Bar work in Spain

Spanish bar decoration

Restaurant, Hotel and bar work in Spain are the typical employment of many looking to pass the summer here... whilst not spending their travel funds!

Fancy a summer in Spain? You can do it!

Whilst you will never get rich you can certainly spend a summer enjoying making new friends and gaining life experience that will serve you well later in life. Of course some people do "go native" and remain in Spain becoming a part of the furniture!

Remember! Restaurant, hotel & bar work in Spain is only available to those who have the right to work in Spain!


Before considering a summer working in Spain there are a number of things you can do to help yourself get ahead:

  • Research the area to which you will going.You will be asked for information from tourists
  • Prepare a one page Spanish & English CV. Print out a number of copies to take with you
  • Find a minimum of one weeks cheap accomodation (Hostel)
  • Do a Spanish language course of whatever length you can. Very important
  • Make sure you have a reserve of funds to "get out" if things don´t work out for you.
  • Be prepared to bring only essentials in a practical rucksac
  • Make sure you have an E111 Medical form
  • Find out where the social security (seguridad social) offices are in your destination
Whilst a lot of the above may seem obvious, every summer many people arrived ill prepared and find the first two months very difficult / stressful. With a little planning that stress can be easily avoided and you can hit the ground running. Remember that any employer wants someone who is serious about what they are doing.

Upon arrival

So its time to get that first job. Do you want bar work in Spain or are you a little broader in your horizons? Although not as socially rewarding, working in a Spanish rstaurant brings with it greater pay (on average) and being fed helps to keep your costs down. Alternatively employment in a Spanish hotel may come with accomodation. However before you do anything else:

Buy a Spanish mobile phone / Sim card

Ninety-nine percent of potential employers are loath to call a foreign telephone number. Make sure you have the number on your CV´s (handwritten is fine)

Ok, lets get those CV´s out there. A lot of walking ahead of you so plan a circular route and target the following (in order of greater possibility of employment):

  1. Bars & Restaurants of your home country
  2. Hotels
  3. Larger Spanish bars and Discos NB: Club in Spain refers to a stripclub!
  4. Tourist attractions (Theme parks, boat tours, waterparks etc)
  5. Small Spanish bars and tourist shops
Do not be dissapointed if you are not called immediately for interview / offered a job. Finding hotel, restaurant or bar work in Spain depends a lot on luck and timing!

Residents Tip for Bar work in Spain

Residents Tip: Year round hotel, restaurant & bar work in Spain tends only to be available in the biggest resorts and cities. In the resorts it is best to arrive in March / April before the season gets underway. Any later and you will be waiting for positions to open up after someone else has been fired / left.

Social Security / Tax

Most hotels, restaurants and bars will only employ people who have "papeles". This signifies that they require that you have been to the local Social Security office and received a Spanish social security number. This is a relatively quick and painless process but the sooner done the better. You can do this whilst awaiting the replies to the CV´s you handed out!

Assuming that you encounter a job you will have to pay taxes. These will be automatically deducted at the apropriate rate by your employer. If you spend more than 180 days in Spain in that year you will be liable to make a Spanish tax declaration in March April of the following year (Spanish tax year is Jan-Dec). If not then you will have to declare these earnings in your home country. Your home country will then reclaim these taxes from Spain.

If you are looking to spend more than five months in Spain it is highly advisable that you apply for a residents card at the local town hall. "Ayuntamiento"


Typical spanish costal restaurant

Finding bar work in Spain, equally any other summer work, is a matter of timing and luck. It is not difficult and if you put the effort in you can find year round employment. In most resorts ex pats know one another and if you fit in you will be well looked after.

The lifestyle is one of hard work and long hours but the free time is of the highest quality available. After all, who else wakes up to find the beach on their doorstep! You will not earn a fortune (starting salaries for bar work in Spain are around €650 take home a month) but tips, free food and new friends to share an apartment with make life so appealing that many stay for two or three years!

Check out the Madrid forum and message board for more on summer work in Spain

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