The Big Move: Transporting Your Possessions to Spain

So, you’ve decided that you want to up sticks and move to Spain? Congratulations! Now you’re probably wondering how you’re going to transport all of your belongings from one country to another. Whether you have a wardrobe full of clothes you can’t live without, furniture that would look perfect in your new Spanish home, or even want to bring your beloved car with you, it is possible to transport almost everything. But how? Don’t worry, we're here to help.


With a whole host of airports, international shipping ports and an extensive road and train network all experienced in dealing with international moves to and from the country, moving your belongings to Spain doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s how:

Everything You Need to Know About Air Freight

One of the fastest and easiest ways to transfer your belongings internationally into Spain is by air freight. However, the costs for this can quickly escalate for particularly large or heavy items, so it is a service that should be used wisely.

To help you to better plan your move, the following airports across Spain are serviced by international removal companies: Alicante, Arrecife, Barcelona, Bilbao, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Le Palma, Madrid, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville, Tenerife South, Zaragoza.

The cost of air freight

Air freight costs generally cost several times more than shipping your goods by sea, but the service is also much quicker, taking just days rather than the months that it can take for a shipping container to arrive. (You can typically expect your freight to arrive within a week). It is an ideal choice if you’re in a hurry to make your move, or if you want to receive some of your most important possessions as quickly as possible. When it comes to choosing air freight, the lighter the better is a good rule of thumb: it’s important to remember that costs will depend on the weight of your shipment, so probably not the best way to send your fridge or your car!

Finding and packing for air freight

Perhaps the cheapest and most convenient way to move your belongings by air is to carry them in an additional suitcase via the excess baggage system. If you want to carry anything bigger or heavier than this, you will need to secure an online air freight provider. Use the websites of shipping companies or price comparison tools to get a general idea of what your shipment might cost: however don’t take these prices at face value. Consider that the estimated costs they will provide online won’t include insurance, handling fees or minimum shipment charges. With this in mind, when you’re ready for an accurate quote, it would be wiser to call the provider directly for this instead.

Once you’ve chosen your provider, it’s likely that you’ll have to pack your belongings yourself (look for a specialist provider if you want a packing service included too). Your items can then be collected from your home in a door to door service that will make the whole process as easy and convenient as possible. Just bear in mind that speed and convenience comes at a cost.

Everything You Need to Know About Shipping Freight

The most common way to transport your possessions to Spain is via shipping container. In fact, Spain is one of the biggest receivers of shipping containers in Europe. The five main ports in the country (which account for around 80% of all incoming containers) are Valencia, Bahia de Algeciras, Barcelona, Palma, and Bilbao. In terms of convenience and affordability, these are the five most recommended ports in the country. Shipping your goods by container is generally much cheaper than shipping by air freight, meaning that it’s the best option if you have a significant amount of large items that you’d like to ship to your new home.

Costs and Transit Times

Despite these lower costs (which are undeniably appealing) the main drawback of of choosing shipping freight is the amount of time it takes for your possessions to arrive. The length of time it will take for your products to arrive will depend on where you are shipping them from: if you’re moving from the UK then expect to get your belongings in around a week, whilst shipping from the US could take a few weeks. That means that you’ll be without your goods for a while, regardless of which country you’re living in, so you may wish to stay with families and friends or book into a hotel.

Finding and Packing For Shipping Freight

Much like with air freight, the best way to find out more about shipping freight providers and prices is to look online. You can get a basic quote using a price comparison website. The good news about shipping freight is that you pay based on the size and amount of space you need rather than the amount it weights: this is ideal if you want to ship heavier items such as heavy furniture, white goods or even your car. You can either buy a whole container or for part of a container. The sizes available are as follows:

  • 20-foot container – usually fits the contents of a two to three bedroom house.
  • 40-foot container – ideal for a four to five bedroom house and a car.

It’s likely that you will have to pack all of your belongings yourself before they are placed into your container, as some shipping companies will only accept your goods if you can confirm that you have packed them for customs purposes.

Everything You Need to Know About Road and Rail Freight

Relocating from inside Europe? Then transferring your goods by either road or by rail could end up being the fastest, easiest, and most hassle-free way of getting them from A to B. You could even hire a removal van and drive your belongings yourself as a way of getting not only your goods but also yourself to your new home! If you’re looking for a more hands off approach then some road freight and removal companies offer regular grouped freight services to major cities in Spain, and it’s also possible to take advantage of door-to-door relocation services.

Using International Removal Companies

An international removal company will certainly be the easiest way of transporting your good by road: however if you think this might be the best option for you then you should try to book as soon as possible in advance. The best relocation companies tend to book up particularly early.

If you’re looking to make your move as simple and stress free as possible then another advantage of an international removal company is that they offer a packing and unpacking service, meaning that you can walk out of your house in one country and then walk straight into it in another, having found all of your goods have been unpacked and the house is ready to live in.

Understanding Customs and Importing Goods in Spain 

Finally, you may be wondering whether you will be subject to any custom checks or importing charges when transporting your belongings into Spain. You won’t need to pay duty charges on your personal goods as long as you’ve owned them for a minimum of three months (or six if you’re a non-EU resident). You’ll also need to have lived outside of Spain for at least one year, and you won’t be able to sell the items for one year after moving to Spain. You’ll also be expected to show a full inventory of the goods that you are bringing into the country and your Spanish residence certificate.

Bringing pets into Spain will be subject to a different lists of requirements, and cannot be transported in regular freight. You’ll need a special licence for any guns being imported, certificates for any plants and you’ll need to pay duty on any new furniture worth more than €3,000.

Are you thinking of buying a property in Spain? Then get in touch with our local and knowledgeable property experts today.