Spain Fast Facts

Spain

Population: 48,563,476

Capital City: Madrid

Climate: Temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, cloudy and cool along coast

Time Zone: UTC+1

Language: Spanish

Country Code: 34

Coastline: 4,964km

Spain: A Great Value Retirement Haven in The Old World

Picture a sun-drenched, white-washed house with a shady courtyard, perched on a cliff-top site in Spain. With the deep blue sea beyond, and an olive grove nearby, it’s the stuff of which fantasies are made.

Beaches…mountains…fabulous cities…colorful festivals, and, of course, sunshine almost everyplace. It’s not surprising that Spain is the most popular country for Europeans seeking a home overseas. Now North Americans, too, are starting to see the allure of Spain for laidback yet cultured European life.

Western Europe’s second-largest country (just slightly smaller than France), Spain offers fantastic variety in terrain, culture, and lifestyle. To start with, Spain has nearly 3,100 miles of coastline, and much of it is beach. In Northwest Spain, the hills are green, the climate is humid and mild (much like Oregon), and the coast is the chilly but dramatic Bay of Biscay. Spain’s eastern coast and part of the south border the warm waters of the Mediterranean, while the far-western reaches down south look out on the Atlantic. All the coastal areas have relatively temperate climates…cooler in the north, hotter in the south, but generally with only about 40 F between average highs and average lows year-round.

Seville, Spain
Seville, Spain

Looking for culture? Spain has a rich history. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs all settled here and left ample remains, language, and customs. Walk in the steps of sultans at Granada’s Alhambra, take the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, or gaze on Segovia’s mighty Roman aqueduct, over 2,000 years old… You’ll find plenty of cities in Spain, large and small, which merit exploration.

And, thanks to rapid public transportation, it’s easy to get around Spain. High-speed and suburban train lines connect many cities, and bus routes crisscross the country. You can get from Madrid to destinations on the southern coast in three to four hours, to Valencia in two, and up to Barcelona in about three. In addition to the large airports in Madrid and Barcelona, smaller airports around the country—served by discount airlines as well as the major carriers—connect Spain with the rest of Europe.

This is First-World Europe, after all. You’ll find modern services, efficient transport, and excellent healthcare in Spain.

You’ll also find a lively, outgoing lifestyle and some of the best food and wine around. In Spain, life is meant to be enjoyed, and hanging out is an art. And, even better, it all comes at an affordable price: Spain has one of the lowest costs of living in Europe. So if you’ve ever dreamed of a romantic, affordable European lifestyle, take a look at Spain.

Find Out More From Our Spain Editor

From the Archives of Spain

Property Bargains in Southern Spain

Property Bargains in Southern Spain

Lifestyle
By |
February 18, 2015

It’s no secret that Spain’s property market has been at rock-bottom the last few years, but it’s slowly starting to pick up here in Mijas. Buyers, mostly from Western Europe, are making their way back to southern Spain. They are buying with a view to retiring to the area. (Mijas already has a very international community…I met an Irish woman who runs a chocolate shop and a relocation consultant who’s originally from England.) That’s good news if you like the idea of living here. There’s a good choice of rentals at affordable prices. And, despite the return of the European snowbirds, there are still plenty of great-value properties for sale.

Valencia: A City on the Mediterranean That You Can Afford

Valencia: A City on the Mediterranean That You Can Afford

Daily Postcard
By |
February 5, 2015

I love Valencia, Spain's third-largest city. Many folks overlook its charms in favor of Madrid, Barcelona, and the Moorish cities of the south. But if I were to choose one location for full- or part-time living in Spain, I think my heart would be set on Valencia. For around $2,000 a month, including rent of a chic, centrally located apartment, I could embrace the arts, stroll the beaches, eat out often (and well), and I would be perfectly placed to explore the rest of Europe, too. Let me explain...

Video Postcard: Vitoria—A Charming City in Spain’s Basque Country

Video Postcard: Vitoria—A Charming City in Spain’s Basque Country

In this video, IL editor Glynna Prentice visits Vitoria, a charming mid-sized city (population about 236,000) in Spain’s Basque country.Vitoria is in the green, mountainous interior of northern Spain, about a 45-minute drive south of Bilbao, the industrial port city on Spain’s north coast. Vitoria (or Victoria-Gasteiz...

Rovinj: Croatia’s Lesser-Known Coastal Hideaway

Rovinj: Croatia’s Lesser-Known Coastal Hideaway

Best Places
By |
August 5, 2019

Yes, it’s true, the charms of coastal Croatia aren’t much of a secret any more. After all, this is a country that averages a higher percentage of annual tourists per local population than any other nation on earth—close to 20 million visitors a year. But here’s the good news: if you avoid the peak months Read more...: Rovinj: Croatia’s Lesser-Known Coastal Hideaway

Rovinj: Croatia’s Lesser-Known Coastal Hideaway

Rovinj: Croatia’s Lesser-Known Coastal Hideaway

Best Places
By |
August 5, 2019

Yes, it’s true, the charms of coastal Croatia aren’t much of a secret any more. After all, this is a country that averages a higher percentage of annual tourists per local population than any other nation on earth—close to 20 million visitors a year. But here’s the good news: if you avoid the peak months Read more...: Rovinj: Croatia’s Lesser-Known Coastal Hideaway