IT Contracting in Spain: Living & Working

Profile written by Matt Walters of Capital Consulting
(updated January 2016).


While the official language of Spain is Spanish, English is relatively widely spoken.

For the English-speaking contractor, the employment opportunities in Spain are many and varied, and the language barrier can be surmounted with some effort.

For purposes of local administration, it can be helpful to have a grasp of Spanish, and a foreigner making an effort is always welcome!


Renting a property for the duration of your contract is relatively easy in the main cities, although short-term properties become hard to find during the tourist season, especially in the south.

Prices for accommodation will of course vary depending on size and location, but a guideline figure of EUR 1200-2000 per month may be quoted for a small apartment in central Madrid.


One of Spain's key advantages in the view of many contractors is its natural and cultural diversity.

(from rolling green hills in the north to Moroccan landscapes in the south, from Roman ruins to Moorish palaces and Renaissance cathedrals) and its copious air travel links with the UK.

i. Air

The key airports of Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona-El Prat and Malaga provide speedy links to all main UK airports by Iberia, British Airways and easyJet among others.

ii. Rail

The rail journey from London to Madrid via Paris takes about 17 hours.

iii. Road/Ferry

The drive from Zurich to London is just over 1'000km, while from Geneva is just under 1'000km and, using the various ferry companies, the crossing alone can take from 35 minutes to over 5 and a half hours.

The main crossings are: Dunkirk – Dover (Norfolk Line 2 hours), Le Havre – Portsmouth (LD Lines over 5 hours), Calais – Dover (P&O Ferries 1 hour and 30 minutes), Calais – Folkestone (Eurotunnel 35 minutes). Using the Eurotunnel, the driving time is approx. 10 hours.

Spain is a very popular destination for European contractors in both the IT and other sectors due to its relative proximity to the UK, its Mediterranean climate and the wealth of travel and tourism opportunities that it offers.

Public holidays in Spain include New Year's Day, Good Friday, Labour Day (May 1), Assumption of Mary (August 15), Hispanic Day (Columbus Day) (October 12), All Saints' Day (November 1), Constitution Day (December 6), Immaculate Conception (December 8), Christmas Day (December 25). Each region also has up to a total of 14 of its own distinct public holidays per year, including the government-imposed nine.

Official Languages: Castilian Spanish (official) 74%; Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2% are official regionally.
Capital: Madrid
Timezone: GMT +1 (+2 in summer)
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Emergency Numbers: 112 (all), 091 (National Police), 092 (Local Police), 061 (Ambulance), 080 or 085 (Fire)
Key Airports: Madrid-Barajas (MAD), Barcelona-El Prat (BCN), Malaga (AGP)
Population: 48,146,134 (July '15 estimate)
Elecricity: 230V/50Hz
Tax Year: 1st January – 31st December
National holiday: 12 October (National Day / Columbus Day)
International dialing prefix: +34
Internet domain suffix: .es
Cost of living: Madrid is ranked 115th on the Mercer worldwide cost of living survey. London is ranked 12th (2015).