What to expect when moving to Spain

Hello everyone,

Is there anything you wish you had known before moving to Spain? For example, transportation, internet speeds, types of housing, aspects of the culture or social life.

In your opinion, what's the most important thing to know about Spain?

When would you recommend someone should begin planning their move to Spain?

What were the most helpful ways you found to get organised? For example, did you use a checklist, were there any particularly useful websites or apps?

What advice would you give to future expats preparing to move to Spain?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


It is important to know it is very Sunny here in Spain so recommend drinking loads of cold beer !

The most important thing is not to imagine that Spain is just like the UK only with more sun. Its a vastly different culture which can vary widely depending on which part of Spain you choose to live.

The second most important thing is not to be tempted to take the easy way and immerse yourself in an exclusive ex-pat social group.  If you intend to make a new life here you must integrate; make an effort to learn the language and develop friendships with the locals.  Of course the ex-pat community can help and encourage you but it is too easy to simply become 'Spanglish' with cricket clubs and other English speaking groups.

If you have children, send them to a state school.  It may be tough for them at first but they will learn Spanish very quickly and soon be translating for you.

Finally, be patient and don't moan.  Integrating takes a lot of time.  Don't allow bureaucracy to frustrate you and get used to the shops shutting in the afternoon.

I wish I had taken more time to arrange my finances first. The taxation system here is blunt and enforced. Our house in the UK is still not sold yet so it is still my primary residence even though I have residencia here in Spain. When it sells, we will buy the house here in Spain. However, the difference in equity will be taxed at 19% which will be harsh. With advance knowledge, I could have arranged my finances better.

Tha's interesting. I doubt I could get a mortgage due to my age as well as having no employment. If I were to have a mortgage though, would that just leave with a higher equity which could then be taxed?

It was suggested to me to try and buy a larger house to use up more of the equity.

But then, that would not be my primary residence and the apartment by the beach would be an investment property and therefore, as an asset which would be taxed at 20%, would it not?

I wish I had known that finding modern, well built houses to rent really long term, that have both proper heating and a/c (or even fans) is incredibly hard. It seems you can get cheap with mostly just a fireplace or expensive (over E2000), there is practically nothing in the middle that isn't a holiday rental.   That's looking within 30 minutes of the coast.  It looks like apartments are better set up but that's not for us. 

We have been surprised at the cost of utilities and the restrictions on solar power. Hopefully the government will change the latter.  The house we are in temporarily cost us E54 every 5 days in bottled gas for heating in winter, with most rooms closed down, shutters used to keep heat in and only the 2 of us living here. 

There is also a huge problem with damp in Spanish houses.  The humidity has really caught us out in general.

What are the taxes that you pay? Income, vat, to purchase a home? To rent?


As this is an oldish thread may I suggest you start new threads for each of the questions you need answers to ?  That way you should get specific answers

For the last 2 years we have paid E1500 - E1600 a month (all year) for 4 bedroom rentals with pool, 30 minutes drive from the beaches.  Electricity and gas cost us around E400 a month for a house that is only partially heated. This is NOT a luxury, huge house and it has assorted issues.  But it is slightly better built and designed than most. You can get far cheaper if you are happy with a smaller property with just a fireplace or pellet burner, especially further from the sea.  By the sea you can add at least E500 to the rental for the same standard.

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