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A Guide to Life in Spain for Aspiring Expats

As you can see on the well-known Spanish property portal, Lets Buy In Spain, places like Javea Costa Blanca in Spain may be a wonderful choice for relocation for many reasons, but careful thought needs to be given to expat life in Spain before taking the plunge.

Spain is one of the most popular choices for relocation to a life in the sun for Northern Europeans and particularly the British. Unfortunately many do not consider all aspects of that new life before relocating and as a result may live to regret the move. The recent dramatic fall in Spanish property values makes a potential move more attractive and more affordable but uninformed decisions should never be made. Moving to Spain permanently is not an extended holiday and potential immigrants should not leave their brain at the airport.

The Spanish Climate and Weather

The weather is possibly one of the main reasons why someone from Northern Europe would consider a move to Spain. Many people have fond memories of that wonderful two week break in the blistering summer heat of the Spanish costas and dream of waking up every morning to blue skies and sunshine for the rest of their life.

Two weeks of holiday sunshine are paradise but three months of summer temperatures in the high 30s can be very different. Coastal weather can be like this but even a few kilometres inland the temperatures can be even hotter. Seville is one of the hottest places in Europe and temperatures in the 40s are possible. Southern Spain contains Europe’s only desert which has been used extensively as a film location most notably for Lawrence of Arabia and the spaghetti westerns. Mediterranean Spain is hot in the summer and is best avoided by those who cannot tolerate constant heat.

Central Spain has even more extreme weather with temperatures above 40 in the summer and below freezing in winter. It snows in Madrid! North western Spain is heavily influenced by the Atlantic and has a very high rainfall which results in a very green landscape.

Others dream of mild winters with constant sunshine but many who have never visited Spain in the winter are surprised by the amount of rain which falls. Annual rainfall in Andalucia is higher than that in London but it all happens at once – in the winter. Christmas lunch on the beach is not really typical of life in Spain. For many northerners, the ideal seasons in Spain are Spring and Autumn, but decisions to move for the climate need more than just two seasons of ideal weather.

The Choice of Location When Moving to Spain

Just as with any property purchase buying in Spain needs careful choice of location. The majority of new immigrants choose the coast because that is the area they are most familiar with. In the coastal resorts life is very similar to life back home because there are thousands of expats living there either permanently or long term in their second home and some expats do not even try to learn Spanish.

However the coastal areas have become very built up as a result of the property boom which has just come to an end. Unfortunately there are a many unfinished properties, some only steel skeletons, which is a blight on the landscape and could remain so for years to come. For the more adventurous expat the inland regions should be explored. They are much more Spanish in character but to live there an ability to speak Spanish is vital especially for anyone who wants to integrate into local life.

Wherever you buy care is needed. Make sure you appoint a local lawyer and make sure that he checks that your chosen property is fully legal. If you are buying a property with a view make sure that it can never be taken away. In the past property developers have become adept in getting planning permission to build in front of existing properties with wonderful views even if it means blasting away a hillside to do it. Get someone to check the build quality of the property you want to buy – walls between adjacent apartments can be only one concrete block thick.



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