Spain is not as free as it used to be. The so-called “gag law” passed in 2015 quashes freedom of speech and restricts internet use. The police force during the Catalonia independence referendum in 2017 shocked residents and much of Europe as well. The Spanish government blocked websites that covered the issue. The best VPNs for use in Spain will restore your uncensored access to the internet by encrypting your internet connection and routing it through a server in another location. Using a VPN is legal, and neither your ISP nor the government will know you are using a VPN.
A good VPN will also let you access location-locked Spanish websites when you travel elsewhere. While you’re in Spain, you can watch video from streaming services that are blocked for Spanish citizens. This article will explain the considerations for picking the best VPN and rank the top VPNs for use in Spain.
Detailed explanations follow. You can skip to them or start with this quick summary of the best VPNs for use in Spain:
- NordVPN: My top choice VPN to use in Spain. Very fast, vast network that accesses the most popular streaming sites from Spain. Has a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: The best budget premium VPN that is fast, secure, and privacy-oriented. Able to get around most blocks from streaming services.
- ExpressVPN: Has servers in almost 100 countries, the fastest connections in Europe, and an excellent record of accessing streaming services.
- CyberGhost: A fast VPN ideal for streaming and has very competitive prices. Easy to set up and use.
- PrivateVPN: Has low prices and is great at accessing most streaming services while you travel abroad.
- IPVanish: Prices are slightly higher than average but it does offer excellent customer support. Unlimited simultaneous connections are allowed.
- Private Internet Access (PIA): Has excellent security and privacy features to give you added peace of mind while online.
- Atlas VPN: Newer, smaller VPN that despite being bargain-priced is still full-featured. Great at accessing streaming services.
The reasoning behind the criteria I used is explained in more detail in the testing methodology section below. For a quick summary, here are some of the key considerations I considered for picking the best VPNs for use in Spain:
- Operates servers in Spain and nearby countries
- Can access location-locked content
- Provides fast and reliable connections
- Ensures strong security
- Does not record or maintain logs
Best VPNs for use in Spain
So, without further ado, here are my top picks for the best VPNs for Spain.
NordVPN is the top choice for use in Spain because it ranks among the best in all regards. It is the fourth fastest VPN for use in Europe, according to recent tests, and works well for users in countries that block VPNs. NordVPN has more than 5,600 servers throughout the world, including more than 60 in Spain. It even has a dedicated server in Spain for peer-to-peer use.
The provider can also access Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, US Netflix, and other popular streaming media services. As a premium VPN, NordVPN’s prices are higher than average, but lower than other VPNs, such as ExpressVPN.
NordVPN has all the standard security capabilities. Premium features include ad, pop-up, tracker, and malware blocking; split-tunneling, obfuscated servers, private DNS, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. It also maintains an uncompromising no-logs policy, meaning that your privacy is completely protected. You can even register anonymously.
It makes easy-to-use apps for Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and even Linux. Many users praise its tech support and customer service.
- Exceptional speed
- >60 servers in Spain
- Works with major streaming media services
- Great privacy and security features
- Enables split-tunneling
- Many VPNs are cheaper
BEST VPN FOR SPAIN:NordVPN is número uno. It’s very fast, has more than 60 servers in Spain, has extra security features, and is great for streaming. NordVPN will give you a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark is the best budget premium VPN. It is the fifth fastest VPN for use in Europe, which is plenty fast enough for streaming. Surfshark accesses Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming media services. It also works in China.
The provider is a relatively new VPN, but growth is so rapid that it already has more than 3,200 RAM-only servers in almost 100 countries. It has far fewer servers than NordVPN does in Spain, but does have servers in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia; along with servers in Marseille and Bordeaux in France, and Porto and Lisbon in Portugal.
Surfshark is budget-priced for a premium VPN with low prices if you sign up for 24 months of service. You can connect as many devices as you want.
It has a plenitude of security and privacy features. Surfshark’s extra features include ad and tracker blocking, a browser plug-in that blocks cookie-notice pop-ups, kill switches in all apps, obfuscated servers, and private DNS.
- Low prices with the 24-month plan
- Very fast
- Unique security and privacy features
- Unlimited connections
- Streaming servers are not labeled in app
BEST BUDGET VPN FOR SPAIN:Surfshark gives you an abundance of features and benefits for a low price. It can access geo-restricted content and offers fast speeds. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN for use in Europe. It operates physical servers in Barcelona and Madrid and more than 3,000 servers in 90+ other countries. In addition to apps for the major operating systems, ExpressVPN makes easy-to-use apps for Linux, Chrome, Kindle Fire, and routers. The catch is that this luxury VPN service has a premium price.
The provider accesses Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO, and other streaming media services. You can read the ExpressVPN website in Español.
Security is another strength. ExpressVPN provides DNS leak protection, kill switches, RAM-only servers, split-tunneling, private DNS on every server, and tracker blocking. It does not keep activity or connection logs. Its no-logs policy isn’t absolute, but it does not record any user activity or personally identifying information.
ExpressVPN is now owned by Kape Technologies, a company with a shady past, which concerns some privacy and security advocates. However, ExpressVPN’s privacy and security capabilities remain on par with the best VPNs. Price is the only documented reason why anyone might need to choose a different VPN.
- Fastest VPN for use in Europe
- Vast server network with servers in Spain
- Very good at accessing streaming media services
- Easy to use
- Prices are much higher than average
- Owned by Kape Technologies
FASTEST PREMIUM VPN:ExpressVPN provides superior speed, security, features, and customer service. It makes apps for every popular device. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included.
CyberGhost is the second fastest VPN for use in Europe. Its ability to access media-streaming services has recently improved: CyberGhost will now work with Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, some Netflix libraries, and other services. The CyberGhost apps let you pick a streaming service and the software will automatically identify the best server for that purpose and connect you to it. Easy-to-use features like that make CyberGhost a good choice for first-time VPN users, but the apps may be too minimalist for advanced users.
The provider makes apps for Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Linux. CyberGhost’s vast network of more than 9,000 servers in 90+ countries includes more than 160 servers in Barcelona and Madrid. Although CyberGhost now accesses more streaming services, it does not work in countries like China, UAE, or Saudi Arabia.
CyberGhost offers a low introductory special-offer price if you commit to three years of service. CyberGhost’s privacy and security capabilities are solid, yet unexceptional. It gives you automatic WiFi protection and blocks ads and malware. Standard features include 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and kill switches.
- Very fast
- Dedicated streaming servers
- More than 160 servers in Spain
- Highly satisfied customers
- Little or no service in China or UAE
- Owned by Kape Technologies
GREAT FOR FIRST-TIME USERS:CyberGhost’s exceptional speed and dedicated servers make its service ideal for video streaming. Customer satisfaction is very high. Has a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
PrivateVPN is fast and low-priced. The provider does not have one of the bigger server networks on this list, but it does have servers in 63+ countries. It is based in Sweden and the provider’s biggest appeal is user satisfaction.
At odds with that, PrivateVPN’s website lacks much support help and is difficult to navigate. Live support is provided by a third party. PrivateVPN’s apps are easy to use and they are available for the major operating systems, as well as Amazon Fire TV. You can connect up to 10 devices at once.
PrivateVPN is great at accessing geo-restricted content and streaming media services. It allows torrenting and is fast enough and private enough for it.
The provider does not keep any user or usage logs. Security capabilities are very good, but lacking some of the extra security features you can get from premium VPNs.
- Servers in Madrid
- Users love it
- Works with all major streaming services
- Small size and limited number of servers
- Getting help isn’t always easy
FAST AND RELIABLE:PrivateVPN offers fast and reliable connections, despite its relatively small server network. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish is the third fastest VPN for use in Europe. It operates more than 2,000 servers in over 75 countries, including 30 servers in Madrid. It also has six servers in Valencia and five in Lisbon, which will be the closest for people in southern and eastern parts of Spain. IPVanish owns all of the servers it operates; others lease space.
The provider is also a fine choice for first-time users because it will provide tech support and customer service by phone. That’s a rarity in the VPN industry, and you can get support in Spanish. Apps are minimalist and easy to use.
IPVanish’s prices are a bit higher than average, but the company justifies the price by including protection against malware and ransomware. IPVanish recently upgraded to the WireGuard connection protocol, which increases both speed and security. Overall privacy and security capabilities are solid.
It’s not as successful as some of its competitors at overcoming VPN blocks by streaming media services and repressive governments. It does allow unlimited simultaneous connections.
- Phone support available
- Great speed
- Lots of servers in Spain
- Doesn’t access Amazon Prime and some other popular streaming services
- Doesn’t work in China
- Prices aren’t great
EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SUPPORT:IPVanish is very fast, provides exceptional support, and has lots of servers in Spain. You can simultaneously connect all your family’s devices. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a full-featured, yet inexpensive VPN. PIA has a huge server network, but its focus is in the U.S. However, it does operate servers in Valencia and Madrid.
PIA’s niche is exceptional privacy and security features and the ability to customize them. It operates RAM-only servers, which means they save no data. You can use a feature that routes traffic through several servers at the same time. PIA does not keep logs and does allow anonymous payment methods.
The impressive list of security features includes an ad tracker and malware blocking; kill switches; cloaking technology; split-tunneling; the WireGuard connection protocol; and private DNS. PIA lets you connect 10 devices at the same time.
PIA is not as good at accessing streaming media sites and navigating repressive governments as the other VPNs on this list.
- Excellent privacy and security features
- Allow lots of choices and customization
- Servers in Spain
- Customer relations need improvement
- Not great for accessing streaming media services
EASY-TO-USE APPS:Private Internet Access gives you the most ability to customize features and app user interfaces of any VPN. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Atlas VPN is a newer and smaller VPN, but it has already grown so popular that it has more than 750 servers in over 42 countries, including Spain and Portugal. Although not as fast in Europe as the other VPNs on this list, Atlas VPN is considerably faster than most other competitors.
The provider enables 4k video streaming. It works with all major streaming services and is a good choice for torrenting.
Atlas VPN was recently acquired by Nord Security, the developer of NordVPN. Atlas lacks some of the virtues of NordVPN, but perhaps the new ownership will push it in that direction. Nonetheless, Atlas VPN is a full-featured VPN with a no-logs policy, malware and ad blocking, the WireGuard connection protocol, tracker blocking, split tunneling, private DNS, unlimited simultaneous connections, and a kill switch.
The area where Atlas falls short slightly is customer service. Users say the company makes cancellation during the trial period almost impossible.
- Works with all major streaming services
- Very inexpensive
- Solid security
- Will not work with Linux, Chrome OS, or older versions of Windows (pre-Windows 10)
- Customer relations are an issue
- Relatively small network
EXCELLENT VALUE FOR MONEY:With its current promotion, Atlas VPN is the cheapest on this list. You get a lot for the price, but a little more risk. Also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
VPN testing methodology and selection criteria for Spain
Whether you live in Spain or are spending a couple of weeks on vacation in Ibiza, you need the same things from a VPN. For example, if you want to watch content that is restricted in Spain, it doesn’t matter if you are a resident or a visitor. I looked for and evaluated these factors:
- Servers in and around Spain: If you are far from a VPN’s nearest server, your connection will be slower. The closest server is usually the fastest. Some quantity of nearby servers is important, too, because overloaded servers are also slower. If you live closer to Portugal or France than you do to Madrid, servers in those countries also matter, because most of the VPN servers in Spain are in Madrid.
- Unblocking ability: Streaming services and repressive governments spend a lot of time and money trying to block VPNs. They have something they want to hide from you. VPNs make equal or superior investments to overcome those blocks. The battle is ongoing, but the best VPNs are currently able to access Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, and other streaming services. Some are also able to be used in China.
- Speed: A VPN is a middleman. Instead of connecting to your ISP and then to a website, you connect to a VPN between those destinations. The extra routing causes some slowing. The amount of that slowing varies greatly from one VPN to another. Reliable connections are also important. You do not want dropouts.
- Security: VPNs must have methods of protecting and enhancing your security. Security is a major concern for travelers who must rely on public WiFi hotspots. VPNs should have all of these security features: 256-bit AES encryption, kill switches, DNS leak protection, split tunneling, private DNS, and obfuscated servers. Premium VPNs provide additional security features that are also being adopted by many mainstream VPNs. Those may include ad, pop-up, tracker, and malware blocking; RAM-only servers; and the WireGuard connection protocol.
- Privacy: Trustworthy VPNs give you complete anonymity from themselves, your ISP, your government, and would-be trackers (e.g. Google and Facebook). With Spain’s internet restrictions, that privacy is critical. Ideally, VPNs do not log any information. If they do log some data, it must anonymous, and it must not be recorded.
- Value: Prices must correspond with speed, size, security, features, and customer service.
- Ease of use: VPN providers all make apps and have support websites. The apps should be understandable and intuitive for novices and versatile enough to give options to advanced users.
- Customer service and relations: A tech business must have good tech support, and you should not have to wait long for help. Help by 24/7 chat and email is the bare minimum. Billing issues should be quickly and easily resolved. When the sample size is large enough, user reviews often reveal customer relations issues. For example, some VPNs will do anything to avoid giving you a refund if you cancel service, even if it is within their money-back guarantee period.
If you’d like to read more about my extensive testing methodology, then you can do so here.
How to set up a VPN in Spain
Setting up a VPN in Spain is easy, and no different from doing it anywhere else, except you may want to download apps in Spanish. Here are the steps:
- Choose a provider. NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN are the best choices for most people to use in Spain, but pick the one that best meets your needs.
- Download and install the VPN’s software from its website for your devices/operating systems.
- Open the app.
- Connect to a server. Most apps let you pick a country or the fastest server. If you want to access content that is limited to people in a specific country, choose that country. If you want to avoid Spain’s internet restrictions, choose a server that is in another country.
That’s it. If you have problems, you can try a different server or contact the VPN. For the most part, your online experience should not seem any different. You may encounter some CAPCHAs.
Can I use a free VPN for Spain?
Yes, you can, but you probably don’t want to take the risk. Everything free has a price, and the price for a free VPN can be harmful. Perhaps the biggest concern for people in Spain is that you don’t want to run afoul of Spain’s gag law. A free VPN is unlikely to be able to protect you from that. Some free VPNs don’t even encrypt user data. All they really do is get you an alternate IP address.
If you use a reputable commercial VPN and engage in illegal downloading, you are unlikely to get caught. If you use a free VPN and your ISP can see what you are downloading, you are at risk. You shouldn’t be downloading copyrighted material without paying for it anyway; the point here is that it is one of the areas targeted by the gag law.
The best free VPNs are honest businesses that make their money in obvious ways. Some track your usage and serve you targeted ads. Some provide a crippled version of their commercial service and use it as a marketing tool to entice you to upgrade. You’ll be besieged with opportunities to do so.
Free VPNs have one thing in common: the vast majority of them are slow. They don’t care how many people are using each server or if that saturates a server. Free VPNs have a variety of limitations. Some limit bandwidth. Some ban streaming and/or torrenting. Some have data caps. Few provide support services.
The worst free VPNs inflict your devices with malware. You’ve opened a port that lets you access the VPN, but it can also access your device.
Using a VPN in Spain FAQs
What is Spain’s gag law?
Officially called the Citizens’ Security Law, but colloquially known as “la ley mordaza'' (the “gag law” in English), this 2015 act gives the police and the national court the right to punish citizens for a variety of new offenses, some of which were previously considered basic human rights.
Parts of the law address internet use; including visiting anti-government websites, illegal downloading, and using inappropriate language on social media sites. The law has been used to punish artists, journalists, political activists, protestors, and others who engaged in free speech. According to Amnesty International, 40,000 people were charged with breaking the gag law in 2016 and 2017.
Will using a VPN for Spain slow my internet connection?
Yes, see the VPN testing methodology and selection criteria section above.
Are VPNs legal in Spain?
Yes. A few countries do ban VPN use, but they are much more repressive than Spain. That said, Spain’s laws still apply to anything you do online. For example, a VPN greatly reduces the likelihood of you getting caught, but if you engage in the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material, you are breaking the gag law.
Can I watch blocked Amazon Prime Video or Netflix in Spain?
Yes, you do need accounts with those services, but good VPNs can access the content that is blocked for users in Spain. Log in to a U.S. server if you want to watch content that is limited to U.S. users.
If you’re going to spend much time in Spain, read “Streaming in Spain – The Must Have Platforms!” and “Amazon Prime Video Channels Lands in Spain, Italy, Netherlands.” Streaming video in a foreign country instead of sightseeing is a viable backup plan in case of a pandemic, civil unrest, or horrible weather. The world has experienced a lot of those types of events in recent years and more are coming.
- Best VPNs for use in Spain
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. PrivateVPN
- 6. IPVanish
- 7. Private Internet Access
- 8. Atlas VPN
- VPN testing methodology and selection criteria for Spain
- How to set up a VPN in Spain
- Can I use a free VPN for Spain?
- Using a VPN in Spain FAQs
- What is Spain’s gag law?
- Will using a VPN for Spain slow my internet connection?
- Are VPNs legal in Spain?
- Can I watch blocked Amazon Prime Video or Netflix in Spain?