Not only is it top-ranked for health, but the quality of life, culture and, of course, weather make it a favored destination for hundreds of thousands of nomads seeking a better life. But being a nomad has its trials, and one of those is being far from home, family and friends.
It can also take a while to work out the best ways to manage your new life in a foreign culture. The solution is to find some new friends who will help you get acclimatised to your new home and provide a ready-made social life. And the best way to do that is to meet up with other expatriates via an expat group.
We also wrote about financial advisors to help with your move to Spain here.
Here are 29 to community groups to choose from.
Barcelona for Expats
Barcelona Women’s Network
This group was started in 1998 to support local and international women who live in the Barcelona area. It’s got a membership of about 220, with about 20 different nationalities, so it won’t be hard to make some friends. As well as sharing contacts, skills and knowledge, the network invites its members to social, educational, charitable and professional events each month.
The American Society of Barcelona
If you’re looking for a chance to get involved in English-speaking society in the Barcelona area, The American Society of Barcelona is a great place to start. Founded in 1974 by American businessmen to enhance their social reach, the society is still going strong. Today, its membership is approximately half American and half European, with a significant Catalan membership. This diverse organisation is great for both social and business networking, and it sponsors cultural trips, business lunches, speakers and holiday celebrations all through the year.
Barcelona Newcomers’ Club
Another way to meet the Barcelona expat community is to visit the Barcelona Newcomers’ Club. Here, you’ll meet not only other recently arrived expats, but also locals and expats who have lived in the area for a while. You can even bring your pets along! It’s an excellent way to get informed about the region’s history and culture, and to discover Barcelona via walks, excursions and family outings. You can also enjoy the nightlife with other club members.
International Women’s Club of Barcelona
More than 60 years old, the International Women’s Club of Barcelona has decades of experience in welcoming women from around the world to the region. It’s geared to English-speaking expats and organises a range of activities for members and their families. Regular activities include coffee mornings, walks, cinema trips, a book club, crafts, exercise classes and tapas.
The British Society of Catalunya, Emporda Branch
The British Society of Catalunya, Emporda Branch is an offshoot of a group founded in Barcelona in the late 1980s. It has some 300 members, made up mainly of British expats who are permanent or seasonal residents of the area. It runs activities for members throughout the year, including lunches and dinners, tours and films.
The American Women’s Club of Madrid operates in the area around Madrid. It’s been around since 1954, when people from around the world came to help with post-war reconstruction efforts in Spain. Activities for members are varied, and include Spanish language classes, play groups for kids, exercise classes, cooking demonstrations and games. There are social evenings every month. While most of the members are American, there are also members from other countries.
Girl Gone International Madrid
Founded by Tamara Bonilla, Girl Gone International Madrid aims to help expats and returning locals make a smooth transition to life in Madrid. There’s a main social event each month, as well as others. Girl Gone International also exists in other cities and has 20,000 members around the world.
International Newcomers Club of Madrid
The International Newcomers Club of Madrid has been around since 1988. With more than 200 members representing around 40 nationalities, it is a real melting pot. Whether you want to learn about the region, practice English or simply make new friends, this club has a lot to offer. It’s great for both newly arrived expats and long-term residents, and is known for its welcoming atmosphere. There are walks, tours, coffee mornings and other activities, and you get the chance to network, too.
InterNations Madrid Expats
Part of the InterNations network, the Madrid Expats group provides an online space to get tips you can trust about living in Madrid, make some contacts and meet up with anyone who’s in town. The site includes tips on moving to Madrid, a calendar of local events, and an expat forum. Many people have made lifelong friends here.
The Calpe Facebook group connects those who have lived or are living in this part of the Costa Blanca. It’s a place to share photos, memories and events.
Denia Connect is a Facebook group for those who are living or have lived in this part of Spain. It’s a place where you can find answers to questions, learn about events, find out about classes and clubs. It also includes information on a few nearby towns.
Javea Connect is a local community Facebook group founded in 2011. It has more than 7,500 members and welcomes information on events, jobs, bargains and more.
With more than 4,000 members, Moraira is a public group bringing together current and past residents of this part of the Costa Blanca. You’ll find questions and answers, links to events and photos in this group.
Costa Del Sol
American Club of the Costa Del Sol
The American Club of the Costa Del Sol has five chapters covering Malaga, Marbella, Nerja, Estepona and Fuengirola. The club meets monthly for lunches or dinners and has special events to celebrate key American holidays. The club includes international members and plans several trips each year for members.
American International Club of Nerja
If you want to give something back to the country, The American International Club of Nerja is a good starting point. The club raises funds for Spanish charities, donating significant sums every year. As well as informal coffee meetings, the club’s activities include dinners, walks, regular outings, bowls, weekend socials and trips. There are Spanish language classes, too.
The ICE Club
The International Club of Estepona, also known as the ICE Club, was founded in 1988 as a hub for English speakers in the region. The club has more than 600 members, of whom nine have been members since the club’s inception. Club activities are many and varied, and include theater, music, wine tasting, dinners, concerts, parties and outings, as well as classes and sporting events.
With 17 groups in total including Ibiza, Barcelona and Costa Blanca (North and South), Costa Women is the place to go to connect with other expat women in Spain. You already know about the sunshine, but you can get advice and support from others who share your spirit of adventure and have experienced a similar transition. It’s a great place to start a network of new friends. They also won the Telegraph’s international award for Best of British Social Club! Connect with Costa Women on their site or Facebook page.
Whether you’ve already moved to Spain or are still in the planning stages, ExpatForum is the place to search for helpful information. It’s got hundreds of threads covering almost any issue you could face while living in Spain. This is an active, vibrant community where you are sure to meet like-minded people.
As an expat parent, you often need access to information and services for your child. MumAbroad Spain is a hub which aggregates recommendations from other parents on schools, restaurants, holidays, family activities and more. Launched in Barcelona in 2007, the site now covers all of Catalunya, as well as Andalucia, Madrid, the Balearics and the Costa Brava. And to help with making connections with other parents, it runs the International Families in Spain Facebook group.
Spain Expat is a site for expats living in Spain. The site includes information on doing business in Spain, the Spanish lifestyle, working in Spain, language, technology and legal matters. There’s also a forum where you can find the answers to any of your burning questions about Spanish daily life.
InterNations has hubs for several parts of Spain, including the Madrid group mentioned earlier. Visit the site to find more information on the part of Spain you’ll be living in, and to get tips and advice on Spanish culture and lifestyle. No matter where you come from, this site will help you connect with like-minded people.
Expatica – Spain
Expatica is a website run by expats for expats. The information here covers everything you need to know about moving to Spain, and living and working in the country. There’s a diary of events so you always know what’s going on near you. Most expats will welcome the chance to connect with others from their country via the forum, which covers multiple nationalities.
International Women’s Club of Valencia
The International Women’s Club of Valencia offers support to women in the Valencia area. A good way to meet new people is to drop into one of their coffee mornings. The club also runs a range of social and business networking activities.
Amigas de Casa
Originally a book club, Amigas de Casa has become a social hub for English speakers living in or near the Andalucian village of Villanueva de Trabuco. The club meets monthly, with activities including guest speakers, and special interest groups around books, gardening, weight loss, singing, family history and more.
Special Interest Groups
Estepona Floral Art Club
The Estepona Floral Art Club was founded in 1999. Its members include English speakers with an interest in flowers, and it welcomes visitors from places as diverse as Gibraltar and Nerja. Activities include flower arranging workshops and demonstrations, tours to places of interest and other events. Connect with the club via its Facebook group.
THESPA, the English Speaking Players Association, is a dinner theater club which meets monthly in Fuengirola between September and May. Whether you’re a budding actor or a committed audience member, you will enjoy the chance to participate in an acted play reading or watch an enthralling performance.
Costa Del Sol Decorative and Fine Arts Society
Established in 1988, the Costa Del Sol Decorative and Fine Arts Society aims to further awareness, interest in and enjoyment of the arts, as well as an appreciation of Spain’s cultural heritage. Its members span 15 nationalities. The club holds lectures in English covering a range of cultural and artistic pursuits and also arranges social events for members.
Astronomy on the Costa del Sol
If you love seeing stars, then Lee Osborne’s astronomy group is the place for you. Blending amateur astronomers from both the Spanish and English communities, this group makes regular outings to observe the sky. There’s also the chance to take part in other astronomy events along the Costa del Sol.
Golf the Costa
With 1700 members, Golf the Costa is one of the biggest groups on the Costa del Sol. If you’re looking to meet fellow golf enthusiasts, this is a must. Members get green fee discounts at clubs around the region and also benefit from special weekly and monthly golf events.
No matter where you are in Spain, these 29 groups will help you adjust to expat life and make new friends.