Are you looking for a major lifestyle change? After the challenges of 2020 and the extended periods of lockdown, it’s no surprise that many people are starting to re-evaluate the way they live. For a completely fresh start, it’s also natural to consider whether a move to a different country will be the start of an exciting new chapter.
Whether it’s due to changes in your career prospects, retirement, or you’re just craving new adventures, if you’re looking to improve your quality of life, Spain is a fantastic choice. In fact, according to a 2019 survey done by Internations, Spain ranked 5th in the world for international expats in terms of overall quality of life, which includesfirel factors like healthcare, purchasing power, safety, and environmental concerns. With friendly people who enjoy a laid-back pace of life, it’s a modern nation that still places great value on its culture and traditions.
Great Reasons For Living In Spain As An Expat
In this guide, we’ll look in detail at the great reasons why living in Spain is a good experience if you are thinking about moving here for working or retire.
After the upheavals of corona and the crisis of war in Ukraine, the Spanish property market is expected by some experts to drop in 2022, while others claim that prices will rise. The truth is, the picture is unclear as no one completely understands the after-effects of the pandemic and the unexpected war. One widely accepted prediction is that properties with balconies and outside spaces will be in high demand as people seek to protect themselves from being confined in claustrophobic apartments in the case of future lock-downs.
There’s no doubt that a glut of attractive properties in tourist hot spots such as the Costa del Sol is available. The best strategy is to identify what kind of property you’re looking for and do your research to hunt down a bargain that will meet your needs. Spain is very cheap if you compare it with living in Ireland as an example and has affordable taxes policies.
Whether you want something ready to live in or decide to snap up a bargain and take on a renovation project, keep in mind that sometimes even a slight difference in location can have a significant impact on price. For example, while in Marbella, down on the coast, properties are at premium prices, beautiful rustic Fincas with spectacular rural views are available, only a few kilometers inland, at much more affordable prices.
Whether you’re looking for a luxury villa with a private pool, a condo next to a golf course, a mountain retreat, or an apartment overlooking a town center plaza, the Spanish property market always has a plentiful supply. Regarding your budget, you’ll need an extra 15% to the purchase price of a new property and about 11% if you’re buying a resale, which will increase if you take out a mortgage.
If you’re tired of the cold and rainy weather you live in, you couldn’t find a better place for your new home than Spain. First, no country in Europe has more hours of sunshine per year –3000 on average! Wherever you live in the country, you can expect around 300 days per year to be sunny, and in some regions (especially the Mediterranean coastline), that can rise to 320! What does that mean? Only 65 days per year will have cloudy skies!
It’s not surprising that the wonderful climate is one of the main attractions for foreigners looking for a new home. It’s one of the reasons why the World Health Organisation ranks Spain as one of the healthiest counties in the world.
Another reason Spain is considered so healthy is the national diet and range of foods typically consumed by residents. Spain is a huge exporter of produce, and locally grown fruits and vegetables are among the best in the world in terms of flavor and vitamin/mineral content.
The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been well-researched and are undeniable. Based on high-quality protein, healthy oils, and lots of vegetables, it is considered healthy for the heart and preventative in terms of a range of other serious diseases. Although other countries such as Italy and Greece have similar diets, Spain has a lower risk for heart disease. Why is this? What are they doing better?
The answer may lie in some of Spain’s delicious local foods. For example, gazpacho Andaluz (a cold soup based on tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic), seafood (sardines cooked over a grill, paella Valenciana), and potato omelets. Vegetables and salads are included with every meal.
Rather than huge plates of food, when dining out or snacking in bars, the Spanish go for tapas- small plates of different foods, so they can mix and match what they feel like eating and control the quantity of food they eat more easily. Snacking on tapas while sipping on a cold beer, a glass of local wine, or a sherry is a national pastime.
4.History and Culture
The history of the Mediterranean is endlessly fascinating, and every country has fascinating remains telling the story of the crisscrossing of different civilizations. The history of Spain is vibrant, and the evidence is there wherever you go. The country was occupied by many other societies – from Moors (Moroccan Amazigh), Celtic and Iberian cultures to the Romans, Phoenicians, and Greeks.
For over 900 years, the country was ruled by the Moors ( Moroccans ), so you can see their influence is evident everywhere in Modern Spain – in the buildings, the food, the music, and even the language. If you’re coming from the US, you’ll be astonished at the way such a rich and varied history surrounds you.
When you’re living in Spain, you’ll never be short of fantastic places to explore – the architecture and history of Spain’s great historic cities is something to soak up over multiple visits. For example, one of the gems of the south is Granada – it’s well worth spending a few days to explore and soak up the exotic atmosphere. The stunning Alhambra draws tourists worldwide to admire the unique Moorish architecture and superb gardens – an oasis of cool even in the heat of the summer months.
Another jewel is Sevilla. Its beautiful cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has 80 chapels and is the biggest in the world (by volume). Although Seville is packed with reminders of its varied past, such as the Real Alcazar, there’s more to this fantastic city than just its architecture. It’s a vibrant and modern cultural center, where ancient traditions meet the energy and enthusiasm of Spain’s artistic and creative elites. Many other cities to choose from: Madrid in the central zone, Malaga in the southeast, Santander in the north, and many others.
However, we can’t move on without a special mention of Barcelona, which has become one of Spain’s most popular destinations over the past couple of decades. Capital of the fiercely independent Catalan region, the city is always colorful, bustling, and vibrant. Of course, it’s most famous for the unique architecture of Antoni Gaudí, such as La Sagrada Familia and Casa Battló but move away from the tourist hotspots and there’s still so much atmosphere to soak in.
Now let’s move on to beaches, as being near the coastline is another reason people are attracted to living in Spain. If being near the sea and enjoying a laid-back beach lifestyle is what you’re looking for in your new life, then look no further! With over 3000 miles of coastline, you’ll undoubtedly find a location that will suit you perfectly in Spain. Of the top 25 beaches in Europe, five are considered in Spain. Playa de Cofete, in Moro del Jable, Fuerteventura, was voted on Trip Advisor as the second most beautiful beach in Europe
It’s not only about quantity; the quality of beaches and the amenities they offer are important, too. One in five Spanish beaches, more than 550, has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag. Criteria include water quality, lifeguarding services, public toilets, signage, parking proximity, sustainable management, recycling bins, and water sports activities.
Just want to relax on the beach and work on your tan? The Costa del Sol, or Costa Blanca are the places to be. Or if you’re going to feel more accessible and perhaps enjoy windsurfing and horse-riding on a windy expanse of white sand? Head down to Tarifa and the wide-open spaces of the Costa de la Luz.
And you won’t only find great beaches in the south of the country. If you prefer a slightly cooler climate, those in the north-western region of Asturias are thought of as some of the best beaches in Spain and remain a well-kept secret, away from the hordes of foreign tourists who flock to the Costas every summer. If you are moving outside your country for the first time, you can check our guide about the best tips to get ready to move to another country to learn the best hacks that can save you a lot of cash & time while relocating to a new destination.
7.The Beauty of The Scenery
Another of the reasons that living in Spain is such a great choice is the sheer natural beauty that surrounds you in almost every region. There are so many unspoiled places where you can wonder at the incredible marvels of the landscape. There are too many to mention, but here are just a few to whet your appetite!
Starting witrh Lleida in the north, the National Park of Aigüestortes is brimming with spectacular lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and high mountains, typical of the Catalan Pyrenees. You’ll never be short of hiking trails and wonderful spots for picnics.
In the lush green landscape of Asturias, you’ll find the Lagos de Covadonga. At an altitude of 100om above sea level, these two glacial lakes are surrounded by high mountainous peaks and the rich green pastures where the famous alpine cattle live.
Moving on to the protected zone of Salinas de San Pedro del Pinatar, Murcia, you’ll find the famous mud pools to bathe in and watch the unforgettable spectacle of thousands of flamingos rising as one from the pink-hued lake they call home. Remember that Spain is the best cheap travel destination if you are planning to spend a luxury vacation with your family on a budget because Prices are IRRESISTIBLE compared to the U.S.
We said before that evidence of Spain’s history is everywhere, and nowhere is this more true than in Las Medulas, Leon. The unique landscape, with its red-colored sand, has been created over two and a half centuries of open cast gold mining which has altered the shape of the mountain. Here was the largest gold mine in the Roman empire. Bring visitors here as dawn is breaking or the sun is setting to experience the amazing color scape at its most intense.
If you love the barren beauty of a true desert landscape, Bardenas Reales, in Navarra, is one of the most stunning in the world. The clay soils and sand have been eroded by wind and rain to create an eerily beautiful sight, so unique that it has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
And we’ve nowhere near finished exploring!
There’s the spectacular Tajo de Ronda, near Malaga… over 5 million years this amazing gorge has been eroding and now leads down to the Guadalevin River, while the iconic ‘New Bridge’ connects the two sides of this charming Andalusian town.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush combined with spectacular scenery head for the Caminito del Rey. It offers around 4 hours of hiking, with two footbridges and a suspension bridge more than 100 meters high, above the swirling waters of the Guadalhorce River.
The peaks of the Sierra de las Nieves, spectacular mountains behind Malaga, are often covered with snow during the winter months, while down on the coast, the weather is mild and balmy. If you’re a skier, no need to forego your favorite sport when you relocate to the sun, there are ski resorts less than 90 minutes from Malaga airport!
So Spain has all the natural beauty and diversity you could hope for in a new home. Not only will you want to travel around and explore for yourself, but you’ll also have plenty of places to show off to friends and family who’ll always be happy to be invited to stay with you!
Spain’s climate makes it the perfect place for outdoor sports. The professional arena is dominated by football, with world-beating clubs such as Real Madrid and FC Barcelona dominating La Liga. Spanish tennis players such as Rafa Nadal, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Carlos Moya are among the highest-ranked in the world and have huge followings in their home country. However, in terms of amateur sport, it’s not only these two that are popular. Basketball, handball, motorcycling, and skiing (see above) are also common pastimes.
Spain is also known as a golfer’s paradise. It boasts almost 400 courses, of which 70 are located on the Costa del Sol, often with properties built around the perimeter, so they attract enthusiasts from all over the world.
Cycling is another sport that attracts passionate amateur as well as professional riders. With good roads, plenty of challenging hills and mountains, and perfect weather, weekends see large numbers of cyclists, alone or in groups challenging themselves in the varied terrain and pleasant sunshine.
Spain also gave birth to a sport that has a huge following in the country, but it is little known outside it. Padel is a cross between tennis and squash, played outside on net-enclosed courts. It’s high-energy, fun, and highly competitive. Best, it can be enjoyed by kids as well as adults, and many parents invest in coaching for their children: talented players can win valuable prizes as well as trophies.
For millennia, due to its location and history, Spain has been one of the most diverse Spain diversity. It’s this that makes it so culturally stimulating – whether it’s food, art, or fashion, you’ll find influences from around the globe. Nationals from over 30 countries make their homes in Spain, in substantial numbers – not only do they originate from Europe, but also South America, Africa, and Asia.
It’s surprising to know that there are even 50,000 US citizens who have chosen to make their home in Spain. So you’ll find that people are used to living with others from all over the world and they’ll be ready to welcome you warmly into this cultural melting pot. Spain still one of the best countries for American expats to live in on a budget because it’s offers everything with nice weather all the year.
Also, whatever kind of food you love – you’ll find restaurants to cater to your tastes. Whatever style of music you go far – salsa, Arab influenced, rap, or Euro pop – you’ll encounter musicians playing in that genre. Art, fashion, design – Spain’s ability to integrate and reinvent different cultural influences is unrivaled.
But what about the more typical traditions that Spain is known for? Perhaps the most iconic is Flamenco. The music originated in Andalusia, in southern Spain where Arabs, Jews, Christians, and Gitanos (gypsies) mixed freely. It’s one of the most energetic and passionate dance styles anywhere and has become a symbol of Spain’s identity.
Having said that, it’s possible to learn the basics at almost any dance school in Spain or enjoy evenings at one of the flamenco bars and clubs you’ll find in every town. You’ll find the people there are welcoming and even if you don’t feel ready to dance, you can enjoy the tapas, the wine, and the intoxicating rhythm of the traditional flamenco guitars.
At this point, we should mention the other iconic folklorist tradition – the bullfight. Although fights are still well attended in many parts of Spain, the younger generation is turning away and in many towns, the bullring has now been re-purposed. The most famous bullfighters are still idolized, but with anti-bullfighting voices becoming ever louder, the future of the sport is unclear.
The one traditional event that still attracts a huge crowd is the “Running of Bulls” during the San Fermines festival in Pamplona, when bulls run freely through the streets and young men also run, trying not to be gored. Bullfights are still part of any fiesta but are no longer central, and many Spaniards, as well as most foreigners, have never attended one.
We can’t finish this look at some of the many reasons why living in Spain is a great idea, without mentioning festivals. The Spanish love their festivals – each time will have a festival, as well as each region. There are religious festivals and secular festivals. First, expect businesses to be closed for the duration – everyone wants to take part in the celebrations. Next, expect everyone to be outside, socializing, enjoying each other’s company.
Traditional music and dancing plenty of local foods and wines on offer are taken as standard, although each town will add its unique touches that the town next door just can’t match! When you’re living in Spain, don’t think twice about going along and partaking in everything the festival has to offer. You’ll be more than welcome and it’s a great way to make new friends and really become part of the local community.
To summarize, with its affordable property prices, fantastic weather, spectacular scenery, and warm, hospitable people, what’s not to love about living in Spain? There’s so much to explore, you’ll never be bored. Delicious local food and drink contribute to a healthy lifestyle, as do the many opportunities to practice sports and fitness activities.
There aren’t many countries where you can be sure that the local people will welcome and accept you in the way that Spanish people typically do. We forgot to mention above that if you have kids, it’s one of the most child-friendly places you could wish to raise them – the Spanish just adore their children! The free education system is good quality and what better start could your kids have than being fluent in two languages or more.
In short, do your research, for sure, but you can be absolutely confident that, living in Spain, you’ll enjoy a wonderful quality of life that the folks back home will envy!