Living in Spain as an Expat: A Guide to Navigating Culture, Language, and Daily Life

Published on 27 November 2023

If you are an expat living in Spain, you are in for a treat. Spain is a beautiful country with a rich history, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant culture. However, moving to a new country can be daunting, especially when it comes to navigating cultural norms, language barriers, and the logistics of everyday life. In this guide, we’ll provide tips and insights for expats living in Spain to make the transition smoother and more enjoyable.

Culture Shock

Culture shock is a common experience for expats, and Spain is no exception. As a foreigner, you may find that social norms, customs, and behavior patterns are different from what you are used to. However, embracing these differences can make your experience all the more meaningful. Here are a few ways to ease your transition:

Learn Spanish: While many Spaniards speak English, learning Spanish is a must. Not only will it make daily life easier, but it will also help you integrate into the local community.

Embrace the local gastronomy: Spain is renowned for its culinary traditions, and eating out is a great way to soak up the culture. Try local dishes like paella, fabada, cachopo, gazpacho, tortilla de patatas, and churros con chocolate.

Enjoy the Spanish pace of life: Spanish culture values leisure time and socializing. Don't rush through meals or worry about being productive all the time. Instead, take time to enjoy the small things, like a sunset over the sea or a chat with a neighbour.

Navigating Everyday Life

Living in Spain has many perks, but expats may find themselves grappling with bureaucracy, banking, and other logistical challenges. Here are some tips to help you navigate daily life:

Get your paperwork in order: The Spanish bureaucracy can be intimidating, but it's important to get your paperwork in order. Make sure you have the necessary visas, permits, and documentation for your stay.

Open a bank account: Having a Spanish bank account will make everyday transactions, like paying bills, much simpler. Some banks may require a Spanish ID, known as a NIE, so make sure to have your paperwork in order.

Consider taking out insurance to protect yourself and your belongings: In Spain, certain types of insurance are required by law, such as car insurance or home insurance if you have a mortgage.  

At Liberty Seguros we offer tailor-made insurance policies with great benefits and affordable prices. A wide range of products - specially designed for you - to cover all your insurance needs in Spain.

It could be useful to speak with one of our over 200 expat brokers and agents who are qualified to offer guidance tailored to your unique circumstances. They can provide friendly and expert advice in various languages on the most suitable insurance coverage and options to meet your needs.
Find your closest broker or agent here or request a quote.

Making Connections

Building a community is key to thriving in a new country, and Spain offers many opportunities for socializing. Here are a few tips for making connections:

Join a group: There are many expat groups active in Spain. Check online forums and social media or ask around your local community.

Take classes: Whether it's language classes, dance lessons, or cooking workshops, classes are a great way to meet like-minded people.

Volunteer: Volunteering not only helps you feel more connected, but it's also a way to give back to the local community.

Shop like a local: Spain has a strong culture of small, independent businesses. Visit your local market, or “mercado”, to buy fresh produce and support local vendors.


Living in Spain as an expat can be a challenging, but ultimately rewarding experience. By embracing the local culture, navigating daily life, and building connections, you can create a fulfilling life for yourself in this beautiful country and we’ll be here to support you.  So, why not take the plunge and join the many expats who have made Spain their home away from home?