Spain

Living in Spain | Costs, Accommodation, Culture, and More

Ashley R. Cottrell

Would you like to study abroad to learn or improve your Spanish? Consider living in Spain! Thousands of people from all over the world move to this culture-rich country every year. Delicious cuisines and mesmerizing architecture are two of many reasons why Spain is one of Europe’s top destinations.

We understand that moving abroad is a major life step, especially if it is someone’s first time in a new country. For this reason, we’ve prepared a complete guide on living in Spain. Here you will learn all there is to know in this country about its culture, accommodation options, attractions, and more.

Find out what the requirements are to travel to Spain, the amount of money you will need to start your trip, and several useful tips to make sure your stay in Spain is an unforgettable experience. Take a look and find out for yourself!

5 Reasons to Live in Spain

tourist sightseeing in Spain

There is so much to say and learn about Spain that we can’t fit it all in one article. Do you appreciate fine wine? Well, there’s plenty of it here! Spain is the third-largest wine producer in the world after Italy and France. Keep reading to discover more reasons you’ll enjoy living in Spain.

1. Amazing Weather

If Spain could boast of anything, it would be of having the best climate during wintertime. While temperatures drop in other European countries, the Mediterranean coast keeps Spain above 18ºC. If you are looking to escape the cold weather overseas, living in Spain is an ideal option.

2. Beautiful Landscapes and Architecture

The cities in Spain will dazzle you with their historic buildings and lively streets. Take a road trip to explore the diverse landscapes of the country, from volcanoes to golden beaches. There are also plenty of parks, nature reserves, and picturesque villages that will take your breath away. Only living in Spain will you discover what inspired renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso.

3. Rich Culture and History

Since its foundation, Spain has received cultural influences from all over the world. These influences diversified the traditions and customs of its citizens. Each region boasts an interesting and rich culture that anyone can relate to and enjoy.

4. Affordability of Living in Spain

If you’re on a budget, you’re in luck! Spain is one of the most affordable countries in Europe. Large and popular cities such as Madrid are generally more expensive than others, but for the majority of the country, you can live comfortably on a general salary. As you continue reading, you’ll learn about the cost of living in Spain and see for yourself!

5.Excellent Study Opportunities

Over the past two decades, the Spanish educational system has greatly improved its standards, earning international recognition. The country offers students high-quality study opportunities, especially for international students.

Requirements to Live in Spain

passport for Spain

To visit, study, or live in Spain, you must have a visa. Depending on your country, however, you may be exempt from needing one. To check, you can visit the official Government of Spain website and view the list of eligible countries.

Visitors who only plan to stay in Spain for less than 90 days canuse the tourist or Schengen visa. With this visa, you can go sightseeing, visit family or friends, and take short educational courses.

Next is the student visa, which you will need if your studies extend more than six months. In addition to this visa, you must apply for a foreign student card upon arrival in Spain.

Last but not least is the work visa. With this visa, you can work for an employer in Spain or start your own business in the country. For more details on each visa, as well as information on the application process, check out our article on visas for Spain.

Cost of Living in Spain

close view of Spain flag

Before planning your trip to Spain, it’s best to analyze expenses and budget accordingly. First, take into account the cost of the plane tickets, visa application, and other prerequisites. Next, study the prices of daily necessities in the country. Depending on your duration in Spain, you must demonstrate financial solvency to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Tourists generally need at least 100 euros to spend per day, accounting for shopping, meals, and transportation throughout the day. For individuals living in Spain for a longer period, the recommendation is between 900 and 1.100 euros per month. Keep in mind, students must also factor in tuition costs.

Below is a list of typical costs in Spain (in euros) to give you an idea of what to expect:

Groceries 

  • Milk (per liter): 0.79
  • Bread (one loaf): 1.01
  • Eggs (per dozen): 1.81
  • Bottle of Wine: 5.00

Accommodation (monthly)

  • Rent (one bedroom apartment): 671.29
  • Utilities (electricity, water, heating): 118.37
  • Internet: 40.18

Transportation

  • Gasoline (per liter): 1.29
  • Taxi (per km): 1.10
  • Local Transport ticket (one-way)

Leisure and Entertainment

  • Movie ticket: 8.00
  • Fitness Club (monthly fee): 30.00
  • Restaurant meal (2 people): 26.00

Salaries | How Much You Can Earn in Spain

If you plan to work in Spain during your stay, you should know the Interprofessional Minimum Wage (SMI).This is a minimum salary that all employees in Spainmust receive monthly, regardless of the contract conditions and the sector where they work. As of 2020, the SMI is 31.66 euros per day, which is equivalent to 950 euros per month and 13,300 euros per year.

As with all countries, the salary varies depending on the job sector. >In Spain, careers within finance and architecture make more than those in customer service and hospitality.Of course, experience level plays a factor, as well as skilled positions, which usually receive higher pay rates.

If you are a professional in a specific field, do not hesitate to look for a job in your area of training. Nevertheless, international students working part-time, lower-skilled positions, such as in hospitality, will still be able to live comfortably in Spain.

Choosing Accommodation to Live in Spain

residential neighborhood in Spain

As shown in the expense list, an apartment can cost around 670 euros per month, excluding utilities. This price, however, will vary depending on the city and area. For example, an apartment may not cost the same in Barcelona as it will in Madrid. Likewise, living near the city center will cost much more than the outer, rural areas.

Now, let’s get to the tips! Below is a helpful list of suggestions for finding good accommodation in Spain:

  • Search accommodation options while in the country. People who search for accommodation online are susceptible to scams or unfair agreements. You may discover upon arrival that the place is not like you saw in the pictures, or worse, not exist at all.
  • Stay in a hostel first. Hostels are convenient, affordable accommodations options. In Spain, you can find many nice and comfortable hostels to stay in for a couple of weeks while searching for permanent accommodation.
  • Get a roommate.This is an excellent way to save money and cut on living costs since the two of you will split rent and utilities.
  • Consider a homestay. These are the homes of residents in the country that offer rented rooms for students. It is another way to save money as well as immerse in Spanish culture and language.
  • Explore different areas of the city. By doing so, you can get better familiar with the town and residential areas. If you are a student, you may find accommodation in an area that is in proximity to your university or public transportation.

Spanish Culture

woman performing Flamenco dance

Since prehistoric times, Spain has been colonized and inhabited by civilizations from all over the world. This is evident in its architectural and cultural heritage, from food and music to the customs of each region.

When you think of Spain, bullfights and flamenco dances may be the first things that come to mind. While living in Spain, you’ll experience more of the culture than meets the eye. Spain has a unique culture, where values and traditions are rooted deep within families and communities.

The Spaniards have a strong appreciation for art and literature. The popular novel Don Quixote, for example, originated in Spain and is cited as the first modern novel. Hints of pre-Roman, Iberian and Arabian cultures add to the traditions and customs of Spain, including its music and landscapes.

Spain also has vibrant festivities every year that attract people from all over the world. We cannot forget about the traditional Spanish siesta, a nap that is after a meal. Spaniards believe this is the best for digestion and incorporate it into their daily lifestyle. When you begin living in Spain, you will see this habit become part of your routine as well!

We can’t forget about Spanish cuisine, which receives worldwide attention. This topic needs an entire, separate section of its own.

Gastronomy in Spain

When it comes to cooking, Spanish dining is characterized by two things: the time served and the unique flavors.

To start, mealtimes are astonishingly different in Spain than in most parts of the world. Here, lunch is generally served well after 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. As for dinner, this is usually eaten after 9 p.m.

Second, Spanish flavors are one of the most important in the world. When you come to live in Spain, you will taste and experience dozens of exotic seasonings and spices within their dishes. Cheeses, sausages, vegetables, legumes, and fish are the main courses of Spanish cuisine.

From Seville to Barcelona, the potato omelet is a popular dish. The dish is a mixture of eggs, potatoes, and fresh onions that will awaken your taste buds. Another dish that is a symbol of Spanish cuisine is the paella. Originating in Valencia, this recipe incorporates seafood, meats, and vegetables over yellow rice and seasonings.

Of course, we could not ignore the popular desserts in Spain. Tarta de Santiago, a Galician cuisine, is a biscuit made with flour, butter, almonds, sugar, eggs, and lemon. Once out of the oven, it is covered with sugar and accompanied by a glass of Licor Regueiro.

Another typical dessert is the Hojuela–slices or cylinders made of flour, sugar, eggs, white wine or brandy, and lemon zest. Once fried, these are dipped in sugar or honey.

There are many more dishes and desserts to discover, but you will have to come live in Spain and try them for yourself!

Climate of Spain

view of city in Spain

Due to its Mediterranean location, Spain has a diverse climate. This varies depending on the time of year and region. For example, the coastal area is very humid and temperate throughout the year. Temperatures in central Spain, on the other hand, can experience all four seasons.

Summer, the hottest season, runs from June to September. Temperatures and humidity can become quite high during this time of the year. It is, however, the perfect excuse to escape to the coast and enjoy the cool breeze of Spain beaches.

December to March is winter time for Spain when the country receives a lot of rain. Fortunately, the winter temperatures do not drop below 18℃ (64℉). You can still enjoy time outdoors in Spain, only needing a light jacket.

Things to Do in Spain

waterfront view of museum in Valencia

While living in Spain, you will always have a full itinerary. There is plenty to see and explore! If you are in the city center, you can enjoy visiting museums and historical landmarks, such as the City of Arts and Science complex in Valencia. This “complex of museums” attracts tourists from all over the world. Other popular attractions are the Sagrada Familia in Valencia and the Puerta del Sol in Madrid.

The charm of Spain even extends beyond its landmarks to the geographical features. If you like white sand beaches, the Cabrera Archipelago is an impressive place to visit. To experience the fauna and unique ecosystem, travel to the Iberian Peninsula of southern Spain and enjoy a tour through Doñana National Park.

Last, but not least, Spain is known for having a festive society. From street carnivals to week-long fiestas, there’s always a celebration to attendFor example, Seville welcomes religious Holy Week by playing music throughout the streets and sharing delicious cuisines. Other popular celebrations that occur annually and attract tourists are the Sosona Carnival, the Cádiz Carnival, and the Aviles Carnival.

About the author

Ashley Cottrell