Retiring to Spain

Spain has been enticing the British to move to its shores since the 1970s. It is an easy place for foreigners to retire to. The standard of living and life expectancy are high, and the cost of living is relatively low.

There are believed to be more than one million Britons living in Spain permanently, and more British pensioners in Spain than in any other country outside the UK.

The locations favoured by British emigrés have varied little over the decades. It is the big cities and best-known coastal towns that have bounced back best economically from the 2008 financial crisis and it is these people will always want to return to.

It all comes down to ease. Do you want to be a pioneer in a spot that few Britons have ventured into before? Or do you prefer the ready-made option of a resort or town where you can more easily slip into the kind of lifestyle and convenience you are used to?

Retiring to Spain-Map

Cost of Living in Spain

The cost of living in Spain remains significantly lower than in the UK in many areas. Travel is far cheaper, including the cost of petrol, train tickets and public transport. So is drinking – there are still many places where you can buy a glass of wine or a small beer for €1.

If you are eating out at Michelin-starred restaurants or fashionable beachfront places, then you would expect to pay the highest prices. But the menu del día is widely available across Spain and it’s the way the Spanish get to enjoy a two- or three-course meal for €10 or less.

Moving to Spain

Typical Street Scene Retiring to Spain

If you are an EU citizen, you automatically have the right to live in Spain but you must still apply for residency. That simply means presenting your passport, and four photos, and proof of income at your main police station. You will then receive your residency card (tarjeta comunitaria) within weeks. You also need a NIE from your local Policia Nacional.

If you are not an EU citizen, you cannot stay in Spain beyond 30 days. You will need to get a visa from the Spanish consulate in your home country before you enter Spain


See our ‘Brexit Update’ pages for how your retirement to Spain may be affected as the UK leaves the EU.

Retiring to Europe‘ provides you with the key information you need to consider when planning your retirement to any of the most popular countries in Europe. The following subjects are comprehensively covered for each destination:






Cost of Living




Retiring to Europe

Where to retire in Europe?

Europe remains a popular retirement destination for Britons. But where best to retire in Europe? The full-colour, 264-page book ‘Retiring to Europe’ considers the pros and cons of the popular options. It examines in detail climate, lifestyle, language, travel connections, the affordability of property, access to healthcare and the tax and other financial implications of residency in ten European countries.

It focuses on the areas of Mediterranean Europe that Britons prefer to retire to: France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Greece, Turkey and Croatia. It also looks at the UK as a retirement option.

‘Retiring to Europe’ is now available as a free download or as a soft cover glossy book priced £9.95 (including post & packing).