Living in Spain offers life in a modern country, which offers a well-developed infrastructure and a modern living environment. The pace of life is balanced and relaxed compared to other European countries and the climate is such that the outdoor resources can be enjoyed on a regular basis.
Spain offers a good mix of historical and modern architecture and is rich in culture. Approximately 90% of the population is Spanish with ethnic minority groups including Moroccans, Romanians, Ecuadorians, and Colombians.
Almost 6% of the total population living in Spain are expatriates, consisting of immigrants from North Africa and South America as well as British expatriates. Spain is an extremely popular retirement destination because of its warm climate, low house prices and high standard of living. Many other expatriates come to this country to open tourist facilities such as bars, cafes and night clubs.
Expatriate life in Spain is suited to those who seek a relaxed and laid back life. The locals are friendly and trusting and the majority of the country is family friendly. For those who are seeking a quiet life the coastal towns may be inappropriate as they attract significant numbers of tourists on an annual basis.
The cost of living in Spain will very much depend upon on your lifestyle and where you live. If you seek luxury goods and fine dining you will find Spain very expensive but if you are prepared to eat and live like the locals you will find your money goes a lot further here than it does at home.
Housing costs can be very reasonable but are high in the cities and popular tourist areas. Utilities costs are high and can cost up to 20% more than the United Kingdom and the USA, especially if bottled gas is required. Food in Spain, on the other hand, is relatively cheap and provided you don’t dine out in tourist hotspots you will find the prices in restaurants reasonable.
Our guide to living in Madrid contains a comprehensive list of all the costs of living in this European city, including groceries, eating and dining out, local and private transport, schools and educations and a whole host of other living expenses.
Spain has several regional languages and dialects:
Northern Atlantic coast has mild summers, relatively cold winters and large amounts of rainfall.
Inland areas have a continental climate, and the Mediterranean coastal areas to the east and south are hotter in both summer and winter.
Spain has a relatively high unemployment rate, which translates to high competition for jobs. Restrictive regulations regarding the employment of a foreign worker makes the situation worse and the employment opportunities for non-EU citizens are very limited. Even for those from the EU, a working knowledge of Spanish (Castilian) is usually required as too is a strong network, as a large percentage of jobs are found through personal connections. Job opportunities do exist however, for those who are looking for work in retail, restaurants/bars or teaching foreign languages.
There are some shortages for workers in technical posts. The latest list of shortage occupations can be found on the Instituto Nacional de Empleo (INEM) (National Employment Institute) website. Unfortunately this list is only available in Spanish.
Expat Info Desk currently has two city guides available for Spain; Living in Barcelona and Living in Madrid. These exhaustive guides contains everything you need to know about relocating to these Spanish cities and will assist you to:
Unlike a book, the guides are regularly reviewed and updated in order to ensure that the information is accurate and reliable and because the guides are written by real expats who live and work in Barcelona and Madrid, you can be assured that you are accessing the information that you need as written by people who really are in the know.