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Almost six per cent of the total population living in Spain are expats, consisting of immigrants from North Africa and South America as well as British expats. Spain is also a very popular retirement destination due to its warm climate, low house prices and high standard of living.

Life in Spain is balanced and relaxed. Locals tend to be friendly and open and the country is extremely family-friendly with children playing an integral role in all social occasions. So if you’re thinking of immigrating to Spain’s balmy climate, here are the top things you should quickly embrace, and in no time at all, you’ll be a local.

Top tips for expats in Spain

Eat and drink with the locals

Yes, Spain does have a large expat community, but don’t head for the closest Irish pub when you go out. Instead head out to the spot where the locals gather and practice your Spanish – it will be far more beneficial in the long run.

Stop watching the clock

The laid-back Spanish lifestyle comes at the expense of clock-watching. A habit, which is ingrained into many South Africans and the punctual British. Don’t be surprised if your appointments never run to time, just toss your watch into the ocean and go with the flow.

Embrace the family

In Spain, ‘family’ is everything and if you’re married to a Spanish national, this can take a little while to get used to. Don’t be surprised if distant cousins, aunts and family members, who have left home years ago, regularly pop in to enjoy a meal under one roof.

Try a little wine

Spain is the third largest producer of wine in the world. Wine is a regular accompaniment to most meals in Spain. Usually organic without any unpleasant additives, it is very palatable and helps with the digestion (so the locals say). So put your feet up and try a little wine or sangria and you’ll soon be ready for your daily siesta.

Never miss a siesta

The Spanish are very serious about their afternoon nap, known as the siesta. You won’t find any shop open in your local Spanish town between 14:00 and 17:00. Instead, everyone is lying down and digesting their lunch, avoiding the heat of the day. Be prepared for everything to start buzzing again when it gets cooler.

Take the month of August off

In the high summer heat of August, don’t expect many business or professionals to be available to service your needs. Your doctor and your plumber will all be off enjoying themselves on a local beach. August in Spain can be seen as the equivalent of December in South Africa. Spain has almost 3000-catalogued beaches, the most in all of Europe – and even today many are pristine and untouched. So take the month of August yourself and join the beach crowds.

Eat the paella

Spanish cuisine is one of the most diverse in the world with each region offering something unique to eat. Fortunately, the Spanish favour tapas – so you can try a little bit of everything and find your favourite foods. If you’re looking for the original home of paella, head to Valencia, but you can also find this famous rice-based dish in virtually all restaurants around Spain.

If the laid-back Spanish lifestyle appeals to you and you’re planning on heading to its beautiful shores, leave your details we’ll help you with your financial relocation, putting you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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