Endless Sunshine and Outdoor Living on an Affordable Spanish Island

In the summer, I like to get up early and head out for a walk whilst the rest of the world slumbers on. It’s blissfully quiet at that time of day and the mountain scenery is particularly spectacular in the soft light of the morning. Often, I’ll take a bowl to pick some of the blackberries, plums, and figs that hang low over the narrow country lanes—topping up fruit supplies whilst also getting in some exercise before the heat of the day kicks in.

When I moved from Palma, the capital of the island of Mallorca, to a village in the mountains, I was apprehensive, but a few months into my rural experience I couldn’t be happier. I’m still only 20 minutes from the city, so the restaurants, galleries, theatres, and shops are still within easy reach when I want them. But I’ve swapped the relentless traffic, noise, and crowds for stunning views, quaint stone houses, and small bars serving straightforward café con leches (none of those overly complicated Starbucks-style choices here) in pretty cobbled squares.

With beaches, city, and countryside all within easy reach, it’s not surprising the village has attracted so many expat residents. We’re all here for the same basic reason…the quality of life.

For many, this is largely weather-related. Spain enjoys abundant sunshine all year round. Even in winter, temperatures in these parts are mild enough to still spend a great deal of time outdoors.

And that’s another great attraction of life in Spain: life is lived outside as much as possible. Bars and restaurants have ample outdoor seating, open air cinemas, and concerts run throughout the summer, and every inland village has a community pool and recreation ground. In summer, days off are spent on boats and at the beach, and in winter people go hiking, cycling, and climbing in the mountains.

The Spanish are a very family-oriented bunch, so it’s a great place to raise a family. Make your way to any square or pedestrian area in the evening and you’ll see dozens of children playing together while the adults sip cold drinks at one of the many bars.

It’s this more laidback approach to life that draws so many foreigners to Spain. The priority here is very much on enjoying the here and now, rather than working and saving up for some nebulous future.

Enjoying life in Spain needn’t be an expensive affair: the low cost of many of life’s little luxuries allow even low income families to feast on fresh shrimp at $4 per pound and cava (Spain’s answer to prosecco) at $3 for a bottle.

For accommodation, these days, a two-bedroom apartment with a shared pool in high demand area will probably set you back around $700 to $800 per month.

Many expats here usually earn their income through their own business, either in the tourist industry or as a freelancer (writing, translating, teaching, or consulting). I earn a decent living as a freelance copywriter: I write web content, blogs, newsletters, and feature articles for a variety of clients, most of whom are based elsewhere in the world—with fibre optic internet available in most areas, it couldn’t be easier to work remotely.

Like anywhere else, Spain too can have its occasional inconveniences. However, the natural beauty, ideal climate, wonderful food, and general zest for life more than make up for that.

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