Do not expect an even handed article. My opinions are post-judiced as opposed to prejudiced in other words they are biased after having acquired the facts. I have been all around the world and I am living in southern Spain (24 years now) because it has everything……. and I mean everything!
1. Climate: yep the most quoted reason comes out top and why? Because the weather influences your mood. If it’s sunny you feel great and if it isn’t sunny you don’t. I ask you….. “how do you want to live?” In Marbella it is sunny 320 days a year. You can wear shorts all year round in the day time. You can swim in the sea between May and October. The Levante is a cool breeze that brings in fresh air that keeps you cool even in the hot summer and you can fill your lungs and feel healthy and fabulous.
2. Friendly Host Culture: Spain is full of happy zippy people who just want to have fun. One of my best early memories is with a group of Spanish friends who opened a bottle of sherry at a fiesta (more like festival) and threw away the cork: a long way from the forlorn bottle that sits in the English drinks cabinet and for several years. They are a proud, and strangely diffident people, and you are always made to feel welcome.
3. Communications: big wide empty motorways; intercity buses that run hourly and on time; high speed trains Malaga to Madrid and most importantly the international airport at Malaga that has daily flights to all major European cities as well as intercontinental: Montreal, Moscow, Istanbul Tel Aviv etc
4. Food: great food everywhere. Remember the British Rail sandwiches? What a contrast!! In Spain the bar in the railway station has a whole range of freshly cooked dishes presented under glass with fresh natural ingredients. It is prepared and served by a proud chef in a white coat.
5. Nightlife: I think before I came to Spain I had stayed up all night and seen the dawn in 5 or 6 times in my whole life. That number was doubled in the first month. Meeting for a drink at midnight became habitual. The night life rocks. Marbella is full of modern, hip, fusion restaurants and well as the traditional. There are cocktail bars, pubs, and night clubs. There are marinas to wander about and drink champagne in if that’s your bag.
6. Culture and History: Spain has fascinated the Northern Europeans for hundreds of years. Whether it’s because of the Arabic history that has left its mark in the food and spices, the music, place names, and faces of the people or the crazy village and city fiestas that happen on an enormous scale goodness only knows. Just think of the Mezquita of Cordoba, the Alhambra of Granada and the Giralda of Seville. What can compare with them? What about Jerez, a small town, that simultaneously manages to be the worldwide capital of flamenco, show horses, sherry and motor racing? I haven’t even mentioned Columbus and the conquistadors or bullfighting and I am out of space.
7. Beaches and Mountains: Ok so the Costa del Sol can get a little crowded in the summer but get out to Cadiz and there are long unspoilt virgin beaches with white sand. Even on the Costa del Sol there are plenty of great beaches with chiringuitos (beach bars). You can be sitting by the sea with your toes in the sand, in the shade, with a cold beer or glass of white wine, eating fresh fish whenever you want. There are endless mountains to play in: the Alpujarras, Cazorla big beautiful mountains with forests full of wildlife and squirrels with fluffy ears and clear blue lakes and majestic rock formations. Most probably your own house has a view of the sea and fresh sea air.
8. Free Market Democracy within the EU: Your property rights are protected by law. There is free speech, the vote, and independent judiciary.
9. Sports: You can do all the adventure sports at the highest level: all the mountain ones skiing in the Sierra Nevada, rock climbing, canyoning; all the water ones, windsurfing, surfboarding, kitesurfing, scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking, all the air one: paragliding, hang gliding etc
10. Golf: The Costa Del Sol is also called the Costa Del Golf. There are some 70 gold course between Malaga and Gibraltar and many of those are world class championship standard. They talk about property being front line golf (as opposed to front line beach) which means it has direct views of immaculately manicured gold lawns and landscaped trees.
Author: John Wolfendale
Bio: John is a founder of Eco Vida Homes and is passionate about bringing modern design and construction practices to Spain. He believes a home which is warm in winter and cool in summer is largely a matter of design and selective use of materials. He is British and a Chartered Surveyor with over 24 years experience living and working in Spain.