There were chants of ‘freedom’ as people partied in city streets and on beaches, but there were concerns that restrictions to tackle the coronavirus were lifted too soon.
Hundreds of young people, for the most part, were pictured gathered in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square to applaud as the clock struck midnight on weekends.
In Barcelona, revelers took to the beach to mark the moment the lockdown curbs finally came to an end.
Some wore masks, but there was little social distancing as friends kissed, hugged, danced and sang together.
Store worker Paula Garcia, 28, on Barcelona beach, said: “Young people, like everyone else, are very limited.
“Now was the time to give ourselves a little freedom to enjoy the summer a little. “
“It was about time they let us out,” said Andreu Pujol, 25, also on Barcelona beach.
“Even so, I am still very unhappy with the handling (of the pandemic). You can see that in this country all they do is make it up as they go. “
But in the Basque Country, where authorities had called for the curfew to be maintained but were rejected by a court last week, some residents were less enthusiastic.
“It is very serious that there is no state of emergency,” said Asun Lasa, walking along the San Sebastian waterfront on Sunday.
“People want to go out but the situation is not ready for that. “
The Basque Country has experienced the highest infection rate in Spain, at 448 per 100,000, compared to a national average of 199.
Social media videos of large groups paying little attention to distancing drew criticism from some on Sunday.
“Freedom does not include breaking the rules,” said conservative Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, stressing that street drinking gatherings known as “botellones” were prohibited.
During the pandemic, Spain suffered 78,792 coronavirus deaths and 3.6 million cases.
But infection rates have plummeted and vaccinations are advancing rapidly, allowing most of its 17 regions to lift the curfew.
Only four regions kept it: the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Navarre and Valencia.
As the curfew has been lifted, most areas have limited the opening hours of bars and restaurants, forcing people to take to the streets.