May 20, 2022 No Comments

Tips for Living in Spain as a Foreigner

Posted by admin in Blog

There is still something fundamental that we must consider when moving to a foreign country. Understanding the differences between your home country and your new adopted country makes your life easier when you make a move. This post will help make your new life as an expat as uncomplicated as possible.

What makes life in Spanish territory different from that in your country? How do people behave here? What are the primary standards and customs?

Learn Spanish

Foreigners make up more than 10% of the Spanish population, and that number continues to grow. Therefore, you will find expat communities in your new town with whom you can speak English or another native language.

However, learning to speak Spanish can have enormous benefits. It will make your life in Spain much more manageable.

While many Spaniards speak excellent English, this is not always the case. If you move away from the resorts to smaller cities or towns, you will likely find English speakers are non-existent.

Especially for the initial procedures, you will need to complete, such as getting your NIE number, a basic understanding of Spanish can be a lifesaver. Likely, the officials you deal with won’t speak a word of English. So having a minimum level of Spanish can avert you from having to return at a later date.

Finally, knowing the language is fundamental if you want to experience, understand, and integrate with the locals. You will be able to make Spanish friends and talk with local people, which will make the experience much more enjoyable.

Understand Spanish timetables

If you have visited or lived in another EU country, forget about their schedules. Spain works differently.

Shops and shopping centres are open until late, usually until 9 pm or 10 pm.

Spanish people eat lunch at 2 pm and their evening meal at 9-10 pm. A mid-morning snack is a must, and some Spaniards still take a siesta after eating.

If you go out to eat, don’t rush. The Spanish enjoy staying and chatting at the table after they have finished their meals and enjoying the company of their family and friends. It is a ritual that makes eating an activity that can last for several hours.

Travel as much as possible

One of the attractions of Spain is the diversity of its landscape. Although the whole country is impressive, what you will see in the northern regions is totally different from the south.

Each province has its unique characteristics: completely different cities, distinctive food, and different culture.

For this reason, it is difficult to suggest the best places to live in Spain as a foreigner, as it depends very much on personal preferences.

However, wherever you decide to live, you can take advantage of the country’s modern infrastructure; start travelling around the countryside, and you will never get bored. One way to do this is by going on short weekend getaways.

For example, if you live in Barcelona, you can discover Tarragona or Girona during a long weekend. Travel to Valencia on another. And take the high-speed train to Madrid on another.

Each region of the country has much to offer. Your enjoyable task is to discover each of these gems bit by bit.

Be careful when choosing a restaurant

Something that many foreigners love is how well you can eat in Spain. The food is simply delicious.

However, you must be aware that many restaurants, especially those located in the main tourist areas, are not as good as they could be, designed to cater to tourists.

For example, if you want to eat the best paella, first try to find the best paella restaurant. Going to the main street where tourists abound will not allow you to experience an authentic paella.

The good news is that nowadays it is easy to find the best establishments. Look at reviews on Google Maps or Tripadvisor of each restaurant, and choose according to what the locals say.

Don’t be afraid to try the local restaurants located in small towns when you travel around the country. That’s where you’ll eat delicious food at a really low price.

Explore nearby activities

Another positive aspect of living in Spain is how active the country is. Getting bored during the weekends is almost impossible.

You will find many leisure opportunities, including team sports, cycling, hiking tours, water sports, and clubs, some specifically designed for expats and others for families.

So make sure you don’t stay home too often, and get out and discover what your new home has to offer.

And even if there is not much organised for a given day, going for a drink or a coffee in any main square or street to watch the world go by is another pleasant experience you can enjoy.

Adapt to the climate and weather

Many consider Spain a paradise due to its pleasant climate and excellent weather conditions. And yes, it is true that consecutive rainy days are rare and that the temperatures are idyllic.

So, the advice here is simple:

  • Make the most of the country’s climate.
  • Go for a walk in the sun.
  • Go jogging.
  • Go to read on the beach or in a local park.

However, we must also mention the Spanish climate has its disadvantages.

In certain regions like Madrid and especially Andalusia (in the south), it can get too hot during the summer. To the point that going outside is not a good idea until 6 pm or 7 pm.

On the other hand, some northern regions, such as the Basque Country, enjoy cooler temperatures, and rainy days are much more common.

So if you’re considering any of these regions as your new home, keep the weather in mind.

Accept that Spanish bureaucracy is slow

Adopting a calm and relaxed state of mind is essential when you need to obtain any paperwork. Spanish bureaucracy is very slow and can get on a newcomer’s nerves.

Keep in mind that you may have to queue for a long time and that it is very likely that you will always be missing documents, no matter how prepared you are.

If you can go to someone local or even a lawyer, all the better. They will help you make the experience less of a hassle.

Forget rigid social norms

If you ask any Spaniard their impressions when visiting countries like the United Kingdom, you will always find a standard answer. The residents there are very polite and respect each other in social situations.

We are not saying that the Spanish are rude. It’s just that they are more flexible regarding social norms.

Queuing is not a national sport in Spain, and someone you don’t know is seen as a friend even if you’ve never spoken to them before.

These are some examples that can explain why, from the outside, Spanish citizens on occasion, may seem a bit disrespectful or bold.


Living as a foreigner in another country can be complicated at first. You should be aware of many new rules and different laws, which create doubts and uncertainty for many.

So if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are not only here to help you find a dream property for sale, but also to offer advice and make your new life easy.




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