Living in Spain?

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Living in Spain

Living in Spain holds many attractions, but is not without its challenges. Life on the Iberian Peninsula will indeed be more laidback once you have gotten used to expatriate life there. InterNations supports you with essential information on Spain, from housing to healthcare.

At a Glance:

  • Spain is a constitutional monarchy, with a strong regional identity.
  • Madrid and Barcelona are two of the biggest Spanish cities. They offer the perfect urban lifestyle, thanks to their districts’ variety.
  • Education and healthcare in Spain are easily accessible to expats and provide high quality service.


Spain, one of the largest EU countries, is also a popular destination among European tourists. Its total population is about 47 million people and most of them are of European, but also Latin American descent. The presence of Latin Americans is due to the fact that employment opportunities in Spain used to be better than in their home countries. Furthermore, in terms of visa requirements, it is relatively easy for Colombians and Argentinians to enter the country.

Regional Pride and National Politics

Spain is a constitutional monarchy with King Felipe VI as the sovereign. The Spanish monarch is the head of state, while the "President of the Government” is the head of government and exercises the executive power. Since June 2018, Pedro Sánchez from the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) a center-left party, has occupied this position. If you are currently living in Spain as an expat, you may register to vote in all sorts of elections as long as you are a legal resident of Spain.

Regional identity is an important aspect of Spanish life and every region has its own culture, tradition, and food. Moreover, although the official and national language is Spanish, many Spaniards speak different languages altogether, e.g. Catalan, Valencian, and Gallego.

The movement, which pursues the independence of Catalonia from Spain, has been increasingly active over the past years and especially in Barcelona and the surrounding region, and can cause inconveniences to expats’ everyday life. In fact, it is not unusual to come across protests and blocked roads. Moreover, the call for autonomy will undoubtedly come up in conversation with impassioned locals, so it could be worth reading up on it. 

House Hunting in Spain

Spain is home to a vast number of large cities and small towns. Regarding the urban setting, Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville are the biggest cities. On the other hand, Costa del Sol is a popular area among retired expats living in Spain or people motivated by more recreational goals.

It is highly recommended to find an apartment before moving to Spain, since expats may have a hard time finding short-term housing. Check out the (Spanish only) website of the Ministerio de Viviendas (Ministry of Housing) and other helpful and regularly updated websites for house-hunting:


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

Jacques Paillard

"At the InterNations Events, I didn't only enjoy dancing the night away at some great venues, but I also got to know some great friends. "

Katharina Berbner

"Thanks to InterNations, I found a good language school for expats to take intensive classes in Spanish and socialize a bit more. "

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