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

The World’s Top 4 Heavenly Retirement Havens

The World’s Top 4 Heavenly Retirement Havens

PR
By |
June 1, 2016

What makes a particular spot a “perfect" retirement haven? Usually the answer depends on who you ask. Admittedly, one person’s heaven on earth could be the last place in the world another would choose to live. But there are a few special places on the planet—undeniable favorites with travelers, expats and retirees—that are so extraordinary, they are often described as being “heavenly” or “like paradise.”

Spanish Islands, Belgian Beer, and a Portable Income

Spanish Islands, Belgian Beer, and a Portable Income

Travel
By |
May 23, 2016

Stepping out from strict—and sometimes depressing—office hours to “work” whenever I want allows me to enjoy every moment of my travels around Europe. As a copywriter and blogger, I’ve opened my laptop while sitting next to monkeys on Spain’s Rock of Gibraltar…or sipping a latte in the Belgian city of Bruges. There probably isn’t a better start to a European trip than landing 15 minutes away from the beach on Mallorca—the Spanish island in the Mediterranean— where I took the longest siesta of my life. My days on the island were all about enjoying the warm weather and discovering coral reefs and rocky beaches, which I found perfect for meditating.

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.”

Olives, Travel, and Spanish Wine on a Budget

Olives, Travel, and Spanish Wine on a Budget

As I pull open the shades each morning, the warm Spanish sun of the new day shines in. 300 days of sunshine bring light and life to the historic city of Alcázar de San Juan, with its 30,000 residents. My wife, Nadiana, and I moved to central Spain seven months ago to teach English. Since September, our small budget has allowed us to enjoy the amazing weather, delicious food, and beautiful landscapes of Spain, all while saving at the same time.

A $4 Breakfast in a Spanish Bar

A $4 Breakfast in a Spanish Bar

I live a few miles east of Malaga on the southern coast of Spain. Although I have a wonderful terrace at my house overlooking the Mediterranean, I still find myself enjoying breakfast most mornings out on the street. My favorite spot is an old family run Spanish bar on the beach of Benejarafe. The coffee beans are actually roasted only three miles away by Tamazor in Velez Malaga and the coffee is traditionally made through the hand pressed espresso machine creating a thick layer of natural coffee cream.

Trading the Big Apple For This Affordable Spanish City

Trading the Big Apple For This Affordable Spanish City

In the heart of Spain, nestled between mountains, sunburnt hills, and row after row of thriving olive trees, sits Madrid. Despite being the third largest city by population in the European Union, Madrid maintains the feeling of tranquility and neighborliness that is so often replaced by the rushed and stressed life of other big cities. That’s precisely why I, a fast-walking, fast-talking girl from New York, stepped off the plane and into the blaring July sun of Madrid, took a look around, and traded it all in for a slowed-down, low-stress life in Spain’s metropolis.

Lipstick, Legs, and Ham…Expat Adventures in Hitchhiking

Lipstick, Legs, and Ham…Expat Adventures in Hitchhiking

I’m a middle-aged woman who pays taxes, owns property, and has a career of sorts. I’m a Serious Person, and so are my friends. Mostly. So when I find myself standing by the side of a road in rural Spain, holding a sign written in lipstick (Burt’s Bees Raisin, to be exact—my favorite shade—and sacrificed for the occasion), I can’t help asking myself: How did I get here? The road is empty and so is the Spanish landscape, which stretches for miles around me, except for the six-house village across the road.