Spain: bask in the sun, thrive in the digital era—your top choice for remote work in 2023

As remote work gains momentum, Spain emerges as a unique blend of cultural charm and digital readiness. Discover how Spain's impressive fourth-place ranking in the 2023 Global Remote Work Index puts it at the forefront of the remote work revolution.

Spain in GRWI map


Key takeaways

  • Spain ranks fourth in the 2023 Global Remote Work Index (GRWI).
  • As the only Southern European country in the top 5, Spain balances excellent remote work environments with its inviting sun-filled climate.
  • Spain stands strong across key categories, including cyber safety (11th), economic safety (9th), digital and physical infrastructure (13th), and social safety (16th).
  • Legislation and cybersecurity infrastructure are particularly robust, ranking 2nd and 4th, respectively.
  • Compared to neighboring countries, Spain outranks France (15th) and closely competes with Portugal (6th) in the overall GRWI.
  • Despite the geographical distance, Spain shares similarities in GRWI results with Estonia, a non-neighboring country.
  • While Spain's English proficiency has room for improvement, it's an excellent choice for those seeking a balanced blend of climate, safety, and affordability.
Overview of countries GRWI measurement scores

Cyber safety

Looking at cyber safety, Spain excels, with a particular highlight on its cyber safety legislation (2nd), where the country gives way only to Germany. Spain also boasts a well-developed cybersecurity infrastructure (4th), although its response capacity ranks slightly lower at 11th. This might be due to the concentration of cybersecurity talent in Spain's numerous digital companies, which leaves the public sector relatively understaffed.

Comparison with neighboring countries

Spain, ranking 4th in the overall GRWI, is within healthy competition with neighboring Portugal (6th) and France (15th). While France falls short of Spain's ranking in the majority of all categories, Portugal presents a strong challenge, overtaking Spain in economic safety (8th vs 9th) and social safety (7th vs 16th).

Spain and France rank closely at 11th and 12th in cyber safety, with marginal differences in criteria. Meanwhile, Portugal ranks 18th in this category. However, Portugal leads the three countries in terms of response capacity (4th). When it comes to economic safety, Spain slightly gives way to Portugal, with the main differentiator being English proficiency, where Spain ranks 34th and Portugal 10th. Regarding digital and physical infrastructure, France comes back into the race, ranking just below Spain (13th) at 14th place. Whereas in terms of social safety, Portugal outperforms both Spain (16th) and France (38th), ranking the highest at the 7th position.

Comparison map with neighbouring countries

Finding a non-neighboring country that has similar index results

Across the entire Europe from Spain, in the north eastern part of the continent, lies Estonia. Despite the distance, the both countries share, in many statistical similarities. Both of them are among the highest-ranking countries in the overall GRWI, with Spain at the 4th and Estonia at the 7th position.

Cyber safety-wise, Estonia and Spain are not too distant from each other either, with Estonia taking the lead (2nd place), and Spain catching up at 11th. They differ mainly in response capacity, where Estonia leads the ranking (1st). However, both Spain and Estonia rank almost identically in cybersecurity infrastructure (4th and 3rd, respectively) and legal measures, where they both take a second position. Both countries have similar rankings in social safety, where Spain is at 16th and Estonia 19th. Also, both Spain and Estonia are moderately inclusive countries (20th and 27th), but Spain (7th) superpasses Estonia (27th) in personal freedoms, while Estonia (13th) is considered safer than Spain (30th).

The main differences arise in economic safety, where Spain (9th) surpasses Estonia (40th), due to its superior performance in tourist attraction (1st vs 9th) and healthcare (18th vs 30th). Spain also outperforms Estonia in terms of digital and physical security (13th vs 26th). While both countries rank very similarly when considering internet affordability (37th vs 32nd) and e-infrastructure (13th vs 16th) and while Estonia (6th) overtakes Spain (21st) in the realm of e-governance, Spain (20th) leaves Estonia (45th) behind in the internet quality ranking.

Illustration of neighbouring countries GRWI

Top remote destinations for Spain workers

Spain can be an excellent choice for remote work, not only because of its climate but also because it strikes a good balance in many areas that are important for a fulfilling remote work experience. However, there are other options to consider if you want to improve your English language skills, seek better and more affordable internet service, or prefer a less temperamental environment when it comes to safety and inclusiveness.

Regarding English proficiency

Despite Spain's overall great ratings, its population's general English proficiency has room for growth. If you would like to practice English while enjoying the benefits of remote working and not breaking the bank while doing it, places like Poland and Croatia could be just the right choice for you. These countries have populations with fairly proficient English skills and offer reasonable cost of living, with the overall GRWI ranking not too far below Spain's.

Prioritizing internet quality and e-infrastructure

While Spain ranks high in cyber safety, it could still do better in terms of overall internet quality and affordability. If that is the factor that matters to you the most, the best options lie outside of Europe. Exciting opportunities for getting the internet quality at a minimal price can be found in South Korea and the USA , so you can also turn your search for the best internet service into a journey of cultural discovery.

Working remote employees illustration

When it comes to safety & inclusiveness

If you find Spain a little bit too overwhelming, or if you feel that it lacks social inclusivity, you could try Iceland and Switzerland. Serene as they are, these countries also offer incredible natural beauty alongside inclusive, tolerant and acceptable societies.

Concerning digital infrastructure

If otherwise decent Spanish e-infrastructure falls short of your expectations, there are two major directions to consider. Look east towards countries like South Korea or Singapore , or head north to Scandinavian countries like Norway and Denmark. These countries combine excellent internet quality with e-infrastructure and can give you that required edge.

Or is it better to stay at home?

Spain is an excellent choice for remote working. It excels in the field of cyber safety, boasting extensive legislation. In terms of economic safety, it ranks reasonably high, being fairly affordable compared to other top countries and offering a good healthcare system. On top of that, Spain is very tourist-attractive. Its digital and physical infrastructure is in decent shape, even if it slightly lacks on the internet quality side. Finally, it is a relatively liberal state where people can enjoy personal freedoms and social safety. Taking all these factors into account, Spain is a great option for staying and working!


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