Many British expats say they think they have a better quality of life in Spain than in the UK. Around 300,000 Britons live in Spain, most of them settling in the working-class areas of the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca.
Brits will need to apply for Spanish residency to settle in Spain, which must be done from the UK.
While relocating to Spain guarantees good weather and excellent Mediterranean cuisine, some customs take a little getting used to.
Expats who responded to the HSBC Expat Explorer survey reported that a Spanish custom was “very different” from home.
One said, “Be prepared for a very different meal schedule, travel around the country as much as possible, and try local dishes – it’s really fun. “
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Spanish meals follow a very different schedule from eating habits in the UK, which has surprised some expats.
While breakfast tends to be eaten between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., Spaniards prefer a late lunch and don’t sit down for the midday meal until around 2:30 p.m.
British expats who enjoy an early dinner will have to adapt to Spanish customs as dinner does not start until at least 9pm in Spain.
Even children may not eat until 11 p.m., as Spaniards enjoy warmer evenings than in the UK and may even take an afternoon nap due to the boiling afternoon temperatures.
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Another expat’s best advice for potential UK expats was to stay positive despite all the paperwork.
They said, “Be positive, don’t let bureaucratic systems get you down, don’t try to do everything at the same time. “
While it is worth it to have that dream lifestyle abroad, expats will have to do a lot of paperwork when they first move to Spain.
However, there are plenty of lawyers who will be able to help UK expats navigate all of the complicated proceedings.
Expats in Spain also had another important tip for all potential British expats looking to relocate.
One of them said, “Learn the language! Spanish for Spain in general, but if you are moving to an autonomous region like Catalonia, the Basque Country or Galicia, try to learn the local language as well.
Another expat also recommended that Brits learn Spanish before moving to Spain.
The popular expat areas of the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol will have services in English, but it’s a good idea to understand a bit of Spanish before moving to the country.