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  • Moving To Spain – Frequently Asked Questions: Information
Tue 6 December 2022 | Information

Moving To Spain – Frequently Asked Questions

Questions! If you plan to move to Spain, you will usually have plenty of queries before deciding if Spain is the right location for you. As a long-established real estate agency, we are familiar with questions people need answers to before making such a big life-changing decision.

Unlike many estate agents in Spain, we don't attempt to highlight the advantages of buying and living in Spain while glossing over the disadvantages. We strive to stick to an E.A.T approach, combining our Expertise and Authoritativeness with Trustworthiness. So, you can rely on us to give you the most accurate answers learned by experience without attempting to depict Spain as some kind of heaven on Earth to entice you to buy a property!

If you have questions not answered here or need more detailed information, don't hesitate to contact us.

Living In Spain - Your FAQs Answered


1 Living In Spain - Your FAQs Answered

2 Can I buy property in Spain as a non-resident?

3 Can I buy a property to rent out in Spain?

4 How much money do I need to get residency in Spain?

5 Do I get residency in Spain if I buy a home?

6 Can I still get residency in Spain after Brexit?

7 What are the disadvantages of having Spanish residency?

8 How long can UK property owners remain in Spain?

9 Is 2023 a good time to buy in Spain?

10 Will Spanish house prices drop or rise in 2023?

11 How much does a villa cost in Spain?

12 How much does an apartment cost in Spain?

13 How much does it cost to build in Spain?

14 What is the cheapest place to buy in Spain?

15 What is the most expensive place to buy in Spain?

16 How much is home insurance in Spain?

17 Where is the nicest part of Spain to live?

18 Where do most foreigners live in Spain?

19 Where is the safest place to live in Spain?

20 Where is the warmest place to live in Spain?

21 Where is the cheapest place to live in Spain?

22 Where is the most expensive place to live in Spain?

23 How much money do I need to live comfortably in Spain?

24 What is a good salary in Spain?

25 What are the pitfalls of living in Spain?

26 What are the disadvantages of working in Spain?

27 What are the pitfalls of retiring to Spain?

28 What are the pitfalls of buying a property in Spain?

29 What are the benefits of moving to Spain?

30 Is Spain a good country to move to from the UK?

31 Are Spanish people friendly?

32 Is healthcare in Spain free?

33 Is healthcare in Spain good?

34 Can foreigners get healthcare in Spain?

35 Do you pay to see a GP in Spain?

36 Are public hospitals free in Spain?

37 Do British pensioners get free healthcare in Spain?

38 Can I get private health insurance in Spain?

39 Are taxes high in Spain?

40 Are taxes higher in Spain than in the UK?

41 Is it cheaper to live in Spain or UK?

42 Is electricity expensive in Spain?

43 How much does it cost to live in Spain per month?

44 Can you live off 1000€ a month in Spain?

45 What bills do homeowners pay in Spain?

46 What bills do renters pay in Spain?

47 Is food expensive in Spain?

48 How much is rent in Spain?

49 How much do cigarettes cost in Spain?

50 How much does it cost to study in Spain?

51 Will I still get my UK pension if I move to Spain?

52 Do pensioners pay taxes in Spain?

53 Do British pensioners living in Spain pay tax?

54 How many years do I have to work in Spain to get a pension?

55 Private pensions in Spain

56 Contact Us

Can I buy property in Spain as a non-resident?

The Spanish government favourably promotes foreign investment in the local real estate market. The country has schemes such as the Golden Visa and Non-Lucrative Visa to entice non-resident buyers from abroad.

As a result, many non-residents buy every year in Spain. In the second quarter of 2022, the British represented the highest number of foreign buyers, eight percent of the total housing investment by foreigners. German and French purchasers were the second and third most prevalent nationalities of foreign buyers. 

Can I buy a property to rent out in Spain?

Yes, but there are some exceptions. Renting out a property in Spain is extremely popular among property investors. However, properties bought to profit from short let holiday lets need a rental licence. The Tourist licence in Spain is compulsory in almost all the Spanish autonomous communities to rent properties for terms of less than three months.

In some cities, such as Barcelona, the council is not accepting new applications for tourist licences to end the problems for local people caused by the tourism industry. Other towns may have restrictions in certain areas or types of buildings, such as municipal blocks inhabited mainly by young families.

In these towns and cities, the best way to attain tourist rental income is to buy a villa or apartment with a tourist licence already granted. 

Talk to a trusted estate agent or lawyer to ensure the property you purchase has permissions in place or is eligible for a short let permit if renting to tourists is an essential factor when you buy.

You must pay taxes on your tourist rental income, which, if you are not an EEA citizen (which currently includes British nationals), is 24% of the gross income, regardless of any expenses you incur.

How much money do I need to get residency in Spain?

The cost of the residency permit is inexpensive, with an initial temporary residence authorisation costing 10,94€. Renewing a temporary residence authorisation costs 16,40€. The permit for long-term (permanent residency) costs 21,87€.

You can obtain these permits by completing the necessary paperwork and presenting the documents at the nearest foreigner's department at a National Police (Policía Nacional) Station. However, this can be complicated if you are out of the country, and the best route may be to hire a gestor to prepare the paperwork on your behalf. Gestor costs vary, but you rarely pay more than 100€ for residency services unless your case is complex.

Do I get residency in Spain if I buy a home?

Not automatically, no, but it is possible. Spanish immigration laws offer assorted options. If you invest more than 500,000€ in a property, you will receive a Golden Visa, giving you and your close family members the right to live and work in Spain and move freely within the Schengen zone. The original Golden Visa is valid for two years, after which you can renew the permit as long as you keep the property.

The only requirement is to visit the country once a year to keep and renew the golden visa. There is no need to stay for extended periods to maintain the visa.

Can I still get residency in Spain after Brexit?

British nationals not currently living in Spain who wish to relocate must apply for a residency permit. Apart from the Golden Visa mentioned above, these are granted for study, work, business investment, or through a non-lucrative (non-working) visa. Family members of citizens of the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland qualify for a visa, provided that they are travelling with the citizen of the EU or are moving to join them.

Documents needed for residency include your foreigner's tax number, proof of income or a pension, Spanish health insurance, the receipt to show you paid the application fee, a residency form, a valid passport, and two passport-size photographs. First, you apply for temporary residency, and after five years are legible for permanent residence.

While visiting Spain for up to three months out of every 180 days as a tourist, you can apply for other types of visas in Spain, such as the entrepreneur visa or non-lucrative visa. An immigration lawyer can help you with this.

What are the disadvantages of having Spanish residency?

If you hold residency in Spain, you must pay resident taxes. This means you will have to pay income tax on any income you earn worldwide. So, if you earn rental income from a home you own in the UK, you will pay tax to the Spanish government on this income. If you remain a non-resident, that won't happen.

How long can UK property owners remain in Spain?

In late 2022, non-resident property owners (like non-property owners) can remain in Spain for 90 days out of 180 days

The 90 days are added together. You can come and go; the days do not have to be consecutive. However, be aware that if you visit another EU country, the days spent there will count towards your 90-day limit.

If you spend the entire three months in Spain, you must wait three whole months after leaving the country before returning to avoid overstaying 90 days within 180 days. British property owners in Spain who want to stay in their properties for more than 90/180 days need a visa.

Overstaying intentionally or unintentionally can lead to hefty fines and penalties, such as deportation and entry bans.

However, there may be good news on the horizon, as Spain wants to ditch the regulation that non-EU travellers can only remain for 90 days in 180 days. Spain previously removed visa requirements for UK tour operators after Brexit. The Spanish tourism sector now wants to lift the limit for all British citizens coming to Spain. 

According to estimates, 3.5 million Brits visit Spain in winter to escape the cold UK weather. This figure makes the UK the country's largest and most important tourist market. Many British people also own second homes in Spain, and these people's lives have become more complicated due to the 90-day rule. The rule is also likely to put off new buyers and investors. Therefore, is in Spain's interest to eliminate the 90-day regulation. 

Madrid is trying to pressure Brussels to change the 90-day rule. But the resolution must come from them. 

Is 2023 a good time to buy in Spain?

Real estate experts predict that 2022 will see the end of the substantial price increases the Spanish property market has experienced in the last few years when prices and sales grew at rates similar to those before the 2007 housing market boom and subsequent crash.

In 2023, however, this strong market growth is anticipated to taper off, with sales forecast to fall slightly to rates similar to 2017. So, in terms of property purchases, 2023 should see a normalisation in the market after a couple of years of extremes, which many business sectors experienced due to the pandemic. 

The overall number of property transactions looks set to drop by around 15% in 2023. However, the fall in prices is forecast to be only 0.9%, according to Atlas Real Estate. The end of 2022 will see an average price of €1.706/sqm, 2.9% more than in 2021. In 2023 the average cost is expected to drop to €1,691/sqm – under 1%.

Property experts furthermore expect there will be differences in terms of price drops between new builds and second-hand homes. New builds are less likely to decrease in price, although resale home prices could fall between 3 and 7%.

The difference in new build and resold price decreases is because demand for resale homes will drop due to rising mortgage rates and inflation, so fewer people are in a position to buy.

Therefore, 2023 is an excellent year to buy, especially for those looking for a longer-term investment. Resale homes will be cheaper than in 2022, and your buying and negotiating power will increase as demand drops. Real estate markets worldwide have always experienced highs and lows, and the opportunity to buy when prices are low and sell when high is a sound investment.

Will Spanish house prices drop or rise in 2023?

The European Central Bank forecasts property prices will drop across most of Europe in 2023/2024 by as much as 9%. With inflation affecting economies worldwide, the ECB took the extreme move to raise interest rates

The Euribor, the rate linked to mortgages in Spain, has risen steeply, making mortgage repayments more expensive. The increase will affect real estate demand and prices in 2023 but is not expected to affect Spain as severely as other EU member states.

The less dramatic effect is partly because the Spanish property market supply needs to catch up with the demand in cities like Madrid and Barcelona. In these cities, supply has decreased by around 39 percent, so properties will retain value. So, the significant drops in price expected across Europe likely won't occur throughout Spain.

How much does a villa cost in Spain?

There is no single answer to this question because the word "villa" is used to describe many types of detached properties, including those that are small in size, on a small plot and require serious refurbishment. This type of fixer-upper can be a worthwhile investment, but you must carefully research if the investment will be worth the return. 

The cost of a villa is also dramatically affected by location, and an inland villa, although it may be only 15km from the nearest beach, will be much cheaper than a villa within walking distance of the sea. 

The only way to determine the cost of a villa is to scour property websites in your chosen area and compare prices, to come up with an average cost according to location, size, and condition.

In Javea, which is not the cheapest place to buy as it is a sought-after location with a beautiful coastline and numerous attractions, you can find resale villas ready to move into, with a private pool and plenty of space, for well under 300,000€.

How much does an apartment cost in Spain?

Unlike villas, even the most run-down apartments are less expensive to renovate because the building will be sound even if the decor and fixtures are in desperate need of renovation. 

If your budget is limited, for example, under 100,000€, you can find a small apartment for sale in a seaside resort like Javea. If you are prepared to live in a less desirable area, a little inland, you can find smaller apartments for well under 50,000€.

How much does it cost to build in Spain?

A new home's cost will depend on several factors, including the size and price of the plot, how many floors or levels you want, and how much of the house is below ground.

In Spain, in 2022, the price of m2 in developable land per square metre is around 150 euros. However, bear in mind this is the average price. In resort areas, the price is much higher and considerably lower in rural locations. 

If you are building a house, an architect is an essential professional, whether a freelancer or a studio. An architect's fees for a construction project can range from 5,000 euros to around 30,000 euros. Architects' prices vary based on the work's cost (8 to 15%) and their professional prestige.

There are also taxes, municipal permits, utilities, building materials and labour costs to consider.

Before occupying the home, it is also important to set aside resources for general cleaning to remove dust, residue, and debris. This activity can cost around 20 euros per hour, per person.

Therefore, there is no single answer to how much it will cost to build a house, as prices will vary depending on the region and construction.

To give you an estimate, a 100 sm2 home made with durable materials and to your taste would cost around 150,000 euros, excluding the land cost.

What is the cheapest place to buy in Spain?

The cheapest towns with average property prices under 500€ per square metre include:

1. Alcaudete de la Jarain in Toledo

2. Fuente Obejuna in Córdoba  

3. El Carpio de Tajo in Toledo  

4. Zujar in Granada  

5. Belmez in Córdoba  

6. Almadén in Ciudad Real  

7. Mota del Cuervo in Cuenca  

8. Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo in Córdoba  

9. Cebolla in Toledo  

10. Horcajo de Santiago in Cuenca  

11. Santa Amalia in Badajoz  

12. Calzada de Calatrava in Ciudad Real  

13. Malagon in Ciudad Real  

14. La Pobla Llarga in Valencia  

15. Miguel Esteban in Toledo  

16. Bullas in Murcia  

17. Villacañas in Toledo  

18. Torralba de Calatrava in Ciudad Real  

19. Balaguer in Lleida  

20. Vélez Blanco in Almería  

21. Pinos-Puente in Granada  

22. Socuéllamos in Ciudad Real  

23. Campo de Criptana in Ciudad Real  214. Algueña in Alicante  

24. Mora la Nova in Tarragona  

25. Sonseca in Toledo  

26. Tobarra in Albacete  

27. Nalda in La Rioja  

28. Almodovar del Campo in Ciudad Real  

29. Nogueira de Ramuin in Ourense

30. Moriles in Córdoba

What is the most expensive place to buy in Spain?

The most expensive towns with property prices averaging from 1,800,000€ to 373,000€ as we move down the list are:

1. Benahavís, in Málaga

2. Calvià in Mallorca

3. Marbella in Malaga

4. Sotogrande in Cádiz

5. Jávea in Alicante

6. Sitges in Barcelona

7. Altea in Alicante

8. Casteldefells in Barcelona

9. Llucmajor in Mallorca

10. Palma in Mallorca

11. Adeje in Tenerife

12. Donostia-San Sebastian in the Basque Country

13. Estepona in Malaga

14. Gexto in the Basque Country

15. Calpe in Alicante

16. Mijas in Malaga

17. Madrid City

18. Benalmadena in Malaga

19. Barcelona City

20. Denia in Alicante

Remember, these are average prices, and much cheaper properties are also available in the towns and cities, depending on size, condition, and neighbourhood.

How much is home insurance in Spain?

If you're moving to Spain and buying or even renting a property, home insurance is one of the most important considerations. According to the latest data, around 23% or 6 million Spanish households are uninsured. 

However, insuring your property in Spain is relatively cheap, so there is little reason not to contract insurance.

Home insurance is only necessary in Spain when you obtain a mortgage. The law requires you to have this insurance if you are going to buy a house with a loan, and it is an essential condition for banks to grant you a mortgage.

If you're renting an apartment or house in Spain, you're not obliged to have home insurance, but it still may be in your interests.

Your proprietor may have buildings insurance, but this will not protect your belongings or the property's contents.

The most basic home insurance in Spain is damage insurance, similar to buildings insurance in the UK. This protects the structure of a property. 

The second level is multi-risk insurance. Multi-risk insurance covers the building and its contents. As multi-risk policies cover many scenarios, you might think they are expensive. However, many companies offer multi-risk insurance at under €200 a year.

Where is the nicest part of Spain to live?

The most agreeable part of Spain depends mainly on your personality and interests. All areas have their pros and cons. Some of our top recommendations include the following:

  • Barcelona City for culture
  • Madrid for work opportunities
  • Valencia City for its culture, food, and relatively low cost of living
  • Málaga for warm weather
  • Alicante City for international connections
  • Javea for socialising with fellow expats
  • Toledo for cheap property
  • San Sebastian or Girona for cuisine
  • Ibiza for Nightlife
  • Mallorca for family-friendly beaches

Where do most foreigners live in Spain? 

Regions with the highest concentration of foreign residents are:

1. Catalonia

2. Madrid

3. Andalusia

4. Valencia

The top three nationalities in terms of population percentage are Moroccan, Romanian, and Chinese.

Native English speakers represent only 7 percent of the foreigners living in Spain. This group includes the British, Americans, Australians, Canadians, Irish, South Africans, New Zealanders, and Indians.

The provinces of Valencia and Alicante are home to the highest number of British Expats.

Where is the safest place to live in Spain?

According to The Global Peace Index, Spain is 29th on a list of 163 countries in 2022 for peacefulness and safety. While outside the top ten, this rank puts Spain in the top 20% of the safest places to live in the world. It is way ahead of the UK, France, and the US. for crime, violence, and terrorism.

It is almost always safer to visit towns with smaller populations than large cities, which is true in Spain. However, Madrid, with a much larger population than Barcelona, is deemed safer between the two.

Madrid comes in at an exceptional 11th place on the list of safest cities worldwide, and Barcelona ranks 21st for overall safety globally. Barcelona does have a significant problem with pickpockets and confidence tricksters, often known as "peamen", so be wary.

Both cities rate as very safe on a global scale. But the safest areas in Spain are still the less densely populated towns, that don’t attract large numbers of tourists.

This data was correct at the time of writing, in the latter part of 2022, but be aware such statistics can change suddenly due to critical unforeseen incidents.

Travel Safe describes how to stay safe in Spain and what to look out for. 

Where is the warmest place to live in Spain?

Most regions in Spain are extremely hot during the summer. While coastal areas like the Costa de Sol and the Costa Blanca attract visitors looking to cool down on a sandy beach, other inland cities are famous for their sweltering summers, including Madrid, Zaragoza, and Toledo. These places can become uncomfortably hot during the summer months. 

Here are the five cities in Spain with the highest average August temperatures. To make this list, temperatures must be consistently high over an extended period.

1. The highest average temperature in Spain is in Cordoba, where August averages are 36.5°C during August.

2. Spain's second-highest average temperature is in Seville, averaging 35.5 degrees.

3. Badajoz, in Extremadura, comes in third with average August temperatures at 34.5°C.

4. In Murcia, average temperatures rise to 34.2 degrees in August. Granada temperatures match Murcia, with average August temperatures also reaching 34.2 degrees.

The Cities with the Highest Average Winter Temperatures in Spain

Winter temperatures vary considerably. Locals can sit in the sun in some parts of the country, while others are covered in snow and famous for winter sports.

If you are a sun lover, these Spanish cities with the highest average winter temperatures will interest you:

1. The Canary Islands. Located off the coast of North Africa, winter temperatures are always agreeable in the Canary Islands, and the average winter temperature in Gran Canaria is 22°C.

2. Seville. Seville enjoys average December temperatures of 15°C.

3. Valencia. Temperatures in Valencia are like Seville, with an average December temperature of 15 degrees.

4. Mallorca. Mallorca experiences average December temperatures of 14 degrees.

Where is the cheapest place to live in Spain?

According to Numbeo, a crowd-sourced global database of quality-of-life data, the cheapest cities to live in Spain are:

1. Zaragoza

2. Santa Cruz de Tenerife

3. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Where is the most expensive place to live in Spain?

The most expensive Spanish cities regarding the cost of living are:

1. Barcelona

2. Bilbao

3. Palma de Mallorca

How much money do I need to live comfortably in Spain?

Financial requirements depend on many factors, mainly how much you pay for your accommodation. Your lifestyle preferences will also affect how much money you need to live comfortably in Spain. 

Numbeo's crowd-sourced data shows a family of four estimated monthly costs are 2,282.87 without rent.

A single person's estimated monthly costs are 645.40€ without rent.

What is a good salary in Spain?

A reasonable salary to live comfortably in Spain ranges from €2,000 to €2,500 after taxes. People in Spain earn an average of €2,710 gross per month. This amount corresponds to an annual wage of €32,000. 

Since June 2022, the national minimum wage in Spain has remained fixed at €1,166.7 gross per month, which is just under 14,000 euros per year, 

What are the pitfalls of living in Spain?

While there are many fabulous advantages of living in Spain, such as the climate, health care and a laid-back lifestyle, we would be wrong to say there are no disadvantages. These include:


Retiring to Spain can initially be detrimental to personal relationships because you will spend more with your partner than you would at home due to a lack of a social circle.


In general, the Spanish are a friendly nation, but there will always be people who are racist and resentful of foreigners who move to their country as outsiders. Black people are often considered socio-economic second-class citizens in Spain and end up with menial, low-paid jobs.


Corruption is alive and well in many parts of the world, and Spain is no exception. Always take legal advice when dealing with financial matters, wherever you are in the world.

Spain is considered the 46th least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, 25 places behind the UK.


Bureaucracy in Spain is notorious. Getting even the simplest tasks done often involves many trips to various municipal or government departments with multiple documents and photocopies. Autonomous communities such as Catalunya supply forms only in Catalan, which can be incredibly frustrating considering a large portion of the tax-paying population are foreign.

Senior care

The public health care system in Spain is recognised as being of excellent quality. However, there is little support for seniors. There are not enough places in care homes, and it is assumed that relatives will look after older adults.


Many people looking for a new life in Spain underestimate the possibility of boredom. In most towns and villages, there are fewer facilities and amenities than in the United Kingdom. This means unless you can travel frequently, life can get boring. If you move to a tourist resort, be aware that the lively town you enjoy in the summer could become a ghost town for four or five months a year, with few shops, bars, and restaurants open and little to entertain you.


A disadvantage to moving abroad is you may miss the friends and family you left behind. Although they may only be a short flight away, flying back frequently becomes expensive. Fortunately, most parts of Spain have a 4G or 5G network, so video chatting to friends and family can help stave off loneliness.

Animal welfare

While animal welfare is improving in Spain, the country has a long way to go to meet British standards. Unfortunately, animal welfare is low on the list for most town halls. They leave the arduous and expensive task of looking after the many stray animals in Spain to individuals. Many animal lovers relocating to Spain end up devoting their time and money to looking after animals locally, which may be different from what they had in mind before moving to the country. 

What are the disadvantages of working in Spain?


The minimum wage is lower in Spain than in other countries such as the UK, Germany, and the USA. The cost of living for some items may also be lower, but prices are rising rapidly due to inflation.

Long working hours

Many workers endure long working days because of the siesta in the middle of the day and may start at 9 am and finish at 9 pm, for example, with a four-hour break in the afternoon. Furthermore, bosses may expect employees to do overtime as part of their job, particularly in the tourism sector.

You may see yourself working in a bar or restaurant, enjoying cocktails on the terrace with your clients at night, and having all day free to lounge on the beach. The reality is you will probably be too tired to get anywhere near the beach if you work nights in the hospitality trade. While the bar will likely have a beautiful moonlit terrace with cool music for a relaxing ambience, it will also have a hot greasy kitchen without air conditioning and fat fryers and grills that need extensive cleaning at the end of a busy night. 

School hours conflicts

The working hours in Spain can be challenging to fit in with looking after a young family as schools have different hours to what we are used to in the UK. Spanish school schedules vary from school to school, but most will use one of two schedules. Some schools open from 9 am to 5 pm with a two-hour lunch break from 1 pm to 3 pm. Others begin at 9 am and end at 2 pm.

What are the pitfalls of retiring to Spain?

  • While the Spanish you meet socially will often enjoy practising the few English phrases they know with you, English proficiency in Spain is generally low, and town hall officials are unlikely to speak any English, so learning at least basic Spanish is a must.
  • Expect the local routine to be different from what you are accustomed to. Spanish people generally like to stay up late, eat late, and often stay out till dusk. In the big cities, many clubs don't even open their doors until 1 am!
  • Spain is notorious for plodding bureaucracy and long wait times in governmental agencies, so patience is vital.
  • Many expats find the tax system complicated and must use the services of a gestor, and therefore additional expense.
  • The weather in the hottest area of Spain can get so hot in the summer that you find yourself staying inside during the day, only leaving home when temperatures drop in the evening.
  • Apart from in the largest cities, you might struggle to find vegan, vegetarian, lactose or gluten-free foods when eating out.

What are the pitfalls of buying a property in Spain?

We have all heard nightmare stories of foreigners buying Spanish property only to find the developer disappears, the property is built illegally, or in some cases, when purchased off-plan, is never completed. However, these cases make the news because they are extreme. Less severe, though more common pitfalls include:

  • Not having all the necessary documents
  • Not accounting for taxes and other extra costs
  • Buying a property because you fall in love with the home rather than considering the possible pitfalls of the area
  • Thinking you can manage the process yourself and therefore avoid real estate agent and lawyer fees
  • Not considering how accessible the property is for your family to visit and for you to visit the UK
  • Choosing an area where the property is cheap, but there is little going on socially
  • Not having a financial plan in place.

What are the benefits of moving to Spain?

The benefits of moving to Spain are numerous, which is why so many of us choose to do so. Here are some of the most significant advantages that come to mind:

  • The idyllic climate
  • The laid-back lifestyle
  • The relatively low property prices compared to the UK
  • The choice of healthy outdoor activities
  • The low cost of eating out
  • Availability of local fresh produce
  • Living in one of the 30th safest countries in the world
  • Superior healthcare service
  • Excellent public transport systems nationwide
  • Spain is a family-friendly country where children are treated as equals
  • World-renowned, award-winning restaurants

Is Spain a good country to move to from the UK?

Spain is an excellent country if you are moving from the UK. It outperforms other EU countries because of the weather, the large expat communities, the strong tourist sector, ease of access to the UK and the availability of British food staples, UK TV stations, and social activities for English speakers. Whether you are retiring, a tradesperson serving other expats, or starting an online venture, Spain could be the perfect location.

Are Spanish people friendly?

There are always exceptions, but Spanish people are mostly considered warm and welcoming. The people value having a good time socially and enjoy spending time with friends. As an expat, you will find locals who go out of their way to make you feel at home, especially if you make an effort to learn the language. There are many online social groups on sites like Facebook, MeetUp and MEETin, making it easy to meet people with similar interests. Once you move to Spain, you will find language exchange groups, amateur sports events, local gyms, and volunteer groups with plenty of friendly locals and expats to meet for social events.

Is healthcare in Spain free?

Spanish healthcare is free and available to every Spanish resident. People who work pay monthly social security contributions to uphold the public healthcare system. These contributions guarantee that almost everyone can access healthcare for free and only must pay a small percentage on prescriptions.

Everybody working and paying taxes in Spain is eligible for public healthcare, which covers almost everything you need. Basic dental care is available at a reduced price and often free of charge for resident pensioners, depending on the procedure.

The public healthcare system also covers the direct family of a beneficiary, such as spouses, dependents under 26 years of age, and siblings.

There are a few cases in which people are not eligible for public healthcare. These cases are mostly non-residents who have their own health insurance abroad.

Spain is required by law to provide emergency and basic care for its citizens, even those who do not pay into the system.

Is healthcare in Spain good?

Spain has an extensive network of hospitals and medical centres. The Spanish public healthcare system is of high quality, with well-trained efficient medical staff.

According to World Population Review, Spain's healthcare service ranks the 8th best in the world, with the UK coming in two places behind, at number 10.

Can foreigners get healthcare in Spain?

Spain does not have a general policy of free healthcare for tourists, although European visitors can access free or reduced-cost medical care by presenting a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Non-Europeans needing a visa for visiting or moving to Spain will most likely have to prove they have sufficient medical insurance before they are granted entry to the country. It is, therefore, highly unlikely that a legal non-European visitor to Spain isn't covered by at least some sort of healthcare policy through their own countries' health coverage or private insurance.

Nevertheless, all Spanish state hospitals must provide vital primary healthcare to any person admitted to hospital with life-threatening injuries or illness, regardless of their capacity to pay.

Do you pay to see a GP in Spain?

If you are covered by the Spanish public healthcare system, you will have a GP assigned to you and can arrange a free appointment when required. 

If you are not covered by the system, you will find many medical centres where you can see a GP at short notice for a fee or via a private health insurance plan. The downside of private GPs is you pay the full prescription cost, whereas if you see a public healthcare doctor, you only pay a fraction of the prescription fee.

Are public hospitals free in Spain?

All Spanish state hospitals are required to provide vital primary healthcare to any patient with a condition deemed as life-threatening, regardless of their ability to pay. But if you need ongoing treatment, such as rehab after an accident, and do not have cover, you will be asked to pay.

Do British pensioners get free healthcare in Spain?

From January 01, 2021, British pensioners may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if they're resident in Spain and receive a UK State Pension using the S1. See the NHS website for more eligibility information. 

Alternatively, many autonomous communities in Spain offer a plan where non.EU pensioners living in Spain can pay a reasonable monthly fee and receive public healthcare without paying extra for services.

Can I get private health insurance in Spain?

Yes, there are many companies offering private health insurance to cover all situations. If you are applying for a visa to live in Spain, you may be required to take out a private policy.

Are taxes high in Spain?

In 2022, income tax rates in Spain are not the same across the country. The total tax due is a calculation of the state's general tax rates plus regional tax rates.

Spain's national tax rates in 2022 are as follows:

  • Income up to €12,450: 19%
  • Earnings between €12,450–€20,200: 24%
  • Earnings between €20,200–€35,200: 30%
  • Earnings between €35,200–€60,000: 37%
  • Earnings between €60,000–€300,000: 45%
  • More than €300,000: 47%

Are taxes higher in Spain than in the UK?

Income taxation is around 4% lower in the UK than in Spain. Use this handy calculator to find out the difference entering your individual circumstances. 

Is it cheaper to live in Spain or UK?

According to Living Cost, the average cost of living in Spain ($1141) is 37% cheaper than in the UK ($1804). Spain ranked 46th vs 16th for the United Kingdom in the list of the most expensive countries in the world.

However, due to average salary differences, the gap is not as broad as it may first appear. The average after-tax salary is enough to cover living expenses for 1.5 months in Spain, compared to 1.6 months in the United Kingdom. 

Is electricity expensive in Spain?

At the time of writing in early December 2022, the average price of electricity on the Spanish mainland is 0.378€/kWh. 

How much does it cost to live in Spain per month?

The average cost of living in Spain is estimated at $1141 for an individual and $2609 for a family of four. But bear in mind the monthly living in a city such as Barcelona is likely to be much higher due to high rental prices.

Can you live off 1000€ a month in Spain?

If your monthly accommodation costs are in the region of 300€ per month (which would typically be a room in a flat share), you could probably live on 1000€ per month, provided you were prepared to go without luxuries.

What bills do homeowners pay in Spain?

In Spain, bills homeowners pay may include the following:

  • Community fees
  • Mortgage repayments
  • The IBI (Spanish local property tax)
  • Utility bills
  • House insurance (optional)
  • Maintenance costs
  • Tax on rental income (if applicable)
  • Non-resident's income tax (if applicable)
  • The annual rubbish collection fee
  • Telephone, Internet, TV

What bills do renters pay in Spain?

Whether you're a property owner or a renter, knowing which costs you're responsible for is essential before signing a rental contract for when unexpected expenses arise.

Spanish consumer groups and property experts generally agree on what constitutes a cost for the tenant or the proprietor, but both parties must go over the rental contract with a fine-tooth comb, as the party who is responsible for paying specific costs will vary from contract to contract.  It is vital that both sides agree in advance on who pays what in tenant-landlord contracts in Spain.

  • Utility bills are the responsibility of the tenant unless otherwise agreed.
  • Rubbish collection annual costs are usually the responsibility of the property owner, but some property owners may claim a percentage of the cost from the tenant.
  • Community costs are considered a cost the proprietor covers, but properties with high community costs are likely to have facilities such as gardens and a communal pool, so the rent charges will reflect the community cost, even if the property owner does pay the charge.
  • The IBI property tax, similar to the UK council tax, is almost always paid by the owner. 
  • Each party should insure their own belongings if they want cover in the event of theft, flood damage or a fire.
  • If any part of the property or appliances need repairs, it is usually down to the owner to foot the cost unless it is clear the tenant directly caused the damage.
  • Minor repairs such as fixing or replacing a broken lamp or putting up a rail that has come loose should be common sense matters and fixed by the tenant.
  • Damp caused by tenant's misuse is their responsibility, but dampness due to poor structure should be fixed by the proprietor. If dampness started in a nearby property, then another party could be potentially responsible for paying for the damage.

Wear and tear is always a grey area, so make sure your contract clearly states which party is responsible for what. 

Taking photographs of the inventory and condition of the property as soon as you move in is always a good idea, should arguments over wear and tear arise. They can be shown as evidence and will help if the broken item was already in partial disrepair when they moved in.

Is food expensive in Spain?

Individual grocery bills can be difficult to calculate, but most couples can eat well at home for 100€ per week.

Eating out is Spain is still relatively cheap, with a three-course Menu del Dia including at least one drink available for under 15€ in most Spanish towns and cities.

How much is rent in Spain?

This varies wildly from region to region, with rents in Madrid and Barcelona topping the list of the most expensive places to rent.

The average rent in a mid-sized city like Alicante or Valencia is around 600€ for a one or two-bedroom apartment. In less desirable towns, you will find rents are lower, but this can be a false economy if you need to travel to the nearest larger town for entertainment and amenities. 

How much do cigarettes cost in Spain?

A packet of 20 Marlboro costs 4.95€ while Spanish brand Fortuna will set you back 4.40€. A packet of 20 B&H costs 5.50€. The average price for twenty cigarettes in the UK is around £12.50.

If you buy cigarettes from a bar or hotel vending machine, expect to pay around 10% more than a local tobacco shop. All Tobacco shops charge the same, as prices are set by the government.

How much does it cost to study in Spain?

Spain is a popular destination for international students as it provides a high-quality education with cheaper tuition fees than other European countries like Holland and Germany.

Currently, there're more than 208,000 foreign students studying in Spain. Many of them choose Spain for affordable living costs, the Mediterranean climate, nightlife, and choice of food.

How much tuition costs depends on the university (private or public), your nationality, and the subject of study

If you're a non-EU citizen, depending on the reasons above, you can be charged up to times higher than EU students, but the cost is more likely to be around 1000€ higher.

As an estimate, expect to pay:

  • €700 - €3,500 for state Bachelor's programs
  • €1,000 - €3,500 for state Master's programs
  • €960 - €1,800 for an MBA program in a public university
  • €4,000 - €20,000 for bachelor's and Master's programs in a private university
  • €10,000 - €30,000 for an MBA degree in a private university

On top of tuition fees, expect to pay for study materials which can cost around €100 per term or sometimes more. 

Will I still get my UK pension if I move to Spain?

The most prominent issue for many is their UK State Pension. You can still claim your pension when you move to Spain.

Your UK State Pension will increase annually in line with the UK.

You can also count any social security contributions made in Spain to meet the conditions for a UK State Pension.

Do pensioners pay taxes in Spain?

Spanish pensions are taxed at a rate of around 7.7%. The percentage varies depending on the pension.

Do British pensioners living in Spain pay tax?

If you move to Spain permanently and have been in the country for over 183 days in a tax year, you will be considered a tax resident in Spain. Your UK state pension will be taxed as income in Spain according to Spanish rates.

How many years do I have to work in Spain to get a pension?

If you work for a minimum of 15 years to meet the state pension requirement, you will get at least 50% of the maximum pay out. This rises in percentage for each extra year worked, reaching 100% for those who worked for 36 years (increasing to 37 years by 2027). Spain has a minimum and maximum state pension payment amount.

The minimum state pension payment is currently around 650€, and the maximum pension is around 2600€. This works out at an average of 1200€ for men and 750€ for women.

Private pensions in Spain

A private pension, or an individual pension plan, is a plan to save money for your retirement. Contributions up to €1,500 per year are tax-deductible. Amounts above that are taxed. Contributions to individual pension plans can't exceed 30% of your net income annually.

The terms of private pension plans vary, but in many cases, you can withdraw the money before you reach the official retirement age, earn compound interest, and put aside money tax-free.

Contact Us

We hope our list of FAQs has been of interest and help to you if you are considering moving to Spain. We are always happy to provide detailed advice on any topic, from buying a property to education in Spain, money transfers, and everything in between. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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