Due to the globalised society we live in, the importance of communicating in English in various fields such as business, travel, science and technology is now higher than ever. For this reason, many countries around the world have adopted the communicative approach as the leading method used in foreign language teaching. Communicative language teaching (CLT), as the name suggests, is based on the theory that the key function of language use is communication and thus, the development of the students communicative competence is considered as the main goal in the foreign language classroom. The central aim of this qualitative study is to analyse to what extent the communicative approach is used in secondary schools in Austria and Spain. In particular, this research project addresses the following research questions: To what extent is the communicative approach implemented in secondary schools of Austria and Spain? Are there any impediments to implementing the communicative approach in either country? In order to answer these questions, three classes with students approximately 12, 15 and 17 years old were observed in Austria and Spain. The data was collected via video and voice recordings, a structured protocol, and open-ended questionnaires. The results show that the only one Austrian participant implemented the communicative approach to a great extent, while the other participants incorporated CLT to a rather limited extent. This was due to various restraints that hindered the successful implementation of the communicative approach. These included misconceptions about CLT, the low proficiency level of the students, the learners unwillingness to communicate in the L2, weakly communicative teaching material, as well as exam-oriented teaching.