The long list of things to know before moving to Spain will set all potential expats in good stead to ensure their new life overseas works out. While you may be thinking to move to Spain and go with the flow, research pays off overall. After all, relocating is a big lifestyle move to make, especially when to another country. Many a foreigner did it on a whim, but this rarely works out. Indeed, the most successful expats research and ask questions before even setting foot on the plane. So, let’s look at what to expect when you relocate to Spain, and our tips for moving.
Things to Know Before Moving to Spain
1: Do not Stereotype the Spanish Culture
When moving abroad to another country, stereotyping the culture is easy, but over time, every expat soon learns each region of Spain’s diversity stands out. Whether this is the accent, regional recipes, or traditions stemming from generations before. Indeed, there is much more to Spain than the siesta and tapas. Additionally, there is a strong sense of identity in autonomous communities, separate from Spanish nationality. The best way to learn about the culture is to make friends with Spanish locals, and since historical influences have shaped the culture, we see today, do as much as possible to learn about regional history.
2: Do Learn and Know Spanish
To live in a foreign country is easy if the language is the same. While many English-speaking Spaniards make life easier, newcomers’ quality of life drastically improves when they learn and speak Spanish. Many expats, especially those of retiree age, often complain they struggle to learn a new language when moving to another country. However, there are ways for foreigners to learn, whether going to a language school or simply learning one word a day. Month by month, during time in Spain, you will soon build up an impressive vocabulary.
3: Bureaucracy is Stressful
Whether buying a house, the healthcare system, work permits, the school system, dealing with finances or residency, or simple things like wanting to open a bank account, when you make your move, you will soon learn about the long-winded, red tape trail. Members of the expat community will testify about the frustration. However, nothing can be done, so expect it and learn the art of patience.
4: Brits are Everywhere
Movers will soon discover Brits are not just a top visiting tourist nation, but many UK expats live in Spain all year round. This makes sense because the Brits’ love affair with Spain stretches back decades, and the close flight distance means they nip back home anytime they want. When looking at the expat population of Brits, many reside in Alicante, a popular area in Southern Spain. Most British expats draw a UK state pension, which is enough for them to enjoy a decent expat life thanks to a low cost of living.
5: Daily Life in Spain
Home moving is stressful at the best of time, but members of the expatriate community will say get used to weird hours. For example, most of us would not dream of eating our dinner at 9 p.m., but Spaniards do. Expect to see cafes and supermarkets open until well in the night, when most of us start winding down. Likewise, getting stuff done during the day is frustrating if you time it around their excessively long lunchtimes. In the height of summer, everyone seems to down tools, and everything takes twice as long. When you move to the country, keep your hours, but many expatriates adopt the Spanish way of doing things.
6: Travel as Much as You Can
Most expatriate communities living in Spain relocate to the southern and eastern coasts in popular places like the Costa Del Sol, Madrid, and the Valencia region. Yet remember when moving, Spain is about much more. Due to lower temperatures and less of a beachside ambience, many expats ignore northern Spain, but it is excellent for a weekend getaway. Don’t assume this Mediterranean country is just one big slab in the ocean because the Balearic Islands and places like Mallorca showcase a different side to its beautiful landscapes. Go out to the countryside and everything changes again. Try to see as many places as possible, to learn about your host country.
7: Moving is About More than Holidays in Spain
Potential expats looking at places to live often choose somewhere with a touristic ambience. Yet regardless of where you live, do not treat every day like a holiday. We understand the lure of days spent around the pool and afternoon drinking sessions, yet this is a sure-fire way to deplete bank accounts and ruin your health at the same time. Be realistic, settle into a routine, and remember expat living in Spain and moving abroad still brings with responsibility. This will increase the chances of being here permanently.
8: Where is The Best Place to Live?
Moving from your home country to Spain throws out many choices of places to live. Additionally, some people who think about moving overseas and want to buy property in Spain often ask us where is the best place for foreigners to live. The answer purely depends on reasons for moving, budget and expectations. Areas like high profile Sotogrande and Puerto Banus attract those looking for an upmarket lifestyle while working expats generally gravitate towards the big cities. Our article about the best place to live in Spain will help decide.
9: Wine, not Sangria
Moving overseas to Spain often evokes jokes about Sangria, but Spaniards rarely drink it. Instead, they love wine. As the world’s third-largest producer of rose, red and white wine, any expatriate who likes their wine will feel right at home. Some brands like Vega Sicilia, Ramon Bilbao, Campo Viejo, Marques de Riscal and Torres even rank as some of the world’s best wines.
10: Before a Move to Spain
Of course, expect loads of sunshine when moving home to Spain, but there is so much more to know. We believe before moving to Spain, the more research, the better, so our blog about Spain talks much more about tips for moving, places, the property market, and life for expats.
About Us: We are Spot Blue international property, and we have helped hundreds of expat families to find a new home and place to live in Spain. If you are thinking of buying property in Spain, browse our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale in many different areas. Each listing contains everything to know, including price, location, home features and contact details to find out more or arrange a viewing.