Published On: January 26th, 2024Categories: Best Of Lists, EuropeTags:

4 Things Americans Love About Living in Spain

4 Things Americans Love About Living in Spain

Spain and the U.S. are different in so many ways. Americans are moving to Spain in ever-increasing numbers and putting down roots. The team at Moving to Spain polled their American clients and friends living in Spain to find out what they loved about life in Spain:

1) The Spanish lifestyle is about enjoying life and connecting to people.

  • This is a culture that has a word, sobremesa, for just hanging out at the table and chatting after you have finished eating. A server will only bring you the check when you ask; they wouldn’t want to interrupt the most important part of the meal.
  • Ask a neighbor how they are in Spain, and it could take 20 minutes to finish the answer. You are a part of a community.
  • Siestas, Sundays, and August are not for working; they are for relaxing and spending time with family and friends.
  • Festivals, cultural events, and public celebrations seem to happen every other day, involving everyone from the very young to the very old.
  • Spain is one of the safest countries in the world with violent crime and gun violence almost non-existent and natural disasters exceptionally rare.

2) The cost of living in Spain gives you more money in your pocket.

Big ticket items in Spain cost substantially less for almost everyone, compared to the U.S.

  • It is not unusual for an annual Spanish health insurance premium to cost the same as a monthly payment in the U.S, and the quality of care is outstanding. Fully comprehensive coverage for a family of four could be as little as €2,500 ($2.700) per year.
  • Rent, groceries, and household help can cost a fraction of the equivalent in the U.S. Eating out is inexpensive enough to be a weekly standard.
  • Public transport is cheap, reliable, safe, and readily available in most Spanish towns and cities. Walking is much more common, too.
  • Tipping is not expected by your barista, barber, taxi driver, delivery person, or barman. In restaurants you can round up for good service; 10% is the maximum we would ever tip in Spain. For lunch, leaving a couple of coins on the table is perfectly acceptable. 

3) Being in the middle of Europe gives you endless options to explore.

Sure, Spain is packed with enough festivals, history, culture, food, wine, beaches, rivers, and mountains to make every journey an adventure. But there is much more to explore on your doorstep. I used Google Flights to find options for travel from Barcelona, here’s just a few of the results, with costs for direct return flights:

  • Budapest €60 ($65)
  • Copenhagen €92 ($100)
  • Dublin €30 ($32)
  • London €44 ($48)
  • Marrakesh €34 ($37)
  • Venice €43 ($47)

These magical cities are all easy weekend destinations. Prices shift by the day and season, but there are always excellent deals to be had flying from Spain. Europe has an amazing high-speed rail network that links Spanish cities and European capitals. Low cost and low emissions holidays are on the agenda. Ski in Val d’Isère, visit the Munich Christmas markets, go shopping in Milan, catch a live gig in Galway, or go hiking in the High Tatras Mountains—you’ll find your perfect trip less than 3 hours away.

4) You can choose how much expat life you want.

Spain has large expat communities; there is familiar company to be had, if you want it. Overall, the diverse, multicultural society is accepting of immigrants who come to Spain, but you aren’t forced to become Spanish.

There are expat meetup groups for Monday night football, Super Bowl and World Series parties at American-style bars. There are social media expat groups who hike, celebrate holidays, or cook together. Our best party of the year is a wild, over-the-top Halloween event that some friends from Philadelphia throw each year. U.S. embassies and consulates also throw 4th of July parties for a taste of home.

American schools, found in most cities in Spain, teach American curriculums to American parents and kids. Most teachers at these schools will be U.S. nationals with U.S. teaching experience.

There are American food shops where you can buy familiar favorites; you are covered if you can’t live without bagels or peanut butter. To keep the kids happy, you can find familiar fast-food outlets if they get sick of the authentic mom-and-pop style home cooking restaurants that make Spain famous.

We know people who still speak no Spanish after almost a decade in Spain. Other Americans dive head-first into local culture and become fully integrated as locals.

Spanish Life Suits So Many

American expats tend to stay in Spain once they move here. The lifestyle you get to live vs the cost of living makes up for all irritations, big and small. U.S. citizens are often pleasantly surprised when they look at immigration options for a move. Spain has excellent visa options for Americans moving to Spain from the U.S, including for families, retirees, and remote workers, which makes it easy to live in Europe. Just watch out for the red tape…

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Co-founder at Expatsi | + posts

Brett Andrews is an expat influencer and co-founder of Expatsi, a company that's helped thousands of expats on their moving abroad journeys. Brett and his partner Jen developed the Expatsi Test to recommend countries to move to, based on factors like budget, visa type, spoken languages, healthcare rankings, and more. In a former life, he worked as a software developer, IT support specialist, and college educator. When he's not working, Brett loves watching comic book movies and reading unusual books.

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bed49dc5d4263d6d37b46cb09574d411?s=150&d=mp&r=g
Co-founder at Expatsi | + posts

Brett Andrews is an expat influencer and co-founder of Expatsi, a company that's helped thousands of expats on their moving abroad journeys. Brett and his partner Jen developed the Expatsi Test to recommend countries to move to, based on factors like budget, visa type, spoken languages, healthcare rankings, and more. In a former life, he worked as a software developer, IT support specialist, and college educator. When he's not working, Brett loves watching comic book movies and reading unusual books.