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Moving to Spain
With its balmy Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches and scenic countryside, delicious cuisines, magnificent architecture steeped in history and an unrivalled classical and modern arts culture, Spain is the perfect relocation destination for Brits looking to escape the humdrum of blustery Blighty. With around 1 million British expats already living in Spain, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re in good company too.
Whether you dream of sipping sangria in your very own secluded villa in Menorca or dining on tapas after a busy day at work in Madrid, there are many reasons to pack up your belongings and relocate to Spain. Now the decision has been made you might be starting to ask yourself a few important questions about the logistics of your move. This guide will give you all the information you need, including details of customs, moving your belongings, importing your car and also the best locations for expats to live.
Removals to Spain
If you want to live the good life, Spain is certainly the place. Who doesn’t want to take a siesta and head to the beach for a meal at dinner time? However, Spain is much more diverse than the portrayed image of retirees, trendy city breaks and party destinations.
Of course, if you are relocating for work, you may have no choice about where you end up in Spain. But if you are relocating under your own steam, try to plan an extended visit to help you find the best location. Make a list of the things that are most important to you and weigh up your options before committing to a particular Spanish city or region.
There’s nothing quite like having your favourite things around you to make a place feel like home. Britannia Movers International specialise in helping families and individuals to move their belongings quickly and safely from the UK to destinations all over Spain. We offer decades of experience in relocation services combined with the local knowledge to tailor your move to your individual requirements. We will ensure a seamless service from A to B and help all movers with obtaining the correct paperwork and visas.
International Removals to Spain
At Britannia International Movers you can expect a highly personalised service. We know moving to Spain can be a nerve-wracking experience and we do not feel like being the voice at the end of a telephone is useful. A Britannia International Movers expert will arrange a time to meet with you and visit your home. This means you can discuss everything you wish and ask as many questions as you like. This meeting will allow us to get to know you, understand the scale of your move and discuss any concerns or special requirements you have.
Furthermore, it will give our removals expert the opportunity to carry out an international moving survey. This is often helpful for our clients as they can then decide what needs to be shipped to Spain, what is going into storage, and what is being sold and recycled.
During this meeting we will ask questions regarding your budget, timeframe and any potential moving dates. Whilst these aren’t set in stone then and there, it is ideal for us to have a rough idea so we can build your bespoke moving package and suss out any additional help you may need. Your representative will draw up your international removal plan based solely on your needs and this will be sent to you for approval.
Additional Removal Services to Spain
Britannia Movers International have been helping to move people for over 40 years, there isn’t anything we haven’t faced before and we really are prepared for anything. Whether it’s bringing the family pet or transporting your vehicle, Britannia Movers have got you covered.
No matter where you are moving to Spain from, we can handle the paperwork and visa’s that you might need. We know that paper work can be a nightmare and stressful, so we aim to minimise that as much as possible for you, by handling it ourselves where possible.
Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you with all the personalised specifics to do with your move.
“I commend your company for helpfulness, storage, delivery etc. Guys were great – nothing broken and delivered on time. I would recommend you to anyone and will definitely use your services again. Many Thanks.”
Emigrating to Spain
The quickest and easiest way to travel from the UK to Spain is by plane. Spain has a number of international airports, the biggest being Madrid Barajas followed by Barcelona El Prat. Airlines that operate between the UK and Spain include British Airways, EasyJet, RyanAir and Iberia, amongst others, and the flight will take approximately 2.5 hours. If you prefer not to fly, travelling by car is an option which will take approximately 3 days with overnight stays and plenty of breaks. Another option is to travel by train utilising the high-speed rail networks of France.
If you have made the decision to move to Spain then there are probably a number of different things you could be thinking about. One of these things, is what belongings do you need to transport?
While nothing is to big or small for us to transport, it might be wise to consider some of our alternative services. Packing, insurance and pet transport are all additional service options that we offer our clients. After all, is it really home without your pet dog or cat? Probably not.
If you are coming from overseas we also offer a number of different transport services such as air freight or shipping containers.
Whatever services you require, we are ready to sit down and chat about even the minor details to help make sure you are completely prepared for your move.
Spanish Visas and Passports
You will need a passport if you are travelling to Spain from the UK. The UK is not part of the Schengen area – 26 European states who have abolished passports and border control at their mutual borders.
If you are arriving in Spain from outside of the Schengen area, then you will need a visa and a passport to enter Spain. Additional paperwork might also be required but, Britannia Movers International are happy to go through the finer details with you.
Living in Spain
Mainland Spain is home to incredible cities such as Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid. However, how can be forget the cornucopia of Spanish islands that include Ibiza, Majorca, Minorca and the Canaries just off of the west coast of North Africa.
Spain, despite the stereotypical images that precede it, is incredibly diverse. Many people who move to Spain welcome the sun and delicious food readily, as well as a more laid back way of life.
Weather in Spain
Spain’s climate varies from region to region. However, the majority of the country, including Barcelona, Seville, Alicante, Granada and Valencia has a Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and cool wet winters. Madrid is within the continental climate zone with hotter summers and colder winters. The average high in Spain in the summer is 31 degrees celsius, and the average low in winter is four degrees celsius.
Jobs in Spain
Some of the best paying jobs for expats in Spain are at executive or management levels. However, these positions tend to be filled by expats relocated to Spain by their employer. Roles in aviation, the government, counselling and marketing are also well-paid highly respected jobs.
Some English speakers living in Spain become language teachers. There are a wide variety of roles available for expats in the tourism, care giving and hotel industries.
Finding a Job in Spain
Finding employment in any country can be difficult and it’s certainly worth asking your current employer, if it’s an international company, for the option to move to the Spanish office. If it’s not international, look for the Spanish equivalent and send them an introductory email. Other alternatives are to choose a company you specifically want to work for and keep an eye on job openings on their website and other places such as LinkedIn. If you are looking for work in the tourism or leisure sector it may well be easier to simply travel to Spain for a day or two before your big move and hand your CV to the manager in various shops, bars, restaurants, hotels and clubs.
Education in Spain
Any child living in Spain between the ages of six and 16 must attend school. For expat children there are five options; free Spanish public schools, bilingual schools, private schools, independent schools, or home schooling. Whatever option is decided upon, after the age of 16 children can either go on to attend upper secondary (the Spanish equivalent to college) and university after that.
For families with children of primary school age or younger a local public school could be a great option. Children are taught solely in Spanish, surrounded by Spanish children, which will help them pick up the language quickly and integrate into society. However, your child will be taught solely in Spanish.
Another option is a bilingual school. These schools allow children to feel in control and gives them a chance to settle in whilst still speaking English and learning Spanish daily and integrating it into their lives. Look for schools offering British-Spanish programmes.
Although public schools have their benefits, attending a new school is daunting for a child, and a school where everybody is speaking a language alien to you can be frightening. However, some public schools across the country offer British-Spanish programmes. Bilingual schools allow children to speak in English, but Spanish is a big part of their day. These schools allow children to feel in control and gives them a chance to settle in.
On the other hand, private schools have smaller class sizes still, higher-quality facilities, and an array of extra-curricular activities to supplement children’s learning. Unless the school is bilingual, the curriculum will be the same as that in semi-private schools, and lessons will be taught in Spanish.
Some parents and children wish to study for the International Baccalaureate (IB). This is an internationally recognised qualification and available to children of all ages. It is also recognised by virtually all universities in the world. It is a popular choice when a child cannot be taught the curriculum of their home country. This type of schooling is only available at international schools and these are notorious for high fees. However, many international schools can offer country specific schools such as British, German and French.
Cost of Living in Spain
Spain is generally cheaper than living in the UK. However, the average monthly salary in Spain is €1,318 per month (£1,172), whereas the average monthly salary in the UK is £2,272. Take a look at the comparisons below:
- Consumer prices in Spain are 17% cheaper than the UK
- Rental prices in Spain are 28% cheaper than the UK
- Eating out in Spain is 26% cheaper than the UK
- Groceries in Spain are 16% cheaper than the UK
Prior to January 2002, Spain’s currency was the peseta. However, Spain became one of the 19 EU members to agree on a universal tender. As of the 1st March 2002, the peseta became defunct in Spain and the euro became the country’s official currency.
Opening a Bank Account in Spain
The most popular banks amongst expats in Spain are HSBC and Barclays. Many expats actually just keep their same accounts. However, there are countless banks throughout the country and virtually all offer online banking services. For those who do not speak Spanish or English, there are some banks with multi-lingual staff who will also translate documents into the most appropriate language for the individual.
Expats living in Spain have the choice of opening a non-resident or resident bank account.
One thing expats should be aware of is Spain’s variety of high charges that can be placed on debit card transaction fees, correspondence fees, and transfer fees. Most banks also charge a small sum of money for opening an account.
Cost of Everyday Items
Check out some of the items you are likely to purchase regularly whilst living in Spain below. Prices are converted from Euros so you can see how prices match up.
|Item||Price in UK||Prince in Spain|
|Milk (1 litre)||£0.89||£0.69|
|A loaf of white bread||£0.98||£0.83|
|Chicken breasts (1kg)||£5.73||£5.08|
|Pair of quality jeans||£56.81||£61.37|
|Ladies chain store dress||£28.55||£24.26|
|Cinema tickets (1)||£10||£7.09|
You may also want to think about car hire and car hire excess insurance before you settle into your new life in Spain.
Healthcare in Spain
Spain’s national Health Service is championed throughout Europe and beyond. Both the public and private sectors are renowned for providing a high standard of care.
As long as you have a social security number, healthcare is free of charge in Spain. Expats will need to register on the municipal register to receive their social security number and card. From here, this can be presented to a doctor in exchange for a medical card to ensure you receive free treatment.
You can also receive free healthcare if you have an EHIC or GHIC card, are a child, pregnant or a pensioner.
Most of the public hospitals in Spain have bi-lingual staff or interpreters. Sometimes the wait for specialists or operations can be a little long in public hospitals, but A&E waiting times are much shorter compared to the likes of the UK.
Some expats in Spain prefer to opt for private services as queues tend to be shorter than the public system and there is a wider access to different treatments and specialists.
For minor illnesses and injuries, many utilise the numerous 24-hour pharmacies dotted throughout Spain. They are recognisable by a green neon cross illuminating the premises. Due to strict price restrictions, medicines are affordable in Spain, and virtually anything can be purchased over the counter.
Renting and Buying in Spain
The cost to rent a 1 bedroom apartment in a city centre is on average €540.00 per month. A 3 bedroom home outside of a city centre can be rented for on average €650.00 per month. If you’re thinking of buying a home it’s worth considering the length of time you are planning to live in the property as Spain is a very bureaucratic country and buying a home can be costly and extremely time consuming. In some cases, renting might be a more financially viable option until you find the home of your dreams.
Life in Spain is much more relaxed compared to other European countries. The country is predominantly Roman Catholic, with around 94% of the population affiliated to the religion. However, due to Spain’s colourful history, Muslims, Jews, Christians and all other religions live harmoniously together in the country.
In Spain, the family is very important and much of the country’s social structure is based upon the nuclear and extended family getting together. Families also tend to support each other financially and socially.
Whilst Spain used to have a macho society where women tended to be homemakers, today, women are attending university and moving into jobs that were once dominated by men. Nowadays, men and women share parenting and household responsibilities and there is a huge emphasis on gender equality throughout Spain.
Languages in Spain
Whilst you may think Spanish is the only language spoken in Spain, you’d be right to think again. Whilst Spanish is the official language, it is actually known as Castilian and is spoken by over 45 million people in the country.
Most other languages are based upon regions. For example. Catalan, Galician, Valencian, Basque and Balearic are all languages of Spain.
Spanish Food and Drink
One dish that you simply must trying if visiting or living in Spain is their national dish, paella. Many claim that paella originated in Valencia where is was made with rice, rabbit, chicken and vegetables. However, today, it tends to contain a mix of calamari, musses, clams, prawns, scampi and varieties of fish.
Other delicious and famous Spanish dishes include gazpacho, patatas bravas, empanadas and albondiga meatballs.
Puddings tend to be dairy based in Spain and flan and Crème Catalana are no exceptions. However, famous puddings of the past few years is the humble churro, which started life in the country. The deep-fried doughnut sticks are enjoyed at any point of the day, dunked in a steaming cup of melted chocolate.
How can we discuss the finest Spanish food and drink without mentioning sangria? Jugs are prepared with a bottle of red wine, two oranges, one lemon, sugar, and a cinnamon stick, before being left to sit for two hours.
Public Holidays in Spain
There are 9 national public holidays per year in Spain, see these below. Each region also has its own set of holidays too.
- New Year’s Day – 1st January
- Epiphany – 6th January
- Good Friday – 30th March
- Labour Day – 1st May
- Assumption of Mary – 15th August
- Spain’s National Day – 12th October
- All Saints’ Day – 1st November
- Spanish Constitution Day – 6th December
- Christmas Day – 25th December
- Emigrating to Spain
- Spanish Visas and Passports
- Living in Spain
- Cost of Living in Spain
- Spanish Culture
- Public Holidays in Spain