White Line

Spain Free Country Guide

Why move to Spain? Everything you need to know about traveling,
living, retiring and moving to Spain


$1.38 trillion



Time / Call #

UTC / +34

Cost of Living
Visa & Residency

Table of Contents

About Spain

Can you let your mind travel for a bit? Imagine a white-washed house across the Mediterranean coast taking in all of the sunshine it could have ever imagined. The lush green by the side that capture wandering eyes, the exotic sand beaches, the snowcapped mountain peaks, vibrant cities, lively culture and of course, shimmering heat from the sun. You shouldn’t be shocked to that Spain is the most popular destination for Europeans and digital nomads seeking a place overseas.

Besides the geographic masterpieces that characterizes Spain, the amazingly low living costs, cheap housing prices plus top class world infrastructure, you won’t blame the North Americans who are reconsidering their stay for the easy-going European life.  

Albeit smaller than France, Spain leaves retirees spoiled for choice with the incredible variety of rich culture, awesome topography and charming lifestyle. Let’s get started with the bubbling city life in Barcelona and Madrid where parties are held regularly or is it the standout architectural masterpieces that Valencia is known for which echoes both medieval and postmodern art. How about the weather that images that of Oregon with some incredible amount of sunshine from the chilly northern coast to the central plateau in Madrid where residents don’t have to worry about shoveling out snow during winters. Generally, the north is cooler and the south, a lot hotter with an average temperature difference of 40F all year round. 

Hilltop view of Costa Brava, Spain

Spain has an interesting cultural diversity with the many independent communities having their own traditions, social structures and even languages. This can be a great allure for those who wish to relocate to Spain since this diversity still remains up till now.

There can be no other country than Spain that should jump at you, especially if you are enthused about rich cultural heritage. Being home to Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and even Arabs in the past, you will find relics of languages and customs entwined in the Spanish culture that are massive imports from these cultures, ensuring there are many cities to explore and take in.

You are not only getting a robust cultural heritage but also, on offer, there are beautiful terrains to capture your attention, sending you raptures and making every experience in Spain a delightful one. For instance, in the North of Spain, you have lots of vegetation on the hills to go with a chilly coast experience.

We are super sure your desires have been stoked, but do you know there is so much more to discover about this country? Fasten your seat belts; we are in for a sweet ride.

“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. Some of the benefits of settling on Spanish soil are low living costs, affordable housing prices and First World infrastructure. 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.

Spain is made up of several autonomous regions, which have had their own language, culture, traditions, and social structures throughout history. Many of these maintain a strong presence in today’s population, which creates a fascinating cultural mix throughout the country, leaving a lot to be discovered when relocating here. “


You can as well kiss the freezing temperatures in Spain because, most of the time, the sun in its elegance and brilliance will be the theme of your stay here in Spain, except, of course, you choose any of the mountainous regions in the Pyrénées or the Picos de Europa, where the temperatures are an all-time low.

Boasting 3,000 hours of sunshine yearly, Spain will certainly guarantee a sunshine-filled retirement. Temperatures are mild, although you can expect differences in temperatures depending on the region you will choose and the season. Southern Spain is known for its scorching summer, while the north is notorious for its generous levels of yearly rainfall.


You can choose from big cosmopolitan cities and sun-kissed Mediterranean beaches to peaceful island escapes and beautiful mountain villages. Each one of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions has its own personality and customs. Whichever region you decide to settle in, you’ll find yourself emerce in new cultures to explore.

Spanish people are very welcoming and warm, and you will find it especially easy to settle in due to their open and friendly attitude towards foreigners.

Beyond having all of these, in Spain, you have access to the kind of infrastructure you will only find in first-world countries. This makes a living on Spanish soil a lot easier.

Safety and Security

Spain is generally safe according also to the Global Peace Index. You can walk the streets during any time of day or night without really having to worry about much. Crime rates are generally low and violent crime is also rare. Even though gun possession is legal, very few people actually have them and gun ownership has a lot of restrictions..

There are a few pickpockets, especially in touristy area, so you should avoid  putting your wallet in your backpack.

Cost of Living

Spain has a reputation worldwide for its affordable living. Even in Madrid, one of the most expensive cities in Spain, you can live (modestly) on a budget of $2,000 a month. In many parts of Spain you can live a luxury lifestyle on your social security check. The cost of living in a city like the stunning Granada is 1/3 that of New York

sunset from Sacromonte in Granada, Spain

Living in a city where there is no need to own a car can be a huge saving. You don’t have to tip in restaurants and save 20% every time you dine out. A good three-course meal that includes wine or beer can cost  $12 to $17.

Thanks to world-class infrastructure, excellent health care, and beautiful weather, this leisurely living in Spain doesn’t require any compromises.


Despite Spain’s affordable cost of living, taxes are some of the highest in Western Europe. However, day-to-day living is cheap, so it balances out.

Luckily for retirees, Spain has low property taxes. For those who want to retire in Spain and are non-residents, their taxes will be charged in line with the rules guiding Spanish taxation. However, this will depend on the type of pension and, of course, if there is any agreement between Spain and your home country. If you include your homes, then you will need to pay what is known as capital gains tax.

Visas and Residency

As an EU/EEA citizen, it is straightforward to move or retire in Spain because you won’t need a visa or residence permit. What happens if you aren’t an EU/EEA citizen? This is where a non-lucrative visa comes in. It is also known as a residence visa and initially lasts for one year, and its renewal lasts for two years.

There is another legal route to getting a Spanish visa. It is known as the golden visa or an investor visa. This visa isn’t only for your stay in Spain but for any other EU/EEA country. To receive a golden visa, you need to invest at least €500,000 in real estate.


Spain is considered one of those countries with the best medical care. This is evidenced in the rankings by the World Health Organization, which places them in 7th ahead of the United States in 37th. It is believed that you are at least fifteen minutes from a hospital, irrespective of where you are in the country. 

And guess what? The numbers are doing so well in terms of life expectancy rates which are as high as 81.92 years; the only downside, of course, has to be the fact that expats will have to buy private insurance for the first five years of residency depending on the visa type anyway.

Read more about Healthcare in Spain here.

Real Estate

In Spain, the general cost of property acquisition or rent is very affordable. Comparing real estate in Portugal to that of Spain leaves you surprised with how much you will get to save in Spain, partly because of the limited housing opportunities and inflated prices in Portugal.

Gran vía street in Madrid, Spain

The real estate market in Spain is constantly fluctuating. Property values in the bigger cities have exploded over the past few years due to an increase in tourism. Explore beautiful but smaller cities like Valencia, Cádiz and Santander, and you will be rewarded with lower prices and great value. You can buy a townhouse in the beautiful Cádiz on Spain’s Costa de la Luz, for around US $244,750.

Read more about Real Estate in Spain here.

Best Places to Live in Spain

The acclaim “cultural powerhouse” associated with Spain means you will have the most beautiful adventures possible. Some of the cities that jump right at you are listed below.


The Catalonia capital doubles as the second largest city in Spain and also one of the most popular destinations. The Northeastern city is known for its buzzing energy, which is palpable in the people’s work and lifestyle. They are also full of loveable people who make it easy for you to integrate just perfectly into the city’s life.


Not only are they famed for their moderate temperatures, which buoy their vibrant and healthy lifestyle, but also, their beaches, like La Calderona, are one of the finest in Europe. So, here you have a fine blend of nature and lifestyle, which can make retirement a good one. You also get to enjoy one of Spain’s famous dishes, Paella.

Read more about Best Places to live in Spain here.

Proximity to the United States

Spain has several international airports, the biggest ones being Barcelona and Madrid, where you can find daily direct flights from New York. Flight from New York to Madrid is around eight and a half hours and Los Angeles to Madrid is a twelve-hour flight. 

Activities and Recreation

With 5,000 miles of Mediterranean coastline, you can have the perfect swimming, surfing, boating, windsurfing, and sunning experience. The fantastic mountain ranges that litter Spain also allows you to engage in hiking and mountaineering, and during winter, the gradients are great for skiing and snowboarding. There is also something for you if you love soccer (football for the Europeans) involving the fiercest rivalry that ever graced your screens between Barcelona and Real Madrid. 

Bottom Line

With incredible diversity combined with a mild climate with warm summers, rich historic, and friendly locals, Spain is an ideal destination for those planning a new adventure overseas. With many beautiful cities to settle down, no matter whether you choose a more Mediterranean, urban or mountainous retirement you are for sure going to enjoy every day of your golden years. 

Finding your way around cities in Spain is relatively easy and affordable, all thanks to rapid and efficient public transportation.

Much importantly, there is such a great sense of community among Spaniards in local neighborhoods that makes your integration process relatively easy. So, if you are searching for a warmth-filled place to retire with affordable essential utilities, don’t look too far because Spain will give you all this and more.

Here is a list of the Pros and Cons of traveling, living, moving and retiring in Spain