Spain is a beautiful country with amazing weather, picturesque scenery, amazing food, and friendly people. Not only does it have an incredibly rich culture, Spain also embraces the Mediterranean work-life balance. So let’s dive into the benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle and living in Spain that many aspire for.
It’s safe to say that many countries welcome the work-as-much-as-possible culture with open arms. However, in Spain rest is a vital part of the day. From 1:30pm the city slowly shuts for lunch and rest. From shops to city services, everything is on stand-by while the Spanish enjoy lunch, or perhaps even a siesta. The typical lunchbreak could vary from 1 to 3 hours meaning that there is time to replenish and refuel. Lunch is basically sacred here meaning that it is not notoriously skipped or undervalued. It is also an opportunity to catch up with friends or family over a lovely lunch out.
OK, so the Spanish timetable doesn’t succumb to the traditional 9-5 European timetable. But, it’s safe to say a long lunchbreak accounts for that difference. In addition, Sunday really is the day of rest as all things retail-related close. Apart from big cities that have adopted an extended shopping schedule, you will find that most shops and services close. Spain is also renowned for its bank holidays with 9 national holidays alongside additional holidays. Each province has its own community and saint days, alongside holidays for las fiestas.
Culture: Entertainment, Fun and Las Fiestas
There is always something interesting going on when living in Spain. From local theatre productions to art exhibitions, not a dull day goes by here. The council and tourism offices ensure that Spain has endless entertainment. Although this is subject to the respective councils, it’s common to see an array of entertainment from live music to sporting events. Music and sports are also an inherent part of Spanish culture.
Local traditions are also such fun. Think fiestas like Pamplona’s San Fermin, or Valencia’s celebration of Las Fallas. Aside from these internationally famous fiestas, each town actually has its own taking pride in outdoing its success each year. Las fiestas often include parades, competitions, daytime fireworks and firecrackers, concerts, DJs and live music all over the city. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a party without endless supplies of good food and beverages.
The Night is Always Young
The Spanish also have great stamina as their nightlife happens to be one of the longest in Europe. Clubs, for example, can shut as late as 6am. According to Spaniards, the night is still young at midnight and after dinner is when the fun really begins.
Low Living Costs
Do not be deceived by all the fun that goes on here. Living in Spain actually has relatively low living costs. For starters, the price of renting here is considerably low, excluding the more cosmopolitan cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. The price of a two-bedroom flat could cost you anywhere between 400 to 550 euros for a fully-furnished home. More luxurious options, in the heart of the city or beautifully designed masterpiece, could start at around 600 euros.
To eat out here is also considerably cheaper. For breakfast, you can find the typical Spanish desayuno for as little as 2 euros or less. This typically includes café con leche and tostadas con tomate y aceite. Throw in a freshly-squeezed orange juice and you may be looking at under 3 euros. For lunch, el menu del día really is a steal starting at the typical price of 10 euros. Disclaimer – some cities and restaurants may be more – this is just an average. It includes a starter, main, dessert and drink which, yes, can be wine of beer! For dinner, prices vary from place to place. They still offer the chance to indulge in some cheap and cheerful local dishes and tapas, though.
Public transport is also incredibly cheap with local tram or bus journeys starting at as little as 1 euro. Intercity connections may be more but I am yet to take a local bus that costs more than 2 euros. Local bike systems are also implemented. By paying a small fee on an weekly, monthly or annual basis, you have bikes available all around the city. You can take a bike out for limited periods of time to get you from A to B. Eco-friendly and super cheap!
With 5 years living in Spain, my love for España grows each day. Aside from the well-known perks including the Mediterranean climate, kind, generous people and a beautiful language, Spain has so much more to offer. Whether it be for a trip or a country of residence, Spain should definitely be on your bucket list.