Life in Spain could be good for your soul and your pocket, and that's what we all need today. Here, all the details.
By Viviana Echeverria
Published in Live in Spain
If you want to relax and retire abroad, the options offered by Spain's sun-drenched coast are worth at least including on your list.
The colourful dawns of Barcelona, the paellas of a summer afternoon facing the Mediterranean, the moonlight playing with the walls of the thousand-year-old Alhambra in Granada or a balcony in Seville overlooking the largest Gothic church in the world. Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, you should know that it is possible.
The lifestyle in Spain is truly enviable...
You could spend days following in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway in the region of Navarre, with its wide open spaces, its delicious regional cuisine and its mild climate. Or you could consider the pleasures of wandering through the narrow, labyrinthine streets of Granada's old town and be transported to a time when exotic Moors ruled part of the Iberian Peninsula.
You might even enjoy exploring the southern coast of the country to find some of the most pristine (and least crowded) beaches in Europe (yes, those beaches still exist, you just have to know where to look).
If you like Europe, with its history, its romantic side and its culture, Spain should call you by name and out loud. Why? Because Spain offers you the European package at a price that, in some parts of the country, is more like the one you would expect to see in Latin America. If there has ever been a moment in our more than 30 years of experience (we are experts in Spanish nationality and immigration law) where we have been so fully convinced of this value, it is this one.
In Spain it happens that your money can go a long way. The cost of living in Spain is very competitive, and, to give an example, a couple can live here for less than $36,000 a year. Whether you want to spend it on a trendy restaurant or on buying your dream property, that's up to you!
Since the economic crisis of 2008, real estate prices in many parts of Spain have plummeted. Buying (or even just renting) is here more affordable now than it has been in decades. Just take a look:
Along much of the Mediterranean coast, you can buy a beach condo today for $260,200 or less, sometimes much less, when you know where to look.
Do you prefer to rent? Well, long term rentals start at about $665 per month in Alicante and about $742 in Malaga, for example. And although both are tourist destinations, they are also real cities, with shops, hairdressers, markets and theatres, so you can easily live a non-tourist life, as the local Spaniards do.
Within walking distance of one of Barcelona's most popular beaches, La Mar Bella, you can have a two-bedroom flat with a balcony and 645,835 ft2 (60 m2) of living space in Poblenou, Sant Martí district, Barcelona City. This area has a village atmosphere with tons of cafes and vibrant shops. The price of this flat? Only $298,000.
In a relaxed setting of artists and craftsmen full of university students, you will find a medieval mountainous town where the buildings are made of cream-coloured stone and the streets are paved. With a bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel that crosses the river and divides the city of Girona, in this beautiful community of almost 100,000 inhabitants, rich in culture, you can own a flat with lots of light, close to all the amenities, with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, for only $165,300.
Right on the Mediterranean coast, you can be close to the water and have great views from a two bedroom flat of 915 ft2 (85 m2). With ocean views, balcony and location conveniently close to all shops... for only $195,500.
These are the types of prices you expect to see in Latin America, as I have already mentioned. But in Spain, you are in Europe, in the old continent, easier, more comfortable and more noticeably affordable.
In short, here are some of the reasons why I consider Spain to be the best destination in which to invest your retirement:
It is easy. Spain is safe and politically stable, and the violent crime rate is among the lowest on the continent. No doubt it could be a radical change from what you are perhaps experiencing now.
The setting, the architecture and the atmosphere. If what interests you about Europe is the culture of its cities and towns, Spain is a good summary of everything you can find in the old continent. From the Muslim-influenced south to the unique valleys of the Basque Country, Navarre and the Pyrenees, you have years of excursions to make.
You are in Europe. You can cross the border from Spain to Portugal or France, take a flight of less than 2 hours to enjoy the Oktoberfest in Germany or spend an afternoon exploring historical sites in Rome.
Top quality health care. Europe's health systems are among the best in the world, and Spain's would be no less so, despite the cracks exposed by the COVID-19 crisis. In general, medical staff speak English, medicines are very affordable - or free - and with a resident's visa, as well as private health insurance, you will be part of their national health system.
Affordable real estate prices. Since the penultimate economic crisis (2008), housing prices have not increased significantly in Spain as in other parts of Europe.
Enjoy a better cost of living for less money. Are you one of those who have the idea that Europe is expensive? I recommend that you look beyond the tourist destinations and think again. In many communities in Spain, a couple can live on as little as $2,100-2,400 a month - or less - rent included in a small coastal town.
A lifestyle from another world. Europeans have always understood how to savour life well. What can we say about Spain? Its people have a reputation for enjoying themselves like few others. Life in Spain stands out for its sociability, fun, culture and gastronomy. Perhaps that is why we are so badly affected by the pandemic and by social distance.
This is not everything. Spain can offer you many more benefits, especially if you know the details and get first-hand information to find the best opportunities, the best climate, the lowest cost of living and more.
Sounds good, doesn't it?
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Abogada especializada en Derecho de Extranjería Español. Es el equilibrio del despacho y la piedra angular. Es una trabajadora en estado puro y gran compañera. Y… ¿sabéis qué? En sus ratos libres deja la seriedad sentada en el despacho y baila como los demás.