English in Spain: Do People in Spain Speak English?

Exploring Spain without Fluent Spanish

If you’re wondering whether people know English in Spain, you’re both planning a trip or considering migrating there. Why shouldn’t you? Spain remains one of the most famous European destinations for both Brits and Americans, and a good reason. English-speaking European travelers are frequently shocked by the fact that few Spaniards speak English, especially when compared to other European nations they have visited. Nonetheless, we believe it can be realistic for travelers to Spain to speak only English.

What are the most common languages in Spain?

If you decide to avoid the large cities and go to the actual original Spanish cities and towns for some traditional “croquetas de jamon,” the chances of meeting someone who speaks English are minimal to none. Obviously, Spanish is the primary language used across Spain, but different dialects and languages are also spoken and understood in some locations.

According to a 2019 survey, 81% of Spanish households speak Spanish as their primary language at their home. Catalan is the primary language in 8% of homes, followed by Valencian with 4%, Galician and Basque with 3% and 1%, respectively.

Despite the fact that Spanish is only spoken in 81% of families, the other 19 percent are virtually certainly skilled in the language. So, if you’re thinking about learning a bit of the local language before embarking on your adventures, only learning Spanish wouldn’t be the best choice.

Aside from these primary languages, a few minority languages are spoken in Spain, including Aragonese, Asturian, and Leonese. However, I wouldn’t count on each of them being beneficial when requesting a bill in a restaurant.

What are the most common languages in Spain?
What are the most common languages in Spain?

What is the level of English in Spain?

People’s English levels in Spain vary widely depending on age and geography. So when it was 2007, half of people who they are between the ages of 18 and 24 understood able to use English, compared to only 17% of those between the ages of 55 and 65.

Although many foreigners who live in Spain speak English, the majority of Spaniards do not. This is because Spanish is their mother tongue. Hence, the answer to the question ‘What do individuals living in Spain speak?’ is Spanish, especially in Spain’s wonderfully lovely tourist destinations. However, many Spaniards choose to visit nations where English is the official tongue, such as Britain or Ireland. Those who want to tour the province of Northern Ireland, for instance, will need to know some English, so your best choice is to communicate with natives who also enjoy traveling.

According to a recent study, about 60% of Spaniards do not speak English completely, and the remaining 35% do not understand it very well. What many visitors to Spain find even more unexpected is that so much of the country’s tourism business does not know English.

Where in Spain Do You Hear the Most English?

When it is about visiting Spain using solely English, everybody will have a unique experience. Some people claim that English is wherever they go, but others (typically when traveling off the main road) claim the contrary.

The majority of English-speaking Spaniards you encountered were in the main tourist destinations of Spain, particularly around Barcelona as well as the Costa del Sol. Almost every one of the hotel’s receptionists understood some English, but we frequently encountered difficulty in museums, taxis, restaurants, and so on.

Where in Spain Do You Hear the Most English?
Where in Spain Do You Hear the Most English?

Business tourists who stay in upscale hotels and interact with Spanish business people are unlikely to need to comprehend or speak Spanish. While anyone staying in the cheapest accommodations and exploring the most remote locations may find it necessary to know a little Spanish.

Whenever you tried to use Spanish in Spain, Spaniards went out of their way to assist and aid you. Even your weak Spanish was cheerfully answered in English.

Can travelers get by with only English?

If you are visiting Spain as a traveler, you will not be alone. Spain is accustomed to hosting visitors, and its economy is strongly reliant on the tourism sector. Before the COVID outbreak, 18 million British visitors visited Spain in 2019, while over three million Americans crossed the Atlantic.

Many occupations in locations like pubs, restaurants, and stores demand a minimum level of proficiency in English to be qualified to secure a job. Because the individuals who work in these places are frequently from Spain’s younger age, their command of the language level is usually fairly high. This is particularly true in large cities such as Barcelona and Madrid.

Even if you visit more rural areas of Spain, the possibilities are you will manage to communicate in English with your hotel’s receptionist. Still, you may encounter difficulties at the local grocery shop.

View of Spain
View of Spain

What do Spaniards think about speaking in English?

English is an important part of many Spaniards’ daily lives, and while it can be frustrating if it involves things like employment interviews and meetings with clients, most of them are ready to work on their spoken language with native speakers.

Overall, Spanish people are quite nice, and even if they don’t speak English well, they are always willing to help you and explain themselves using hand gestures. If you approach individuals nicely and respectfully without expecting them to speak your language, you will nearly always receive a warm reaction.

5 Essential guidelines for English-speaking travelers to Spain

Here are five top advice for English-speaking travelers visiting Spain who don’t yet speak Spanish:

  1. Install the translation tool on your smartphone.
  2. Learn some basic Spanish (at the very least, “Sorry, I cannot speak Spanish, do you speak English?”)
  3. Look for young people who can ask for information if you need it. They are considerably more likely to speak English well and are frequently eager to assist.
  4. Most restaurants will be fluent in English and have an English menu, so don’t be hesitant to inquire.
  5. Taxi drivers rarely know English, so make a note of wherever you want to travel and present it to the driver.
Spanish for Travelers
Spanish for Travelers


Overall, Spain is a fantastic destination for English speakers. Every year, a large number of tourists visit the major towns and tourist sites, and as a result, individuals are used to using English, and there will constantly be someone to assist them if they get into trouble.

When visiting Spain, it is unrealistic and unfair to expect everyone to know your language. The official tongue of the country and the melody of the streets is Spanish! Understanding the language is necessary for understanding the culture.

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