Most popular Spanish areas for Expats

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Most popular Spanish areas for Expatriation

Despite the economic concerns of recent years, the sun, sand and sangria of Spain have ensured that the nation remains a popular destination with people looking to start a new life abroad. However, Spain is a diverse country (made up of 17 unique autonomous regions) and some areas seem to appeal more as emigration locations than others.

Here we take a look at the areas of Spain with the highest proportion of expats and see what they have to offer.

Madrid, Community of Madrid

Unsurprisingly Spain’s bustling capital city draws expats from all over the world. As the third largest city in the European Union, Madrid wields significant influence within the worlds of fashion and the arts as well as being a hub of economic, political and scientific interest.

With ancient monuments and historically significant architecture standing alongside contemporary nightclubs, shopping precincts and housing developments, Madrid really is a blend of the old and new – offering something for everyone.

Whilst levels of unemployment in Spain as a whole are high at the moment work is more available in Madrid then in some of the nation’s rural regions.

For those sick of wind and rain the weather in Madrid will also appeal. The city enjoys cool winters and warm, dry summers thanks to its high altitude and central location.

If you’re looking for a quiet retirement near the sea you may want to give Madrid a miss, but if you’re looking to relocate somewhere dynamic and vibrant this could be just the patch of Spain for you.

Barcelona, Catalonia

Barcelona is second only to Madrid in size and is positioned right on the Mediterranean, on the north-eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

It is a city with a rich past (the documented history of Barcelona can be traced back to the Roman era) and a distinctive culture.

The weather is typically pleasant year round, with exceptionally mild winters and hot summers. From May to August you can generally expect to enjoy high temperatures and plenty of sun, although it can get very humid at times!

Around 7% of the city’s total population is made up of foreigners, and those living in Barcelona who aren’t of retirement age tend to work in the following sectors: Customer services, English TEFL teaching, sales, PR, business, graphic design, secretarial and administrative positions and journalism.

Although finding suitable accommodation/ housing within the city centre can prove tricky, reasonably priced options can still be found outside the city centre, and Barcelona has a strong infrastructure so travelling in and out is relatively simple.

Again, unemployment is high in Barcelona (and so is the cost of living) so it may not be a financially viable option for you, but if you have the means to support yourself it really is a Mediterranean city worth exploring.

Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is attracts thousands of tourists every year, and as its name translates to ‘Coast of the Sun’ it’s not hard to figure out why people keep going back. In fact, many visitors to the region (particularly those from the UK) like it so much they decide to make the move permanent.

Although it developed a bad reputation for crime during the 1970’s and 80’s it’s sandy beaches, vibrant night life and laid back vibe means it now attracts young families and couples as well as retirees.

Tourism is the area’s major industry, with job opportunities for foreign workers tending to be within the tourism sector.

Although the global economic slowdown has had a negative impact on tourism as a whole Spain continues to attract visitors, making the sector one of the more stable. Bad weather elsewhere and a volatile exchange rate helped Spain experience the best summer of its recorded history last year, with the nation welcoming 21.6 million money-spending tourists between June and August.

Property prices in the region were also beginning to recover at the close of 2012 with housing transactions increasing by 52 per cent compared to the previous year.

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