Read more about living in Spain as a tourist or resident

En fin dag i Malaga, maj 2023

Spain’s regions

If you are thinking about Spain, there is a lot to know. The Costa Blanca, Barcelona, Mallorca and the Canary Islands have a lot of visiting Northern Europeans during the winter months and many of them choose to get their own accommodation either for year-round living or as a holiday home.

Spain is full of old towns with vibrant squares and beautiful architecture. Both small towns and villages and large cities are often very beautiful with a well-planned cityscape and historic neighbourhoods.

Many of Spain’s largest cities are historic cities with architecture and history dating back hundreds of years, such as Seville, Barcelona, Malaga, Bilbao, Cartagena, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Alicante and many more.

Around the Costa del Sol and the Canary Islands, the sun is almost always shining. Temperatures rarely drop below 10 degrees and most days during the winter months are between 15 and 20 degrees when the sun comes out. In southern Gran Canaria it is 25-30 degrees all year round so it is a very pleasant climate to be in during the cold season.

Good food and great wines.

Spanish food is tasty and is a big part of Spanish culture. Different regions have their own specialities, but the common denominator is that it is tasty and it is common to go out and enjoy your meal together.

Five most common wine regions:

  • Rioja – bordering Navarre to the south, this is Spain’s most famous wine region.
  • Galicia – located in the north-west corner of Spain, north of Portugal, and known for its white wines.
  • Navarre – region in northern Spain
  • Castile – León – region in central Spain Catalonia – region in the north-eastern corner of Spain.
  • Catalonia – region in the north-eastern corner of Spain.

Price level

Prices for food, both in shops and restaurants, are lower than in many other country in Europe, and clothing and other products are also cheaper. Hiring a craftsman or buying services is often cheaper in Spain. However, inflation and the value of currency obviously affect prices over time. With a normal income, you can live at a decent level thanks to a generally lower price level. Especially nightlife in restaurants is cheaper than in this case expensive countrys.

Social life och Spanish culture

Spaniards meet in bars, restaurants, cafés and especially on the playa where they eat and drink well while socialising. Social life lasts from early morning until late at night. Spanish culture is an integral part of society and most Spaniards are proud of their region and its traditions, and there are many Spanish festivals around the country throughout the year.

Spanish is a wonderful language to listen to, a beautiful language spoken in many countries. If you want to learn Spanish, you can enrol in one of the many Spanish courses available and also practise yourself with the Duolingo app. For example, the Church of Sweden and AHN have Spanish courses for Nordic citizens. Learning the language is important if you want to enter Spanish society, especially “everyday life” becomes easier.

Playan Fuengirola

Fruits and vegetables

A lot of fruit and vegetables are grown in Spain. Some is sprayed but there are organic farms all over Spain. These freshly picked vegetables and fruit are often sold at local markets or small shops and there is always a wide range of fresh and tasty vegetables at lower prices than in other countrys.

Varför inte en färskpressad juice vid Apelsintorget
Freshly squeezed juice at the orange square in Marbella

Fantastic beaches and scenic and varied landscapes.

Spain is well known for its beaches that adorn the miles of coastline along the Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz, Costa Brava and many more.

Of course, the Spanish islands, the Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, and the Canary Islands also have great beaches.

There are 16 national parks in Spain, 10 on the mainland, 4 in the Canary Islands and 1 in the Balearic Islands. You can even go skiing in several places, including the Sierra Nevada in Andalusia.  

If you’re a nature lover and enjoy hiking, there’s plenty of unspoilt nature and hiking trails available. There are some of the world’s most famous hiking trails, including the Caminito del Rey and Camino de Santiago.

Family life

Spaniards generally have close contact with their family and, compared to Sweden, it can be said that the family is more important in terms of childcare, intergenerational living and socialising.

As grandparents get older, they sometimes move in with their children (this is perhaps a generational issue) and retirement homes are less common in Spain, partly for economic reasons, but also because of strong family ties.

Mañana Mañana is a classic expression, in other words, enjoy life and don’t stress out. The expression can also be explained as “it will work out” or that there is no stress. However, as with family ties, Mañana Mañana is a generational issue and is starting to disappear among the younger generation.

There are many Scandinavians and English people in Spain.

Spain is one of the countries with the highest number of Scandinavian and English migrants who have moved here permanently. Migrants include both younger families with children and older seniors.

Because there are so many Scandinavians and English living on the Costa del Sol, a service sector has developed for these people and there are many companies that have focussed on helping migrants in their new home country. Thanks to the large number of these migrants there is a good selection of goods, shops and restaurants for these people.

Spain’s healthcare system

EU citizens have access to public health care, but there is also private health insurance and private hospitals and private health centres where you can get a English doctor or interpreter. The queues for medical care are not particularly long and you can get help quickly. It usually doesn’t take long in hospitals in Spain to get in and see a doctor.

Fast trains and good public transport.

For example, there are fast trains that take 2.5 hours from Madrid to Málaga, a distance that takes around 6 hours or more by car. Trains make travelling between cities easy. Similarly, public transport is well developed. Of course, it may still be more convenient to take the car to some destinations, but on the whole there is a good network of buses and trains that make it possible to get around by public transport.

Spain – a safe country

The police presence is clear and frequent. In addition, the Spanish police have more powers than the English police.
 With the exception of pickpockets or thieves “lurking” on the playa, the risk of being exposed to crime is very small. The big cities are of course more affected and crime occurs in Spain in different ways. You do not feel unsafe when you are outdoors at night, there are a lot of people moving around and it generally feels safe at any time of day.

The Light

Many people who have moved to Spain cite the light as a major advantage. In winter it is dark early in England, but when the sun goes down it is still bright in Spain. There are many more hours in the day with light during the winter months and the light gives energy and joy.

If you like to grow and maintain a garden, it is of course much easier when the climate is better. Lemon and orange trees, avocados and figs are popular. The same goes for various herbs such as basil, parsley, coriander, rosemary and others.

Living in Spain as a family with children – senior?

Many people dream of getting a small house or apartment with a sea view in Spain after retirement. Sure, it’s great, but what’s it really like to live in Spain? First of all, there’s more money in your wallet every month and the climate is kinder to your body and health. Plus, the cost of living is lower, so you can spend more money on good food and healthcare.

As a family with children, it is more complicated as you usually need a livelihood and schools for the children. There are English schools in Marbella, Fuengirola, Gran Canaria, Mallorca and Madrid. The English schools are of good quality and are subject to a fee; there is often a waiting period for these schools. In addition to this, which is not so small, living in Spain with children is no problem. As a family with children, it requires planning and knowing what you want with your move.

Summary

The climate is much better, it is not even comparable, the Spanish are social and open to strangers so you feel welcomed here. The price level is lower, which means that you simply get more for your money in Spain. Spain is a fantastic place to live if you can and want to. If you have a decent pension or profession that allows you to work in Spain, just try it. England exists where it exists and you can always return.

Before you buy a home, it might be a good idea to try out a few different places to see where you like it and how the country and surroundings work.


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