Living in Spain as an expat
If you’re already planning ahead for life post-nine-to-five-grind, or you yearn for a change of scenery, it’s no secret that you could do a lot worse than living in Spain as an expat or retiring to its coastal paradises.
Unless it wasn't already obvious, I fall into the first of these two categories and I'm incredibly glad I made that decision. In today's post, I wanted to share an anecdote from this past weekend to highlight just how fortunate you are if you, too, are living on Spain’s Sunshine Coast… especially at this time of year.
I spent Saturday hacking my way around one of the many golf courses in the La Cala de Mijas area, replacing divot after divot and abandoning lost balls along the way to a less-than-impressive way-over-par score.
But that’s not the point. The point is that this is peak golfing season, the weather was impeccable and there was a great atmosphere out on the course. Besides a couple of groans and shakes of the head for wayward shots, both locals and touring groups alike wore the same ear-to-ear smiles from the first tee to the last putt.
And that’s presumably because they knew full well that they simply couldn’t be practicing the sport they love anywhere else on the continent this late in the year. I mean, it’s just days before Black Friday and a few weeks before Christmas, for goodness sake… and it was 18 degrees Celsius out and sunny.
Welcome to the Costa del Golf and its 320 days of sunshine!
Talking of golf, the Women’s Costa del Sol Spanish Open1 takes place from tomorrow (Thursday) 28th November until Sunday 1st December at Aloha Golf Club Marbella in Nueva Andalucía’s famous “golf valley”.
Entrance for spectators is free and there are even taster sessions for ladies and juniors at 10am on both Saturday and Sunday for those keen to attend the tournament and participate, too.
I’ve also found a place to play cricket here on the Costa del Sol, near the towns of Cártama, Coín, Alhaurín el Grande and Alhaurín de la Torre, and I was lucky enough to get my first call-up for the Costa del Sol Crusaders on Sunday. And it was great.
Able to organise fixtures for 10 months of the year, the club is a great opportunity for people of all ages and levels to get involved in sport and is just one example (of many) of how to enrich your experience of living in Spain as an expat.
When I spoke to my family back home after the match, they truly couldn’t conceive playing cricket in this, the darkest depths of the Great British winter, and I got the impression my father – a former cricketer himself – was itching to get over again soon for a guest run-out.
On the drive back to my house on Sunday, I passed several “ventas” (authentic Spanish restaurants, usually in inland areas) full of people sitting outside on their terraces either tucking into generous portions of locally produced food or quietly sipping their aperitifs.
I can honestly tell you it took all of my willpower not to stop off and have a glass of Rioja at every single one of them.
Having chosen to take a slight detour down to Mijas Costa and lively Fuengirola, I found myself sailing by tennis and paddle tennis clubs equally full of people enjoying their favourite sport, as well as numerous fanatical cyclists on their road bikes taking on the challenges of the hilly terrain.
After all, the beauty of having such an exceptional climate is that you can organise a game more or less any day of the year without worrying about it getting rained off, waterlogged pitches or shivering in the biting cold as you’re going to serve.
I have it on good authority that your body even responds better to exercise in warmer climes. Think about it. Joints ache in the cold, it takes longer to get warmed up and the potential for getting injured or exacerbating an existing problem is much greater.
Although far from a miracle cure for arthritis, living in Spain as an expat provides the perfect opportunity to stay healthy for longer and remain active through engaging in outdoor activities. From taking a leisurely stroll up and down the promenade to water sports, racquet sports and team sports, there’s a way to keep fit for anyone making the move over to Spain.
It is no surprise, then, that Spain is the European nation with the highest life expectancy and was named the top country to retire to in a recently published study2.
If you’d like to find out more about the Costa del Sol and living in Spain as an expat, check out the Living in Spain section of our website for tips, insights and important information.
And what about you? Have you spent time living as an expat in Spain and been spoilt by the weather, leisure options and overall way of life here? I’d love to hear your comments!