If you’re considering a visit to Europe—or even a move—Madrid needs to be on your radar. A sunshine-filled cultural haven, this friendly city will capture your heart without breaking your budget. The underlying authentic charm and laidback, understated vibe of Spain’s capital proved irresistible to me when I first arrived.
The Mediterranean Sea has a sort of calmness about it that makes life seem incredibly peaceful. In the early morning, walking along the promenade that runs parallel to the sea in the seaside town I call home, I couldn't feel any more tranquil.
At first glance, you might assume the bustling European capital city of Madrid is just like Paris, London, or Rome, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s even better. The underlying authentic Spanish charm Madrid effuses from all angles sets this affordable city, which many locals refer to as “El Gran Pueblo” (the large village), apart.
Madrid, like most of Europe’s big capital cities, offers plenty of excitement and culture, but these thrills tend to come with a sizeable price tag. So why not head out of the big city? If you live in Cuenca, Spain (the provincial capital) you can enjoy affordable, convenient small-town living…yet you’re as little as 55 minutes from central Madrid and its big-city action.
It was close to sunset. My tripod was set up, my settings were dialed in on my camera, and I was relaxing on a bench in a park along the river, eating delicious Basque pastries while watching busy people go by. I was waiting for the light to change.
Beaches…mountains…fabulous cities…colorful festivals, and, of course, sunshine almost everyplace. It’s not surprising that Spain is one of the most popular European countries for those looking to retire overseas.
Not surprisingly, Europe delivers strongly on healthcare; in each of our five picks, you’ll find healthcare professionals and facilities of a world-class standard. But perhaps more surprisingly, the care on offer in these countries won’t leave you counting pennies.
When my husband, Kurt, and I step out the door of our 1882 modernista (Catalan art nouveau) building, we enter a grand world of art and green space blessed by a warm, Mediterranean climate and surrounded by incredible landscapes, from beaches to mountains.
There's nothing quite like dining outside on the streets of Madrid, enjoying the sweet-smelling, spring breeze. If its Indian food you crave, take your friends to Lavapies—a trendy, multicultural neighborhood in the heart of the city and the best place in town to get a good Indian.
This morning, I awoke to the spotless Altea seaside, refreshed by an early spring shower. These March mornings are cool, and showers are frequent at this time of year, but the afternoons are sunny and warm enough to peel off the jacket. I took my two dogs for our morning ritual, walking down to the craggy beach just a couple-of-minutes from my home.