Working Remotely In Spain as an American
Summary: This post shares details about everything you should think about and consider before working remotely in Spain. I’ll go over the ideal working schedule, WiFi options, where to stay, and more.
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I’ve worked remotely in a few different European countries including Scotland, France, Switzerland, and now Spain! While there are similarities to working in these countries, each experience ends up being different, so keep reading to understand what it’s like working remotely in Spain as an American and what you should think about before you go.
Do I Need a Visa to Visit Spain?
As an American citizen, I did not need a visa to visit Spain, however, starting in 2024, any citizen of a country that does not require a visa to enter Europe will have to fill out the ETIAS application before they travel to the Schengen region in Europe. This is not technically a visa, but it is used to understand whether someone is a security risk and is meant to make the region safer.
Go to this link to find more information on which countries require the ETIAS application before visiting. This will affect citizens of the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia.
There are some countries that require citizens to get a formal visa to visit Spain, including Russia, China, India, and all African countries. It’s important to note that it doesn’t matter which country you reside in, it only matters which country or countries you are a citizen of.
–> Read more: Top 10 Things to do on Your First Trip to Madrid <–
How Long Can I Stay in Spain?
American citizens (or anyone with a tourist visa, including those that don’t need to obtain a tourist visa) can stay in Spain for up to 90 days over a 180-day period.
Remote Work Schedule in Spain
Spain’s time zone is GMT+2 which is nine hours ahead of the time zone that I’m used to working in (Pacific Time). Since I work US hours when I’m abroad, this means my working hours in Spain would be 5:30pm-2am. However, I opted to work Central or Eastern time most days, so my schedule was usually 2:30 or 3:30pm to 11pm or midnight.
Everything tends to happen a bit later in Spain, especially mealtimes. I noticed that a lot of people didn’t really eat breakfast, or they ate something really light. Lunch was always around 2pm, and then dinner would be anywhere from 10pm-midnight. We mistakenly made a dinner reservation for 7pm one night and were met with an empty restaurant!
Because everything happens a bit later, the later work schedule would have been fine. If I was working until 2pm, stepping out for dinner around 10pm would have been a natural “lunch time” with some work after that.
Activities in Madrid:
Cities to Visit While Working Remotely in Spain
The cities that I worked in when I visited were Madrid and Valencia. After that, I took some PTO and explored Barcelona without having to run back to my hotel in the afternoon to start work.
When I’m working remotely, I love to visit medium-sized cities. I want there to be things to do, but I don’t want there to be SO MUCH to do that I struggle to keep my work schedule to fit everything in. For this reason, Valencia was perfect! I was able to see and do everything I wanted to while still making time to work in the afternoons.
Seville is another medium-sized city that I think would be great for this! I haven’t been there yet, but it’s on my list.
Madrid was kind of a struggle when it came to this. There was a lot more I would have liked to see while I was there. It was still an excellent city to visit while working, but I’d recommend staying a bit longer than you normally would and making sure you’re here over a couple of weekends so you can explore into the night!
I have a feeling I would say the same thing about Barcelona.
–> New to working remotely abroad? Here’s what you’ll want to know! <–
Wifi in Spain
I never had any issues with Wifi in Spain. Unless you’re visiting an island, it should be widely available in hotels across medium and large cities. I’d recommend checking with your hotel or Airbnb before you visit to make sure their Wifi is good enough to work with.
If you run into a Wifi issue while you’re there, you have a few options. I usually pay for the AT&T international pass that is $10 per day and that will allow you to hotspot your laptop from your phone. You can also opt to bring a portable Wifi hotspot device with you on your trip. Travelwifi has a few models that you can rent or buy.
Cost of Visiting Spain
In general, Spain was pretty pricey, but I visited at a very peak time to travel: June. I posted an Instagram reel detailing how much I spent in four days in Madrid and most people said that’s about what they would have expected, but a few people were surprised it was so expensive.
The term “expensive” is always relative and I think it just comes down to your personal expectations and values. I did a lot of research on hotels and tours before I went, so I knew around what it was going to cost. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised when I looked back on what I spent.
Here’s the breakdown from Madrid:
Hotel (4 nights): $866
Two tours: $155
Food: $192 (I always tend to splurge here)
Transportation in Spain
If you’re traveling to different cities within Spain, I would highly recommend using their high speed train system. The trains in Europe are generally much more frequent and easier to use than in the US and it really is the best way to travel if you’re not going very far.
I took a train from Madrid to Valencia and then Valencia to Barcelona. You can usually get away with buying your ticket at the train station on your day of travel, but I always get a little anxious about that and like to book ahead of time. I always use Omio for this. They have an app, or you can buy from their website. It’s an easy spot to search for routes and it’ll give you everything available (similar to Google Flights).
Of course, there are always buses, planes, and rental cars to get you where you need to go, but in my opinion, trains are the way to go.
Would I Recommend Working Remotely in Spain?
I would! Spain is a country full of culture, history, and yummy food. Somehow, Spain made me appreciate being around a lot of people, and that’s not easy to do for an introvert who doesn’t love crowds. If you get a chance to explore this amazing country while working remotely in Spain, I would highly recommend taking it.