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

An Affordable European Lifestyle in One of Spain’s Best-Kept Secrets

An Affordable European Lifestyle in One of Spain’s Best-Kept Secrets

Best Places
By |
June 5, 2016

At the heart of the Ebro Valley, and with a population of around 150,000, Logrono is surrounded by mountains but still well connected. It’s just two hours from San Sebastian’s clamshell shore, three hours from the center of historic Madrid, and four from lively Barcelona. It’s better known as the capital of La Rioja, Spain’s smallest region, which produces some of the country’s finest wines.

Take Your Ideas for a Test Drive

Take Your Ideas for a Test Drive

After a vacation in Spain, Karen McCann and her husband returned the following year to study Spanish. The Ohio residents were especially enchanted by Seville. "We spent four spring vacations in Seville, staying for longer and longer periods," says Karen. "Of course, moving abroad—or moving anywhere—has its challenges. But you don't have to wait until all the stars are aligned, the dog passes away, the grandkids are all happily married, and you win the lottery."

This Affordable Spanish City Gives Me Everything I Want

This Affordable Spanish City Gives Me Everything I Want

Selfishly, I thought that nobody knew about the beautiful, cultured, artsy Spanish city of Girona and that I could keep it as my secret place. But it’s impossible to keep a place like this under wraps. I fell in love with Girona and moved here in 2012. This charming, fun, easygoing city checked all my boxes. I can walk or cycle everywhere through beautiful streets that are full of history.

10 Best Places in the World to Escape the 2016 Political Season

10 Best Places in the World to Escape the 2016 Political Season

In the hours after one presidential debate recently, Google searches for “how can I move to Canada” reportedly spiked 1,150%. Here at International Living, we have nothing against Canada. But it should be said: There are warmer, better-value options to consider…all over the world. Each year at International Living we release our Global Retirement Index. Researched over months with the help of our ever-growing team of correspondents, editors, and contributors all over the world, this Retirement Index is the ultimate resource for helping you find your ideal retirement haven.

The Most Affordable Retirement Havens in Western Europe

The Most Affordable Retirement Havens in Western Europe

“You don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy everything Malta can provide,” says Gigi Griffis. “Rents in the capital start from as low as $450 a month. Milk, bread, and other groceries can be bought for $1 apiece, while a bottle of quality wine can be had for $6. Private insurance is a fraction of what you would expect to pay back in the States, with annual premiums for a couple starting as low as $800 for expats I spoke to.”

Europe’s Stunning Iberian Peninsula: The Real Estate Story Right Now

Europe’s Stunning Iberian Peninsula: The Real Estate Story Right Now

Real Estate
By |
April 26, 2016

I've traveled widely throughout the Iberian Peninsula and stood watching the wild Atlantic crash on the shores of Portugal and the Mediterranean Sea lapping long beaches to the south of Spain. From a traveler's point of view, this whole Peninsula—with its Moorish and Basque influences—is charming and intriguing. This is where you'll find some of Europe's best weather…as well as good food, good wine, and dramatic landscapes.

Forget the Starving Writer Cliché…I Earned $500 in an Hour

Forget the Starving Writer Cliché…I Earned $500 in an Hour

A few years back, I was working a full-time, regular 9-to-5 teaching job. My bosses were inflexible, I was stressed, and I couldn't stand the work. When you're a teacher, you can't just take time off to travel. I'm also not a morning person, and waking up at 6 a.m. every day was tough. I was following the rules...and I don't like following rules. Writing was always my passion, but I had no idea how I would go about actually earning a living writing. Writers don't earn livings, everyone knows that. Right?

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