These days there are apps for everything: from language to transport, weather forecasts to food delivery and of course chatting and socializing.
But how about if you’re a foreigner in Spain whose looking for mobile applications that are specifically useful for your new home?
We’ve compiled a comprehensive list based on advice from our readers and our own research that could help you enjoy life in España that tiny bit more.
For instant messaging, without a doubt WhatsApp is king. As Amy Sparks from Alcobendas (Madrid) puts it, “everybody uses it to communicate”.
In fact, Spaniards are Europe’s biggest WhastApp users. A study found that 95% of Spain’s mobile users prefer texting to talking (fancy that!). WhatsApp is of course free, also allowing you to make international calls and send images, videos and voice messages for absolutely ‘nada’.
Meeting new people
When it comes to socializing and meeting new people in Spain, Carol Bloomfield from Barcelona recommended Meetup, which is essentially an app and website that allows you to find out about groups and events with people that share the same interests and hobbies and live near you.
Carol also recommends using Facebook’s search bar to look for events and groups in your vicinity, in a similar vein to Meetup.
There’s Deliveroo, an app which allows you to get food from countless restaurants delivered to your doorstep. “It has all the benefits of a restaurant without dealing with waiters and music I may not like,” Laura Hale from Madrid explains.
Another option is of course Glovo, as you probably know already given the thousands of cyclists carrying yellow boxes packed with food to hungry users who prefer to stay at home than eat out.
We recommend an app called Yuka, which allows you to use your scan food products and cosmetics in Spanish supermarkets to find out how good they are health and quality-wise.
It will tell you how many additives they contain and give products an overall rating. It will work on the vast majority of products you find in Spanish supermarkets.
If you find it annoying when friends split the bills equally even though you’ve ordered a soup and they went for the lobster, Splitwise is the app for you. It’s especially useful if you’re on a holiday or road trip together as you can easily add what each person pays to the list and it will keep tabs on the amounts paid by each, allowing you settle up at the end.
For a more accurate Spain-focused weather app Gary Baker from Valencia recommends El Tiempo. “It’s far more local than all major weather apps,” he says.
There’s also the official app of AEMET, Spain’s national weather agency, which gets fairly high ratings online.
An alternative to Google Maps with extra routes for drivers in Spain is Waze, Alcobendas-based Amy Sparks points out.
Users can post live information about speed traps, accidents, road closures and other real-time traffic information. There’s also the possibility of personalizing the app, such as downloading a celebrity’s voice to be your navigator. It can even be used to arrange carpooling.
The Moovit app, which allows you to locate bus/train/tram stops and stations, track services in real time and find the quickest route to places on different means of public transport, is available in around 50 Spanish cities and many rural areas as well.
Foreigners in Spain who are on the country’s social security system will be able to book appointments online using the region’s health app, although this isn’t available in all autonomous communities. This makes it easier book an appointment with your doctor if your Spanish isn’t that good yet.
The same goes for My112, which John Harris from the Catalan city of Sitges recommends, as it can track how far the ambulance is from where you are (at the same time using GPS to allow first responders to pinpoint exactly where you are).
According to the app store it’s available in the following regions: Madrid, Castilla y León, Balearic Islands, Cataluña, Cantabria, Melilla and Navarra.
Finding free WiFi
If you haven’t had the change to get a Spanish sim card yet or you’ve run out of data, keep in mind that there are 866,262 free WiFi hotspots across Spain. An app called WiFi Finder will help you locate these (the only catch is that you’ll need to be on the internet to be able to use the app).
Wordreference and Duolingo will help you to quickly translate words and improve your Spanish language skills. Stay tuned to The Local Spain as we’ll soon do an in-depth list on the best apps for learning Spanish.