Living in Spain Expat Guide

Living in Spain expat guide – that will be the topic of today’s article.

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The best time to consider your financial situation is when you are moving to a new country.


Are you ready to explore another world around you? Living in Spain will give you endless enjoyment! In fact, you’ll be opportune to see the home stadium of FC Barcelona with a seating capacity of 99,354, having the largest stadium in Spain and Europe. Now, what is it like to live in this wonderful country?

Hmm… well, when it comes to the cost of living, Spain is one of the suitable places to live in Europe. This is because; the prices are stable compared to the average income in the country. Meanwhile, living in this country also comes with a whole set of rules. A good example is the Spanish Siesta that still exists today.

To be prepared and know what to expect in Spain, we will cover practical steps, insights on social-cultural aspects, and the pros and cons of living in Spain. To give you an idea, rent prices in the United Kingdom are higher (40 percent) than in Spain. But know that there are substantial cost differences when renting or buying in big Spanish cities versus smaller towns.

However, there are many benefits and disadvantages to living in Spain. Knowing the Spanish language is beneficial in Spain, while at the same time, not speaking Spanish could make everyday communication hard. Additionally, while there’s a low cost of living, you should know that there’s a high unemployment rate in the country.

Similarly, the great economic recession hit Spain hard in 2008. Even though the country has recovered, there has been a consistent flow of jobs, and it’s still high compared to other European countries. Moreover, expat should be aware that each region in Spain has its languages, such as Basque, Galician, and others.

Exploring Spain Pros and Cons

If you’re wondering about public holidays in Spain, worry less as we’ve compiled everything you need to know in this article. But before that, let’s quickly walk you through the benefits and few disadvantages of living in Spain. Without further ado, below are the pros and cons of relocating or living in Spain.

Low Cost of Living in Spain

In Spain, you won’t enjoy an active lifestyle based on stress. Besides, the Spanish spirit is based on enjoying life as much as possible. And you won’t be able to enjoy this standard of living if it wasn’t due to the low cost of living. Many things like housing, rentals, and everything you can think of are much cheaper than in other European countries.

Spain Health Benefits

When it comes to health benefits, Spain happens to be one of the best in the world. On the other hand, you have a free public healthcare system available for both foreigners and citizens. For people that need serious medical attention, their prices are much more affordable than in most developed nations.

Easy Visa to Spain

Another benefit of living in this country is the easiness of residence permits. Beyond that, getting a visa in Spain is really easy. For example, a golden visa is a residence permit obtained by simply investing in real estate. Also, other permits may fit your relocation.

Moreover, if you’re planning to retire in Spain, a non-lucrative visa will be ideal. All you need to do is to meet up the requirements for the permit. Meanwhile, you can get all the process done with ease if you rely on experienced immigration lawyers to help you throughout the process.

Properties in Spain

Buying properties in Spain is one of the best things you’ve ever think of. First of all, the colossal offering you’ll see in the country will get you a property regardless of your budget. And second, there are lots of houses that are available at a low price. If you want to make a quick comparison, you get more with the same facilities in Spain, compared to the UK.

Nightlife in Spain

If there’s one thing Spanish love, doing the most, it’s partying all over the night. Also, cities like Ibiza or Barcelona have become the perfect destination for tourists who want the best DJ performance. But in Spain, not everything has to do with night club as Spanish nightlife offers much more.

Food, Drinks, and Wines

Again, Spain has one of the best wines and food in the world, that’s why ecotourism is so prevalent in the country nowadays. Besides, if you travel to Spain, you cannot have a meal without a glass of wine because it’s nearly mandatory. Meanwhile, the bad thing is that after you order some, it may be pretty difficult for you to stop.

Weather and Climate in Spain

The weather and climate in Spain are the most significant reason people will find jobs in the country. This is because; the weather and climate are much kinder compared to other Northern European countries. Having said that, Spain also has a mild climate, and warm sunshine is also a blessing to Spain.

CONs of Living in Spain (2021)

While you might miss your friends and family at home, just a short flight can get you to Spain. Aside from this fact, it can be hard and expensive to constantly be flying back to your country of residence if you have grandchildren. Without further ado, below are the few cons you should know about living in Spain.

High Unemployment Rate in Spain

The high unemployment rate in Spain is becoming increasingly alarming. That way, the economic recession of 2008 is a crucial factor that led to the loss of jobs while recent graduates find it difficult to secure employment opportunities. Yet compared to other European countries, the rate of unemployment here has lowered to 13.7 percent.

Language Problem

The language barrier seems to be another con of living in Spain. More so, Spanish is the second most spoken language worldwide, and it’s one of the most popular languages to learn. Aside from that, there are lots of different dialects and accents in the country. So, you may need to understand the language well.

Other things to Consider in Spain

Weighing the pros and cons of living in Spain, many are pros, and that’s why you should explore the country and get to know the culture and traditions. Moreover, the weather in Spain can be somewhat pros or cons depending on your preference. Meanwhile, many shops close during the middle of the day, around 2 pm until 5 p.m. for most, these are the things you can adjust to if you want to live in Spain.

National Public Holidays in Spain

DateNational Public Holiday
January 1st`New Year’s Day in Spain 
January 6th Epiphany celebration in Spain
March 1stBalearic Day in Spain
March 13thStatue of Autonomy in Spain
March 19th Father’s day celebration
April 23rdCastile and Leon community day celebration
August 5th Our lady of Africa day
September 11th National Day of Catalonia in Spain 
December 6th Constitution day celebration day

Aside from the ones listed above, there are other public holidays in Spain, including Christmas day celebration, day of Melilla, Ceuta day celebration, Whit Monday, and many others, to mention a few. Therefore, while you’re moving to this country, you should be aware of the national public holidays.

Interesting Facts Expat Should Know About Spain

Reading fun facts about Spain is not quite the same as visiting the country itself. This is because; there are better things to explore in the country. And the Spanish culture is definitely something you’ll want to experience. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of ten interesting facts about living in Spain. Without much talk, below are the exciting facts all expat should know.

  1. Spaniards Have the Wackiest Festival

Don’t be surprised when you see Spaniards fighting with tomatoes. In fact, one in a year (every August), La Tomatina, which happens to be the world’s wackiest festival, turns the small Valencia town into the biggest food fight playground. This festival is incredibly popular all over the world, and it lasts for an hour.

According to history, the festival’s origin dated back to 1945 when a street fight broke out between a rowdy local and a group of young people. In the following year, they repeated the battle, and that led to the Tomatina festival in the country till date.

  1. Spain is Known for Beaches

This is not one of the most mind-blowing facts about Spain, but I’m pretty sure you know that there are plenty of hills too. With beaches occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula and even boosting few islands, seeing beaches all around shouldn’t be a surprise. Similarly, there are eight significant mountain ranges within Spain, and they include Cordillera Cantabrica, Sierra Nevada, and many others, to mention a few.

  1. Spain Has the Oldest Restaurant in the World

If you’re looking for one of the oldest restaurants in the world, Spain continues to be first. It is situated in Madrid (Sobrino de Botin) as the oldest restaurant in the world with continuous operation. Research made it known that Frenchman Jean Botin opened this restaurant in 1725 to keep serving the country with the best food.

  1. Spanish Live Longer

There’s one thing you should know about the Spaniard people; they live longer. According to stats, Spain has the second-highest life expectancy of all the OECD countries at an impressive 85 years as of 2021. But the Japanese have a higher expectancy, as a result, revealed compared to the Spanish system.

  1. Spain Operates a constitutional Monarchy

Following the death of the right-wing dictator of the country, General Franco, dated back in 1975, King Juan Carlos returned to the throne, and ever since then, the government has been operating a constitutional monarchy. Meanwhile, there aren’t tax inspectors in Spain as you can enjoy your life without disturbance.

  1. Perfect place for Tourist

One of the world’s most popular tourist destinations is in Spain. What can you think of? Is it the historic palaces, sweeping beaches, or the world-class mountain trekking? Whatever you’re looking for that’s not in other European countries can be found here. Besides, the country welcomes a staggering 82.8 million visitors a year.

  1. Traditional Surname

Traditionally, a child receives two surnames from their parents in Spain. However, all the different traditional practices found in the world contribute to the excitement of learning new things in Spain. The mother gives the surname, while the second is issued by the father to make two surnames.

Cost of Living in Spain (2021)

The average cost of living in Spain is about €900 per month as of 2021. This amount includes rent, food, drinks, and utilities for one person. Therefore, if you’re looking to relocate to this country, you’ll need to know how much everyday living cost in your new home. Also, before booking your Spain flight, it’s worth knowing if your new life will be financially buoyant.

Cost of Living in the UK vs. Spain

Of course, the cost of living in Spain depends on the kind of environment you choose. For example, living in the capital city will cost you more than other cheaper areas, and you might even live less lavish lifestyles. In the rest of this article, we will discuss living in Spain and other essential things.

In recent times, Spain has always been known for its low cost of living compared to the United Kingdom. According to Numbeo, the overall average cost of living in Spain is about 18.2 percent cheaper than in the United Kingdom. In Great Britain, the average cost of living as of today is approximately 33.19 percent.

Tax payment in Spain

Taxes in Spain are pretty on the increase compared to other European countries. For example, if you can earn up to €11,500 in the UK, you can live in the country without paying tax, whereas earners in Spain will have to pay tax on all their earnings. For example, you’ll need to pay a 19 percent tax if you’re earning up to €12,500. Similarly, if your earning increase, the percentage of tax will also increase.

Cost (Average) of Food in Spain

While the average cost of living in Spain is relatively low, it’s crucial to understand the average cost of food in the country. When you eat in a restaurant, the average price is always sporadic and doesn’t appear expensive. However, if you’ve considered the amount, you should reach up to €150+, which might not be small for new visitors. Below is a list of the food item and their average cost price.

Food ItemsAverage Cost in Spain
Milk (1 liter) and 12 EggsApproximately €2
Cheese (1kg) and Chicken Breasts (1kg)Approximately €10
Apples 1kg and Bananas 1kgApproximately €3
Water 1.5 liter and a bottle of Mid-range WineApproximately €6
Spanish beer (0.5 liters)Approximately  €1
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter)Approximately €2
Regular Cappuccino in SpainApproximately €3

Utilities Cost in Spain

The average cost of utilities in Spain is about €110, including water, cooling, cost of electricity, and many others. Again this might not seem like a huge cost, but when combined, they can be pretty expensive. We’ve given data analyzing the average cost of utilities below. Kindly take a look at it now.

Location in SpainAverage Cost of Monthly Utilities in the Country
Barcelona cityThe average cost is €125
Alicante cityThe average cost is €90
San Sebastian cityAverage cost €160
Malaga city in Spain The average cost is €95
Valencia cityThe average cost is €115

 Cost of Buying or Renting an Apartment in Spain

The cost of buying or renting a house in Spain will contribute to one of the most significant expenses in the country. Similar to the variations in utility costs, the prices vary depending on your chosen environment. Overall, you can see a cheaper option in some cities while there are more expensive options in other places. Without further ado, let’s quickly walk you through the prices of houses in the country.

Location in SpainOne bedroom in the cityThree bedrooms in the cityCost of a property per m2 in the city
Living in Madrid€900€1,800€4,500
Ling in Barcelona€950€1,500€4,500
Living in Alicante€450€700€2,700
Living in San Sebastian€900€1,500€6,500
Living in Malaga€580€900€2,300
Living in Valencia€580€900€2,500

Wages/Salaries in Spain (2021)

When it comes to wages and salaries in Spain, it’s essential to know the payment plans. Moreover, it would help if you understood that the salaries are lower in Spain than in other European countries. To give you a general understanding of the salaries, we’ve provided some facts according to Numbeo.

On average, Spain salaries are lesser than the UK for about 56.04 percent. With this in mind, you should be careful when you’re planning your relocation to this country. Moreover, ensure that the lower-earning potential doesn’t put you at any disadvantage in buying whatever you want in the country.

Top Paid Jobs in Spain (2021)

If you want to live in Spain, it’s better to know the top paid jobs before planning to settle down in the country. This is because; many of the top-paying jobs in the country are the same as in the United Kingdom. In fact, an airline pilot may earn up to €120,000 as a starting wage, while professional surgeons can earn as much as €100,000 a year.

In addition, some professions are comparatively better paid than those in the United Kingdom. Considering the living cost, engineering project managers in Spain can earn up to €60,000 while working in the ICT direction can earn around €50,000. They increase their quality of life in Spain.

Different Places to Work in Spain

Unsurprisingly, the most densely populated region for expat in Spain is the southern part of the country. This is likely due to what the area provides to visitors. Aside from that, the two most densely populated places in Spain are Malaga and Alicante. Other places that are suitable for expat are; Madrid, Almeria, and Barcelona.

Cost of Education in Spain (2021)

Taxpayers in Spain can go to state schools, providing you’re registered as Spanish residents. Also, lessons are conducted in Spanish residents with their local dialects. So, if you prefer to send your children to Spanish school, you should know that the fees vary widely depending on your choice of cities.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of international schools in the country. With fees ranging from €4,000 to €8,000 per year, you can enjoy the best educational services in the country. Also, you can learn the Spanish language for around €150 to €400, depending on the intensity and the kind of language level you choose.

2021 Travel Information about Spain

Spain is a diverse country with a unique cultural heritage. Again, Spanish is the primary language, though, but there are several regional languages, including Valencian, Catalan, Galician, and Basque. With the third-highest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites globally, there are tons of incredible things to see in Spain.

Furthermore, traveling around Spain is straightforward. You can travel by car, air, or train while their currency is the euro and the population of this country is about a 50million. Now, travel information here includes the visa types and other visa-exempt countries you should know. Take a look at the classes below.

Visa Types (Updated) in Spain

There are different types of visas in Spain, depending on your nationality. Most importantly, Spain is a part of the Schengen area, meaning that they share a visa policy in common. Also, travelers can move freely between Schengen countries without going through passport controls or rules. Some of the visa types include tourist visas, work visas, and student visas.


Living in Spain offers life in a modern country with several cultural heritages. Rent may vary dramatically depending on where you choose, but you’ll enjoy the low cost of living. Every expat would love to live in Spain, but it would be better to read everything stated in this article to know more. Nonetheless, adjustment to their traditions may be easier than expected. So, what are you waiting for? Hurry no and start the process!

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