It would be very cliché to say that I moved to Spain for the sun, sea, sand and sangria. It wouldn’t be a lie. In reality, however what I have found, is so much more. It’s no wonder that Andalucia is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the world. Residents are happier, healthier and more relaxed than you’ll ever find at home. Now, whilst I do not promote losing touch with the real world, living life in the essence of a perpetual holiday has its draws. Everyday life is simply be better here in Spain, and here are just a few of the reasons why.
Variety is the spice of life
I’m lucky enough to have the Mediterranean coast on my doorstep, and the Sierra Bermeja Mountains in my backyard. In an hour I can find myself in Tarifa; a laid back hippie surf town, with wide golden beaches and views of the Atlas Mountains. Heading inland for an hour brings historic old town Ronda; sat proudly above a gorge with views to keep the camera busy. I have the cute Andalucian white washed ‘pueblos’ of Benahavis and Mijas for a fix of tradition and village life constrasted with the nightlife hot spots of Puerto Banus and Marbella.
There are also few places in the world you can ski in the morning, and sail in the afternoon. With ski resort of Sierra Nevada only 2.5 hours away from Marbella marina, you really can have your cake and eat it!
‘Oh Sunlight, the most precious gold to be found on earth!’
Who isn’t going to feel better with a plentiful supply of sunshine? Here, on the Costa del Sol the sun is generous enough to treat us with around 320 days of luminous rays a year. Even the blue sky in December is brighter than the sunniest of days of summer back home in London.
The days are lighter and longer year round, compared to all Northern European countries. When I think of the mundane household chores I would typically put off at home; taking out the rubbish, hanging out the laundry, washing the car. These all now present themselves as golden opportunities to get off the sofa, get outside, and soak up the sun.
My normal bleary eyed morning routine is now cured the second I open the curtains. Not even the most stressful of days or foulest of moods spoils the sight of a sunset over the Med. With the silhouette of Gibraltar reaching out towards the African coast, there is no better way to end the day than with a sunset stroll.
Health is wealth
Spain is now recognised, as one of the healthiest places with live in the world. Life expectancy is the highest in Europe, and second only to Japan in the world. Thanks to the combination of fantastic weather and wholesome eating habits, there are many health advantages for all ages. An increase in Vitamin D from the sun fights disease, depression and can prevent heart disease. The dry climate benefits those suffering with rheumatism, arthritis and asthma.
The facts speak for themselves, but what’s obvious from living here is that you ‘feel’ more alive. It’s so much easier to be active in a culture that spends more time outside than in. Up and down the Costa’s you will spot beach side outdoor workout area’s completely free for all to use. The days of signing up for that expensive gym membership that you use only once, are over! There are an extensive range of activities available to enhance the mind and body.
Eating for me is no longer an activity of necessity or habit. It’s a way to enjoy all the sights sounds and smells of the surroundings that I live. Food culture in Spain is not fast. Dining is a slow leisurely, process, designed around sharing and socialising. Who wouldn’t want to swap their TV dinner, for al fresco dining nearly all year round with friends and family?
Spain is now the leading country in organic food production in Europe. Processed foods are hard to come by. The Mediterranean diet is rich in fresh seafood, plump juicy tomatoes and virgin olive oil, all of which help to lower cholesterol and improve heart health.
Whether you wish to eat healthy or not, it is simply easier to buy salad than a microwave meal. Within my own small community, we are growing oranges, lemons, limes, avocado, nispero, and bananas. Accessibility to fresh, healthy food is at our finger tips, so there are no excuses to reach for that bar of chocolate.
Climbing the ladder
I know how it is. You spend years putting away your hard earned money, only to find your worldly savings may just buy you a bedsit in suburbia. Not however in Spain.
After a difficult few years, following the crash in 2008, the Spanish property market is recovering. There are still fantastic bargains to be had, offering swimming pools, sea views, roof terraces and palm trees. Whether you are looking for your dream home, a Pied a Terre or even a buy to let investment, you’ll get way more bang for your buck on the Spanish Costa’s. Click here to find your dream home.
Learning to enjoy every minute
Out of interest, how often do you say, ‘I was going to do X but I haven’t had time? Before moving to Spain, this may well have been the catchphrase of my life. There simply was never enough time. It’s not really surprising when you learn that the average Brit spends 2 years of their life commuting to work. 3 years of their life posting on social media and 8 years of their life watching TV. It’s no wonder everything else is such a rush.
Now, it feels like there are more hours in the day. There is more time; to think, to decide and to do. The days seem more generous and the weekends, lengthy and worthwhile. Now I notice the difference between a morning, afternoon and evening.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, people typically work closer to home, at least on the Costa del Sol. There isn’t the dreaded M25 or tube to navigate, sucking valuable time and energy from your precious day. Secondly, there is no incentive to sit and watch TV when it’s so glorious outside. Thirdly, everything happens later in Spain, giving you more time at both the beginning and end of your day.
Fun doesn’t stop when you have kids
I am yet to witness the ticking time bomb of tantrums from the youth of a Spanish family. On the flip side, I frequently see holidaying parents wrestle with their little bundles of joy. After consuming too many ice creams and sweets, an almighty fit erupts when their Ipad runs out of battery.
There is a real focus on family living in Spain. The Spanish love children, and children and adolescents alike are accepted and encouraged to take part in adult life. Children are a welcome part of social activity, events and activities. This means the fun can continue into parenthood and beyond. As a result, the younger generation develop the capacity to socialise appropriately at an early age. This provides children far more freedom and independence than their Northern European counterparts.
Expats with young families, are very satisfied with their family lifestyle in Spain and its excellent attitude to children.