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Discover Spain

Prepare for expat living with our handy guides to life, work and managing your money in Spain.

Want to move to Spain?

The allure of Spain for expats goes beyond the weather - they report feeling better both mentally and physically after moving there. More than 80 million holidaymakers visit Spain each year and the tourism industry has a lot to offer expats when it comes to career prospects. A good life awaits you in Spain, but don’t expect it to be one long holiday. You may need patience and perseverance to get settled.

It can take time to embrace the slow pace of life in Spain. You’ll need some knowledge of Spanish to get by, particularly when dealing with the bureaucracy and practicalities of daily living, such as managing your money. The rewards are worth the effort: the country’s warm climate means you can enjoy its beaches and beautiful countryside all year round. There’s also the mouth-watering Mediterranean cuisine, lively flamenco music and striking Iberian architecture and art.

Spain might not score as highly for career progression and salaries as it does for its relaxed pace of life and scorching summers, but it makes expats happier and healthier.

Working in Spain

Spain has a significant global economy that’s recovering steadily from high unemployment rates. With a challenging job market, expats often turn to establishing their own ventures. The nation leads in tourism, automotive industries, and renewable energy.

Spanish business culture shares similarities with Europe but has unique aspects. Personal relationships, family and leisure are often prioritised over work. 

Historically, men have dominated Spanish businesses, with women often advancing in family firms. However, a growing trend sees more women in senior roles. 

Business communication primarily happens in Spanish. Usual business hours are from 09:00 to evening, Monday to Friday, with a 2-hour afternoon lunch break. Initial meetings typically start with handshakes and small talk before transitioning to business matters. Gifts, while not mandatory, are occasionally exchanged on special occasions.

Expat salaries in Spain are generally lower compared to other European countries and the US.

Explore life in Spain

What's on your moving abroad checklist? We break down the essentials including salaries, education and accommodation in Spain to help you prepare.

Should you get an offshore bank account?

An offshore account can be useful for expats looking to keep some money in a central location, rather than one specific country or region. 

Our Expat Bank Account is an offshore account that comes with a range of benefits, including:

  • A Global Money Account - Make quick and easy payments across borders.
  • Relationship manager - Someone to help you and your family manage your money.
  • Online and on mobile - Manage your banking, FX and investments wherever, whenever.

You can set your account up in USD, EUR or GBP and you can hold it alongside accounts in the country you're leaving or the one you're moving to.

Top tips

Here's what expats have told us about living in Spain.

Be prepared to slow down. Get ready for a more relaxed pace of life. If it doesn’t get done today, it'll get done tomorrow, or maybe the day after! Stressing about it will not get it done any faster.

You might be interested in

Discover how offshore bank accounts can help you manage your international finances.
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Read our 10-step guide to moving abroad to make sure you've got everything covered.

Additional information

    All Expat Explorer survey data, including the tips in quotation marks, is provided by HSBC.

    All other content is provided by, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in July 2023. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

    This information is purely for orientation and to inspire further research, it does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.

    Always remember to ensure you're aware of and comply with any laws in your host country or country of origin that apply to gift giving and bribery.

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