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How To Live As A Digital Nomad In Spain [Infographic]

Spain is a great place to be a digital nomad for many reasons: the weather is temperate year-round, the cost of living is relatively low, the infrastructure is good, and there are plenty of exciting places to explore. In this article, we will give you some tips on how to make the move to Spain as a digital nomad, as well as provide an overview of the best places in the country to set up camp.

What is a digital nomad

A nomad is someone who moves from place to place with no permanent home. Historically, nomads have moved with the seasons to follow crop cycles and keep ahead of the weather; today, however, there's a new category of nomadic living that pertains to the digital era.

Digital nomads are people who work remotely, often using technology to do so. This could be anything from writing and editing to coding and web development. For the most part, digital nomads can conduct their business from anywhere with an internet connection.

The idea of digital nomadism is gaining popularity as more and more people are freeing themselves from the traditional constraints of 9-to-5 work and office life, embracing the 'great resignation' to escape traditional working arrangements. 

With the introduction of platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and other freelancing sites, new options emerge for people who no longer want to be bound to one working location. The possibilities really are limitless – provided, of course, that you have access to a stable internet connection. You'll also need the skills to maintain a remote position.

Infographic: Digital Nomad in Spain

You can download it for future use here.

Digital Nomad in Spain infographic

Why is Spain a good destination for digital nomads

Currently, 3.2 million self-employed people live the autónomo life in Spain – a great indication that digital nomadism is becoming more and more commonplace in the country.

Spain is a great place to be a digital nomad for a few reasons: it's affordable, has great weather, and is home to a thriving startup scene. In addition, the country has an excellent infrastructure for digital nomads, with many coworking spaces and Wi-Fi hotspots.

Affordability

Spain is one of the most affordable countries in Europe. You can get by on a small budget, especially if you're willing to live like a local. Your weekly living expenses will likely amount to around €300, and, considering you will be working remotely, your transport costs will be negligible.

Coworking spaces

There are plenty of options for coworking spaces in Spain. In big cities like Madrid and Barcelona, you'll find a good number of quality coworking spaces that offer exceptional Wi-Fi, comfortable workspaces and often include other amenities like coffee shops, restaurants, and gyms.

Wi-Fi hotspots

Conveniently, there is a well-developed infrastructure for Wi-Fi hotspots in Spain. You'll find hotspots in airports, train stations, public squares, and even on some beaches. This makes it easy to stay connected while you're on the go.

Startup scene

Spain is home to a thriving startup scene. In Barcelona alone, there are over 1,000 startups, and the city has been dubbed "the Silicon Valley of Europe". If you're interested in working with startups or want to get involved in the startup scene, Spain is a great place to be.

The Financial Challenges of Digital Nomads and How to Overcome Them

Do you need a visa to work as a digital nomad in Spain?

"Currently to work in Spain as a NON EUROPEAN CITIZEN, you need a work visa.  Currently, the digital nomad visa is in process by the Spanish Government to be approved and is expected to take place this summer. Other alternatives to be able to work in Spain would be the self-employment visa, entrepreneur visa, or the well-known golden visa, although the latter requires you to invest in real estate  500.000€ (in cash). The latter visa is a favorite for many Silicon Valley workers." Lucia Lagunas Reyes, MySpainVisa.com

Best cities to live in Spain

"Some of the most popular towns for digital nomads in Spain are Valencia, Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Tarifa, Malaga and Javea. My personal favorite is Valencia. Valencia has a large digital nomad community, a great climate, and it's a lot more affordable than living in Barcelona or Madrid.

How much money you need to live in Valencia depends a little on what lifestyle you are looking for. For example, you can rent a room on the outskirts of the city for 300 euros per month. 

Supermarkets are inexpensive, and so are local markets that offer great quality fruit and vegetables. Living minimally like that, you could live in Valencia on about 800 euros a month.

But, most digital nomads in Valencia spend more than that. Renting a comfortable apartment in a more central area will cost upward of 700 Euros per month, plus bills. Eating out is inexpensive, but if you like to meet up with other digital nomads regularly in local cafés and restaurants, I'd budget at least 100 euros a week for that. 

Add some money to travel to other parts of Spain and for local entertainment and I would say 1,500 euros a month is the minimum you need for this type of digital nomad lifestyle.

The cost of living in Tarifa, Malaga, and Javea is similar, although eating out in Javea is more expensive, and in Malaga as well if you go to the more touristy areas in and around the city. Housing in Las Palmas is a bit more expensive, and groceries and eating out can also add up to slightly more than in Valencia." Sanne Wesselman, SpendLifeTraveling.com

Spain's cost of living – how much do you need to earn per month?

In terms of affordability, the cost of living in Spain is one of the main appeals of the country for digital nomads. Rent can be relatively low, and there are a number of great cafés and restaurants that offer affordable prices without compromising on quality. Spain has a lower cost of living than places like London or Berlin.

Let's break down the costs of living to see how much you will need to earn per month as a digital nomad.

Housing: To rent in Spain, expect to pay around €600-€900 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in a city center. If you're looking to live in Barcelona, rent can go up to €1105–1540; however, there are significantly cheaper options in the outer areas.

Transportation: Most Spanish cities do not offer a monthly transport pass. Instead, there is a cost for each trip made and then the option to buy a 10-journey pass.

In Madrid, for example, you pay €2.00 per journey or spend €18.30 on a bonometro, which grants you ten journeys across the Metro network.

Food: Eating out in Spain is relatively affordable, with most restaurants charging around €10-15 for a main course. Groceries will also be relatively cheap, with basics like bread, milk, and eggs costing around €1-2 per item. Expect to spend around €32 per day on food if you combine eating home with dining out.

Entertainment: Going out for drinks or taking in a show will typically cost around €10-15 per person.

As a fair estimate, you'll need to earn at least €1,500 per month to cover your basic costs of living in Spain as a digital nomad. Of course, this number can vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits – you'll need to budget significantly more if you live in the middle of Barcelona, for example, as rent could take up the entire €1,500.

Cost of living in different cities

The cities in Spain can vary significantly in terms of living expenses, so it's important to note the differences and take them into consideration when deciding where to live and work.

Madrid: Up to €1,454

For many digital nomads, price is a key consideration, and Madrid is a great city to live in on a budget. It costs significantly less to live here than in other capital cities. The biggest factor in the cost of living here will be your rent, and you can choose to pay less by renting a one-bedroom apartment or living on the outskirts. 

Barcelona: Avg. €1,817

This city sits on the pricier end, ranking as one of the most expensive cities in the world – but once again, much of the expense will come down to how affordable your rent is. While it is an expensive place to live, Barcelona has also been placed in the top 2% of the best places to live in the world. 

Seville: €1,223

One of Spain's most beautiful cities is Seville, which sits on the River Guadalquivir. It is the largest city in the Andalusia autonomous community. Despite being a key tourist attraction, it costs less to live here than in many other areas in Spain.

Valencia: €1,200

The city of Valencia may not feel as central as Barcelona. Still, it is even less expensive to live here than Madrid (around 15% cheaper), and there are plenty of beaches and other attractions to make your stay worthwhile. Without rent, your living expenses can be covered comfortably with €600-700.

Note that these estimates are rough guides only and do not reflect the added expense of your visa.

Co-living or Alone?

Once you have selected your city of residence, you'll need to think about renting and where you will physically live. As a digital nomad, it's likely you will opt for a rental situation rather than actually purchasing a property.

When looking for a rental, you'll want to find furnished accommodation that has high-speed internet, as this is essential for your work. You can find apartments and rooms to rent on websites like Airbnb, or by searching in the classified advertising section of local newspapers or websites.

Co-living is another option that is growing in popularity with digital nomads. This is a situation where a group of people rent a property together and share amenities such as a kitchen, living room, and laundry facilities. This can be a great option if you want to live in a specific city but don't want to deal with the hassle of finding a furnished apartment.

Cost of renting in Spain

As with living expenses, rental prices vary from city to city. It's important to note these prices if you are trying to stick to a budget, as where you decide to rent can make a significant difference to your overall living expenses.

Madrid: one-bedroom apartment €650-950, co-living €600-800

Barcelona: one-bedroom apartment €700-900, co-living €400-600

Seville: one-bedroom apartment €450-600, co-living €350 onward

Valencia: one-bedroom apartment €500-700, co-living €280 avg.

Coworking spaces

In addition to living arrangements, you will need to figure out where you're going to work. Coworking spaces are a great option for digital nomads, as they provide both a work environment and a community of like-minded people.

There are coworking spaces all over Spain, but the two biggest cities – Madrid and Barcelona – have the most options. In Madrid, popular spaces include WeWork and La Nave. In Barcelona, there's La Vaca, OneCoWork, and many others.

Prices for coworking spaces vary depending on the city and the amenities offered. In general, you can expect to pay around €150-200 per month for a membership.

Internet Speed in Spain

Part of the digital nomadic lifestyle is a heavy reliance on internet connectivity, and Spain's average internet speed of 88.73 Mbps caters for this well. That's not as fast as some other countries – like Singapore (181.47 Mbps) or Hong Kong (145.65) – but it's still plenty fast for all your online needs.

The best way to set up your internet while living in Spain is to rent an apartment with a good internet connection. If that's not possible, you can also look into internet service providers like Movistar and Vodafone. These providers have good deals on internet service, and they also offer great mobile plans that include data.

Taxes for digital nomads in Spain

One of the most frustrating details to organize when living the digital nomad life is tax regulations. When living as a freelancer or self-employed person in Spain, you are subject to Impuesto sobre la Renta de las Personas Físicas (IRPF) (aka, personal income tax). Whilst it has a specific name, it is the same rate as other employed people – 25%. 

However, an exciting development to note in 2022 is that Spain will be decreasing tax rates for digital nomads from 25% to 15% in an effort to attract more remote and overseas workers to the country. You will receive a non-resident tax status and be eligible for the lower rate for a period of five years. 

How do you pay your taxes?

If you are a non-resident working remotely from Spain (meaning you have resided there for less than 183 days), you are not subject to taxing on any income unless it is earned through a Spanish company or from Spanish resources. 

Once you have been in Spain for 183 days, you become a tax resident of Spain and are subject to income tax rates. Everyone needs to pay tax in their first year of being a tax resident; however, you only need to pay tax in the succeeding years if you make more than €8,000. 

To declare income and pay tax, submit the Modelo 100 and file it with Agencia Tributaria between April 6th and June 30th of the year following the tax year. For non-residents that have earned an income through a Spanish source, your form needs to be submitted in the same time frame – but you will instead use the Modelo 150.

If you are feeling confused, that is totally understandable, as tax is a detailed and arduous process in the best of situations. It's always best to consult an advisor before filing your tax.

Conclusion

If you have managed to land a remote job that allows you to travel anywhere freely, that's incredible – so why stop there? Move from the confines of your living room and take a nomadic spree to the lovely cities and provinces of Spain.

Spain is a great place to be a digital nomad for many reasons. Its temperate climate and relaxed atmosphere make it an ideal destination for those who want to take their work on the road. 

Additionally, Spain is home to an array of beautiful cities and towns that are perfect for exploration. From Barcelona's vibrant energy to the stunning mountain villages of Granada, there is much to see and do in this culturally rich country.

With its relaxed lifestyle, delicious food, and stunning scenery, you're sure to fall in love with this amazing country. All you need to do is sort out the finer details, and you are set to begin your adventure as a digital nomad.

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Nick Saraev

A programmer by trade, Nick is a freelance writer and entrepreneur with a penchant for helping people achieve their business goals. He's been featured on Popular Mechanics & Apple News, and has founded several successful companies in e-commerce, marketing, and artificial intelligence. When he's not working on his latest project, you can find him hiking or painting.
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