Moving to Spain – the Ultimate Relocation Guide for Expats

flag of Spain

Spain is one of the finest places to live for expats due to its excellent quality of life, affordable costs, and political and economic stability.

Do you consider moving to Spain an exciting decision? Still, you might be worried about certain circumstances. In that case, IMovingTo will dispel your doubts and let you become a Spanish expat without any difficulties.

General Things You Should Know About Spanish Culture

  • One of the most expressive aspects of Spanish culture and traditions is dancing. Beautiful clothing and exotic instruments, such as castanets, are frequently used to accompany traditional dances like Flamenco, Fandango, Jota, and Paso Doble.
  • Tapas, paella, and morcilla are just a few of the original and unique foods that are a part of Spanish culture and traditions that will delight you. Make sure you’re standing in line at the right time since the best traditional food in Spain is only served at certain times and tends to sell out pretty quickly.
  • As you probably noticed, religion plays a significant role in Spanish tradition and culture. Considering that Spain is home to over 90 distinct cathedrals, it is not unexpected that more than 60% of Spaniards go to church regularly.
  • Spain is the 3rd country in the world in the amount of unique cultural heritage as it unites 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The list of the sites includes historic cities, monumental churches, and more.

Cost of Living in Spain

Spain has one of the most affordable costs of living in Western Europe. For a single person living in an apartment outside the city center, Spain has a monthly average cost of living of €914.63, including rent, utilities, and food. It might go up to €1,048.75 if you intend to relocate to one of the major cities in Spain.


A large number of essential food products are inexpensive in this area due to the warm temperature. Although it can be hard to estimate individual shopping costs, $100 per couple weekly is more than enough.


This cost may change depending on where you live and the kind of lifestyle you follow. However, the following numerical information will enhance your understanding of Spain’s general cost of living.


  • Three-course meal for a couple in a mid-range restaurant: €50
  • Monthly transport pass: €40
  • Basic bills (Water, Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Garbage) for a small apartment: €122.69

How to Arrange a Spanish Visa?

You should satisfy a set of requirements before applying for a Spanish visa, including a certificate attesting to your overall good health and ability to pay. You should visit the Spanish Embassy or Consulate to obtain a visa. When you arrive, fill out the application for a Spanish visa, which is the same for all visas for Spain.


You might even be given the European Blue Card, which is the same as the American Green Card if you are a highly competent worker. Additionally, if you buy a property in Spain for more than 500,000 EUR, you’ll receive a 2-year visa that you’ll have to renew every 5 years.


The price of a visa varies according to your nationality and the type of visa you are applying for. Citizens of the US and Canada often pay the highest visa fees, ranging from 100 to 1000 EUR, depending on the kind of visa. Costs for people of other nationalities range from 70 to 150 EUR.

Moving Your Belongings to Spain

Transporting your belongings to your new place is one of the most challenging aspects of relocating abroad. However, you can take advantage of qualified international packers and movers that bring to you a flawless moving experience at a highly reasonable cost.


Even though moving your household to a new country may seem daunting, there are many ways to transport your belongings because Spain is home to numerous airports, a long coastline with several ports, and a vast road and rail network.


Although shipping belongings by sea will take months, it is one of the less expensive options and might be more practical given the number of ports Spain has. The most costly method of shipping is by air.


Your belongings will need to pass through Spanish customs when you arrive, either at the airport or the harbor. This process is simple if you have nothing to report, but you should declare any things that are prohibited or subject to restrictions by customs.

What Does the Spanish Healthcare System Look Like?

Spain offers a leading healthcare system that guarantees access for all citizens. Both private and public healthcare is available in Spain. The National Public Health System is used by about 90% of the population.


Expats can use their regional public health services, including healthcare professionals, hospitals, and specialists while living and working in Spain.


To get access to the Spanish healthcare system, you are first required to get a social security number, which can be obtained after registration with Spanish social security.


Necessary documentation needed for the registration includes:


  • ID card or a valid passport
  • residency certificate
  • proof of your address registration


Many people decide to pay for their private medical care to receive more comprehensive and expedient care. Depending on the coverage package, private health insurance in Spain usually costs between €50 and €200 per month.

Finding Accommodation in Spain

While buying a house as a foreigner is even simpler than renting, finding housing to rent in Spain might be challenging, so it is advisable to look at various sources if you’re looking to rent an apartment or a house in Spain so that you can obtain a sense of the local rental market.


Examine neighborhood publications, peruse real estate websites, and think about speaking with residents who may be able to provide you with detailed information about renting in the area. You can meet local expats who have experienced renting or buying real estate in Spain at an InterNations event or group, which is a wonderful place to start.


On these well-known websites, you can find houses and apartments:


  • Fotocasa
  • Idealista
  • Spain houses


You’ll be relieved to know that under Spanish law, the landlord will pay the estate agent if you find your property through this service. However, you can anticipate paying a commission between 200 EUR and a month’s rent if you specifically hire an agency to assist you in getting a house.

How to Set Up a Spanish Bank Account?

Creating a local bank account is one of the essential aspects of settling down in a new country. Fortunately, the procedure is rather simple, but you should be aware that any formal documents required by the bank should be translated into Spanish by a qualified translator.


Documents that are frequently required of newcomers to Spain include:


  • Spanish foreigner identification number (NIE), received by scheduling an appointment at a local police station
  • Passport photo
  • Proof of address
  • Employment contract, student ID, or other proof of your status


Searching online is a great way since there are many banks to choose from in Spain. However, it’s influential in comparing the services that the banks provide and the fees they impose. Although many people prefer to schedule an appointment and open their accounts in person at a branch, you can do so online in a matter of minutes.

Best Cities to Live in Spain


Barcelona is one of the safest cities in the world, with wonderful weather, delectable Catalan food, a broad range of art museums, vibrant nightlife, outdoor exercise areas, and a strong expat community. 


Barcelona’s cost of living is relatively high compared to other Spanish cities. Although food costs are lower, you’ll spend most of your income on rent.


Madrid is the greatest city to live in if you’re looking for a comprehensive lifestyle, as it is home to some outstanding architecture, renowned museums, and beautiful outdoor plazas. Moreover, since Madrid has a significant role in the European economy, it provides English-speaking expats with a variety of career opportunities.


Valencia is known as the City of Arts and Sciences. In addition, Valencia is famous for its eccentric museums, peculiar festivals, lovely sunny days, and wonderful sandy beaches. Considering the lower cost of living, it is the best place to live in Spain.


Expats appreciate Malaga for all that it has to offer, including its numerous museums, unique cuisine, vibrant festivals, nice atmosphere, and magnificent beaches with yellow sand. There is great connectivity throughout the city.


You can travel easily inside and outside Malaga due to the 3rd busiest airport in Spain and a dependable, reasonably priced public transportation system.

Pros & Cons of Moving to Spain


Diverse social culture

Spain is a fairly diverse country. In light of their vibrant culture, varied social environment, and endless leisure, the Spanish are true masters of pure enjoyment of life.


The Spaniards welcome people from all backgrounds throughout Spain. They are usually friendly and talkative. Additionally, since there are large expat communities in big cities, coastal regions, and islands, Westerners won’t experience much culture shock.

General climate conditions

Due to Spain’s diverse climate, you can find anything you’re looking for here.


You will need to adapt to the warmth and sunshine from as early as May to as late as October because Spain has long summers and experiences more than 300 days of sunshine annually.


The country’s northern regions suffer heavier annual rainfall and even considerable winter snowfall, although the islands and coast experience much milder winters. 

Well-arranged public transportation

Spain has prospered from EU infrastructure initiatives and enjoys a vast, excellently maintained public transportation network and municipal and interstate roadways.


You can choose from the local metro, buses, regional trains, and long-distance trains in large cities like Madrid. Additionally, you can take advantage of flights to major global hubs with great connections to Europe and South America, but only if you reside in a village or rural area.


Unstable job market

Since Spain suffers from a high unemployment rate and competitive job market, wages are low and unchanging.


Most young Spaniards have completed their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. As a result, expats frequently encounter overeducated Spaniards in competition. Due to a shortage of employment possibilities in their own country, thousands of Spaniards move abroad to work.

Disadvantaged work culture

Despite having respectable employment protections and rights, compared to their European neighbors, Spaniards sleep less and work much more, but they are still less productive.


Low productivity and long working hours are caused by long lunches, numerous short breaks, and time spent conversing with coworkers.

Final Thoughts

Do you intend to start a new life under the Spanish sun? Get ready for life in this spectacular country with our experienced team of professionals in the international moving industry.

IMovingTo will comprehensively ease your tension throughout the relocation and will assist you in adjusting smoothly to your new environment.

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