Spain has been a popular choice as a retirement destination for British nationals for over 50 years. With its great year-round climate, family-orientated and welcoming people, high standard of living, relatively low cost of living and easy access to the UK – not to mention the golf courses, gastronomy, beaches and more – Spain is an attractive location in which to enjoy a relaxed and fulfilled retirement.
Here are ten top reasons why Spain is a great choice for your retirement years:
There’s something for everyone! On the whole, the mild winters with clear blue skies and sunshine of southern Spain are really appealing for many retirees, although it can be extremely hot during the late summer months. However, if you prefer a more typical temperate climate with warm summers, colder winters and even the occasional snowfall then look to the north or the interior of the country.
- Low cost of living
Whilst there are regional variations, the cost of living in Spain in general is low in comparison with much of the rest of Europe. Costs such as travel (petrol and fares), eating and drinking out (menu del dia), supermarket shopping, clothing and utilities are all very affordable.
- Relaxed & relaxing lifestyle
Spain is ranked 6th in the world for life expectancy and with a friendly and laid-back lifestyle, numerous opportunities for outdoor activities and outdoor living, a year-round warm climate, well-prepared food mostly made from local produce and an acceptance of afternoon siestas, it’s hardly surprising. It’s this relaxed way of living which makes Spain such an attractive retirement destination.
Food is a cornerstone of Spanish culture – alongside festivals and family – and there are many different ‘flavours’ throughout Spain. Cuisine varies greatly from region to region; from seafood specialities to meat casseroles, paella to tapas, there is a wide choice, it is generally from local produce and follows the Mediterranean-style diet. You can dine extravagantly at Michelin-starred restaurants or more modestly from the ‘menu del dia’ at restaurants, cafes and bars.
- Outdoor lifestyle
Spain is a haven for outdoor living, from golf courses and tennis courts to walking trails, from beaches to fishing, from local markets to dining ‘al fresco’, the reliable, warm and sunny weather enables more daily living to be done outdoors.
From the mainland to its island groups Spain boasts almost 8,000 kms of coastline, much of which has beach access, and has more blue flag beaches (over 600 in 2021) than any other country. From the fine sand beaches of the Mediterranean, to the volcanic sands of the Canary Islands and the numerous remote and unspoilt coves dotted around the coastline, the opportunities for enjoying Spain’s numerous ‘costas’ are endless.
- Property market
Spanish real estate was hit hard by the global financial crisis of the early 2000’s, with property prices dropping by as much as 30%. Things began to recover from 2015 and since then prices have been rising steadily, which means you can likely find a property at an attractive price with the expectation of seeing continued growth in value.
- Easy accessibility
Travel and transport is easy to access, low cost and efficient. You can live car-free in the major cities with everything easily reachable on foot or using public transport, which is a low cost and efficient. When driving is required, petrol costs are low. For longer journeys, Spain has a highly efficient high speed rail network, the second largest in the world and for the international travel, to the UK, Europe and beyond, Spain has 9 major airport hubs across its mainland and islands with year-round flights, as well as numerous regional airports.
- Health care
Spain is consistently rated as having one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. Emergency cover is available to all EU or non-EU citizens, providing you are registered on your local ‘padrón’. If you are a Spanish resident and receive a UK state pension you may be entitled to state health care paid for by the UK. If you do not qualify for free state healthcare then you can either join the Spanish health scheme, Convenio Especial, for a monthly fee (around €60) or take out private cover.
Spanish culture is underpinned by three key elements – family, food and festivals – and is inextricably linked to history and religion. The family unit remains strong in Spain, with multi-generational living and a sense of community being one of the core values of the nation. Food is key in shaping the pattern of daily Spanish life around siestas and late nights, and is also a major component of the festivals that are the bedrock of Spain’s cultural calendar. It is said there are more festivals in Spain than days in the year; every village and town has its own annual holiday fiesta, and these are probably the most important holidays in the daily lives of the Spanish people.