A Guide to Living in Spain – Culture, Cuisine & Expat Life

Intro to Living in Spain: Your Expat Guide

There’s a certain magic to Spain that captivates the soul and dances with the heart. The melodic strumming of a guitar echoes through winding cobblestone streets, while the smell of paella wafts deliciously on the breeze. Ole! You’ve been beguiled by Spain. But what’s it like to shift gears from a starry-eyed visitor to an expat, truly living in the land of flamenco, unparalleled cultural heritage, and fiestas?

Grab a café con leche and pull up a chair: we’re about to embark on a vivid journey into the heart of living in Spain. Brace yourself – this is more than just a guide; it’s your key to unlocking your Spanish dream.

The Allure of Spain: A Love Story Waiting to Unfold

Living in Spain is an attractive prospect for many people. The beautiful scenery, the rich culture, and the relaxed lifestyle that the country offers combine to create an unparalleled experience that entices visitors from around the world. From its stunning mountain ranges to its coasts along the Mediterranean Sea, Spain showcases breathtaking landscapes that can provide a lifetime of captivating exploration. In addition to its stunning outdoor attractions, Spain also boasts a vibrant culture with festivals and celebrations throughout the year. With its delicious cuisine and welcoming locals, living in Spain provides an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting more each and every day.

Why Spain?

Nomads should consider living in Spain due to its mild climate, vibrant culture, and affordable cost of living. The country offers plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities and exploration, as well as access to some of Europe’s most beautiful cities and towns. With its relaxed lifestyle, strong transportation network, and excellent healthcare system, Spain is an ideal place for nomads looking to explore or stay in one spot for a longer period of time.

Understanding Spain: More Than Just a Tourist’s Paradise

For centuries, Spain has been an attractive destination for travelers seeking a new home due to its rich culture, varied landscapes, and vibrant cities. In the past, Spain was an attractive destination for those fleeing oppressive regimes or seeking economic opportunities. Today, many people are drawn to Spain’s modern infrastructure and vibrant job market. Additionally, due to its Mediterranean climate and sunny beaches, Spain is a popular tourist destination that draws visitors from around the world. With so much to offer both culturally and economically, it is no surprise that Spain continues to be an attractive country for migrants of all kinds.

The Spanish Way of Living: El Corazon of Spain

Spanish Culture: A Vibrant Tapestry of Tradition

Spain: a land steeped in passionate flamenco dances, fiery bullfighting, timeless architectural marvels, and culinary delights that tantalize the palate. But, as you delve deeper, you will discover a rich, vibrant tapestry of traditions that is the soul of Spanish culture.

Spain’s history is a symphony of diverse influences; the Moors, the Romans, the Celts, and the indigenous Iberian people have all left their indelible marks on this beautiful country.

Roman Theater in Merida, Spain

The Roman Theater in Merida is an example of the profound Roman influence on Spanish culture.

The Moorish legacy is evident in the stunning Alhambra Palace and the magnificent Mezquita of Cordoba. Centuries of Roman rule have left behind formidable amphitheaters, aqueducts, and roads. Elements of Celtic culture persist in Celtic music and dances from regions such as Galicia and Asturias.

The Spanish Siesta: Embracing the Art of Rest

Taking a nap after lunch, usually for around an hour or two, is considered an essential part of a daily routine in Spain. Generally, businesses and shops close during this time so people can enjoy a peaceful rest before returning to their work or daily activities. This cultural practice has been well-preserved through generations, and it serves as an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and recharge energy for the afternoon. Additionally, siestas provide a way to be closer with family members and friends by taking a break together in the middle of the day. This tradition gives Spaniards a much-needed pause to relax their minds and bodies after busy mornings.

Gastronomy in Spain: A Culinary Affair to Remember

Gastronomy in Spain is a major part of Spanish culture and is renowned around the world for its quality and diversity. The cuisine features a wide variety of ingredients, including vegetables, seafood, and meats that are all cooked with flavorful spices and herbs. Popular dishes include paella, gazpacho, tortilla española, jamon serrano, and many more. Spanish wines are also a popular accompaniment to meals. There is something for everyone when it comes to Spanish gastronomy. Visitors can enjoy traditional flavors or try modern interpretations of classic dishes.

Sports in Spain: Embodying Passion and Pride

Sports culture in Spain is incredibly vibrant and deeply embedded in Spanish life. Football (soccer) is the country’s most popular sport, with both professional football leagues and amateur leagues playing a significant role in Spanish society. Other popular sports include basketball, tennis, cycling, handball, motor racing, rugby union and athletics. Water sports such as sailing and surfing are also widely enjoyed in the coastal regions of Spain.

The Spanish Landscape: Natural and Urban Splendors

Spain’s Majestic Cities: From Madrid’s Hustle to Valencia’s Charm

As vibrant as a flamenco dance and as enticing as its world-famous paella, Spain’s cities are legendary. They offer a breathtaking spectrum of ancient traditions, modern energy, architectural grandeur, and unparalleled culinary treats. Let’s embark on a captivating journey through the grandeur of Madrid to the irresistible charm of Valencia.

Madrid: Spain’s Thriving Capital

Epitomizing an irresistible blend of cosmopolitan style and old-world charm, Madrid hides countless treasures in its labyrinth of bustling streets and tranquil parks.

Madrid’s energy is palpable, from the thrumming nightlife in Malasaña to the vibrant flea markets of El Rastro. Its art scene is nothing short of illustrious, boasting the world-renowned Prado Museum, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-Bornemisza.

living in Madrid, Spain

Barcelona: A Modernist Wonderland

Rapidly itinerating to the northeast, Barcelona’s splendor unveils itself. It’s a city where Gaudi’s visionary architecture merges seamlessly with medieval relics in the Gothic Quarter.

living in Barcelona, Spain

Seville: The Heart of Andalusia

With its brilliant Moorish history, Seville, the capital of Andalusia, lurks behind the picturesque orange trees ready to bewitch you with its charm.

Valencia: The Homely Beauty

Valencia, the birthplace of paella, is a lesser-known gem offering modern architecture, engaging street art scenes, and a sprawling urban park landscape.

The Tranquility of Spanish Countryside: Rural Beauty at its Best

Away from the hustle and bustle of urban life, Spain’s countryside offers a tranquil haven of timeless landscapes, quaint villages, sprawling vineyards, and sun-drenched olive groves that whisper the stories of a thousand years.

living in rural Spain

The Mesmerizing Beauty of Andalusia

Andalusia, a region steeped in history and culture, captivates with its white-washed villages clinging to hilltops, its endless sunflower fields, and the iconic olive groves stretching as far as the eye can see.

The Rustic Allure of Castilla-La Mancha

Famed for being the setting of Miguel de Cervantes’ iconic novel “Don Quixote,” the region of Castilla-La Mancha is a spectacle of windmills dotting the plains, vineyards producing world-renowned wines, and medieval towns imbued with history.

The Enchanting Tranquility of Galicia

Tucked in the northwest of Spain, Galicia compares to Ireland with its lush green landscapes, rugged coastline, and magical mist. Its emerald valleys and ancient stone hamlets are a soothing balm for city-weary souls.

Rural Beauty: A Respite from the Urban Bustle

Away from the effervescence of Spain’s cities, the countryside offers a tranquil respite. It’s a chance to pause, to breathe, to embrace a slower pace of life. Explore historical sites, sample local cuisine, and perhaps, partake in traditional fiestas that sing the song of a culture deeply rooted in the land.

Spain’s Enchanting Islands: A Slice of Paradise

In the azure waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, Spain’s islands await, each a spellbinding world of its own. They are an idyllic blend of sun-kissed beaches, verdant landscapes, quaint seaside towns, and rich cultural heritage. Whether it’s the allure of the Balearics or the mystical charm of the Canaries, each presents a unique slice of paradise.

Balearic Bliss: Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca

The Balearics, an archipelago in the Mediterranean, are renowned for their exotic beauty, vibrant nightlife, and rich culture.

Ibiza, the party capital, seamlessly blends its pulsating energy with tranquil beaches and whitewashed hamlets. Mallorca, the largest of the islands, boasts stunning landscapes, a cosmopolitan capital, and charming fishing villages. Menorca, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, lures with its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Canary Islands: A Flavour of Africa in Spain

Situated off the coast of northwestern Africa, the Canary Islands are a diverse paradise, each island offering its unique charm.

Tenerife, the largest island, is home to Spain’s highest peak, Mount Teide, and hosts a vibrant carnival rivaling Brazil’s. Gran Canaria offers lush forests, desert landscapes, and beautiful beaches. Lanzarote, with its striking volcanic landscapes, is akin to a Martian adventure.

A Unique Island Culture

The islands are not just about natural beauty; they are steeped in a unique culture. This is evident in the traditional architecture of the Balearics and the Guanche heritage of the Canaries, the local cuisine, folklore, and festivals.

living in Ibiza, Spain

Navigating the Practicalities: Your Guide to Spanish Life

The Spanish Economy: Understanding Work & Business Opportunities

Spain is quickly becoming a popular destination for digital nomads and entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of the business opportunities available in the country. The Spanish government has recently adopted several measures designed to make it easier for people from abroad to work remotely in Spain, including tax incentives and visa programs. The country also offers a robust set of services from banks, telecoms, and other businesses, making it an ideal place for digital nomads to establish their home base. In addition to the attractive cost of living and cultural offerings, Spain’s unique climate makes it an ideal spot for outdoor activities and exploration. With its well-developed infrastructure, strong economic environment, and welcoming atmosphere, Spain is rapidly emerging as one of the world’s premier places for globe-trotting entrepreneurs seeking an exciting lifestyle.

Healthcare in Spain: Ensuring Your Well-being

Healthcare in Spain is provided by the public health system, which is highly organized and efficient. The system provides free healthcare access to all citizens and legal residents, including those from other European Union countries. Digital nomads can get access to healthcare via the public system through a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). With this card, they are able to receive treatment from Spanish doctors and hospitals at discounted rates or even free of charge. Other private health insurance options are also available in Spain for digital nomads who require more comprehensive coverage. With excellent private and public healthcare services, digital nomads can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they have access to quality medical care in Spain.

Education System in Spain: Shaping The Future

Spanish post-secondary education provides many appealing opportunities for western immigrants. With the attractive tuition fees and cost of living, students can save money on their education while still enjoying a high-quality learning experience.

Housing in Spain: Your Spanish Home Awaits

real estate in Spain

Insights into Spanish Real Estate: City Apartments to Country Villas

For EU nationals, it is relatively easy since they have the same rights to purchase property as Spanish citizens. However, for non-EU nationals, there are restrictions in place that could complicate the process. These include having to obtain a special visa, proof of income, and providing documented plans for how and why they intend to use the property. Additionally, some regions may also require approval from their respective regional governments before proceeding with the purchase.

Renting Vs Buying: Making an Informed Decision

We highly recommend you merely rent property when living in Spain unless you plan to go for permanent residency, which can take considerable time. Spain is a popular tourist destination, and while it offers a great quality of life, there are certain legalities to consider when living in the country. Renting can provide you with flexibility and convenience that owning property cannot. Additionally, renting allows for a more cost-effective option compared to buying real estate in Spain.

When looking for rental properties, you should be sure to consider the climate of your chosen area. Spain is a country with great diversity in its weather, ranging from snow-capped mountains in some areas, to dry and sunny climates on the coast. Depending on your desired environment and lifestyle, you should research to ensure that you choose an area which best suits your needs.

When it comes to rental properties, there are several standard lease lengths to consider. Typically, leases range from six months up to three years with an option to extend. It is important to know that the cost of rent can vary depending on the length of the lease, so it’s wise to choose a length that works best for you and your budget.


As the saying goes, “When in Spain, do as the Spaniards do” – and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to embracing Spanish culture. From learning the language to savoring local dishes, there is so much to explore and discover! For those planning a move to Spain or who already live here, RecipeToRoam.com is here to make it easier! Our website provides recipes, cooking tips, and advice on how to incorporate traditional Spanish ingredients into your dishes. With our help, you can find new ways to embrace the Spanish soul. So let’s get cooking! ¡Vamos a cocinar!

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