WHAT IS IT LIKE LIVING IN SPAIN?

October 16, 2020
What is it like to live in Spain? In terms of cost of living, Spain is one of the more reasonable locations to move to in Europe. Salaries and housing prices are balanced, meaning living costs are not sky high compared to the typical income. But bear in mind that there are massive cost variations when renting or buying in big Spanish cities versus smaller towns.

There are many pros and cons to living in Spain. While the low cost of living and weather are all positives, expats need to be aware of cons, like the high unemployment rate. The 2008 economic recession hit Spain extremely hard. And even though the country recovered, it is still high compared to other European countries.

Knowing Spanish is useful in Spain. Not speaking the language could make daily communication hard and slow. Expats will find that a lot of Spaniards do not speak much English, although this fact is changing quickly. When learning Spanish, expats need to be aware that some regions have different languages, such as Catalan, Basque, and Galician.

Living in Spain comes with a whole set of rules. For example, the Spanish Siesta still exists, but it has lost its original meaning. Instead of napping during lunchtime, Spaniards like to have a long lunchbreak to eat out and do things you normally do not have time for during the day.

Driving in Spain is hectic if you are in a urban area. Outside of the large cities, the only thing you have to worry about is driving on the right side of the road and keep within the speed limits. Spain’s public transportation system is extremely developed throughout the country, connecting all major cities.

If you are wondering about everyday practicalities like emergency numbers, public holidays, and main airports, we have listed these important points in this guide:

Emergency Numbers:
  • Ambulance (ambulancia): 112, 061
  • Firefighters (bomberos): 080, 112
  • Local Police (policía municipal): 092
  • Civil Guard (guardia civil): 062
  • National Spanish police (policía nacional): 091
  • Maritime Sea Rescue (Salvamento y Seguridad Marítima): 900 202 202


What are the Main Public Holidays in Spain? Because of the territorial divisions, Spain has both national and regional public holidays. These are the Spanish national holidays:
  • New Year’s Day, 1 January
  • Epiphany, 6 January (not a national holiday, but it is declared in all regions)
  • Good Friday (on the Friday before Easter Sunday)
  • Labor Day, 1 May
  • Assumption Day, 15 August
  • Hispanic Day, 12 October
  • Constitution Day, 6 December
  • Immaculate Conception Day, 8 December
  • Christmas Day, 25 December


The main airports are:
  • Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas, in Madrid
  • Barcelona-El Prat, in Barcelona
  • Palma de Mallorca, in Palma de Mallorca
  • Málaga-Costa del Sol, in Málaga
  • Alicante-Elche, in Alicante
  • Gran Canaria, in Gran Canaria


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