Is Retiring In Spain Worth It? Here’s What You Need To Know

(STL.News) As retirement approaches you may be starting to think about how you want your twilight years to look.  And for many, this means living a Mediterranean lifestyle.  If you can imagine yourself while away the hours on a sunny beach and then hitting the tapas bars after dark, then Spain should be on your list.

But, what is the reality of returning in Spain like?  Surely, there must be some challenges?  Anytime you are considering an international move there need to be things to consider.

In this article, I will go over several of the things to be aware of before booking your one way flight to Spain.

1 – Find your climate

Spain is a small country with a climate that varies wildly depending on where you live.  You can find just about any type of weather you prefer, but you also could find weather that doesn’t suit you if you don’t choose well.

For instance, many people envision year round warm to hot weather with swimming in the Mediterranean for most of the year being an option.  For this, you need to look at properties in Southern Spain.  “Look at Vista Lago Residences to get a feel for the high-end, luxury properties available in the area.

If you like more temperate environs, then head up into the Pyrenees and find four seasons that stay mild so you don’t have any extreme temperatures.  If the rain of the Pacific Northwest is your thing, then Galicia on Spain’s Atlantic coast is the right place for you.

2 – Residency

Spain loves its bureaucracy so be prepared to have lots of papers stamped at several different offices.  Getting your residence is going to be a headache but is doable.  If you plan to live there permanently, then you need a long term visa that allows you to stay in Spain indefinitely as long as you continue to renew the paperwork.

If you only plan to stay less than 90 days then you don’t need any visa at all, but you will have restrictions when it comes to opening bank accounts and working.

3 – Cost of living

The cost of living can be more or less than you experienced when living in the US depending on where you are coming from and where you end up.  The closer to the beach, the higher the prices.  Or, if you want to live in a city like Madrid or Barcelona, then your cost is going to be much higher than a small village.

If you are coming from California or the Northeast US, then you will no doubt find the cost of living very favorable.  Particularly with the cost of fresh food and health care being much more affordable.

Even eating out is much more affordable, especially if you like to eat the tapas or small appetizers that are ubiquitous.


There is little downside to retiring in Spain as it has all the modern conveniences you would expect, low cost of living, high quality of life and a very healthy lifestyle.  Where it falls flat is the insane amount of bureaucracy.  If you can get used to wasting time in various offices then you can enjoy your life there.