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

Enjoying Simple Pleasures in Salamanca, Spain

Enjoying Simple Pleasures in Salamanca, Spain

Cafe con leche is the typical Spanish coffee. Now, you could head to the American-style shop a few blocks from my apartment for a $7 plain coffee. However, I prefer the local café where you can sit outside on the cobblestone patio and sip leisurely while people-watching. The delicious treat only costs $1.25, the workers always greet you with an enthusiastic "Buenos dias!" and no one rushes you to vacate your seat.

Living Better for Less on Spain’s Costa Blanca

Living Better for Less on Spain’s Costa Blanca

Cost of Living
By |
September 14, 2016

"One of the best things about living in Spain is the simplicity," says Fiona Lennol. "Less is expected of you. You're not required to have a fancy car or a big house. You can be yourself and just enjoy life. When you wake in the morning to blue skies and sunshine the day is already good.

Live in Europe’s Best Towns and Cities for $2,500 a Month or Less

Live in Europe’s Best Towns and Cities for $2,500 a Month or Less

Many expats are drawn to the idea of retiring in Europe, but can be thrown off by the high prices of its most famous destinations. But while big cities such as Paris and Madrid may hit hard on the wallet, there are still many alternatives for those seeking the romance of Europe, but at an affordable cost.

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."