Spain for Digital Nomads
Since I was in Spain for the first time in 2009 I did several trips to different regions of the country.
Facts About Spain
Spain, Portugal and the British enclave Gibraltar are part of the Iberian Peninsula. In the north east it is bordered to France and Andorra. Other than the Spanish mainland there are two archipelagos: the Balearic and the Canary Islands. Madrid is a modern capital located in the middle of the country. Spain has a long history: first there were the Celts and the Iberian, then the Phoenicians and then the Romans who called the Peninsula Hispania. That’s where the modern name Spain derives from. The Moors conquered the entire Peninsula in the 8th Century and lost it in 1492 (the year in which Columbus discovered America) with the fall of Granada. Then the reign of the European Kings started. In the 20th Century the dictator Franco rules the country for 40 years. After that in the middle of the 70ies a time of transition begins where people fight for democracy. It ends in 1982 when Spain becomes part of the European Union and the NATO.
Information About Entry and Departure
As a European you don’t need your passport to enter Spanish territory. Your normal ID Card is enough. But it’s advisable to have the passport in case you want to go to Morocco which is easy and fast but only possible with your passport.
Spain is a safe country to travel to, even if you are traveling alone. But you should beware of pickpockets. Especially where people can do watersports and can’t take their belongings with them, thieves go around searching for cars with phones or wallets. So be careful to put your belongings somewhere not visible if you need to leave them in the car.
In Spaini has the Euro and you can normally pay with credit card everywhere. ATM to withdraw money (Spanish: Cajeros) are everywhere. Just go round the corner if you don’t see one.
I heard of really fast WIFI in Barcelona, but most of the parts of Spain where I’ve been as a digital nomad – Andalusia and the Canary Islands – didn’t really have the best WIFI. Don’t get me wrong: it was ok! Download speed between 10 and 20 MBit and upload speed between 1 and 10 is what you normally have to deal with. In Tarifa WIFI was sometimes on and off because of the strong wind.
Sim-cards cost around 10 Euro. You can get a data package for around another 10 Euro per GB. When I was in Tarifa I simply left my German SIM-card in my phone, since the price for data was exactly the same. But like this people could call me on my normal phone number and I could get text messages (which is necessary for some double authentification systems). The best known carriers are YOIGO, Orange and Vodafone. But Movistar and happy are used a lot as well. If you need stable wifi you should opt for using your SIM-card.
Another possibility for mobile internet access is a MiFi device, which creates a WiFi network for you. I have tested the GlocalMe device and think it’s a really useful addition of my travel equipment. You can either use it as an ordinary wireless router with up to two SIM cards (very useful if you work with mobile TANs, you want to be available on your local number or if you want to use the social networks with a 2-factor authentication) but you can also use it without a physical SIM card but with the built in cloudSIM technology (which is of course more expensive) in over 100 countries worldwide. Apart from that it’s also a 6000 mAh powerbank, which is never bad to have with you.
Living in Spain as a Digital Nomad
In the last years I always had Airbnb-Apartments and sometimes for short stays I went to Hostels or Hotels. Prices vary depending on the region. Islands are more expensive in general when it comes to housing. In the Andalusian inland I once found a 4*-Hotel for 20 Euro per person. So you can find everything and just have to search for what you want. Spain is famous for tapas. That’s small portions of different dishes. It can be a slice of Tortilla, grilled shrimps (Spanish: Gambas) or grilled pepper (Pimientos de Padrón). It’s not a lot to eat, so normally you need to order at least to tapas to get full. That’s why the classical situation in a tapas bar is people ordering many tapas and sharing all of them. Prices vary from 4 to 15 Euro per tapa. If you want to cook yourself there are many supermakets to choose from: Mercadona, Dia or Carrefour are spread over the entire country. Lidl has become a known supermarket as well. Rental cars are super cheap but only if you get them without insurance. No worries: I don’t want you to drive without insurance. But there are credit cards (Mastercard Golds for example) that include fully comprehensive cover for rental cars if you pay with the credit card. This way I paid for a whole month only 150 Euro for my rental car. Otherwise it would have been double or even three times the price.
In Spain and most of all in the nomad hotspots there are coworking spaces. I know two in which I’ve been working:
Blog Posts About Spain
I started traveling Spain before becoming a digital nomad. I do not consider those places though because it’s almost 10 years ago. In the last two years, I’ve been several times on the Balearic Islands, in Andalusia and on the Canary Islands.
20 important words/phrases in Spanish
|Where is …?
|Donde es ….?
|My name is …?
|Me llamo ….?
|I don’t speak Spanish.
|No hablo español.
|Do you speak English?
|I am from Germany.
|Soy de Alemania.
|Could you help me?
|Me podría ayudar?
|I need …
|How mich is this?
|Cuanto cuesta? / Cuanto es?
If you want to learn some more Spanish just write a comment or an email. I can help you out!
Personally I think Spain is a wonderful country for digital nomads. Uploads can take some time, but normal work should be doable with the WIFI connection and even skype call should work.