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Living in Spain
Spain has an estimated three quarter of a million British expats, making it one of the most popular locations in the world for UK expats. There’s so much to recommend about this vibrant country, from the year-round sunshine to beautiful beaches and lively culture. Coupled with the low cost of living in Spain and a welcoming expat community, there are plenty of reasons to emigrate to Spain.
Many expats moving to Spain are taking advantage of the housing market, affordable property and low interest rates. Spain also boasts a significantly cheaper cost of living – on average the general cost of living in Spain is 18% cheaper than the UK, with rent prices 24% lower and eating out costing 34% less.
Whether you’re planning on living in Spain to work, to give your family a better standard of life, or retire; make the most of your time in Spain and maximise your finances with specialist financial advice from the experts at Blacktower.
Benefits of living in Spain
From the low cost of living in Spain to the glorious sunshine, there are many reasons why British expats flock here more than anywhere else in Europe. There’s a huge range of employment opportunities too – especially in the aerospace, pharmaceutical and IT sectors.
Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine
Spain enjoys incredible blue skies and sunshine for most of the year, and on the sun-drenched Costa del Sol, residents enjoy an average of 320 days of sunshine a year. For British expats, it’s an easy choice between the wet, windy, cold climate of the UK and the glorious weather in Spain. Spanish citizens can enjoy an outdoor lifestyle no matter the time of year, from skiing in the Pyrenees to sunbathing in Marbella.
Quality of life
Spain is a remarkably healthy place to live, and you’ll benefit from the tasty and nutritious Mediterranean diet and a focus on outdoor activities. Should you need it, though, the healthcare in Spain is world-class – ranked seventh in the world by the WHO. The lower cost of living also ensures that you’re making the most of your money, from property prices to food and wine.
Spain is famed for its beautiful coasts, lined with sandy beaches, hidden coves, and dramatic vistas framed by rolling green hills. You can discover miles and miles of unspoilt Blue Flag beaches, national parks and the famous forests of Basque country. There’s also a wealth of manmade treasures, from the cultural highlights of Barcelona to architectural jewels like the Alhambra.
Best cities to move to in Spain
Expats who are moving to Spain will need to decide where to make their new home. While all cities in Spain boast sun, fun and fantastic culture, if you’re looking for something particular you’re sure to find an area in Spain to suit every lifestyle.
- Pint of beer: 3.00 EUR (£2.70)
- Cappuccino: 1.80 EUR (£1.61)
- Meal in a restaurant: 12 EUR (£10.79)
- Monthly public transport pass: 40 EUR (£35.97)
- Population: 1.62 million
A popular pick with expats moving to Spain, Barcelona is a truly global city, and a major centre of both culture and business in Spain. Expats moving to Spain for work will find that Barcelona is one of the biggest hubs for biotech and transport in Europe, and an ideal area for entrepreneurs with a focus on new talent and technology. Compared to other major cities in Europe, Barcelona is also relatively affordable in terms of cost of living.
Barcelona boasts a coastal location, with all of the sun and sea that applies. Bright, warm sunshine year-round means you can make the most of days off and weekends in the great outdoors. Barcelona is also famed for its architectural wonders, thanks to visionaries like Gaudi. From the gothic Old Town to the Sagrada Familia, wondrous sights are a regular occurrence in this iconic city.
- Pint of beer: 2.50 EUR (£2.22)
- Cappuccino: 2.07 EUR (£1.84)
- Meal in a restaurant: 15 EUR (£13.32)
- Monthly public transport pass: 30 EUR (£26.64)
- Population: 456,088
Palma is the capital of the Balearic Islands, situated on the island of Mallorca. It’s an economic and cultural hub for Mallorca, which makes it a great place for expats to call home. The city itself is lively and stylish, combining hundreds of years of history and culture with the feel of a modern, vibrant city. Palma is well known for its iconic Moorish architecture and intricately designed churches, and the stunning gothic cathedral of Santa Maria overlooks the city’s cobbled streets and rooftop bars.
Palma has plenty to offer expats – it’s easily reached from the airport (with great transport links to the rest of Spain and Europe), and it coastal location means that you don’t have to choose between a bustling city lifestyle and easy access to stunning Spanish beaches. With fantastic international schools, private and state hospitals within the city boundaries, expats can enjoy modern infrastructure and amenities while still experiencing the best that the Balearic Islands have to offer. You can also rest easy knowing that you have easy access to Blacktower’s financial experts, with an office conveniently located in Palma.
There’s a good range of property in Palma, but some of the most desirable areas for expats are the peaceful Calatrava district and the charming fishing village of Portixol, now home to designer penthouses and renovated fisherman’s cottages. Heading further into Mallorca’s countryside, those looking for luxury might find the Son Vida estate offers the best of Mallorca, including convenient access to three golf courses.
- Pint of beer: 2.25 EUR (£2.02)
- Cappuccino: 1.52 EUR (£1.36)
- Meal in a restaurant: 10 EUR (£8.79)
- Monthly public transport pass: 39.95 EUR (£35.85)
- Population: 571,026
Acting as a gateway to the sun-soaked Costa del Sol, Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world. In modern times, it combines the best of traditional Spain, in its charming classical Old Town, and the modern, with its bustling port and city centre acting as a hub for commerce in the region.
From the cobbled streets in the old quarter to the sleek architecture of the Pompidou Centre, there’s tons to see and do in Malaga. With an up and coming culinary scene and lively nightlife, Malaga is a great choice for young professional expats, but the nearby beaches of the Costa del Sol also make it an ideal location for families and retirees.
Sought-after neighbourhoods like El Limonar and La Malagueta are popular with expats, but you can get a more traditional Spanish feel in areas like Paseo Marítimo de Oeste.
Managing your finances in Spain
Blacktower are your financial experts in the heart of Spain. With offices across the country, we are here to provide sound financial advice and excellent guidance on the products and services that are right for them.
Whether you want to find out more about international pensions, such as QROPs or SIPPs advice, or help with tax planning and inheritance rules, we’re here to help. With teams across the country, we can also help you to navigate living in Spain, bureaucratic issues and even cultural concerns with our friendly and supportive manner.
To get in touch, simply fill out the form above, or discover our Spanish offices in Barcelona, the Canary Islands, Mallorca, and on the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca, and Costa Calida. Alternatively, find out more about moving to Spain with our guides to tax in Spain and wealth management.