So you’ve done it – you moved to Spain! You packed your bags, sold most of your belongings, sorted a place to live…now what?
We’ve put together a list of the first things to do when you move to Spain, to help you get settled in your new life.
Say ‘hello’ to your neighbours
The first thing to do when you move to Spain is to get to know your ‘vecinos’ (neighbours). We’ve found that people in Spain are so friendly, whether they’re Spanish or fellow expats. If you’re on friendly terms with them it will give you the opportunity to ask questions about your new hometown or how certain things work in Spain, which will be a real help. If you’re on a community, head to the communal gardens or pool as this is where you’re most likely to bump into your neighbours.
The best way to discover more of your new hometown is to get out and explore. Cycle or walk around the neighbourhood, stop in a local bar, and find the village or town square. Make sure you know where important places such as the town hall (ayutamiento), police station (policía local), chemist (farmacia), and doctor’s surgery (centro medico) are as you will definitely need to visit these soon. If you have children head to the local park or municipal pool as this is where the local children will hang out.
Sign up for Spanish lessons
Even if you already known some Spanish it’s a good idea to sign up for some lessons. These are usually quite cheap and some town halls even run free lessons for expats. Spanish lessons with a local native speaker will help you to learn those phrases not in the books or apps that you need for every day life. They’ll often also teach you about local customs, Spanish traditions and history. You can have one on one lessons with a private tutor, but a group lesson is more informal and lets you meet other people.
Find activities for the kids
If you have children, sign them up for some out of school activities ASAP. They’ll make friends straight away, as well as having an extra opportunity to learn Spanish. Signing up for a class in your town will usually mean you’ll meet children from the local school. We moved to Spain during the summer holidays, signed our daughter up for dance classes, and by the time she started school in September she already knew some of her classmates. The town hall can tell you about local clubs and classes, or do a search on Facebook.
Get involved in the community
Don’t think that just because you’re new or from the UK that you can’t get involved in local fiestas or events. In our first summer in Spain we went to every event going! There will usually be free food and drink, entertainment, and lots of children for yours to play with. You can find details online, on notice boards around the town, or through the town hall.
Check out the local market
Most Spanish towns and villages will have a weekly market where you can buy fruit, veg, and household items. It’s a great place for some bargains plus gets you straight into the Spanish way of life as this is where most people shop. Buying your fruit and veg at the market will also give you a good opportunity to learn Spanish!
Join local groups on Facebook
You should be able to easily find local groups on Facebook, they are often run by expats and are great for asking any questions. And believe us, you’ll have a lot of questions! If you have kids, the Mums of Spain group is a good place to ask questions to other expat mums, it’s based on the Costa Blanca but anyone is welcome.
Add these things to your to-do list of first things to do when you move to Spain and you should hopefully find it easier to settles in. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch!
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