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Area guide to Spain, the Spanish economy, and its diverse and modern culture

Spain is the second largest country within the European Union, and a member of the Schengen Area, but has a relatively small population of around 46 million. Its continuing popularity as the country of choice for holiday property owners and for those seeking year round retirement homes is due to its fantastic combination of enviable weather, stunning scenery, a diverse and vibrant culture, plus a modern infrastructure for healthcare, education and transport.

Area guide to Spain

  • Capital: Madrid
  • Currency: Euro
  • Language: Spanish
  • Schengen Area Member: Yes

Spain is the second largest country within the European Union, and a member of the Schengen Area, but has a relatively small population of around 46 million. Its continuing popularity as the country of choice for holiday property owners and for those seeking year round retirement homes is due to its fantastic combination of enviable weather, stunning scenery, a diverse and vibrant culture, plus a modern infrastructure for healthcare, education and transport.

Spain is divided in 17 autonomous regions with their own elected authorities. Each community has its own distinctive culture, and in the case of Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque country, a separate language, although standard Spanish is also spoken in these areas. The country shares the Iberian peninsula with Portugal and its territory includes the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and two North African enclaves, Melilla and Ceuta.

The Spanish economy

Spain joined the European Union in 1986 and has developed a dynamic and rapidly growing economy. The global recession that started in 2008 had a detrimental effect on Spain, but since 2014 it has shown positive growth and the construction industry, one of its most important sectors is returning to a renewed period of growth. Its main economic sectors are the wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation, plus agriculture (especially fruit and vegetables, olive oil and wine) and tourism are also very profitable.

A diverse and modern culture

Those people who have never visited it, might be under the impression that Spain’s main attraction is ‘holidays in the sun’, but this is not the whole picture. Away from its beaches and coastal resorts, there is an extraordinary variety of things to do: skiing in the Sierra Nevada or Pyrénées; walking the pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela; UNESCO World Heritage sites; cutting-edge art galleries in Madrid, Barcelona, Mallorca and Bilbao; exciting festivals such as San Fermin (Running of the Bulls) and La Tomatina, plus a host of ferias and fiestas that are unique to Spain’s cultural traditions.

This a vibrant, modern country that is a curious mixture of young and old: old in that it has existed for centuries and been a significant player on the world’s political stage – it was a Spaniard who discovered the New World and it had a considerable empire until the 19th century. And it is young, because it is still in the process of creating a new identity after Franco’s dictatorship that lasted from 19939 until his death in 1975, when Spain became a constitutional monarchy once again.

Location and price

Wherever you decide to live in Spain, you will find an excellent choice of properties, ranging from the ultra modern to the more traditional Mediterranean style, plus traditionally Spanish haciendas, cortijos and fincas. Some prefer what is viewed as ‘the real Spain’, whilst others prefer the more cosmopolitan areas, and you will find that location and ‘fame’ affect prices. For example, glitzy Marbella is more expensive than ‘traditional’ Mojacar on the Costa Almeria. You can find more about price ranges in our specific area guides.

USEFUL LINKS

  • Spain - The Spanish economy: Should you buy property in Spain? Spain is certainly on the property buyers radar, especially in 2018
  • Find property in Spain - iFindSpain is a property portal with a global audience and a fast growing network of real estate agents specialising in Spanish properties for sale
  • Guide to buying a property in Spain - A guide to buying property in Spain including the Spanish economy, culture, living in Spain, adapting to Spanish life, location & price
  • Search for property in Spain - What’s the best way to search for a property for sale in Spain on iFindSpain including types of property and best locations to buy property in Spain
  • Articles & Advice - Current news and articles about Spain
  • Property Taxes in Spain - A guide to property taxes in Spain including tax on new build properties
  • Mortgages in Spain - A guide to property mortgages in Spain including information on mortgages for non-residents, interest rates, mortgage costs, new legislation and using a broker
  • Currency Exchange when buying property in Spain - Why you should use a currency exchange service when buying a property in Spain?
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