With nearly 65 million visitors from all over the world every year, Spain is a destination of choice for holidaymakers worldwide. Attracted by its wealth of culture, beautiful sandy beaches and over 300 days of sunshine its no wonder so many choose to visit this unique country. Spain can also be a perfect destination to visit for any Digital Nomad, here’s why;
- Communications Network- Spain now has an extensive and reliable ADSL broadband network offering 20Mb across most of the country with Fibre connections available in major towns and Cities. 3g/4G LTE networks are available across the country with the largest and most reliable provider, Vodafone. Spain doesn’t offer high internet speeds compared to many other countries in western Europe, although its still fast enough for most telecommuters.
- Public Transport – Public transport is generally very good in Spanish cities, most of which have efficient bus and rail systems. If you plan to remain within the principal Spanish cities, public transportation will likely prove far more convenient and pleasant than driving. The Spanish rail network is operated by a state owned company called Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles (RENFE). They operate a wide range of services and fares. Their fastest trains, the AVE, are among Europe’s best with their slowest travelling about the same speed as a bus. The RENFE provides a service to all major cities, although it doesn’t run to many small towns, and is supplemented by networks such as the FFCC city lines in Barcelona and private railways. There are also a huge variety of local, short-distance trains called tranvía (also a tram). Suburban commuter trains (cercanías) are second class only and stop at all stations. The local bus services in Spanish cities run from around 0600 until between 22:00 and midnight, when a more expensive night system comes into operation. Most buses don’t have a lot of seats, opting instead for maximum standing room. Urban buses are quite slow although some major cities provide dedicated bus lanes. Most towns have a bus terminal. Keep in mind that when waiting at a bus stop, the bus may not always stop for you unless you indicate you wish it to. You should only use taxis that display a special licence. They are of a very high standard as they are governed by strict legislation. They display a green light when they are free (libre). They can be flagged down or found at a taxi rank and are metered but have a set price for certain journeys. Tipping is a customary 5-10%. There are metro lines in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. They offer the fastest way to get around these cities and are unsurprisingly crowded during rush hours. Special tickets are available including a cheap day return, a metrocard allowing three / five days unlimited use, and weekly and monthly passes. A map (plano del metro) showing the lines in different colours can be obtained from the ticket offices or from the area guides on this site.
- Climate – There are three different climate zones in Spain, due to its large size. Visitors can generally expect a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The vast central plateau, or Meseta, has a more continental influenced climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters. Rain generally falls mostly in spring and autumn. The mountains surrounding the plateau have a higher rainfall and often experience heavy snowfalls in winter. North of the Cantabrian mountains, the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia have a maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters. The weather is often cloudy with frequent rainfall. On the Mediterranean coast, the climate is moderate with rain in spring and autumn. The area around Murcia has an almost African climate; rainfall is low and the Calima, or heat haze, is common during summer. On the Atlantic coast, the summers are cooler and fairly heavy rainfall occurs during winter. Inland, the summers are hot and the rainfall decreases. The Balearic Islands have a maritime climate, with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers.
- Cuisine – Spanish food is incredibly varied, the first recipes were written in the fourteenth century and the cuisine was in turns enriched by the Moors, Arabs, Sephardic Jews, French and Italians, as well as the voyages of discovery to the New World, which resulted in a huge range of new ingredients. These things, combined with the differences across the country in terms of geography, culture and climate, have led to a diverse cuisine that is hard to generalize about too much. There are literally thousands of recipes and flavours to experience. Besides such well-known dishes as tortilla de patatas (potato omelette), paella and the legendary Jamon and Serrano (cured hams), various stews, sausages, cheeses, beans and breads all form a key part of the Spanish diet. Spanish desserts and cakes include flans, custards, rice puddings, and the dangerously delicious churros (fried doughnuts dipped in hot chocolate sauce). Eating is more than simply looking after hunger pangs for the Spanish – food is savoured and enjoyed communally and many traditions have evolved over the years including the famous tapas – the series of small snacks eaten with a drink as the prelude to a meal.
- Currency – The euro was introduced as money in Spain in 2002. The majority of the European Union members adopted this new currency to make travelling between countries easier, since the currency for Spain is the same in most EU countries. The euro is the official currency of 16 (of 27) member states in the EU: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Estonia (due to join in 2011). The euro consists of 7 bank notes with values of: 500€, 200€, 100€, 50€, 20€, 10€ and 5€, and 8 coins with values of: 2€, 1€, 0.50€, 0.20€, 0.10€, 0.05€, 0.02€ and 0.01€. On the denomination side of the Spanish currency, the image is the same for all European countries, but the image on the face side of the coins vary according to which country the coin came from.
- Language – The official language is Spanish, also called Castilian and is the first language of over 72% of the population. Galician is spoken in the region of Galicia and Basque by increasing numbers of the population of Euskadi, the Spanish Basque Country. Catalan is spoken in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, and the closely-related Valencian in the Valencia region. All these languages have official regional status. Other minority languages including Aragonese and Asturian are not officially recognised. English is commonly spoken in Tourist locations all over Spain.
- Cost of Living – The costs of living in Spain are not the same for everyone. It really depends on where you live and the lifestyle that you want to lead. Living in Spain can be very affordable, or it can be very expensive, and you are the determining factor to which you will receive. It is safe to say that you should look outside of Madrid and Barcelona if you want the most affordable of living options in Spain. These two cities rank among the top 50 most expensive places to live in the world. The three cheapest places to live in Spain are Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela and Granada. There is plenty of choices in entertainment available throughout the country, and most of that entertainment is affordable. There is certainly entertainment options to suit the needs and the tastes of all, with many museums, bars and pubs, zoos, markets, shopping centres, art galleries and more scattered about. Most of these things are affordable for the budget. Additionally Spain is loaded with tons of free things that you can do to entertain your time. These things are certainly worth looking into, as they are also varied in nature and include something that every taste can appreciate. Spain is filled with shopping malls, outlets, department stores, and more, with numerous brand names and all of the latest fashions from around the world ready for you to obtain, but at a price higher than most in Europe. Barcelona is certainly the place to go when you want to shop for clothing. The cost of electronics is a bit more expensive than in other parts of Europe, although you can shop around and get a good deal. Many great restaurants are available for dining out, with the average meal costing between 6 and 20 Euros per person. If you plan to prepare your own meals (or, make your own sandwiches) the costs of buying foods at the supermarket is quite affordable as well. Spain is filled with many markets, and staying away from Hipercor will ensure that you get the best prices on all of your goods. Typical prices for some of the most commonly purchased food items can be found below.1 Liter Milk -1 Euro
Fresh Chicken – 4 Euros per kilogram
1 Kilo Potatoes -70c
Frozen Pizza -3.50 Euros
Cheddar Cheese -6 Euros for 250grams of cheese
The average individual will spend an average of 450 Euros per month on food while in Spain.If you use the public transportation system you can get around quite affordably. A busis available, as is a taxi cab. Expect to spend about 6 Euros to utilize public transportation, per trip. Rental cars are also available. Healthcare in Spain is among the best that you will find. You can always expect to find amazing hospitals and highly qualified doctors with state of the art equipment and using the latest technologies. The healthcare in Spain is sponsored by the government, making the costs of healthcare affordable for anyone. The average doctor visit will cost 50 Euros if you are without insurance. If you choose to rent your own apartment or flat, you can expect to spend an additional 300 Euros for utilities which include electric, gas, telephone and internet.
- Visas – Under the Freedom of Movement Act, if you’re a national from one of the countries in the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) – that is, all the countries of the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – or Switzerland, you don’t need a visa or other permit to visit, live, work or study in Spain. The one exception is that citizens from the ‘new’ EU nation of Croatia will need work permits probably up until June 30, 2020. EU/EEA and Swiss citizens do need to register with the authorities and get a national identity number. Everyone else will need a visa, and if you want to work, in most cases, a work permit. A short-stay Schengen visa (visado de corta duracion) allows you to stay in Spain – but not work – for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. If you have a Schengen visa issued by another Schengen state you can also come and stay in Spain for 90 days. Nationals from the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand don’t need a short-stay visa to enter Spain but will need to apply for a long-term residence visa to stay longer than three months. You can renew your short-term visa at your local Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or Police station as long as you will be staying in Spain for a total of less than 90 days. You can’t come to Spain on a short-stay visa as a visitor and change your status to employee, student or resident from within Spain – you have to return to your home country and apply for a new visa from there. The following countries require a visa to visit; Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central Africa Republic Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana,Haiti, Hong Kong (when it is not SAR), India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives,, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen,Zambia and Zimbabwe
Hope to see you enjoying some Tapas at a local bar soon!