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Living in Spain as a foreigner: What you need to know


Mar 14, 2023

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Are you interested in living in Spain as a foreigner? Spain is a popular destination for expats who are looking for a sunny and relaxed lifestyle, rich culture and history, and diverse natural beauty.

Whether you want to enjoy the cosmopolitan cities, the charming villages, the stunning beaches, or the majestic mountains, Spain has everything for you.

Here are some things you need to know such as: cost of living in Spain & pros and cons of living in Spain before packing your bags and moving there.

The cost of living in Spain as a foreigner

The cost of living in Spain is €1200, which is 1.27 times more expensive than the world average. Spain ranked 41st out of 197 countries by cost of living and the 30th best country to live in.

Spain has its low cost of living compared to other Western European countries. According to Expatra, a single person can live with a reasonable degree of comfort for about €1200 per month, which covers rent, food, drink and essentials.

Of course, these figures vary depending on where you live, your lifestyle choices and personal needs.

Living in Spain as a foreigner: What you need to know

Living in Spain as a foreigner: What you need to know

Renting or buying property in Spain is generally cheaper than in other countries like the UK or France. For example, rent in London is 120% higher than that in Barcelona.

However, prices can vary significantly depending on the location, size and quality of the property. You can expect to pay more for properties in popular areas like Madrid, Barcelona or Malaga than in smaller towns or rural areas.

Food and drink are also relatively affordable in Spain. You can find fresh produce at local markets or supermarkets at reasonable prices. Eating out is also a common and enjoyable part of Spanish culture.

You can find many restaurants offering menus del día (menu of the day) for around €10-15 per person, which usually include a starter, a main course, a dessert and a drink. Tapas (small dishes) are another great way to sample different Spanish delicacies without breaking the bank.

Transportation costs depend on how you choose to get around. Public transport is widely available and efficient in most cities and towns. You can buy monthly passes or use prepaid cards that offer discounts for buses, trains or metro services.

Driving can be more expensive due to fuel costs and tolls on some highways. If you want to buy a car in Spain, you will need to pay registration tax (between 4% and 16% depending on CO2 emissions), road tax (between €20 and €200 per year depending on engine size) and insurance (between €300 and €1000 per year depending on coverage).

Spain has a public healthcare system that provides free or low-cost medical care to residents who pay social security contributions through their employment or self-employment.

In general, the cost of living in Spain as a foreigner refers to the estimated expenses that a person needs to cover in order to live in Spain as a non-Spanish resident.

This includes the costs of housing, food, transportation, healthcare, education, and other daily necessities. The cost of living can vary depending on the region in Spain, the lifestyle of the individual, and other factors such as currency exchange rates.

Some pros and cons of living in Spain as a foreigner

Living in Spain as a foreigner can be a dream come true, with its warm climate, rich culture and lifestyle, and affordable cost of living.

Spain boasts a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, perfect for those who enjoy sunny weather. The country’s diverse culture and lifestyle offer a vibrant and exciting experience for foreigners, from the bustling cities to the charming small towns.

Spain’s healthcare system is also excellent, with its hospitals considered among the best in Europe. The cost of living in Spain is relatively affordable compared to other European countries, making it an attractive option for foreigners looking to relocate.

And let’s not forget about Spain’s delicious cuisine and wine, which are renowned around the world, making it a paradise for foodies and wine enthusiasts.

However, living in Spain as a foreigner is not without its challenges. The language barrier is a significant hurdle, as Spanish is the primary language in Spain, and not everyone speaks English. This can make communication difficult and frustrating for foreigners, especially in smaller towns where English is not as commonly spoken.

Spain’s high unemployment rate can also make it challenging for foreigners to find employment opportunities, especially for those who do not speak Spanish.

Furthermore, the Spanish work culture is known for its long working hours, which can make it challenging to balance work and personal life. The cities in Spain can also be quite noisy, especially during the summer months when tourists flock to the country.

Despite these challenges, Spain remains a beautiful and welcoming country that offers a unique and exciting experience for foreigners. It’s essential to consider both the pros and cons of living in Spain as a foreigner before making the decision to relocate.

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Note: The content in this article is for general informative purposes only. You should conduct your own research or ask for specialist advice before making any financial decisions. All information in this article is current as of the date of publication, and DNBC Financial Group reserves the right to modify, add, or remove any information. We don’t provide any express or implied representations, warranties, or guarantees regarding the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the content within this publication.