Living in Spain
A unique lifestyle in an unrivalled setting
Because of its weather, by the character of its people, by the opportunities offered, by its culture or by its landscape, many foreigners establish their residence in Spain, either to study, to enjoy after a lifetime of work or to start a new stage. Different stories with a common destination: Spain.
Spain is located in the extreme south west of the European continent. Only 14 kilometres from Africa, it enjoys a privileged location: it is the gateway to the Mediterranean Sea. It is among the fifty largest countries in the world, with an area of approximately 505,000 square kilometres.
Nearly 47 million people live in Spain. The two most populous cities are Madrid, the capital, with 3.2 million inhabitants, and Barcelona, with 1.6 million. Both are among the ten European business cities with higher quality of life for expatriates.
Spain offers a stable and consolidated democratic political framework, based on a parliamentary monarchy with a bicameral system of Congress and Senate. Our Constitution guarantees fundamental rights and public freedoms and enshrines the independence of the three powers: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
The Spanish territory is structured into 17 Autonomous Regions
The Spanish territory is structured into 17 Autonomous Regions: Andalusia, Aragon, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Catalonia, Madrid, Navarra, Valencia, Extremadura, Galicia, Basque Country, Asturias, Murcia and La Rioja. Ceuta and Melilla are added as autonomous cities.
Spanish currency is the Euro and its official language is Castilian or Spanish, although Catalan, Galician, Basque, Valencian and the variety of Catalan spoken in the Balearic Islands are also official.
Spain has also one of the highest life expectancy in the world (82.29 years) and one of the lowest crime rates in Europe (it is sixth safest country in the world and fourth in the European Union according to United Nations Office UNOCD). All this combined with efficient and modern health and education systems, make Spain synonymous with quality of life.
Weather is one of the main attractions of Spain, both for tourists, and those looking for a second residence or even to investors. With more than three thousand hours of sunlight per year, it is one of the warmest countries in Europe. However, for those who seek a cooler environment, northern Spain registers lower temperatures.
Spain is a country of great landscape and geographical wealth. From the northern leafy mountains to the southern beaches, through the central plateau and the Mediterranean coast, Spain's landscapes are as varied as surprising. Whatever you are looking for, sea or mountain, big cities or charming villages, ski in the snow or bath in warm water, you can find it in Spain.
If you love mountains, the Pyrenees or the Picos de Europa will surprise you. If you prefer the coast, Spain has almost 8,000 kilometres of coast full of beaches, cliffs and coastal villages. If you always wanted to live on an island, the Canary and the Balearic await you with its pleasant weather and its spectacular landscape.
Spain has been and still is a meeting point for people of different cultures, which have left incredible treasures over the centuries. In fact, it is the third country with greater number of declarations of UNESCO World Heritage.
From the cave paintings in the Altamira Caves, of the High Palaeolithic to the most contemporary art, there are all kind of artistic expressions in Spain that reflect the rich culture of the country.
Spain has a great artistic and cultural heritage
Throughout the centuries, universal genius like Cervantes, Goya, Velazquez, Picasso, Dali, Miro or Gaudi have left their literary, pictorial or architectural works that enrich the Spanish cultural and artistic heritage, whose zenith took place in the so-called Golden Century, between the XVI and the XVII centuries.
But theatre or cinema also occupies an important position with internationally recognised festivals, such as Theatre of Merida, Sagunto or Almagro and the Film Festival of San Sebastian, Valladolid, Segovia, Sitges or Cans.
As result of the coexistence of people of different cultures for centuries, Spanish character is open and perhaps due to the influence of the Mediterranean weather, cheerful and passionate. We are innovative, supportive, inclusive and we love to host people from other countries to make them feel welcome and with the feeling of being at home.
From north to south, east to west, there is a wide gastronomic variety in Spain based on the quality of raw materials. Iberian ham, olive oil, cheese, wine, fresh meat or fish, are some of the most cherished ingredients of our table.
Spanish is second most spoken language in the world, with more than 500 million Spanish speakers. By 2050 it is expected that 10% of the world population use Spanish language
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world
The Cervantes Institute, public institution that promotes and teaches the Spanish language, is verifying the growing interest in learning Spanish in the world, since the enrolment has grown by 21%. It is estimated that 20 million people learn Spanish around the world.
If you want to establish your residence in Spain, the documentation to be submitted will depend on the country of origin and the type of stay. Here you will find information on procedures and formalities:
- Citizens of the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland
- Citizens of other states
- Documentation of foreign citizens
- Complete list of information sheets
The application for the Spanish nationality can be submitted though the Internet thanks to the plattform established by the Ministry of Justice. This electronic tool will reduce, significantly, the management period (which goes from about three years to just one) of the close to 150,000 applications submitted every year.