Quality of life: Spain has a high quality of life. The sun shines almost 320 days a year, which induces good mood, encourages most locals to walk and spend a lot of time outdoors, whether on the beach, on the terraces or in the mountains. Some customers wonder if moving to Spain is a good idea. However, the answer is not a simple case of yes or no.
The answer depends on the circumstances of your current lifestyle, whether you are a family or need to work. Everyone's reasons for moving to Spain are different. Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe, and expatriates often feel safe in Spain. There is no great threat of violence and serious crimes and terrorist threats are rare.
Usually, the biggest interaction that expats have with the police will be if they want to make a noise complaint. Spain offers an excellent lifestyle and climate, and if you are retired and receive a pension, we would definitely recommend that you move to Spain. However, the younger you are, the more uncertain the possibility of moving to Spain will be. A lot depends on your career and your job prospects, your personal skills, your character and your ability to speak Spanish.
The decision to move is yours alone. Moving to Spain is a great cultural experience that will expand your horizons and those of your family. If you have children, they will learn and master Spanish and will know many nationalities and experience many cultural differences. Some people like to show off by telling everyone how late they like to have dinner, but in Spain it's hard to do it, they'll always have it later than you.
Spaniards usually have lunch at 3 pm and dinner at 9 pm, with those two meals being much more important than you are used to in the UK. No sandwiches on the desks or fast food in the microwave in front of the TV. It's a proper meeting with your friends and family: bring out the wine, talk about your life, all that. Lunch is actually called the food, literally “the food”.
Unsurprisingly, people think the wrong time zone has something to do with these late meals. In fact, Spain is full of languages. The “Spanish” we talked about in the previous section is more specifically known as “Spanish”. If a northerner and a southerner start talking to each other in Spain, it's not just a difference in accent that could pose a problem.
In Spain, 16 different languages are spoken (including the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands), including Catalan (4.6 million speakers), Galician (2.6 million speakers), Valencian (2 million speakers) and Basque (900,000 speakers). There are also some very specialized languages, such as Fala Galaico-Extremeña, spoken by 6,000 people in the Jálama Valley, near the border with Portugal in central western Spain. Just don't call these languages “dialects”, this can be very offensive and it's a bit like saying “your little unofficial language”. Many people (not you, obviously) don't realize that Spain was an Islamic country for a long time before it became a fully Catholic country.
In 711 AD, a group of people from North Africa (known as the Moors) marched directly to old-world Spain. After some clashes with some locals called Visigoths, the Moors took the Iberian Peninsula for themselves, and called it al-Andalus (hence the reason why today we have the southern region of Andalusia). In the approximately 750 years until Catholics united, the Moors left a mark on Spain that would remain forever. Today's “traditional” Spanish menu would be much less exciting without the Moorish contribution; firstly, a Mediterranean paella wouldn't have rice.
The Moors gave Spain rice, sugar, distilled alcohol, almonds and even the concept of frying things in oil. They also introduced advanced irrigation into Spanish agriculture, which meant that olive trees could flourish properly. Nowadays you can still find mosques and arabesque towers in Spain, particularly in Granada and Córdoba. Like the United Kingdom, Spain has a monarch in command.
And like the United Kingdom, it doesn't really mean anything: the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, is the one who is really in charge. King Philip VI obviously has a tiring diplomatic job, but he doesn't wield much power. In fact, the Spanish monarchy had a rather long break in the 20th century, beginning with the deposition of King Alfonso XIII in 1931, and ending with the death of dictator General Franco in 1975, when King Juan Carlos I ascended the throne. Things were good for 40 years, until Juan Carlos was involved in a series of scandals and quickly abdicated.
When your country is in financial crisis, one of the last things you do is take an expensive elephant hunting trip. If you're moving to Spain for hot summers and mild winters, you need to make sure you're heading to the right part of the country. In reality, Spain is home to a wide variety of climates, being the fourth largest country in Europe (behind Russia, Ukraine and France). For example, if you go on holiday to Bilbao (a city on the Atlantic coast of Spain), expect to see rain 50% of the year and some rather cold summers.
Of course, in the mountains of the Pyrenees (for example,. In the northern part of Navarra and Aragon), the weather becomes even colder. It is in the Andalusian plain of Spain, where temperatures can be scorching; Cordoba and Seville are two of the warmest cities in Europe, with summer temperatures often exceeding 45°C. When you move to Spain, check what kind of procedures you need to process in order to access your social values in Spain.
However, we already tried Barcelona and it was much worse than Seville, hence the title in relation to Spain as a whole. Go to my blog and read my most recent post, “How to Stay in Spain More Than 90 Days as an American. This checklist highlights all the steps that are absolutely necessary to move to Spain, regardless of whether it is for pleasure or otherwise. Spain is divided into different wine-producing regions, known as designations of origin (DOC), and there are 138 in total.
With a rich and rugged history, culture enthusiasts will find many things that interest them in Spain, including medieval buildings and picturesque walled villages. With so many hours of sunshine, Spain could install a large number of solar panels, reduce prices for its citizens and export to other European countries. Apart from perhaps Madrid, accommodation in Spain tends to be much more affordable than in other prominent European countries. For people who want to retire in Spain, this may seem like a big disadvantage, as older people may want to enjoy their peace and quiet.
One of the biggest advantages of living in Spain is that you can access a wide variety of cities, beaches, mountains, forests and more. Of course, move to a remote destination without expats, and you need to learn Spanish, but otherwise, most of the expat population learn one word in Spanish a day. . .