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The Top must-have apps in Spain for expats

For immigrants residing in Spain, this list includes the most popular apps that enhance their daily lives. Check it out!
9 min
September 20, 2023

Relocating to a new country can be a daunting task. Adapting to a new culture and local customs is not the only challenge you will face, but your entire lifestyle will be impacted, from simple tasks like ordering a pizza to finding a place to rent. 

To alleviate some of the stress, we have compiled a list of everyday services and websites to make your transition to Spain easier. Feel free to bookmark this article and share it with others!

📱Getting a SIM-card in Spain

To start your expat life, you need to be connected. Spain has different mobile phone providers with different prices, coverage areas, and accessible technologies. As a newbie in the country, you can get only prepaid (pay-as-you-go) SIM card with an internet package and some minutes. You can get your card in mobile operators’ offices, independent mobile shops, train stations, airports, and even at newspaper stands.

To get a prepaid card, you only need your passport or an NIE (tax number) if you already have one. You will pay a SIM card fee and the price of the selected package.

You can top-up your package in offices, independent stores, and online on providers’ websites and apps.

You can switch to a contract once you have your banking account and residence permit. It will offer you better rates on the internet, calls and texting. The operator will charge the fee directly from your banking account. You can switch to a contract with the same operator, or keep your phone number and sign with another one.

Here are the most popular providers in Spain:

👉 Movistar: offers good coverage across the county and best download/upload speeds

👉 Orange: offers slightly better 3G and higher signal than Movistar, has a good 5G coverage 

👉 Vodafone: has great 3G and 4G coverage, while 5G isn’t yet well developed

👉 Yoigo: has good coverage and download/upload speeds, offers lower prices

(coverage and reach ratings by OpenSignal, January 2023)

🏠 Renting an apartment

👉 Airbnb: start your search from here. It’s way more affordable to live in an apartment than in a hotel while searching for long-term rent. Also, some of the landlords may give you a discount if you rent their place for a long term or even make a lease agreement.

👉 Idealista: it’s one of Spain’s largest and most popular real estate platforms. You can search for apartments, houses, and rooms for rent across the country. Has an app for iOS and Android.

👉 Fotocasa: is one more popular platform that allows you to look for apartments all over the country. It also has an app for iOS and Android.

Groups of expats from your country on Facebook: sometimes you can find great and less expensive options here.

The landlord will ask you to provide a work contract in Spain (some people accept international) or proof of income, a deposit and payment in advance for 3–6 months.

Also, you’ll need a NIF (tax number) and ID or passport. An account in a Spanish bank can make it easier to manage rental payments and provide proof of financial stability.

Some other resources if there’s no match on giants:

👉 https://www.habitaclia.com 

👉 https://www.pisos.com 

👉 https://homehunter.es 

🚎 Getting around: the best Spanish transport apps

👉 The Moovit app (iOS / Android) is the ultimate choice for navigating public transport. It allows you to build routes and check timetables. It works accurately in different countries as well as in Spain.

If you prefer official apps or websites, here are some links to local public transport apps:

👉 Barcelona: TMB App (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona) iOS / Android

👉 Madrid: EMT Madrid iOS / Android

👉 Valencia: EMT Valencia iOS / Android

👉 Seville: AppTUSSAM iOS / Android

Heading underground in Madrid? Use Metro, the city’s official metro app. Available in multiple languages, it provides users with metro schedules, waiting times, and network maps.

In Barcelona, there is a public bike-sharing scheme called Bicing, which is ideal for running errands or exploring the city. Their app provides access to a variety of traditional and electric bikes at affordable prices.

🚕 Riding a cab

In Spain, there are several services that you can use to book and request taxis conveniently. Here are some popular of them:

👉 FREENOW (ex-MyTaxi): iOS / Android allows you to book a taxi ride or to rent a scooter or bicycle, e-vehicles are available.

👉 Cabify: iOS / Android, a taxi service, scooters and bicycles are also available. 

👉 Uber: iOS / Android

🍕 Ordering food

Whether you want a restaurant-quality dinner at home or going to order some junk food, these apps will help you.

👉 Glovo (iOS / Android)

👉 Uber Eats (iOS / Android)

👉 Just Eat (iOS / Android)

You can also order groceries, household products, and other essentials delivery from stores. Most have websites and apps: Mercadona, Carrefour, El Corte Inglés, Alcampo and others. Exploring local options in your area for more specific delivery services is a good idea.

Cafes and restaurants

Discovering your new favorite restaurant is a breeze with TheFork. This must-have app for food enthusiasts allows you to explore a wide range of restaurants in Spain and make reservations, giving you the opportunity to indulge in their culinary delights firsthand.

Reduce your meat consumption by using Happy Cow. Discover local vegan restaurants throughout Spain using their app. Just select your location and explore the wide range of animal-friendly food choices available to you.

🛍 Exploring bulletin boards

Whether you are a fan of sustainable living, want to save money furnishing your new flat or want to sell some belongings you no longer need, bulletin boards are a life-saviour. Here is the list of Spain’s most popular platforms:

👉 Milanuncios is a widely used classified ads website in Spain for buying and selling items, finding jobs, and renting properties.

👉 Tablón de Anuncios is a bulletin board platform where you can find ads for jobs, housing, services, second-hand items, and more.

👉 Wallapop is an international mobile app and website where you can buy and sell second-hand items, including electronics, furniture, clothing, and more.

😎 Learning the Spanish language

Whether you need to navigate your local supermarket or file your tax returns, learning Spanish can be a fantastic way to integrate into your new home. Throughout Spain, the official language is Spanish, also known as Castellano (Castilian) by the locals. However, in certain regions of the country, there are other official languages, including Catalan, Galician, and Basque. If you reside in Catalonia, Galicia, or the Basque Country, you might consider learning these languages as well. Nonetheless, for most expats, starting with Spanish will suffice.

Memrise. Learn faster with proven memory techniques rooted in science. Train your long term memory with a method that’s faster and better than traditional rote learning. Explore a vast collection of real-life language video examples, learn practical phrases from courses crafted by native speakers, enhance your language skills with gamified tests, and experience immersive learning that immerses you in the local culture. Feel like a local with our language app.

Babbel is an excellent app for practicing your Spanish language skills right from your phone. Its user-friendly courses are designed by experts, ensuring that you're in good hands as soon as you download the app. Whether you prefer self-paced Spanish courses or a structured approach, Babbel has got you covered. And if you're feeling adventurous, you can even learn Portuguese for future vacations across the border.

Google Translate or Deeple. When it comes to translating words and street signs, this apps is your go-to app. This essential tool proves especially handy when you first arrive in Spain and start receiving emails and letters in the local language.

Duolingo. Let Duo the owl guide you on your language learning journey with Duolingo. With courses that test your reading, speaking, and listening skills, this app will have you speaking Spanish in no time.

🙋 Joining Facebook groups

Hundreds of people faced relocation experience in Spain and are willing to help newcomers. Facebook is a great place to find them. Here are some English-speaking groups:

👉 Expats in Spain

👉 Expats in Madrid

👉 Barcelona Expats

👉 Valencia Expats

👉 International People in Malaga

👉 Expats Seville

If we haven’t covered your city, try to search for “Expats + your city”, “Foreigners in + your city or “Your nation in + your city” both in English and your native language.

🇪🇸 Are you planning to move to Spain?

We will help you choose the best way to move to Spain. Book a 30-minute meeting or ask a question in the chat room.

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Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

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Ioann De
Immigrant and writer
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