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Choosing Where to Live in Spain: vibrant urban life or chilled country lifestyle?

Choosing where to live in Spain is not an easy choice. Are you enticed by vibrant urban life or would you prefer a chilled country lifestyle in Spain? We help you decide.

Lockdown has given us much to think about. Many of us have been spending days holed up in apartments in city centres with limited access to green spaces and have been craving a more rural setting .

If you have been planning to relocate or buy a second home in Spain, this downtime will no doubt have given you time to think about whether city life or country living would be more suitable for your future needs. Rural living has come into its own in the last few weeks and there has been a lot of talk about the benefits of living outside the city, but there are still numerous positives when it comes to an urban lifestyle. Here we look at the advantages of both to help you come to a decision which is right for you.

City Life

Job opportunities

If you are planning to relocate to Spain and need to find employment, you will need to at least start your job hunt in the city. Spain’s larger cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia dominate when it comes to the jobs market. In recent years, hundreds of international companies, including numerous digital tech companies from the US, have chosen to relocate or have a presence in Spain’s urban centres where rents are lower and the cost of living often much cheaper than in Northern European and American cities. Depending upon your chosen industry, working in the city will generally offer better pay prospects as well as a wider choice of employer.

Office life is slowly getting back to ‘normal’, albeit with restrictions in place, and it will probably continue to be the best way to move up any career ladder.

Schools

The vast majority of good international and state schools are based in Spain’s cities and tend to have a better reputation and academic record than rural schools. From multilingual nurseries and early years options that integrate numerous languages to exams such as the International Baccalaureate, parents have access to many different options among schools in the city. Private school fees in Spain vary considerably depending on the reputation and location of a school but costs are relatively low compared to those of private education in Northern Europe and North America. Not surprisingly, schools located in Madrid and Barcelona are among the most expensive.

Well connected
If you are travelling to and from your home in Spain for leisure or business on a regular basis then the need for good transport links is paramount. Airports and train stations can generally be found close to or within city centres, as well as bus routes and taxis to get there and back. If you are travelling by car from other parts of Europe, all major motorways converge on the major towns and cities, making it a faster journey than if you were heading somewhere more rural. Spain’s cities also offer high speed internet coverage via 3G and 4G networks, ideal for virtual working if needs be.

Better amenities and access to culture
The importance of good healthcare access has been at the forefront of most people’s minds during the current pandemic. Spain’s healthcare system is generally regarded as excellent and its best hospitals are located in its city centres. Healthcare in Spain consists of both private and public services with some hospitals and healthcare centres offering both. Cities also offer a much wider choice of amenities and services such as gyms, opticians, dry cleaners, supermarkets (often 24/7) and real estate agents as well as specialist shops. Museums, galleries, theatres and libraries are all easily accessible and a lot of them are free.

Vibrancy
Spain is renowned for its café culture and despite the current restrictions on the number of customers allowed in bars and restaurants, recent images of (socially distanced) groups chatting on terraces proves that the desire to socialise has not diminished. Food and drink bring people together and with it, a sense of connection, something particularly important for the younger generation. For the discerning diner, the city will always offer a greater choice of eateries than you would find in villages as well as more innovation and competitive pricing.

Country Life

Less competition and more for your money
It’s no shock that life in the countryside is a lot less expensive than life in the city. From properties to services, you can get a lot more for you money. A two-bedroom apartment in a city centre may buy the equivalent of a family house with a garden and pool in the country. Buying a home also tends to be less competitive in the country than in the city with fewer people vying for the same property, allowing more room for negotiation and resulting in a lower closing price for the buyer.

Community spirit
Spanish rural villages have no shortage of this. In good times it may manifest itself as a friendly wave or a social get-together in the local town hall or café in a central ‘plaza’. In the recent more challenging times it has been a case of locals rallying round, whether it is bringing meals to the elderly or walking someone’s dog.

More space, less noise and pollution
If you’ve ever been in the countryside and looked up at the sky, you will appreciate just how beautiful the uninterrupted horizon is. Having more space is one of the obvious attractions of living in the countryside, where homes have bigger gardens and fewer cars on the roads. What’s more, with more green space comes greater air quality and less rubbish and pollution, as well as all the health benefits that go alongside it.

Close to nature
Living in the countryside means you will have ample chances to spend time appreciating nature and the amazing scenery that the Spanish countryside has to offer. Spain has some beautiful countryside with idyllic vistas of olive groves and vineyards, mountains and valleys. If you like the idea of spending time partaking in outdoor activities or enjoy country walks, then living in the country could be ideal for you.


Flexibility for home-workers
If you are someone who can work virtually then life in rural Spain can offer the perfect balance of mental stimulation and tranquility as and when you want it. Finding good internet connection can sometimes be challenging especially in very rural areas but the gap is closing. Providers offering satellite internet are also now able to set up systems in homes that don’t yet have ground-based internet, giving more options for remote working.


The world is changing, and with it people’s property requirements. Living in the country may be looking more attractive than city living at present, but the big question is, will it last?

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