A Guide To Spain - The Lifestyle
Information kindly provided by Living in
the Sun - http://www.livinginthesun.com
| Living in Spain
means waking up to warm, sunlit mornings, enjoying
the heat of the day and then settling down to aperitifs
and dinner outside on the terrace. Swimming in the
sun heated pool at dawn or midnight.
New experiences, friends both British & Spanish
and a slower pace of life, away from the hustle
and bustle of daily working routine.
A round of golf in the morning, perhaps, at one
of the excellent courses. Good food and wine,
sometimes cooked at home or enjoyed, inexpensively,
at the local restaurant, then back to your Spanish
villa to contemplate the lazy pleasures of the next
Regional food in Spain is as varied and delicious as its
many wines. Restaurants in the tourist areas often cater
for the “chips with everything” brigade, but real Spanish
cuisine is a gourmet’s delight. Prices compare very favourably
with British restaurants, and for home catering, markets
abound and provide varied and inexpensive foods of excellent
Throughout Spain, meals are often enjoyed quite late. Typically,
you wander out to a bar to meet friends for tapas at around
9:00 p.m., then progress to a restaurant much later. Tapas
are small nibbles such as flavoured scrambled eggs, chorizo
(sausage), ham , spinach with chick peas, baby squid, fried
whitebait ('bocarones'), fresh anchovies, shrimp, mushrooms
with garlic, and deep-fried meat balls.
Shellfish abound, and particularly good value is zarzuela
de mariscos, a mouth watering selection of seafood served
on a large plate. In cooler weather, the Spanish meet in
restaurants known as horno asadors ('roasting ovens'), in
which lamb and suckling pig are specialities.
Spanish wine is good and reasonably priced. Take a look
in any Spanish supermarket and you will find an enormous
range of red, white, rose and sparkling wines, not to mention
sherries and brandies.
Look for wine bottles marked “denominacion de origen” and
you will not go far wrong. Rioja is particularly good.
Breakfast is generally a light meal, but in areas used
to British tourists, bacon and eggs will be available.
Some hotels and restaurants include a 5% charge on their bills
on top of IVA. It is customary, however, to add a tip of between5
and 10% depending on the service you received and the size
of the bill. (The higher the bill the smaller the tip). Taxi
drivers usually get a tip worth 5% of the fare and in bars
some small change is adequate.
VAT in Spain is known as IVA. The standard rate of 16% applies
to the vast majority of goods and services.
advisable to take income tax advice before moving to Spain.
as paying Spanish income tax can be advantageous as there
are more allowances available than there are in many other
When you come to Spain from outside
the EU to take up residency, the Spanish government grants
you the privilege of importing your household effects and
personal possessions free of customs duty. This privilege
is a one-time grant and is available to those who take out
an official residencia. You do not have to purchase property
in order to justify this privilege, but you will have to
show a residence permit. You also have to make a prior deposit,
which will be returned to you. Duties on importation from
other EU countries no longer exist. If you have purchased
a holiday home or second residency and want to import furniture
for this you do not need to become a resident. All you need
in this case is a so-called vivienda secundaria exemption
and you will have to make a deposit, which will be returned
after two years.
Importing Your Pet
To import your pet you need to get a
health certificate issued by a veterinary authorised by
the appropriate ministry in your country. This certificate
must be issued not more then 15 days before you enter Spain.
Secondly you need a certificate of vaccination against rabies,
which should have been given between one to twelve months
before entering Spain. Lastly you
need a certificate stating that the area where the animal
is normally kept is free of animal diseases. Usually you
can get this from the agriculture ministry. These certificates
should be authorised and stamped by the Spanish authorities
in your country, for which they will charge a small fee.
Your pet can be flown over in the hold of an aeroplane or
alternatively you may prefer to drive from England, via
the tunnel, with your pet, so you need not be separated
on the journey.
Become Resident or Keep Tourist
Legally any foreigner can stay in Spain
up to 90 days as a tourist. If you wish to stay longer than
90 days you would have to apply for a permanencia, however
you can only get one per year. When you stay longer than
6 months per year in Spain you should apply for a residencia.
If you are a non EU citizen and you wish to apply for a
residencia you should apply for a visado de residencia from
the Spanish consulate in your country. There are various
advantages and disadvantages when you become a resident,
but we think it best if you have these explained to you
by your legal adviser.
Sports facilities in Andalucía vary considerably depending
on the town or area, but are excellent in the major cities
and resort areas, although sparse in more rural regions and
villages. Municipal sports complexes, known as polideportivos
are located in the larger towns/cities and there are many
private country clubs, sports centres and gymnasiums, most
of which allow guests to use their facilities. Several of
the larger hotels on the Costa del Sol also have gymnasiums
that are available for private membership.
All community developments or urbanisations have swimming
pools, and many also have tennis courts and other sports
facilities. The cost of participation in sports, overall,
is reasonable when compared to most other European countries.
Obviously, the sports facilities on the Costa del Sol are
tourist driven, particularly regarding golf and water sports.
Is is the climate of course that makes all the outdoor sports
- Perhaps the most popular visitor Sport in Andalucia -
courses abound, and all of really high quality.
- There is no shortage of places to play tennis in Andalucia.
- The most important place in the Andalucia Polo calendar
is the Summer Tournaments at the Santa Maria polo club in
- Winter pastime in Andalucia's Southern Alps - Sierra Nevada
Sports - Rock Climbing, Caving or Speleology, Paragliding,
- Everything from Formula 1 to small rallies both on and
off road in which the enthusiast can take part.
- Everything from the World Motorcycle Championship to small
rallies both on and off road in which the enthusiast can
take part - Motor biking activities in Andalucia
- Acres and acres of open ground. A biker's paradise.
Sports and Pastimes - Walking, Horseriding, Hunting,
Shooting, Fishing, Birdwatching, Camping.
- Andalucia has over 800km of coastline, both Mediterranean
Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Sailing, Motorboating, Rowing, Canoeing,
Windsurfing, Surfing, Snorkeling, Diving, Deep sea fishing.
& Yachting- The cleanliness of its waters and the
warm climate make this coast a popular place in which to
Drive on the right - and carefully. The English always see
the continentals as being crazy drivers, though the Spanish
are not as mad as Parisians !. Spanish drivers can be impatient
so you will need a cool head but generally speaking driving
in Spain is a largely pleasurable experience.
It is easy and relatively cheap to hire
cars in Spain. Speed limits are 120kph (75mph) on the expressways
(autopistas), 100kph (62mph) on other roads and 60kph (37mph)
in built up areas. Seat belts are compulsory.
Officially you cannot drive a foreign
plated car in Spain forever. The maximum time of use per
annum is 6 months and, in theory, for the other 6 months
you need to park the car in a garage. Checking is very lax,
EU members can drive in Spain on their
foreign driving licence without an international driving
licence. Non-EU members have a real advantage when they
buy a car on tourist plates and stay as a non-resident.
They do not have to pay the 16% IVA (VAT) and neither do
they have to pay the Spanish special vehicle registration
tax of 12% - 28% saved.
Europeans can avoid paying the 12% special
registration tax. When buying your car all you have to do
is request this and the car will be fitted with a tourist
plate, rather then a full Spanish plate. You will have to
renew this plate every year, which will cost you approximately
25.000 pesetas. You can repeat this as many years as you
want. Buying a car on Spanish plates can save a lot of complications
and has certain advantages, such as being easier to resell
and coping with payment in Euros. The rules are that you
have to have a residency or own a property or be able to
present a certificado de empadronamiento (certificate to
show that you are a registered inhabitant of the community).
If you are a non-resident driving through Spain, you may
find that the Spanish police are empowered to demand payment
on the spot for any traffic violation you commit. They will
impound your vehicle, if you are not able to pay up. This
is all legal as their orders are to ensure that the fine
will be paid.
Car Insurance - under Spanish
law, motor vehicles and trailers must be insured when entering
Spain. Green cards are not usually necessary.
Party (responsabilidad civil obligatoria or seguro obligatorio)
is the minimum legal requirement. Third Party, Fire &
Theft responsabilidad civil obligatoria, incendia y robo)
Full Comprehensive(todo riesgo)- this is only usually available
for vehicles up to 3 years old.
Driver & passenger insurance (seguro
de ocupantes) is usually optional in Spain and can be added
to your policy This allows the driver of a vehicle involved
in an accident to claim for bodily injuries, including compensation
for incapacity to work or for compensation to beneficiaries
should he be killed.
Insurance premiums in Spain are
amongst the lowest in the EU.
Fixed Public Holidays
of the Assumption (not banks)
of the Constitution
Shopping is a delight in Spain – big cities and tourist centres
offer interesting boutiques and department stores with original
fashion designs and gifts. Food shopping is simply fun with
a vast range of high quality but inexpensive fresh fish, meat,
fruit and vegetables in small shops and at the many colourful
markets, which form part of Spanish daily life.
British newspapers arrive early in the day, particularly on
the Costa del Sol, so you will be able to keep up with the
latest news from home.
satellite television can easily be installed in your home
or you may prefer to visit one of the bars showing major
sporting events etc to join in the fun over a drink.
International broadcasts, in English, on Channel 51.
Radio broadcasts, in English, on 105.5 FM