Dating in Spain: Top tips and apps for expats

Learn all about the dating culture in Spain, where to meet with the Spanish, dating etiquettes, and popular dating apps.


6 minute read
Updated on 25 Jul 2023

Dating or thinking of dating a Spanish person? You’re in for a romantic ride! The Spanish are romantics at heart. They’re passionate, expressive, and definitely not afraid to wear their heart on their sleeves. But while dating someone from a different culture is fun, exciting, and dreamy, it also has its challenges. So before you go on your date with a Spaniard, it’s good to get familiar with the dating culture in Spain.

We’re about to share the top tips to help manage your expectations and some dating apps and sites where you can find your next amor, corazón, or date.

Love story of an expat in Spain

"Can’t wait to start dating after I move to Spain. I think I’ll find the one.”, said an expat friend who moved to Barcelona; let’s call him Theo.

A true modern romantic at heart, Theo began swiping on Tinder to find ‘the one’. It only took one look at her eyes for him to swipe right. And before you know it, she already sent him the first message to ask him out!

The first date was everything Theo imagined. She arrived fashionably late. After the date, Theo walked her home like a true gentleman, and she gave him a goodbye kiss. But what came after was a surprise to Theo.

Theo certainly wasn’t used to how affectionate she was all the time. He was shocked to find out she didn’t know how to dance, and she was surprised when Theo had already called her his girlfriend a month into the relationship and wanted to plan a date 2 months in advance…

While she and Theo are still together, Theo definitely could’ve avoided some bumps along the way if he knew the Spanish dating culture a bit better. So while every person's unique, knowing cultural dating traits is a good way to manage your expectations and smooth transition from date to girlfriend or boyfriend.

Dating culture in Spain

The final takeaway from Theo’s story should be that there're many stereotypes about dating the Spanish: some of them are true (punctuality? Nope), and some are not (impromptu serenade? Nope). But that said, there’re some common traits when it comes to dating. Understanding the basics will help you get the most out of dating in Spain as an expat.

1. Dress to impress

Spaniards like to make a good first impression. For every occasion, men and women tend to dress chic and tastefully. Consider stepping up your game if your date takes you somewhere fancy to wine and dine. So ladies, don't forget to wear your favourite heels. And gentlemen, ditch your sneakers for nice loafers.

2. Freedom to Love

Spain's one of the first few countries to legalise gay marriages and adoption. So it’s pretty acceptable and common for people to express themselves freely and date whoever they want. Overall, Spain has a very active LGBTQ+ community, and joining the communities is a great way to meet others during fun events such as hiking, game nights, dance parties, etc.

Madrid hosts one of the biggest and best Pride parades in the world. Be sure to explore rental homes in Madrid if you want to celebrate pride in Madrid!

3. Don’t be shy to show your affection

Spanish people are very passionate about everything they love. They feel very comfortable showing their fondness to their partners. PDA is everywhere and can feel intense if you come from a more reserved culture. But the upside is that you can expect to get showered with love and affection.

4. Don’t expect to settle down too soon

In Spain, people tend to get married in their mid to late thirties, which is quite late compared to the average marriage in other EU countries. It also takes them some time to define the relationship in general. You might stay in a live-in relationship for a while until you lock it down with a ring.

But don’t take this personally. This has a lot to do with Spain’s unemployment rate after the great depression. The difficulty of finding a job in Spain means people tend to live with their parents longer and settle down much later when they’re financially stable.

5. Be spontaneous and accept lateness

Spaniards are not punctual. Are you making plans too much in advance? Not their cup of tea. They tend to be late for every social occasion. So try to be patient with your Latin beau.

The Spanish also have a late-night culture. So expect dates to start late into the evening as people get out of the office late, have dinner late, etc. So if you get invited last minute to a dinner date at 22:00, don’t be alarmed.

6. You’re also dating their friends

It's known that Spaniards are very social. They love spending time with their friends. And it's only natural that they want their date to vibe with their close friends. Don’t be alarmed if you end up seeing their friends on the first date. Apart from this, their friends can be involved in your relationship a little bit too much. They like to have lots of conversations with their friends, and sometimes lines can get blurry.

7. Anyone can make the first move

Remember Theo? He was shocked when his current bae texted him first on Tinder.

Spaniards are natural flirts. Singles don't shy away from taking the first step in Spain. And while you might be used to men making the first move, in Spain, women are more likely to ask a guy on a date than in any other country in the world. Don't be scared to make the first move; just go for it.

Asking them out first can also mean rejection. But remember, "rejection is protection" and only part of the journey.

8. You can just go on casual dates

If you're not in it for the long run, you'll find it liberating that casual dates and hookup culture are common in Spain. The Spanish like to go with the flow and just have a good time.

But if you are looking for something less casual, don't worry. They won't lead you on and will tell a person directly what they want and expect.

9. Usual date setting (is like any other date)

There're endless possibilities for the perfect date setting in Spain. Most people go for drinks or to the cinema. You can also enjoy cute picnics in the park or nice long walks along Spain's beautiful beaches. At the end of the date, it’s typical for the man to pay. But everyone is unique, and some might prefer splitting the bill.

Where to meet with people

1. Dating apps in Spain

Like most places, dating apps are popular in Spain. Here’re the top 8 apps you can use in Spain to find a date:

  1. Tinder
  2. Bumble
  3. Badoo
  4. Parship
  5. Meetic
  6. EDarling
  7. OkCupid
  8. Grindr

Tinder, Bumble, and Badoo are more casual dating apps.

Tinder and Bumble remain most famous for younger people and expats; Bumble's usually used for more serious relationships than Tinder.

Badoo's a great alternative to Tinder as it has more singles and better security features, making it a slightly safer app to weed out fake profiles.

If you’re looking specifically to match with Spanish singles and are serious about dating, use,, and

All 3 are paid online dating apps in Spain. On, you can search by filtering your criteria. On and, you have to fill an in-depth personality quiz or answer abstract questions to receive your potential matches. But if you’re in your 30s and are looking for a long-term relationship in one of the big cities, we recommend using

OkCupid is another app that is especially popular in Madrid. It’s known for its matching algorithm, and you can share photos and stories to woo your potential date.

If you’re looking for a filter specifically for the LGBTQ+ community, then Grindr is very popular in Spain.

2. Other places to meet with people

Spanish people usually end up dating someone from their social circle. It’s common for them to be in a relationship with someone they already know. So the best way to find your own love story is by making new friends.

You can go to Intercambio (language exchange) evenings where locals and expats can mingle over fun activities. You can also join Spanish expat groups, Facebook groups, or LGBTQ+ communities to meet locals who are excited to interact with expats like yourself. All these events are mainly to bring people together, but you might end up dating someone from there too.

You could also meet people at nightclubs and bars, especially if you want something casual.

Now put yourself out there

The idea of going on cute dates with attractive locals is just exciting and tempting. Plus, you get to know many new interesting people. It's also an opportunity to discover beautiful Spain with your newly found sweetheart.

Excited to date? Now go out there and live your own Spanish romance.

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