Moving to Spain in 2020 pros and cons

Here are some of my pros and cons of moving to Spain in 2020. This video was recorded before Covid 19 hit Spain so please take that into account. 


Perhaps the biggest pro is the quality of life. It is easy to live very well in Spain, and this is mostly down to the Spanish way of life. Spanish people are reasonably friendly, they have a “live and let live” mentality and they are not in your face, although there are exceptions, same as anywhere. This can however also be a con. Spaniards can be noisy, and occasionally

dirty and lack respect for the environment. Especially when celebrating it tends to get noisy here, particularly at the local fiestas.


The cost of living. As a retiree or someone on an outside salary, it is cheap to live here, although rent and housing is increasing. Going out is cheap, especially to eat and drink, but supermarket costs are low too. Salaries here are low however, so if you are working here be prepared for a lower salary. Despite that, you can live well on a lower salary.


Spain is a very safe country. In big cities street crime does exist, like pickpocketing etc., but in general crime is low. House crime can happen, but safety in general is not an issue.


Young people are treated very well, they are made to feel part of the society. For the elderly, they also have a great lifestyle, often seen chilling out in a plaza. The health system is good, and if they live within their means they can live a great life. Healthcare public and private is of a high standard.


The food and drink culture. Spain is a foody paradise, and you won’t be disappointed. There is a great variety of food and regional cuisines. The Mediterranean diet is also one of the best in the world, it’s even possible to lose weight! Walking is a factor in this, but thanks to diet Spain has the 3 rd highest life expectancies in the world.


The bar culture is second to none, and one can choose a quiet drink with a relaxed atmosphere or somewhere where you can meet friends with no threat of alcohol violence.


Spain offers a great climate. In the north it does rain more, but further south it is often warm. Sevilla, for example, is the hottest city in Europe. However, in some areas it can be extreme like in Madrid, where the summers are very hot and the winters can get quite cold.


Though this can be a con if you aren’t willing to learn, but it is a pro when you can learn and communicate in Spanish. It opens a lot of doors, and I consider it necessary to not end up in an English speaking bubble. This can diminish what the country has to offer, and learning opens up experiences and is stimulating. It helps to adapt, and also opens up other Spanish speaking countries.


Spain is a country of great cultural and geographical diversity. Transport between areas is good so it’s a great country to visit in all its parts. The geographical variety means one can be at the beaches and only a short drive from the mountains.



The Spanish economy is volatile. It is often down, and unemployment can become a problem with 25 % and sometimes 50% youth unemployment and emigration is rife. Life can be difficult for young people, and there is a lot of emphasis on the elderly. They are often looking to increase pensions which comes at a cost that the youth pay for.


Bureaucracy can be an issue. Things like getting residency, a drivers licence, and dealing with public service can be a hassle. With so many civil servants it is puzzling, but technology perhaps can improve this. At least half a day is required to get something done.


Timetables can be an issue, with public organisations often closing at 3 it can be hard to get things done after that. The private sector is different, where people work long hours which can also be an issue.

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Barbara Kiernan (Sunday, 22 August 2021 23:01)

    Hi Stuart,
    I have been watching your YouTube presentations for about a month. We are headed to Spain for a month in Ronda next week. Getting our QR Code has been one of those "challenges" you mention in terms of paperwork, but we will hopefully see it through. I lived in Spain for a year and then in Venezuela for 14 years so Spanish is not a problem. We are definitely looking forward to the opportunity to stay for a while in the south of Spain - more relaxing than the year I spent in Madrid as a student. Thanks again for your videos and blogs. Very much appreciated!

  • #2

    Jeff Desrochers (Monday, 07 November 2022 16:29)

    We are moving to Spain (bought a beachfront home in Valencia, ) do you know if there is a limit to the number of vehicles that I can import as I will be shipping 4 to 7 of my personal cars/motorcycles to Spain