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A guide to living in Spain

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on living in Spain! Whether you’re considering relocating to this beautiful Mediterranean country, retiring in Spain, or simply exploring the idea of making Spain your home, Watson European is here to provide you with valuable insights and tips to make your transition as smooth as possible.

A guide to living in Spain


A Guide to Living in Spain with Watson European

Why Spain? A Glimpse into the Spanish Lifestyle

Spain, located in the southwestern part of Europe, offers a unique blend of rich culture, stunning landscapes, and a relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. With its diverse regions, vibrant cities, and warm, welcoming people, Spain has become a popular destination for expatriates from all over the world.

The Spanish People: Warm and Hospitable

Spaniards are renowned for their warmth and hospitality. Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, you’ll be met with friendly smiles and open arms. The strong sense of community and inclusivity in Spanish culture ensures that newcomers feel welcome and embraced.

Diverse Regions: From Big Cities to Tranquil Villages

Spain caters to various lifestyles. You can choose to live in the heart of bustling metropolises like Madrid and Barcelona, where opportunities abound. Alternatively, the charm of tranquil villages and coastal towns might call to you, offering a more relaxed pace of life.

The Mediterranean Lifestyle: Relaxed and Enjoyable

Life in Spain revolves around savouring the simple pleasures. Enjoy leisurely meals with friends and family, take siestas in the afternoon, and embrace the “manana” attitude, which encourages taking things one step at a time. This relaxed way of life is a hallmark of the Spanish culture.

Residency and Visas

Understanding the visa and residency options is crucial when planning your move to Spain. Whether you’re an EU citizen or coming from outside the European Union, there are various pathways to make Spain your home.

EU Citizens: Freedom of Movement

If you’re an EU citizen, relocating to Spain is relatively straightforward. You have the right to live and work in Spain without a visa. However, you’ll need to register your residence with the local authorities if you plan to stay longer than 90 days.

Non-EU Citizens: Long-Stay Visa

Non-EU citizens can apply for a long-stay visa to live in Spain for more than 90 days. Depending on your circumstances, you can choose from various visa types, such as a work visa, student visa, or retirement visa.

Spanish Residence: NIE and TIE

Once you’ve arrived in Spain, you’ll need to obtain a foreigner identification number (NIE). For long-term residents, this may be replaced by a foreigner identity card (TIE). These documents are essential for various administrative purposes, such as opening a bank account and signing rental agreements.

Housing and Spanish Property

Finding the right place to call home is a significant aspect of your move to Spain. Whether you’re interested in purchasing Spanish property or renting, understanding the real estate market is crucial.

Spanish Property Market: Diverse Options

The Spanish property market offers a wide range of choices, from apartments in urban centres to rustic villas in the countryside. The market is diverse, catering to various preferences and budgets.

Madrid and Barcelona: Urban Living

Cities like Madrid and Barcelona are popular choices for expatriates seeking a vibrant urban lifestyle. These cities boast job opportunities, cultural richness, and excellent public transportation networks.

Balearic Islands: Island Paradise

The Balearic Islands, including Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca, are known for their stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife. They offer a unique island experience within easy reach of the Spanish mainland.

Canary Islands: Year-Round Sunshine

The Canary Islands, situated off the northwest coast of Africa, enjoy a mild climate year-round. This makes them an attractive destination for those seeking a warm and sunny environment.

Renting vs. Buying: Considerations

Deciding whether to rent or buy Spanish property depends on your long-term plans and financial situation. Renting provides flexibility, while buying can be a wise investment in the long run.


A guide to living in Spain

Healthcare in Spain: A guide to living in Spain

Access to quality healthcare is essential for a comfortable life in Spain. Fortunately, the country boasts an excellent healthcare system that is accessible to both residents and expatriates.

Universal Healthcare: Peace of Mind

Spain offers universal healthcare coverage, ensuring that you can access medical services when needed. This coverage extends to both public and private healthcare facilities.

Quality Medical Care: Experienced Professionals

Spanish healthcare professionals are highly trained and experienced. You can expect top-notch medical care, whether it’s routine check-ups or specialized treatments.

Obtaining Healthcare: The S1 Form

EU citizens who retire in Spain can access healthcare through the S1 form, which allows you to receive medical care in Spain while your healthcare costs are covered by your home country.

Private Health Insurance: Additional Coverage

Many expatriates opt for private health insurance to supplement their healthcare coverage in Spain. This can provide additional benefits and access to private medical facilities.

Driving in Spain: A guide to living in Spain

If you plan to drive in Spain, understanding the regulations and requirements is essential. Whether you’re a new arrival or planning a road trip, these insights will help you navigate the Spanish roads safely.

International Driving Permit: A Must-Have

If you hold a non-EU driver’s license, you’ll need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Spain. The IDP is a translation of your license and is required alongside your original license.

Road Safety: Follow the Rules

Spanish road regulations are similar to those in other European countries. Ensure you follow speed limits, wear seat belts, and avoid alcohol consumption before driving.

Road Quality: Well-maintained highways

Spain boasts an extensive network of well-maintained highways, making it easy to travel between cities and regions. However, some rural roads may be narrower and require extra caution.

Public Transportation: An Alternative

In Spain’s major cities, public transportation is efficient and widely available. Many residents and expatriates choose not to own a car, relying on buses, trams, and metros instead.

A guide to living in Spain


Working in Spain: A guide to living in Spain

If you plan to work in Spain, understanding the job market, employment regulations, and work culture is essential. Spain offers opportunities in various industries for both EU and non-EU citizens.

Job Opportunities: Diverse Sectors

Spain’s job market spans various sectors, including technology, tourism, healthcare, and finance. Multinational companies often have a presence in major cities, creating a demand for skilled professionals.

EU Citizens: Freedom to Work

EU citizens have the freedom to work in Spain without the need for a work permit. However, it’s essential to register your residence and obtain a social security number.

Non-EU Citizens: Work Visas

Non-EU citizens will typically need a work visa to work legally in Spain. The process varies depending on the type of work and your individual circumstances.

Work Culture: Siestas and Socializing

The Spanish work culture values a work-life balance. The tradition of the siesta, where businesses close for a few hours in the afternoon, allows for a leisurely lunch and time to recharge.

Unemployment Rate: Considerations

It’s important to be aware of Spain’s unemployment rate, which can vary by region and industry. Researching your specific field can help you make informed decisions about job prospects.

Cost of Living in Spain: A guide to living in Spain

Understanding the cost of living in Spain is essential for budgeting and financial planning. Spain offers a generally affordable lifestyle, especially in comparison to other Western European countries.

Affordable Housing: Various Options

The cost of housing in Spain can vary significantly depending on the region and type of property. Smaller towns and rural areas often offer more affordable housing options.

Reasonable Utilities: Budget-Friendly

Utilities such as electricity, water, and gas are reasonably priced in Spain. This contributes to the overall affordability of daily life.

Dining Out: Enjoyable and Accessible

Eating at restaurants and cafes is a common practice in Spain. Fortunately, dining out can be surprisingly affordable, especially at local eateries serving traditional dishes.

Groceries and Markets: Fresh and Economical

Spanish markets and supermarkets offer a wide range of affordable options for groceries and household items. You’ll find fresh produce, meat, and other essentials at reasonable prices.

Leisure Activities: Cost-Effective

Spain offers an abundance of free and low-cost leisure activities, from hiking and beach outings to cultural events and festivals. Enjoying an active social life is accessible to all.

Retiring in Spain

Spain is a popular destination for retirees looking to enjoy their golden years in a pleasant climate and a welcoming environment. Understanding the retirement process and benefits is key.

Retirement Visa: Non-EU Citizens

Non-EU citizens can apply for a retirement visa, allowing them to retire in Spain. Requirements include proof of income, health insurance, and a clean criminal record.

Spanish Property for Retirees

Retirees often choose to purchase property in Spain. Whether it’s a cosy apartment in a coastal town or a villa in the countryside, the real estate market offers options to suit your retirement lifestyle.

Quality of Life: Ideal for Retirement

Spain’s high quality of life, excellent healthcare, and leisurely pace make it an ideal destination for retirees seeking a relaxed and fulfilling retirement.

Balearic and Canary Islands: Retirement Havens

The Balearic and Canary Islands are particularly attractive to retirees due to their pleasant climates, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant communities.

A guide to living in Spain


Enjoy Your Life in Spain: A guide to living in Spain

Living in Spain offers a unique blend of culture, lifestyle, and opportunities. Whether you’re an EU citizen or coming from afar, Spain welcomes you with open arms. Embrace the Spanish way of life, savour the Mediterranean cuisine, and enjoy the warm hospitality of the Spanish people.

At Watson European, we understand the complexities of moving abroad and are here to support you every step of the way. From visa applications to finding the perfect Spanish property, our expertise ensures a smooth transition to your new life in Spain. So, don’t hesitate to make the move and experience the joys of living in this beautiful country.

In conclusion, Spain offers a diverse range of experiences for those looking to make it their home. From the vibrant cities of Madrid and Barcelona to the tranquil beaches of the Balearic and Canary Islands, there’s a place for everyone in Spain. Whether you’re working, retiring, or simply seeking a change of pace, Spain’s warm people, accessible healthcare, and affordable cost of living make it an attractive destination. So, take the plunge, move to Spain, and embrace the Mediterranean way of life.