Spain can always be found riding high in the ‘best places to live’ world rankings, largely because it offers the perfect blend of lifestyle choices, a high standard of living, a variety of highly appealing urban and rural surroundings and lovely sunshine for most of the year.
Combine this with enviable statistics for health and life expectancy, rich culture and tradition, a warm welcome and some of the world’s best food and it’s easy to see why so many people from all over Europe and beyond have chosen to make Spain their home.
However if you still need convincing, here are ten of the reasons why you should move to Spain:
From sleepy townhouses overlooking picturesque village squares to sumptuous villas surrounded by lush golf courses, and from exquisite city apartments in historic cities to fisherman’s cottages on golden Blue Flag beaches, Spain offers homes to suit all tastes.
The country’s reputation as a haven for seaside retirees is understandably justified, but the profile has changed in recent years and hotspots for youthful living and technology are just as likely to attract your singles or couples, and they are more likely to be looking for sleek high rise apartments with stunning views and all mod cons.
Spain has a high-quality transport infrastructure that makes getting about easy. In fact, the country was only just outside the top ten in the World international Forum’s ranking for infrastructure and logistical services.
There are 17,000km of main roads including well-maintained and relatively uncrowded main highways between cities. Trains offer a genuine alternative, with the longest rail network in Europe covering the country and now offering high-speed links between Barcelona and Paris. There are also plenty of airports for domestic and international travel, (including direct flights to the Far East and the States) and these work with the comprehensive ferry routes to bring the islands within easy reach.
Spain is famous for its year-round sunny climate, perfectly conducive to the outdoors lifestyle, whether this means chilling out on a terrace or in a beach bar, taming a world-class golf course, kite surfing, hiking, jogging or catching some rays by the pool.
The ability to plan ahead – safe in the knowledge that the weather is very unlikely to let you down – is one of the main attractions of daily life. Spain is a large country, so you can choose between serious heat or more mild conditions, and some areas are more prone to rain, making the landscape more lush, and also means snow in the mountains.
Fundamentally Spain is a stable country both politically and economically. It offers reliable healthcare and well-run legal and municipal systems that contribute to a favourable lifestyle. As a dedicated member of the EU, it also offers new arrivals the security of being a part of something bigger that offers freedom of movement across the continent.
Spain’s stability is also demonstrated by the excellent education system, stretching from first steps up to secondary schools and on into university. In the big cities and enclaves where the population is particularly diverse, there is also a healthy offering of international schools that conform to a range of educational systems, opening up the opportunity for kids to become multilingual through their daily lives.
While employment opportunities vary between regions, Spain has a growing profile on the international stage, which translates into opportunities for employment. Tourism has traditionally been the cornerstone of the job market, but big hitters from the global tech industry are taking the opportunity to set up in Spain (assisted by the burgeoning high-speed broadband network), which broadens the opportunities for job seekers from across the world.
The Mediterranean diet is renowned for its health benefits, but Spain’s culinary offering has gained a reputation for excellence driven by celebrity chefs such as Ferran Adriá (El Bulli) and the Roca brothers (El Celler de Can Roca) whose creations have taken them to the top of the ‘Best Restaurants in the World’ lists.
The world of tapas has grown in popularity and been exported to trendy city centres all over the globe, bolstered and washed down happily with Spain’s growing reputation for fine wines. Despite all of this glamour, the simple joys of Spanish cooking can also be found on just about every street corner, whether you’re a enjoying a simple slice of tortilla with a beer or sharing a paella on the beach.
It feels like there’s a fiesta or celebration just about every day in Spain, and this love of partying means that wherever you go you’ll find an experience to remember. Breath-taking marquee events are known throughout the world, from the running of the bulls or the bonkers La Tomatina festival, but endless local versions are waiting to be discovered.
Art, history and creativity are everywhere, and always framed by entertainment and fun. And you don’t need to go to a big city to find them. Wherever you go you’ll be sure to find smaller and more intimate celebrations, marked by dancing and music in a square, street parties that continue long into the night and – be prepared – frenetic outbreaks of fireworks, fire-breathing dragons and little devils throwing bangers with abandon.
Day to day traditions are also on show at all times and while trendy baristas can be found in some places, the emphasis is on small, local, family establishments, perfect for a quiet Vermouth or a treacly shot of coffee as you watch the world go by.
Spain takes sport very seriously, and has brought many excellent champions of golf, tennis, motorsports and cycling to the world stage. Whatever you like to play, in teams or solo, on the beach or in the mountains, Spain has ideal settings and high-quality facilities.
Golf courses are abundant, while water sports and beach activities can be enjoyed long into the warm evenings and the ski slopes of the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada cater for the cooler sports. And those wishing to watch rather than participate can take tours of the big football clubs or visit museums to relive former glories such as the 1992 Olympics.
Spain is steeped in tradition and culture. The visual wonders of exquisite landmarks, well-preserved Roman ruins and eclectic architectural marvels from down the ages contribute to a visual patchwork built with Arabic, Gothic and Modernista influences.
UNESCO World Heritage sites are in more abundance In Spain that anywhere except Italy and China, and the 42 sites include the Sagrada Familia, the Alhambra and the Vizcaya Bridge to histories cities, stunning national parks and the island of Ibiza. But you don’t need a guidebook to discover Spain’s heritage. This is a country that rewards exploration at just about every turn.
Spain is all about community, family and sharing good times. From grandparents to new arrivals, buzzing social groups are found from San Sebastian to Seville. Discussions can get heated but life is never boring as arms are waved, voices are raised and more often than not everything will degenerate into shrugs, embraces and another glass of wine.
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