How to Become A Digital Nomad in Spain: All You Need To Know
Ever wondered how to become a digital nomad in Spain?
Fun Fact– One fine day I made an on-the-spot decision to move from rainy Ireland to Spain and was on a plane the next day.
I didnt know a single soul there or a word of Spanish, but it became my home for a glorious sunny 2 years.
In this article, I will let you in on everything you need to know about becoming a digital nomad in Spain, the best visas, where to live and work.
I will answer burning questions such as ‘why do nomads choose Spain?’, ‘what’s the best food in Spain?’, details on the best nomad’s retreat in Spain and more.
On top of that, all the best hangout spots and coworking spaces with great value for money (and your time!)
This article will cover the following topics to help you be a digital nomad in Spain:
- Why Spain?
- Cost of Living
- Spanish Weather
- Visas for Digital Nomads in Spain
- Popular Cities for Nomads
- Cool Co-working Spaces
- Best Places to Stay
- Must-Try Food in Spain
- Getting Around
- Local Tips
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Why Become A Digital Nomad in Spain?
Three main reasons why being a digital nomad in Spain is a wickedly great idea:
Spain’s enviable sunny weather is perfect for those of us who dream to escape our monotonous day-to-day. A mostly sunny year means more opportunities to explore every corner (and cafes) in Spain!
Spain boasts a wide range of affordable, delicious food. From sweet desserts to savoury delights, rest assured you will never go hungry.
Patatas bravas, paellas and pan con tomate are some of the many mouth-watering dishes you will get to savour as a digital nomad in Spain.
Culture and Life in Spain
Speaking of food, it is a huge part of Spanish culture. Famed for long and late dinner time, the Spaniards take their mealtimes very seriously.
Besides, what better place to chill at than by the beach?? Being a digital nomad in Spain means lunch breaks by the beach or (if you have good WiFi) working whilst getting that golden tan!
Cost of Living in Spain
Generally, living as a digital nomad in Spain is affordable and cheaper than other major European cities like Berlin and London. If you choose to live in a shared flat or live outside the city centre, it’s even cheaper!
Here are the breakdowns of some of the expenditures:
Rent and Utilities
In metropolitan cities such as Barcelona and Madrid, expect to spend at least €900 ($1094) if you’re planning to rent a studio in the city centre.
On the other hand, renting individual rooms will cut the cost in half.
Renting in smaller cities such as Malaga and Seville, a studio apartment in the city (like this one) would set you back at least €650 ($784). A compromise on location means you get to spend on a monthly transportation pass, which costs €35 ($42).
Affordable rent and a chance to explore the city? Sign me up!
Utilities will add another €120-€150 ($145–$182) on top of rent and will cost a lot less if you rent a shared apartment.
Eating outside is just as affordable as cooking at home, so you can skimp on cooking now and then.
However, as a digital nomad in Spain, it’s far from unusual to crave home-cooked food. There are various supermarket options (such as Lidl or Carrefour) if you want to put aside a few hundred for extra entertainment for the month.
For example, a weekly grocery shop at the local corner shop will cost between €20-€50 ($24–$60) whereas an upper-end supermarket will set you back an extra €15-€30 ($18–$36).
If you want to have a go at cooking Spanish food, check out this post by Spanish Sabores on essential Spanish recipes.
If you’re a beach bum, rejoice!!
Spain is home to numerous lush islands and stunning beaches. As a digital nomad in Spain, you’ll enjoy all-year-round sunny weather, which means more wandering around cities and spending lunch breaks by the beach.
While you may find the beaches crowded during the peak summer season from May to September, who’s to say you can’t still soak in the sunshine?
Here are top picks of some of the best beaches in Spain:
- Playa Cabopino, Marbella
- Playa de Bogatell, Barcelona
- Platja d’Alcudia, Mallorca
Digital Nomad Visas In Spain
So, what type of visa do you need to be a digital nomad in Spain?
Well, it mainly depends on your nationality and travel purposes. Other than that, each of these visas comes with its own set of requirements.
Here is a list of options for Spain’s digital nomad visas:
- Schengen Visa
- Non-Lucrative Visa
- Self-Employment Visa
- Working Holiday Visa
The Schengen Visa allows third-country nationalities (non-EU nationals) to stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in 180 days.
In this case, you can stay as a digital nomad in Spain for up to 90 days in 6 months.
According to Forbes, the shift towards remote working has changed the way millions of employees work — most of them beyond the comfort of their own homes.
The Non-Lucrative Visa is a popular choice among those interested to be digital nomads in Spain.
If you’re a non-EU citizen and an employee of any foreign company, you’re eligible to apply for this visa!
Once your visa is approved, you’re good to live and work remotely from Spain for up to one year.
Planning to start a business in Spain?
Go for Spain’s self-employment visa. This visa requires you to present your business plan (how it will benefit Spain and if it will provide employment opportunities).
The visa fees vary depending on where you’re applying from and your nationality.
Working Holiday Visa
This 2-in-1 visa allows you to work and go on a holiday around Spain!
Under the Youth Mobility Programme, you get to experience Spain for a whole year. You can fund your holiday through seasonal employment. Whether it’s bartending, teaching a language or modelling,
Here is the list of participating countries:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
Other requirements: Must be 18-30 years old and have a seasonal job offer before applying.
For Canadians, the age requirement is 18-35 years old.
The visa will cost you between €80 to €167 ($97 to $203), depending on your nationality. Check out this website for more information and to apply.
For further information and consultation, get in touch with the local Spanish Consulate/Embassy in your country before applying for any of these visas.
Top Destinations For Digital Nomads In Spain
There are 17 regions (or autonomous communities) all together in Spain, all of which are enticing and have unique personalities to be experienced for tourists and nomads alike.
Let’s look at some of the best places to be a digital nomad in Spain:
Known as the host of the largest carnival in Spain (Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife), Tenerife is one of the capitals of the southernmost Canary Islands.
This island is perfect for digital nomads who are also nature lovers.
Gorgeous beaches and mountainous terrains are the main attractions, particularly Mt. Teide. Here, you can either challenge yourself and hike up (which will take about 5 hours) or enjoy the view and ride on the cable car instead!
Surf’s up over in Tenerife, being one of the best surfing spots in Spain. The best time to catch the waves is during the winter months.
Here are the best places to go surfing in Tenerife:
- La Tejita
- La Fitenia
- La Izquierda
- El Arenal
Statista records a whopping 9.5 million tourists visiting Barcelona in 2019. The neverending stream of tourists is mainly attributed to Antoni Gaudi, a famous Spanish architect whose greatest works are scattered around Barcelona.
Some of Gaudi’s notable architectural wonders include:
If you’re a fan of culture and architecture, you can consider being a digital nomad in Barcelona. It’s the perfect city for a weekend escape if you plan to set up a base elsewhere as a digital nomad in Spain.
The capital of Spain isn’t without its charms and appeal. Home to the calamari sandwich (yes, you read that right!) and major football clubs (Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid), you will find that Madrid will impress you at every turn.
Notable structures to check out:
Although nomads prefer to live in big cities as it’s more convenient, Spain’s 5000-mile of coastline is just as inviting.
Mallorca (or Majorca) is one of the islands with such divine coastlines, which means your daily activities include sun tanning and chilling by the beach.
It’s also perfect for nature lovers, as Mallorca has numerous hiking trails thanks to its mountainous terrains.
Here are some of the best hiking routes for you explorers out there:
- Puig Caragoli, Valldemossa
- Barranc de Biniaraix, Sóller
- Puig d’Alaró, Alaró
- Cabrera National Park, Cabrera Island
- Puig de Sant Martí, Alcúdia
However, if you’d rather take a breather than catching your breath on your days off, put your feet up and experience one of these delightful tours around some of Spain’s best wineries:
As the largest city on the Costa del Sol, Málaga is filled with culture. Your weekends will be spent exploring timeless architecture and soaking in inspiration at the museums.
Fun fact: Málaga is the birthplace of the famous painter, Picasso, so if you’re a fan, you’re in for a treat!
Check out these local gems as well when you’re in town:
Málaga is perfect for those who want the best of both worlds — despite being a city, it’s surrounded by divine mountain and nature reserves. Explore the Montes de Málaga Natural Park during the day and treat yourself to fresh seafood for dinner.
Cool Co-Working Places For Digital Nomads In Spain
Apart from unique cafes and coffee shops, plenty of co-working spaces have popped up all over the country to accommodate digital nomads in Spain.
Check out some of the best co-working spaces in Spain below:
Co-working in Tenerife
Co-working in Barcelona
Co-working in Madrid
Co-working in Málaga
Best Places To Stay for Digital Nomads in Spain
As the digital nomad way of living takes off, there is an increased demand for digital nomad housing.
This has led to the existence of coliving spaces, which is when fellow nomads live in a coliving space, where they will get together, exchange ideas and network.
Here are some ideas for when you’re looking for the best places to live in Spain:
A rural co-living space surrounded by mountains and greenery near the Portugal border. From €490/month ($595), you will get all the experience of living in the countryside, including food responsibly sourced from nearby shops and farms.
As for WiFi, Sende offers a high-speed internet connection, so you are rest assured that it will be business as usual, as well as a tranquil working space.
Located in a mansion built in 1852, this co-living space in Tenerife offers breathtaking views of the nearby volcano, Mount Teide and the azure ocean.
Rooms (shared, single and double) are available from €40/night ($48), which comes with daily fresh breakfast, high speed WiFi and an amazing community who help to run Nine.
In Alicante, Sun and Co. is established to encourage networking within their community of nomads. Being strategically located, expect morning runs by the seaside and a friendly, supportive environment throughout your stay.
Their workspace is fully equipped with high-speed WiFi and ample space, so you can work with ease.
Pricing starts from €22/night ($26) for a shared room and €40/night ($48) if you prefer to have your own room.
Best Places to Live in Spain for English Nomads
According to Statista, 18.01 million British nationals visited Spain in 2019 alone. This sunny country in Europe has been a long time favourite destination for visitors of all ages.
It’s a no-brainer since it has one of the lowest living costs in Europe.
Here are some of the highest-rated cities to live in Spain:
As a digital nomad in Spain, WiFi is essential to make sure work continues uninterrupted, regardless of where you’re working from.
So, here are a few pocket WiFi options to choose from so you can worry less about a poor signal by the beach and slow connections in cafes.
- HIPPOCKET WIFI – Unlimited data plan from €180/month ($218)
- Homespot – 200GB data from €39.90/month ($48)
- WifiAway – 50GB data from €39/month ($47)
Best Food To Try In Spain
One of the ways to become a nomad in Spain is to experience the local cuisine. Here are the lowdowns on some of the best food you should try in Spain:
One of the ways to become a nomad in Spain is to experience the local cuisine. Here are the lowdowns on some of the best food you should try in Spain:
Tapas are small plates of food, normally shared between a group of people. It’s somewhat similar to appetizers, as it’s enjoyed before the main course.
Top choices for tapas in Spain:
- Patatas bravas (Spicy potatoes)
- Tortilla española (Spanish egg omelette)
- Croquetas de jamón (Ham croquettes)
- Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic shrimp)
- Pulpo gallego (Grilled octopus)
Popular Spanish Dishes
- Paella – Rice dish made popular from Valencia, typically served with seafood or meat.
- Gazpacho – Due to the warm Spanish climate, this cold tomato soup is a staple in Spain. It’s also made from scratch with a variety of herbs, which contributes to its rich flavour.
- Bocadillo de Calamares – The calamari sandwich is a classic dish that you can find in Madrid. It’s the perfect comfort food if you ask me!
- Churros – Classic Spanish dessert, crispy fried dough covered in cinnamon and best enjoyed when dipped in a tub of chocolate sauce!
- Leche frita – Mixture of whipped up milk, flour and egg yolks which is frozen before coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried.
How To Get Around Spain
If you are a digital nomad in Spain (or any other countries), figuring out how to get around in foreign countries is your top priority. In Spain, there are two main ways — public transport and car.
In Spain, there are many types of public transport available. From buses, trams to high-speed trains, take a pick at whichever suits your budget.
Renfe – Renfe is Spain’s national railway company, with an online platform to help you book train tickets for intercity travelling between different regions in Spain.
While single-journey tickets might be pricier, there are various passes on offer, including for mid-distance and long-distance journeys. Check out these train passes here.
In Spain, most bus companies are operated regionally. So depending on where you are based, the bus fare may vary between cities. A single-journey ticket on a local bus will cost around €1.40 ($1.70) and up to €2 ($2.45) in bigger cities like Madrid and Barcelona.
If you’re looking to travel between cities but getting trains is not within budget, check out ALSA, a popular local bus provider. You are entitled to discounts if you plan your trips ahead.
In bigger cities such as Barcelona and Madrid, you can purchase monthly passes or multiple-journey cards which would help you save up (especially if you’re planning to make a lot of trips).
In Madrid, Metro Madrid offers a lot of options for their multi-travel tickets, such as monthly and annual season tickets, as well as tourist tickets. Single-journey tickets start from €1.50 ($1.80).
Barcelona – The various choices of travel cards by Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) allows you to travel within different zones in Barcelona from as low as €11.35 ($13.80) on the T-casual card (10 journeys in one zone).
The best part is the card can be used on multiple public transportations, including buses and trams.
On the other hand, if you prefer to take the road less travelled as a digital nomad in Spain, rent a car for a few months. You’ll be able to travel on your terms and see Spain from a different point of view.
Here are some of the websites to browse through for the best deals on car rental in Spain:
If you’re planning a road trip around Spain, check out this comprehensive guide from The Gap Decaders on do’s and don’ts, what to prepare and the best road trip routes in the country.
Tips and Things To Be Aware Of as A Digital Nomad in Spain
Although Spain is generally a safe country, it’s still important to stay vigilant and cautious of your surroundings.
Here are some tips that you can look out for:
- The siesta is an essential part of Spanish culture. Siesta refers to a block of time when locals take a rest for the day, which is usually in the afternoon. During this time of the day, shops are closed so plan your shopping so you don’t miss out!
- A little Spanish goes a long way. Spaniards are proud of their mother tongue. It doesn’t hurt for you to pick up a few words that will surely help you during your time as a digital nomad in Spain.
- Spanish people are very friendly. Say hello to endorphins rush, as Spaniards typically greet their friends with a kiss. So don’t freak out if this happens!
- Free tapas is the norm in some regions. Remember to check with the waiter if you don’t plan on paying extra for the tapas.
- In Spain, life tends to slow down, so the occasional tardiness and spending more than 2 hours for dinner is something you can get used to.
- Get insured. Travelling for a few months (or years for some) is an important reason to get insured. World Nomads offer great deals on travel insurance, tailored for digital nomads who are always on-the-go.
Final Thoughts on Being a Digital Nomad in Spain
All in all, being a digital nomad in Spain comes with the best combination of perks — culture, food and weather.
It’s never a dull day (literally) if you decide to be a digital nomad in Spain, as you will be spending many sunny days staying productive, but also making time for socialising, networking and exploring every corner of this beautiful country.
From beaches to museums, Spain is nothing short of amazing, whether for first-time visitors or returning nomads.