Spain for Digital Nomads & Remote Workers

Spain digital nomad guide

Spain is one of the most popular countries in Europe for digital nomads or anyone looking for a remote lifestyle. While it may not be the most tech-friendly country, it has many advantages for anyone looking to work remotely with a sunny climate, laid back lifestyle, countless vibrant cities and many diverse regions. Read on for our Spain digital nomad guide.

Table of Contents

Spain Digital Nomad Guide

Spain digital nomad
  • Population – 47 million
  • Capital – Madrid
  • Language – Spanish
  • EU – Yes
  • Schengen Area – Yes
  • Currency – Euro

Pros & Cons to being a Digital Nomad in Spain

  • The Climate

In Europe at least, you will struggle to find anywhere that can better the Spanish climate. Aside from northern regions such as Galicia, Asturias and the Basque Country where it is wetter and more unpredictable, sunny Spain does normally live up to its reputation. Summers are long and hot with the beach season extending from late May or early June right through to the end of September or beyond in most regions.

  • Affordability

Spain is one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe. The large metropolises of Barcelona and Madrid are a bit more expensive but still very affordable and with excellent air links are good starting points for anyone looking to work and travel in Europe. In most towns and cities in Spain, more budget minded nomads should be able to live on €1000 per month or less with rooms in shared accommodation relatively easy to find for around €300 per month while depending on the location and time of year, studios or small apartments can often be found for around double that.

  • Festivals & Culture
remote work in Spain
La Tomatina via Łukasz Lech, CC BY-SA 2.0

Spain is a nation that doesn’t need much excuse to throw a party or hold a celebration. Every region has at least one day or week each year when local residents come out to celebrate their local culture or just to partake in traditions that have been passed through the generations for centuries.

Most take place in spring or summer with highlights including Falles in Valencia, La Feria de Abril in Sevilla, Carnaval in Cadiz as well as internationally famous events such as San Fermin (Pamplona) and La Tomatina (Buñol). While you will most likely have to pay more for accommodation in these cities during this period, digital nomads and anyone leading a location independent lifestyle are uniquely well placed to take in many of Spain’s best festivals by planning your time in the country around the respective festival dates.

  • Slow/Unreliable Internet

One frustrating thing about living or travelling in Spain, is the relatively slow internet, at least in public places, cafes and bars. Many advertise themselves as having wifi but often it is simply a public network that is virtually impossible to get on or a very slow network. If you’re planning on staying in Spain for several months, consider getting a sim with a decent data package and using your mobile hotspot when you work out.

Private internet connections in flats are normally much better, although it does vary between regions and different companies. However if you are planning to get your own flat and base yourself in one city, these connections be time-consuming to set up and most companies require a one year commitment.

  • No hablas español?

With the possible exception of Barcelona and some of the more tourist-geared coastal destinations, the level of English isn’t great in Spain and it’ll be a major advantage if you can converse at least basically in Spanish. The level of English is very much inferior to that in neighbouring Portugal for example.

Dealing with any legal matters such as registering as a Spanish resident or seeking medical help can be frustrating with limited Spanish knowledge and the same goes for looking for longer-term accommodation. If you are just planning to rent Airbnb’s, you shouldn’t encounter any difficulties.

Remote Work Spain – Where to Go

For Winter Sun – The Canary Islands

When it comes to winter in Europe, Spain’s Canary Islands are basically your only option for warm weather. Their location, just off the coast of Northern Africa, has long made them a popular destination for holiday-makers looking for some winter sun but they are also the perfect base for anyone leading a location independent lifestyle looking to escape the harsh European winter without leaving the continent altogether.

For faster Internet & an International Atmosphere – Barcelona

Barcelona has a significantly bigger digital nomad scene than Madrid or the other major Spanish cities. Generally speaking, you should have more luck finding a better internet connection when you’re out. While it may be more difficult to get to know locals or make lasting connections than in other places, there are many different meetup events, language exchanges and places for remote workers to meet which makes the Catalan city the best option for anyone looking for a vibrant international atmosphere. There’s plenty to see and do in Catalonia outside of Barcelona too and if you’re looking for somewhere a bit smaller, check out our Tarragona guide.

To Save Money – Andalusia

If you’re only on a limited budget or are in the process of starting to set up as a freelancer working remotely, then Andalusia is a good starting point due to the lower cost of living. Cities such as Sevilla, Granada and Malaga all rank amongst the cheapest places to live in Spain.

As a rough estimate, the cost of living in Andalusia may be around 60-80% of the equivalent figure in more expensive parts of Spain such as Madrid, Barcelona and the Basque Country. For the best value, head to one of the smaller Andalusian towns. The kite surfing paradise of Tarifa has developed into something of a hub for digital nomads in recent years.

Another way to cut costs in Spain is to look for a work exchange with Worldpackers which will offer you free accommodation and food and hopefully still enough time to get some work done. Use our Worldpackers discount code to get going!

Spain Digital Nomad Tips

Getting Around Spain

By Train – Find national train times and prices and book tickets via Renfe. Spain’s high-speed train network (AVE) connects Madrid to cities such as Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, Sevilla, Malaga and Cadiz. It’s very fast and quicker than flying in most cases although it’s not cheap. Most regions also have pretty extensive suburban rail networks and/or metro systems so getting around Spain by rail is a good option. AVE services have free wifi (PlayRenfe) on board.

By Bus – Intercity travel in Spain is almost always cheapest by bus. By far the largest bus operator is Alsa and they offer an online booking system and regular connections on almost all major routes.

By Car – BlaBlaCar is the most popular ride sharing app and can be a good way to meet locals. Having your own vehicle isn’t really a necessity in most towns and cities as the public transport networks are generally quite extensive.

By Plane/Ferry – There are domestic flights connecting cities across the Spanish mainland, although often it’s necessary to transfer in Madrid. While budget airlines do operate some of these routes, it’s usually cheaper to travel by bus or train when you factor in baggage costs. To reach the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza) you can fly or take a ferry (from Barcelona, Valencia or Denia) while the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura) are only realistically reachable by air. Iberia is the national carrier but they don’t offer a significantly better service than low-cost alternatives such as Air Europa, Vueling and Ryanair.

Finding Accommodation

Madrid digital nomads

Airbnb is still most likely going to be your best bet for finding short-term accommodation in Spain. You shouldn’t struggle to find a room or apartment, although you may need to book in advance to secure a good option during the peak of summer or during national holidays (of which there are many). August is particularly difficult as just about all Spanish people seem to travel during this month while many coastal destinations also draw in thousands of tourists from other parts of Europe each week at this time.

For slightly longer stays of between one and twelve months then Spotahome, a company founded in Madrid, is a good alternative. They have a range of options in Madrid (pictured above), Barcelona and Valencia and offer both rooms in shared flats as well as whole apartments. You can’t visit the property but can usually take a video tour. Be sure to check all the relevant fees though as some landlords charge admin fees that are roughly equal to a month’s rent while Spotahome’s own fees can also be quite high.

You may also have some joy using Spanish accommodation sites such as Idealista. Typically landlords will want you to sign a twelve month contract for a flat but you may be able to negotiate a shorter period, and this will be easier if you are only looking for a room. This should be the cheapest way of finding accommodation but it can also be time-consuming and difficult if you don’t speak Spanish.

Coworking Spain & Other Places to Work

Spanish people are increasingly turning to freelance work with jobs hard to come by, especially for young people. This has sparked a trend towards the emergence of more coworking spaces with sites such as CoWorking Spain and CoWorker listing the availability of desks and offices, most of which can be rented on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

In terms of cafes, you find all the usual chains such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee which are amongst the more reliable options for wifi. Rodilla is another large cafe chain in Madrid where you can go and work for multiple hours without any problems but their internet is rarely reliable.

Spain for Digital Nomads & Remote Workers

Mark is a freelance writer currently based in Madrid, Spain. He writes about travel and football and has visited most countries in the EU. He has lived and worked remotely from various cities across Iberia.

One thought on “Spain for Digital Nomads & Remote Workers

  1. the best city in the world for remote working: Gijón, Asturias, Spain, the city of eternal spring!! cheap, with all services af a great city, with one of the most beautiful urban beach in Europe, paradise of surfers, cheap, yes CHEAP!!, food, landscapes, culture, festivities, and yes, of course CHEAP!!, without having to withstand temperatures of 40ºC in the shade in summer!!, from April to middle of October always 19-24ºC, with very mild winters around 9º in the coldest days, before it rained a lot but irreversible climate change it has drastically reduced the rainy days, a clean city at the level of the best Swiss cities, of citizens committed to ecology and nature conservation

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