Retiring to Spain is going to open up a fabulous new world of culture, attractions and entertainment to you. This country is famous for many different things, from music to food and art and plenty more.
You can be sure that your days are going to be filled with interesting things to do once you get here. The biggest question will be how to choose from all of the many enticing options.
If you already know a bit about the Spain culture then you've probably heard about the amazing flamenco music, the incredible cuisine and the wonderful festivals. This is a country where people live life to the full and it is easy to get into the same sort of lifestyle.
The type of culture you discover will largely depend upon where you live. For example, Barcelona is famous for having some of the best restaurants in the world, for museums and for art, for a top class soccer team and for truly outstanding architecture such as La Sagrada Familia.
In Andalucía you will be in flamenco heartland, where singing and dancing is a way of life. Seville offers the stunning April Fair and amazing seafood, along with people who have a ready smile on their lips and a fantastic sense of humor. Madrid is a cosmopolitan city these days, with some of the best museums and theaters you will ever see, a huge variety of restaurants, lots of parks and other tourist attractions too.
Huge attractions not to be missed in Spain include the breathtaking Alhambra in Granada, the mosque in Cordoba, El Escorial near Madrid and the Guggenheim in Bilbao.
Big festivals worth seeing here include Las Fallas in Valencia, La Tomatina in Buñol and San Fermín in Pamplona. Even small villages tend to have annual festivals where food, drink and a good laugh is the order of the day.
No matter where you go in the country when you retire to Spain, you will find that food and drink are hugely important to the Spain culture and lifestyle. Iconic dishes and foods include paella, chorizo, Manchego cheese, olives and Serrano ham. The tapas culture is mainly from Andalucía but has now spread to just about everywhere else in Spain. The Basque equivalent is called pintxo and is growing rapidly in popularity all over Spain.
As for the drink, wine is of excellent quality here and comes in many varieties. There are few better feelings in life than that of sitting on the beach in Spain with some tapas and a lovely bottle of wine.
Spain has an interesting mixture of shopping opportunities. You will find modern malls in just about every city or town, with the biggest including Puerto Venecia in Zaragoza, Xanadu in Madrid and Luz Shopping in Jerez de la Frontera.
Perhaps more interesting for most expats are the smaller shops located near the beach in most of the coastline's most popular areas. You will find great summer clothing, perfumes, traditional trinkets and lots of fascinating stuff on sale here. La Rambla in Barcelona is arguably the country's most famous shopping street and is always full of life. Among the traditional handicrafts to look out for anywhere are beautiful fans, shawls and wooden carvings.
The traditional markets are also still going strong here. These are often the best places to get fruit and vegetables, cheap clothes and many other things when shopping in Spain. In addition, the thriving Madrid market scene sees a number of mercadillos pop up at the weekend, mainly offering cheap clothes and accessories. This is a fantastic way of spending an hour or two discovering a new part of the city and sampling the local culture. Other mercadillos in Madrid offer household goods, antiques and lots more.
In Madrid and Barcelona the nightlife is famously wild, but in other parts of the country it is more laid back. Many Spanish folk leave it until late in the evening before heading out for some food and maybe a glass or two of wine. This is also a good time to catch a flamenco show, theater show or some other sort of Spain nightlife entertainment.
If you are going to be staying near the beach then there are sure to be some bars where you can watch the day end while sipping something cool. The biggest difference you will find is likely to be between the mainly expat areas and those with a stronger Spain culture.
The Spanish don't tend to get too drunk but can get boisterous in the pub in the evening, singing songs and talking loudly among friends. They are a gregarious lot and you could easily find yourself invited to share some tapas or just to join in the general conversation. In expat areas, many people carry on with an evening routine more like they had back home while others embrace the Spanish way of life wholeheartedly.
Whatever you choose to do when you retire to Spain, you can enjoy a
wonderful, vibrant Spain culture and live your life the way you want to.