Modern Spain had its story beginning in the Middle Ages as the Habsburgs unified several predecessor kingdoms. In 1813, the modern form of its constitutional monarchy began, while since 1979, the democratic constitution has been intact.
The Crown used the resources of the country to begin exploring the New World after completing the Reconquista. This period gave a beginning to the Golden Age for the country.
Some difficult times for Spain lasted until the 1970s after the break out of a civil war between the Nationalist and Republican factions during the trend of authoritarianism in Europe that started in the 1930s. The 60s and 70s were a time of rapid expansion for the country even after a dictatorship led by Francisco Franco stayed in place until 1975. And in 1999, they eventually entered the eurozone.
Modern Spain tends to keep to itself even though the country was once an empire that stretched around the world. They have faced some challenges in the economy, a result of the independent spirit that many of its regions still want, and a well-known thriving spirit that loves to have a good time.
Spain with its great attractions has been a destination spot for many, be it for settling or to simply have a fun vacation time. If you’re considering becoming a part of the Spanish culture permanently, here are a few pros and cons of living in Spain listed out for you.
Pros of Living in Spain
If you’re someone who loves sunshine and long summers, then Spain is just the place for you. There are plenty of beaches that can help you to cool down during the hot months of July and August when it can get to 40°C.
The breeze from the coastal climate also helps in making the air temperature feel manageable. The heat might feel a little oppressive if you live in the heart of the country. There are several strategies that will help you manage the issue of warmth if you’ve heard complaints about how it can be hot here. If you wish, you can even find escape in the mountains.
2. Reasonable Cost of Living
From groceries to transportation, you’ll notice that everything is fairly cheap in Spain. The restaurants are pretty affordable too, which means night outs won’t be heavy on your wallet.
Also, as Spain is known for its tapas culture, it is common to get offered a free snack while ordering a drink at a bar. And if living in a busy urban area isn’t a problem for you, then you’ll find some opportunities to start saving money here.
3. Ready to Access Healthcare Services
Once you become a registered resident of Spain, you will have access to the free medical care that comes as a part of the governing system. It doesn’t mean that every procedure will be free – you will have to consider some costs and taxes depending on your situation.
But also, you won’t need to worry about being rejected by a doctor considering that your lifestyle violates their religious beliefs or the office you choose deciding to drop your insurance provider because they can charge more through someone else.
4. Friendly People
You can expect to be engaged in a lot of conversations every day when living in Spain. Whether it’s your neighbor or the cashier at the grocery store, everyone will be up for a chat. People who don’t know you will try to get to know you by asking a lot of questions. You will feel like there’s an honest desire to include you in the neighborhood through their smiles and kind words, excluding any idea of a superficial relationship being offered.
5. Great Food
People in Spain have a different approach to food as compared to the rest of Europe or North America and you’ll come to discover it soon enough. Thanks to the country’s location on the Iberian Peninsula, most of the dishes are based on local, seasonal produce that has a distinctive flavor.
Spanish cheeses are specially formulated to work with the products, and everything is reasonably priced as working with local formers is given high importance. From seafood that was just taken off the boat in the morning to freshly baked bread, the cuisine here reflects upon the idea of a healthy lifestyle.
Cons of living in Spain
1. Festival Featuring Animal Cruelty
With its 17 autonomous regions, there are many ways to embrace the culture of Spain. But it is unbelievable to see so many of the local festivals featuring animal cruelty as one of the main attractions. Almost 2,000 festivals here feature bulls in the country, which leads to the injury or death of more than 11,000 animals. Because of events like the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, you can even put yourself in danger.
2. Government Mired in Bureaucracy
You’ll need a local bank account to have an Internet connection at your home in Spain. You may also need to have a local reference that will help in putting some money into that bank. It might take months just for a debit card to arrive in the mail.
And if restoring your password over the phone isn’t possible so in case you forget it, you’ll be spending 30-60 minutes in a queue at a local branch only to reset your electronic account. Every form of government operates in this manner, so you’ll have to be prepared for everything to take a comparatively longer time than what you’re probably used to.
3. Long Working Hours
For those who like to get their job done and go home early, the working hours in Spain might be a little tough. As an ex-pat, you’ll be expected to work typically from 9 am to 2 pm and then return to work from 4 pm until 7 pm. The two hours in between accommodate the infamous Spanish siesta.
Compared to other European countries, the salaries are also pretty low. Even professions such as engineering and mid-level jobs don’t earn as much as they would outside.
4. Risk of Pickpocketing
One thing you need to be aware of is the pickpocketing that happens commonly in Spain. This especially happens in major cities and popular areas with tourists. Pickpockets mainly target tourists and steal phones and wallets mostly. You should stay vigilant as there have been cases in broad daylight and even on the metro. It’s better if you avoid walking around with flashy jewelry, expensive laptops, and cameras.
5. Nasty Cockroaches
Often counted as one of the most significant disadvantages, the cockroaches in Spain can be found in several of the homes. As the houses have hollow walls, making it the perfect place for a pest to hang out. You can hear the insects start running if you just knock on the walls. Seeing them while walking in a neighborhood is so common as they will be out on the open streets. Most of the locals pay no mind to them as they are used to their presence, but if you wish to manage any problems you might have, there are some emergency pest control service providers available.
Cost of Living in Spain
The Spanish culture has its many charms, and disadvantages alike. After reading the above lists, you might have gotten a clearer idea of what you want to do. If you’re in for the Spanish treat and planning to make a move, here we have accumulated some basic costs of living.
1. Housing and Renting
You will find the best deals with the 10-month contracts, as this allows the homeowners to rent their property for a higher price during the summer months. For a 10-month rental, the rent charge can be 500€ per month, but that same property would be 500€ – 600€ per week during July and August. Finding a 1-2 bedroom on or very near the beach for about 400€ – 700€ per month is fairly easy, along with a 10-month contract.
Water and Electricity seem to run about 90€ a month in total. About 2/3 of that is for electricity and the remaining is for the water.
The internet cost can be around 50€ per month (for 30Mb download service) and there are many providers selling various bundles including landline, mobile service, television, and internet.
3. Groceries and Food
You will come to notice that groceries are fairly inexpensive, mainly if you want to buy a good bottle of wine, for about 3 euros. Since produce is mostly grown locally, it can be a great deal during the season. Throughout the day, bread is often made fresh in the grocery stores and it will cost from .30€ to .80€ for a baguette. A liter of milk is around .70€, a dozen eggs around 1.40€ and a kilo of chicken breasts will cost you about 5.50€.