazón
Address: Avda. Manuel Siurot, 47. telephone: 954 937 676

Clínica de Fátima
Address: Glorieta de México, 1. telephone: 954 613 300

Clínica Santa Isabel
Address: Luis Montoto, 100. telephone: 954 919 000

Clínica Ntra. Sra. de Aránzazu
Address: Jesús del Gran Poder, 29. telephone: 954 382 110

Knowing where to pick up a prescription after a doctor's visit or when you are suffering from the flu is of course very important. It's not always as easy as the U.S., where you can head out to the local drugstore or even a 24 hour pharmacy. What the farmacias can do better (in most cases) in Spain is give more advice than the pharmacy back home. They do a good job making sure you get what you need and don't start taking something that can do you harm. Many over the counter medications in the U.S. and other countries will only be found in a farmacia or a parafarmacia. A parafarmacia offers these over the counter drugs, but no prescription drugs, along with a lot of the basics like shampoo, soap, etc..

Most farmacia locations in Sevilla are open on the regular business schedule of mornings, then a break for lunch and then open again in the afternoons. If you are looking for something between 2-5pm or after 8:30pm you may need to take a map with you. In this case each neighborhood has a rotating system of Farmacia de Guardias, where each pharmacy location within a region of the city takes on the responsibility of being the all-night or all-day pharmacy. A list of these by date and neighborhood is provided on the front window of every pharmacy or in local newspapers. It's important you know your location (i.e. - what neighborhood you're in) to determine the nearest one. When you arrive be prepared to ring the bell and do business from the street through a gate or window, as these locations generally keep their doors locked for security reasons.

Helpful Information & Links

web:Locate the closest Farmacia de Guardia in Seville (in spanish)


Safety and health also means access to social services for emergencies, counseling and other assistance. Below are some telephone numbers for organizations which can help with specific issues.

Who/What telephone
Anadalusian Women's Assoc. 954 904 800
Center for Drug Dependency 954 550 440
Center for Drug Desintoxication 954 259 958
Alcoholics Anonymous 954 572 661
Child abuse hotline 900 210 966
Women's abuse hotline 900 100 009



Unfortunately most travelers need to contact their consulate only in the case of a lost or stolen passport. Your consulate can of course be of help for visa or legal issues as well. I don't want to list them all, so these are in the order of my most popular visitors and then in alphabetical order for other countries where I know I am receiving visitors. If you want to locate any embassy/consulate anywhere in the world then I recommend you visit Embassyworld.com

Country Address
U.S.A Plaza Nueva 8-8 duplicado, 2ª planta, E2, Nº 4
954 218 571
Canada Avda. Constitución, 30, 2º, 4 954 296 819
U.K. Plaza Nueva, 8 954 228 874
Ireland Plaza de Santa Cruz, 6 954 216 361
Austria Marqués de Paradas, 26, 1º 954 222 162
Belgium Bilbao, 12, 1° 954 220 087
Denmark Avda. Palmera, 19 (Edif Winterthur 2) 954 296 819
Finland c/ Adriano 45, 2°B 954 614 149
France Plaza de Santa Cruz, 1 954 222 896
Greece Ctra. Carmona, 30 954 419 000
Iceland San Florencia, 4, 1°A 954 578 838
Ireland Plaza de Santa Cruz, 6 954 216 361
Italy Luis Montoto, 107-113 954 216 361
Netherlands Avda. del Cid s/n 954 231 150
Norway Virgen de la Regla, 21 954 275 442
Portugal Placentines, 1 954 228 750
Sweden Infante D. Carlos Borbón, 16, 1°A 954 532 826


The numbers below are helpful in emergency situations or when you have been a victim of crime. With all of these numbers it can get quite confusing about who to call. The first three numbers are the most important. If you have an emergency situation and are not sure which to call use the 112 number.

Who/What What for... telephone
Emergency (as in 911) any emergency 112
National Police major crime 091
Ambulance medical emergency 061
Fire (Bomberos) in case of fire 080
Municipal/Local Police minor crime; city traffic 092
Guardia Civil accidents outside of cities 092
Police: Dept. of Extranjero police help for foreigners 954 249 496
Red Cross (Cruz Roja) humanitarian 954 351 400
Farmacia de Guardia locate 24 hr. pharmacy/chemist 902 522 111
American Express lost or stolen card 915 720 303
Master Card lost or stolen card 900 971 231
Visa lost or stolen card 900 974 445



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Editor: Jeff Spielvogel
© 2004 JS