The geographical location of Spain makes it a great base for expatriates working in the oil fields of the Middle East and is also easily in the commuter belt from Northern Europe. Many people do this for several years before finally retiring to Spain, a slower pace of life with a milder climate than that in Northern Europe. Flights to Spain from Northern Europe, especially the United Kingdom, are very reasonable and given the long established love affair with southern Spain, the British far outnumber any other nationality for selecting Spain as their base.
Transport links to Malaga on the south coast of Spain have vastly improved over the years. Several international airlines have flights into Malaga airport, which has been extended to create a modern welcoming terminal with links to many parts of the globe. There are regular flights from Madrid, a short hop to the north which has further international links to Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia – the traditional expatriate hotspots. There are also regular flights to Aberdeen, the oil capital of the United Kingdom, so if, for example, you are an oil executive now undertaking consultancy work, it is quick and easy to fly to attend meetings in Aberdeen.
Until the current economic downturn, it was becoming more and more common for employees in Northern Europe to base their families in Southern Spain so they could enjoy the milder climate and more economical cost of living. This has changed over the last few years as companies feel the effects of the recession and pay off their more expensive employees. These same people are often of the older generation and set up as consultants, become semi retired and run consultancy businesses from Spain where rates, property prices and general services are cheaper. With cheap flights and advanced technology of video conferencing, it makes sense for those with the skills to base themselves in Spain and continue working part time.
The proximity of Gibraltar, which is British overseas territory, means that you if you want to go shopping for something which is quintessentially British and not available in Spain, you can drive to Gibraltar and visit the retail outlets many of which have branches on Gibraltar. However, many British expatriates have set up businesses for other expatriates and tourists wanting their “fix” of such delicacies as fish and chips, and they are just as authentic as those in the Motherland.
Spain is the perfect base for who the Spanish call “personas de la tercera edad” or literally translated as “people of the third age” or older people. The Spanish culture welcomes families and is very family oriented. Those people who have children and grandchildren to visit will find restaurants and bars far more accommodating than those in Northern Europe so when your grandchildren come to visit, you will not need baby sitters as children easily integrate into Spanish life. Older people are respected in Spain and as a “persona de la tercera edad” you will find attitudes towards the over 50s far different than in the UK.