Spain has firmly established itself as one of the top retirement destinations for British Expats, but our Mediterranean neighbours have an abundance to offer all intrepid travellers seeking a different lifestyle overseas and it isn’t only retirees who are deciding to make Spain their home.
Famous for so much more than being a retirement destination, Spain is a rich and diverse country, known for its fashion, architecture, history, food and drink, culture, music and the arts.
The beautiful landscapes of Spain continue to be a popular holiday destination, attracting those who want to experience a relaxing break, a yoga holiday, or an artist retreat, as well as those adventure seekers with a passion for outdoor sports.
The laid-back lifestyle of coastal resorts and the vibrant excitement and plentiful entertainment on offer from city life isn’t suited only to those with time to spare in their retirement years or while on holiday. Affordable beachside living and slick city apartments lure people of all ages, stages and walks of life to live in Spain.
Spain offers easy access to Western Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa. Bordering countries of Portugal and France are a stone’s throw away. To the south of Spain sits Morocco and Algeria is positioned to the southeast. This makes Spain ideally placed and an attractive country to settle for travellers wishing to discover mainland Spain, along with the many Spanish Islands, such as Ibiza, Tenerife and Majorca, while opening up a whole world of exploration opportunity beyond.
Landscape and area
Spain is defined by it’s beautiful, golden sandy beaches; idyllic olive groves; and it’s breathtaking mountain terrains; and is also home to some of the finest cities in the world, known for the arts and entertainment, culture and food, besides a whole host of other positives.
There are a multitude of reasons people decide to move to Spain other than retirement. The sunshine is a positive for many as well as the quality of life on offer and the generally relaxed atmosphere to be found, even in the busy cities. But what is on offer for those not yet at retirement age who would like to experience life in Spain?
Many expats choose to move to Spain because they wish to experience living and working in a different country. Spain is a great country to move to while you are of working age, with opportunities for specifically English speaking roles. The employment prospects in Spain continue to slowly get better. Salaries do tend to be generally lower than the majority of its European neighbours, but the cost of living tends to be in line with this and a comfortable lifestyle can be achieved.
For expats who speak fluent Spanish and have the skills and experience, finding work in Spain will not be difficult. For expats who don’t speak Spanish it is possible to find a job in Spain if you have excellent experience and/or specialist skills.
Spain offers a wide variety of volunteering opportunities, more so in the larger cities but volunteer work can be found in the coastal villages and small rural communities too. Spain is a great place to experience a new culture and people and volunteering is a fantastic way to experience Spain.
Volunteering is really popular with young people, such as students, those on a gap year, as well as families, work colleagues, retirees, and those wishing to embellish their CV with interesting and useful skills and experiences.
Spain is a fantastic country to volunteer because of the relatively low cost of living, as well as the different types of voluntary work on offer. Popular sectors for volunteering in Spain are teaching, coastal and rural conservation, ecology and sustainability projects, work with animals, social welfare programmes, tourism, community work, and childcare.
Spain is becoming an increasingly popular place for expats to set up a new business. It’s an affordable place to live and deciding to set up your own business in Spain is relatively straightforward.
Any of the major cities in Spain offer an attractive base from which to start a small business, as well as the less populated, rural parts of Spain; if you’re able to work remotely and via the internet then this is a great opportunity to live a fantastic, affordable quality of life, experience plenty of sunshine and build your empire.
City life or rural idyll?
Deciding whether to make your home in a Spanish city, coastal town or rural village will largely depend on what kind of lifestyle you are looking for and how you intend on spending your time.
Let’s take a look at a few popular places in Spain for expats who move to Spain to work, volunteer, start a family or start up a small business, for example.
The capital city and the commercial and political centre of Spain, Madrid is an international hub and an excellent choice for those moving to Spain who aren’t yet in retirement years. This is the city to move to if work and career prospects are on the list of priorities.
Madrid has an exciting yet relaxed vibe. It’s an excellent city for expats who want to enjoy life; quite literally something for everyone. Attracting career seekers and small business start-ups, volunteers and those wishing to teach English, Madrid is a centre of commerce and business and is one of the more popular Spanish cities in terms of employment opportunities.
This beautiful, bustling Spanish city attracts expats from all walks of life and is considered one of the best cultural cities in Europe, mixing the old and traditional with the new and technology. The wonderful weather, fantastic beaches, and the lower cost of living compared to other major global cities, makes Barcelona an attractive option for those seeking a good quality of life, with work opportunities available for those who can meet the skillset. There are specific career opportunities for English speaking professionals throughout Spain, and Barcelona is one of the top places to seek these out. Volunteer opportunities are available in this diverse city as well as the popular TEFL work. Barcelona also attracts entrepreneurs wishing to set up a new business and make their lives in this thriving city, in fact, Barcelona is one of the major E-commerce start-up capitals in Europe.
Exuberant with culture and history, Seville is a traditional yet cosmopolitan Spanish city with a vibrant yet small-city feel atmosphere. The sun shines all the time and temperatures can reach scorching heat in the summer months. It’s a popular city with expats, affording a good standard of life with affordable living costs. Teaching and tourism are two professions which attract those seeking employment in Spain to Seville.
Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and home to a big expat community, giving it a multicultural feeling and making it an easy place for expats of all walks of life to settle. The cost of living is less in Valencia than cities such as Barcelona and Madrid, while offering a great quality of life.
Families are drawn to a life in the villages close to Valencia such as Betera or L’Eliana because they offer a choice of excellent international schools, a quieter existence and yet still great for shopping and going out and close enough to commute into Valencia. Volunteering opportunities can be found in conservation and ecology on the coast and protected forestry which surrounds this city. Valencia is a city for art lovers, having inspired many artists over the years, it continues to be a city with a strong lure for creatives.
Characterised by dramatic mountains, peaceful olive groves, lush valleys and peace and quiet, rural Spain isn’t only for the retiree either. Self-employment is a viable route for expats in Spain, and can be particularly attractive to those whose profession allows them to work remotely, opening up the possibility of a life for entrepreneurs in the less populated areas of rural Spain. Artists also decide to make their home in rural Spain and coastal settlements; with such a mixed and awesome landscape for inspiration it’s easy to see why.
Something for everyone
Spain is an interesting, varied and beautiful country with so much to offer families, career seekers, volunteers, entrepreneurs, open-minded travelers, artists, creatives, and students alike. Spain has something to suit everyone and anyone seeking new horizons and adventure and wishing to flourish through taking on fresh experiences, enjoying a different lifestyle and immersing in a new culture.
Be it busy city life, a coastal town community or peaceful rural living, Spain should definitely not be overlooked as merely a retirement destination, though it actually makes a very good one of these too!