‘Very different!’ Expats in Spain share one custom that takes getting used to

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Many British expats say they think they have a better quality of life in Spain than they do in the UK. Around 300,000 Britons live in Spain with most settling in the popular areas of Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca.

British people will need to apply for Spanish residency to settle in Spain which needs to be done from the UK.

While resettling in Spain guarantees good weather and excellent Mediterranean cuisine, some customs take a bit of getting used to.

Expats who took the HSBC Expat Explorer survey reported that one Spanish custom was “very different” to home.

One said: “Get ready for a very different schedule for meals, travel as much as you can around the country, and try local dishes – it’s really fun.”

Spanish mealtimes follow a very different schedule to eating patterns in the UK, which has taken some expats by surprise.

While breakfast tends to be eaten between 7-9am, Spaniards prefer a late lunch and don’t sit down to the midday meal until around 2-3.30pm.

British expats who enjoy an early dinner will need to adapt to Spanish customs as dinner doesn’t start until at least 9pm in Spain.

Even children might not eat until 11pm as Spanish people enjoy warmer evenings than the UK and may even take an afternoon siesta due to boiling afternoon temperatures.

Another expat’s top tip for potential British expats was to stay positive despite all the paperwork.

They said: “Be positive, don’t let the bureaucratic systems get you down, don’t try and do everything at once.”

While it’s all worth it to get that dream lifestyle abroad, expats will need to do a lot of paperwork when they first move to Spain.

However there are many solicitors who will be able to help British expats navigate any complicated procedures.

Expats in Spain also had another important piece of advice for any potential British expats looking to move.

One said: “Learn the language! Spanish for Spain generally, but if you are moving to an autonomous region like Catalonia, Basque Country or Galicia, try to learn the local language as well.”

Another expat also recommended that British people should learn Spanish before moving to Spain.

The popular expat areas of Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol will have English speaking services but it’s a good idea to understand some Spanish before settling in the country.

British expats moving to Spain can expect a better quality of life according to many current expats.

Darren Parmenter, a British councillor in San Fulgencio told Express.co.uk that Spain offered a more relaxed lifestyle.

Parmenter said: “There’s certainly a more relaxed lifestyle in Spain than in the UK.

“If you speak to many people here that are now in their 70s and 80s, I think many would say the lifestyle has prolonged their life.”

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