To be or not to be a Resident in Spain

By: Elisha Burberry

For decades, there has been a steady increase in people travelling to Spain. Be it for business or pleasure, the attractive lure of holiday costas appears to be too tempting for the average Briton. And, at a glance, the reason is immediately apparent: the rich cultural diversity of its native population, the dazzling arrays of modern architecture and the endless stretches of white sandy beaches merging with the bluest waters in Europe are only a few positives as to why Spain is the first choice for many.

But in a country of over a dozen regions and a hundred cities, how do you choose the perfect location? Most people would consider the nation's capital, Madrid, as the obvious choice. However, a look towards the further reaches of Spain reveals a host of possibilities when considering an ideal holiday destination.

Barcelona, for instance, is a lively cosmopolitan city containing a wealth of historic architecture, a wide variety of food and a vibrant nightlife - all wrapped up in a Mediterranean climate. Tourist highlights include the La Rambla Boulevard, Picasso Museum and Parc Guell to mention but a few. The best times to visit the city are generally when its primary festivals occur: the Festes de la Merce (24th September) is Barcelona's main festival, while the festival of Sant Jordi (23rd April) holds similar connotations to St. Valentines Day. At Christmas time, the Fira de Santa LlÃ?cia (2nd/3rd - 23rd Dec) can be found in the little square in front of the Cathedral and is an ideal opportunity to grab those Christmas decorations and trinkets.

Alternatively, consider a trip to Valencia. Situated in the centre of the Mediterranean coastline, Valencia is the administrative capital of the Valencian community - the centre of the L'Horta region and the birthplace of paella. Major events to keep in mind include the Las Fallas Festival (12th - 19th March), La Tomatina (end of August) and the annual food fight. Its main tourist attractions are al Mercado Central de Valencia - a central indoor market measuring 8000 square meters, and the Llotja de la Seda (Silk Exchange) in Placa del Mercat.

For a beach holiday, Alicante is a firm favourite amongst tourists. Positioned on the east coast and well known for its sandy white beaches, turquoise sea and excellent weather, it's no surprise that it received the most blue flags in 2006 for its beaches and has a regular ferry service to the Balearic Islands. Approximately 370 km to the south of Alicante lays another popular destination. Malaga, - the capital of Costa de Sol and the birthplace of Pablo Picasso includes the Gibralfaro castle, Alcazaba and the Plaza de Toros among its list of popular attractions.

Whilst some maybe content with several days of lounging by the beach or venturing through the cities and tourist hotspots, others aspire to feel the full Spanish effect on a more permanent level, by looking at a property in Spain as a future investment.

However, the decision to move abroad is not one that can be made lightly. Whether you're relocating to be close to a loved one, or as a result of a business promotion or even for a relaxing retirement, relocation can sometimes see an ephemeral dream quickly turn into a nightmarish reality for an unfortunate few. However, the large number of Britons that have relocated to Spain in recent decades reflects the fact that, once you've got to grips with the new culture and picked up some Spanish, this can be done with a great degree of success.

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