Pros and cons of living in Spain
If you ever had to make a very important decision in your life, such as whether to move to a new country or not, you probably went through the process of writing on a piece of paper a list of pros and cons to help you visualize the possible outcomes. In case you are pondering whether to move to live in Spain, you will find this list of pros and cons of living in Spain a useful addition to yours, or, if you still do not have one, a good place to start with your considerations.
Relocating is a time consuming, sometimes stressful thing to do. So, to keep the morale up, let’s start with all the good things about this beautiful country, its people, and its lifestyle.
1. Sunny weather
One of the pros of living in Spain is, without a doubt, the weather. If you are reading this article in English, it is plausible you are now living in a northern European country - certainly not famous for having a temperate climate. Spain, together with Greece, Italy, and Turkey, it’s considered to be a southern European country.
The weather is typically Mediterranean, with long, sunny springs and summers, and temperate, short winters. Pack lots of t-shirts and sandals: chances are you will be often at the seaside, with beautiful sunshine and a clear blue sky.
2. Beautiful beaches, mountains, and nature
Spain is famous for being a world-class touristic destination, thanks to its beautiful beaches, natural parks, mountains, and nature. This is an important pro of living in Spain; every outdoor enthusiast will have the perfect backdrop for several sports and activities. Practice scuba diving in the Medas Islands off the coast of Barcelona, spend a week skiing in Andorra, or enjoy some relaxed trekking in the breath-taking national parks, forests, and other stunning natural scenarios.
3. Rich and healthy gastronomy
Savour some “tapas” together with a couple of glasses of an excellent Ribiera del Duero wine, or indulge your senses with a decadent a slice of aged Iberico ham. Not only the Spanish gastronomy is rich in delicious flavours and recipes; it is also typically Mediterranean, hence rich in healthy fatty acids, vegetables, fruits and grains. Definitely some of the tastiest, healthiest pros of living in Spain!
4. Laid-back lifestyle
Spain and its population are famous for taking life easy, in the best sense. Once you will be familiar with this tuned-down pace, you will find yourself more often than you thought possible at the beach, or enjoying a barbecue and other social activities. This is one of the pros of living in Spain that is convincing so many of us to relocate towards a better, more relaxed lifestyle.
5. Lower cost of living
One of the most important pros of living in Spain is the lower cost of living compared to northern European countries. Food, gasoline, and other basic commodities are quite inexpensive and, overall, you will find yourself with a little extra money in your pocket for the more mundane expenditures.
So far, it doesn’t look bad at all. However, there’s no perfect country, and Spain makes no exception. There are, as a matter of fact, some cons of living in Spain that need to be considered: read through the following lines to have a better idea of what you should be aware of.
1. Politics are not very stable
Spain is famous for having an ill-tempered parliament, that repeatedly showed its instability and limitations. Governments hardly ever reach the end of the governing term; Spain’s regions demand autonomy sometimes with strikes and protests; activists tend to be fired up. This might be due to Spain being a relatively new democracy (Franco’s regime ended in 1976). Nevertheless, if you cannot cope with some degree of political instability, this could be one of the cons of living in Spain.
2. Bureucracy is sometimes overwhelming
Let’s face it: nobody likes bureaucracy, and Spain has a lot of it. State rules and regulations sum up to local legislation, as Spain allows a certain degree of autonomy to its regions. With time and patience, all bureaucracy can be handled. However, this is objectively one of the cons of living in Spain you will have to face if you plan to move there.
3. Lower income
Spain is still somewhat lagging behind the stronger European countries in terms of economy, wages, and job opportunities. While the cost of living is lower, keep this con of living in Spain in mind if you are ambitious workwise: realistically, you’d be gaining less money and have fewer opportunities for a career compared to other places.
4. Not a lot of English is spoken
The Spanish population is not famous for its mastery of the English language. In the big cities, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to communicate with locals in basic English - make sure to speak clearly and slowly to avoid misunderstandings. Be prepared to learn some Spanish to improve communication, especially if you venture in rural areas, or the language barrier will soon become one of the cons of living in Spain.
5. Driving around can be challenging
You will quickly learn that some of the Spanish drivers do not use the indicator lights very often when they turn. Driving around Spanish cities and highways can be challenging and, if you are not used to southern Europe’s driving style, you could have some trouble moving smoothly from one place to the other by car, especially in the cities’ rush hour.