Moving abroad is huge and culture shock is something anybody can fall victim to. Find out about aspects of Spain that might cause you to struggle with your transition.

The immediate answer is 100% yes! It is so common to get culture shock when moving overseas to any new country, even one as beautiful as Spain. There is usually no getting around it, as even the most seasoned holidaymakers with a lot of experience spending time in Spain can struggle with the huge changes associated with a permanent move.

Although we cannot guarantee that you don’t get culture shock, we can help lessen the blow by giving you an idea of some of the common causes of culture shock when people relocate to Spain:


The siesta is usually taken between 2pm and 5pm and it can be difficult to get used to amenities shopping right in the middle of the afternoon. Some areas no longer practise siestas though as they simply cannot afford to close their business during the day.

August Shut-Down

In Spain, everything stops in August as the majority of Spain take their own holidays in the country. During this time you should expect to take more of a relaxed approach to life, because everybody else is and there’s nothing you can do to stop that so you may as well join in!

The Language Barrier

There are areas where expats tend to makeup a large portion of the population in Spain, but that doesn’t mean that everybody speaks English. It can come as a shock to some English people relocating that Spanish is still very much the primary language and plenty of people, especially older people, do not speak any English. Even if English is spoken, you cannot guarantee that the level will be what you need to communicate effectively.  Statistics show that 65% of Spanish residents do now speak English and of the 35% who do speak it, a very small amount speak it well.To move to Spain and integrate well you will need to learn at least some Spanish.

Attitudes Of Equality Aren’t Guaranteed

Unfortunately some areas of Spain aren’t entirely up to date with modern thinking when it comes to equality. So if you are a female moving to Spain, you should expect to come across some old fashioned attitudes at least by older Spanish males, and especially in rural areas.

Religion Matters In Spain

Nearly three quarters of the Spanish population identify with being religious. There have been modern advances in attitudes and facilities but, when moving here you should be prepared for some areas to remain a little behind because of traditionally religious views.

Paperwork And Negotiations Take Time

Any paperwork that needs doing, or any negotiations that need doing, take longer in Spain. Sometimes, processes can seem to take forever compared to even the longest processes in the UK. Unfortunately there is no speeding it up, so take a good book when visiting official places for paperwork, and allow lots of time for negotiations when hashing out things like property contracts.

Drivers Can Be More Erratic

As well as driving on the right hand side of the road, drivers in Spain can be a little more erratic than in the UK. Local residents may be used to a certain way of getting around, especially on rural roads, and it can take some caution and eye-opening learning to get used to.

Culture shock is extremely common and you should expect some level of it when you relocate to Spain. Do allow yourself plenty of time to adjust, and try not to think you’ve made the worst possible life decision in the beginning when things feel uncomfortable. It might take weeks or months to adjust, but ultimately your dream of living in a warm, friendly and beautiful country like Spain can come true. You can eventually find happiness, just give yourself a fair chance to find it. An international removal specialist such as Pack and Go will take the stress out of moving and allow you to focus on finding your feet.