So you are moving to Spain – a country rich in heritage with beautiful scenery, bustling cities, wild coastlines and sunny island outposts.
Well, before you start here are our 10 top pieces of information for expats:
1. Spain is the most popular European destination for UK expats with over 400,000 British residents – so you won’t have to go far to find a familiar voice (if you want one that is!)
2. ‘The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain’ according to My Fair Lady - in reality it falls mainly in the Northern Mountains. Spain generally enjoys good year round weather (winter averages 15 degrees and summer averages of 26 degrees), but there are four different climatic zones so there are variations.
3. Spain does not require a Visa for entry nor do you require a work permit if you are from the EU. If you are from outside the EU you can generally visit for up to 90 days, but you will need a visa if you plan to work or live in the country.
4. The Spanish lifestyle involves eating very late by British and American standards (lunch between 1pm and 3pm and few eating out before 9pm). The traditional siesta is still observed in smaller towns and rural areas, with shops and offices closing for a period and opening later into the evening but commercial centres keep pace with their European counterparts. With a strong Catholic influence, Sunday trading is still limited.
5. There are 5 regional versions of the Spanish language but if you learn Castilian you will be understood in most places
6. Over the last six years property prices in Spain have fallen between 40% and 50%. With 1.7m unsold properties (and 400,000 held by banks) properties are likely to continue to drift lower. Britons buy 15% of all sales to overseas investors (down from 34% in 2007). French (10%), Russians (9%) and Belgians (7%) are next biggest.
7. With 47 million inhabitants Spain has Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, land borders with France, Portugal and Andorra and includes the Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca) and the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, La Palma, La Gomera and Futerventura).
8. Spain’s currency is the Euro.
9. Spain is the 13th largest economy in the world, around half the GDP of the UK (6th) and one twelfth of the USA (1st). Despite being majorly affected by the Global downturn in 2008-2012, Spain is now largely economically and politically stable.
10. Spain faces similar security risks to other major western countries. Internal troubles are now resolved with ETA, the separatist group in the Basque region, dismantling its military wing in July 2014. Tourist areas and Cities carry the usual threat of petty crime but rural areas are typically safe.
Once you are settled, explore the wonders of Spain as it is a truly beautiful country and a great place for friends and family to visit!