We have been amazed over the years at how many of our readers are looking to retire in Spain. I think it is great that our family of four has not only been an inspiration to other families, but also to people wanting to retire. This includes families, singles and couples, so it is nice to know we have helped so many people.
Much of our blog would apply to anyone wanting to move to Spain or experience the culture, but this post is just for those who want to retire in Spain. We have done our research and spoken to former clients and friends to find out about retiring in Spain. Now it is time for us to share much of that information with you!
Climate in Spain
If you are inland, you will find the temperatures to be cooler in the winter and hotter in the summer. Some spectacular locations with very hot summers (100 F +) are inland Andalucia, Extremadura, Castile La Mancha, Murcia, inland Valencia.
If you want to stay in milder climates in the winter (about 50F), that pretty much directs you towards the coastal areas or the Canary Islands (70F). Here is our tourist guide of things to do in Spain by region, which is just to give you an idea of various locations. The microclimate and weather in Costa Tropical is detailed for you. The photo below is from Calla Mitjana, Menorca Spain.
Healthcare in Spain
Worried about medical care and private health insurance in Spain?
Spain’s healthcare system is very good and free to those who are citizens or pay into the social security system. That said, if there are emergencies you may also be treated and pay out of pocket. Don’t panic, it is no where near the prices of the US. Ideally you have your own coverage when in Spain, depending on your visa type or how long you are in-country.
For any of the residency options, you will be required to prove you have Spanish private health insurance. This would be true for the Non-Lucrative Visa, the Retirement Visa, or the Golden Visa. I think you will find the options very affordable, especially comparing it to prices in the USA. With residency they require you to have a plan with no copay, no deductible, and no waiting periods and it still shouldn’t break the bank.
Instructions on how to get your flu vaccination in Spain. We share two options for getting the flu vaccine or flu shot for Costa Tropical Spain. That said the process should be the same throughout the country.
If you plan to come for no more than 90 days at a time, you may do so right away. It would be a good idea to check with your insurance at home to see if you are covered while in Spain. If not, we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance.
Spain Retirement Visa
There are a couple of options for you to retire in Spain. You may decide you only want live in Spain for 6 months a year. We have a full post reviewing options to make this happen. If you decide this is a long term or more permanent move then you would likely want to apply for the Spain retirement visa (non-lucrative) or the Golden Visa.
Best places to retire in Spain
When looking for the best places to retire in Spain, there is so much to consider. You really need to decide what is important to you in your daily life. We have a full article on how to determine the best place to retire in Spain.
Integrating with the local community
No matter if you are retiring in Spain as a couple or an individual, you will want to integrate with the local community. This may seem difficult at first and you will likely meet other expats to help you settle as well. Try not to fall into the trap of only socializing with those who speak English.
Small talk at the shops
This is your retirement and time to take on new adventures! Try to befriend the locals, learn enough Spanish to get you started with greetings and quick conversations a the store checkout. These brief conversations go a long way, as the store clerks will begin to recognize you and even say hello to you first.
Spanish lessons and intercambio
You will likely meet new people at your Spanish classes, but check to see if there are any intercambios in the area too. An intercambio is a language exchange. You can help someone who wants to improve their spoken English and they can help you with your spoken Spanish. It is a fun way to meet new people and help each other.
Be on the lookout for activities offered by the locals, art or painting, cooking, hiking, dancing, sports, yoga, meditation, and the like. These are great ways for you to learn a little Spanish vocabulary by doing the activity and learning naturally.
There are likely groups of foreigners who have also established some social activities but don’t rule out those offered by the locals. Who knows, you may learn how to cook an awesome Spanish stew! Here is an example of what we have created for activities, sports, and social groups in Costa Tropical.
A package holiday for Spanish immersion
Check with the local travel agents and see if they have any guided getaways. You may select a 2 night / 3 day guided tour of Madrid, Segovia or any other part of Spain. Knowing you are with all Spaniards and having the tour in Spanish, is a great way to immerse yourself in the Spanish culture.
There are so many groups on social media to help with your retirement in Spain. I would take caution with anyone offering too much advice for the visa process or detailed cost of living. Take their information as a data point, but you will need to figure out what applies to you specifically, based on where you are from. So just know their experience may be slightly different from yours.
That said, I think Facebook groups for your local area are great for finding out what is going on, local fiestas, activities and more. You will also be able to find out about local sports and clubs too.
A touch of America
Living in Spain as an American can feel a little lonely at times. It is likely the other foreigners you meet speak English, but are from other countries with different traditions. If you are missing home, a quick video chat usually does the trick. If it is the food you are missing, you can check out the online store Taste of America and fill those cravings. There are also stores located in some cities around Spain.
Cost of living in Spain
The big question is “How much do I need to retire in Spain?”
You can spend hours online doing your research, gathering data points, and trying to figure out how to estimate the living costs in Spain. We can save you some time by providing our trusted tips and tools to guide you through the process.
Would you like to be organized and understand what the true estimated costs in Spain will be for you? Will your lifestyle in Spain be different from your home country? What about exchange rates and transferring money? Are there extra expenditures you aren’t aware of? Do you want tips to help trigger your thoughts and make sure your list is complete?
If you answered yes, our eBook “The Cost of Living Spain Style” is for you!
Buying property in Spain vs Renting a property
When you are searching for a property for sale in Spain. there is no doubt you will find some great deals. We wouldn’t recommend buying anything without viewing the property or visiting the area first. There are certain things you would want to look out for and there are some great tips from a local lawyer about buying a property in Spain.
We are big advocates of “trying” an area of the country out before making a longer commitment. This means we suggest you rent in an area for a few months to make sure it is right for you. Then you have time to seek out a property to buy in Spain or to rent long-term.
Moving to Spain from the US
We have a few bits of advice for those of you moving to Spain from the US. We suggest you try to leave your American life in the US and adapt to the Spanish culture. By this we mean the timing of meals, siesta, the outdoor lifestyle, and more. The first year we were in Spain, we tried to keep our American schedule and it was tough.
As soon as we gave in to the kids staying up a bit later and having meals a different times, it made things flow more easily. This approach applies to many areas when adjusting to the Spanish lifestyle. We have many tips for you to prepare for your move as well as ease the process of you getting settled in our eBook Getting Settled in Spain.
Time to have a healthy snack and learn the names of some Spanish fruits & vegetables in Spanish. For some of us, there are unfamiliar items at the produce stands that can be confusing. Not to worry, we will translate some of the most common fruits & vegetables in Spain for you.
If you are looking to live a healthy Mediterranean lifestyle while in Europe, then you should be sure to try the seafood and fish in Spain. For many of us, there are unfamiliar items at the fish market, all with different names. Our guide to seafood and fish in Spain should help you out!
What is Spain Know For?
Yes, Spain is known for tapas, sun and beaches, as it should be! They are simply amazing and for most of the year too! Spain is one of the southernmost countries in Europe and especially southern Spain is popular for mild winters and more than 320 days of Sun! We live in southern Spain on the Costa Tropical, the coast in the Granada province and this is true! But there is so much more, so read what we think what Spain is known for.
Spain Costas or the Spanish Coasts provide a great variety of beaches, towns, and coves to choose from. Spain is known as the Iberian Peninsula, which is shared with Portugal. Being a peninsula means there is plenty of Spanish Coastline to discover and experience. Along the south and east are the Mediterranean beaches. Then the west and north provide you with Atlantic or Bay of Biscay beaches.
Transportation in Spain
Spain is well connected with the rest of Europe via trains, planes, and buses. The largest airports can be found in Madrid and Barcelona, but don’t rule out some of the other major airports. We also have a guide to airports in Spain (from the perspective of Costa Tropical). Here are some tips for finding the best flight deals.
Spain also has a great transit system within the country. If you have decided to enjoy Spain via the bus or high-speed rail instead of opting for a car rental in Spain, not to worry. You are in luck; we can also provide you with a link to Omio, which gives you access to bus, trains and planes in Europe.
Obtaining a Spanish Driver’s License
The road to obtaining a Spanish driver’s license for Americans isn’t quick and can often be a frustrating process. Since the US has a different driver’s license for each state, there isn’t a reciprocation of licenses with Spain. Nope, it is back to a driving school you go with the new drivers!
Alan figured it was worthwhile to explain what we did, the process we went through, and his general frustrations. All of this is to help you set your expectations and hopefully gain a little knowledge.
Travel Deals & Tips
We have several posts on travel tips and deals, so we will just list a few for you here.
- 5 Travel Tips – Save money on flights and more
- Learn how to book the cheapest flights.
- A fun way to keep track of all of your travels is with a portable scratch-off map of the world.
- Tipping in Spain can be a hot topic. We’ve provided our information, as well as several other resources for you to read.
- Spain car rental deals, including explanations of costs, insurance, and that international driving permit too!
- International money transfers can be costly. We have some tips to help as a data point.
- We’ve compiled a list of our best Spain travel tips for you.
Taxes in Spain
If you are in Spain for 183 days or more in a given calendar year, you are considered to be a tax resident. We don’t get into taxes in Spain, as it varies depending on your situation. I’m sure you have questions regarding taxes.
I wanted to let you know we don’t write about our situation or advise anyone on this topic, as each scenario is different and we aren’t tax experts. We do however know a website with good information to help you with self-research. Alternatively, we recommend you reach out to a tax consultant for questions.
Making the Move to Spain Easier!
We have helped hundreds of people make the move to Spain from singles, to families, and retirees. As you know we have all of the information and our experiences in our blog, but we also offer consulting, move to Spain packages, and bespoke services for those moving to the Costa Tropical.
Move to Spain consultations
Not only do we provide great information about applying for your visa, in the Live In Spain eBook, as well as our eBook to prepare your for the move and getting settled, we also offer full move to Spain consulting services. Our consultations can be about any topic covered in the book, the blog, or even just a general Q&A about moving to Spain. It’s up to you.
Move to Spain Packages!
If you want more help with your move, don’t worry we are here for you. We also offer great packages to help with the move to Spain, which including consulting and many of our eBooks, resources and expert advice.
Click here to read more about our move to Spain relocation packages.
Okay, what are you waiting for? Come on over and see if you want to retire in Spain.