Moving to another country is a big decision. Perhaps you know someone who has taken the leap or you’ve been on holiday somewhere and fallen in love with the people and its culture. Whatever your motivation or inspiration, it’s important not to jump too quickly. Your move will have implications not just for you but your family, friends and work colleagues. That said, although there can be difficulties, relocating can be incredibly rewarding. In this article, we outline the pros and cons of Spanish residency and list some of the factors that you might want to take into consideration.
1. The weather
Pro: Of all the pros and cons of Spanish residency, a major pro is the weather, which is absolutely beautiful. Even in the winter, you can expect blue skies on most days and in the spring and autumn, you will find yourself able to enjoy life outdoors.
Con: Although the summer is sun-drenched, it is very hot. In some areas, winters can be chilly, so it’s likely that you’ll spend more on climate control in your home, particularly air conditioning.
2. The cost of living
Pro: The cost of living is still below some other western European countries. Going out for a meal is usually cheaper and some bills, such as council tax, are significantly less. Plus, in some parts of Spain, house prices are well below those you’d expect to pay in other parts of Europe. Alongside all these material savings, the beautiful weather also means that you can take part in a number of recreational activities that cost you very little.
Con: Despite savings, there are some items that are more expensive. Electrical appliances in particular cost more and some utilities, such as electricity, are just as expensive. Finally, salaries tend to reflect the cost of living. If you are intending to work in Spain, you’ll find that the average salaries are significantly less than in many other countries.
Pro: Spain is a very family-friendly country. If you have children you can be sure that they will be welcome in most places. People are generally tolerant of young children and look out for them too.
Con: Don’t expect too much time to yourself after lights out – children’s bedtimes tend to be late, especially in the summer.
3. The pace of life
Pro: The pace of life, particularly out of the main towns and cities, tends to be slower and more relaxed. The Spanish tend to place greater emphasis on the importance of family as opposed to their day jobs, opting to spend time with relatives whenever they get the opportunity. There are plenty of colourful fiestas and religious holidays, which anyone can take part in.
Con: Sometimes the slower pace of life can be frustrating if you are used to punctuality and 24/7 service. Although aspects of this are changing, there can still be a shrug of the shoulders if the service you’re wanting is closed until after the holidays or during siesta time.
4. Language, culture and traditions
Pro: Spain offers a different culture and language with so much to discover. Every Spanish region is different and the countryside and traditions are rich, vibrant and well worth exploring.
Con: Although in some parts of Spain you can manage without learning the language, it really is advisable to know the basics, and ideally, to be able to manage at the doctors. It’s unlikely you’ll always have a translator at your side, and in some areas, very few people will speak English. The differences between regions also mean that rules and regulations from one part of the country to the other do vary, so it’s advantageous to have some tools to navigate these nuances.
A final point…
There is, however, one more thing that has to feature on our list of the pros and cons of Spanish residency. This is a con that we’re afraid has no pro: the paperwork! In Spain, the concept of online forms is still in its infancy. New residents can expect to have to visit many administrative departments to collect different documents. You’ll need patience, and we suggest, help navigating the complex bureaucracy that you find at almost every level in Spain.
The pros and cons of Spanish residency: The pros probably outweigh the cons
This said, many people have felt that the pros are greater than the cons and have moved to this wonderful country. They continue to enjoy the lifestyle and weather to the full, whilst finding ways of managing the cons. Doing your research and seeking professional help can ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises. Although there are many differences in culture, there are many similarities too. Spain is a beautiful country and the Spanish people are generally welcoming and friendly. Plus, the beautiful weather, the Mediterranean diet and lots of opportunities for outdoor activities can mean that you can enjoy a long and healthy life here.