5 good reasons why Americans should relocate to Spain
With millions of Americans still reeling from the recent US election result, many have turned their thoughts to a relocation to Spain, either on a permanent basis or to obtain the so-called ‘Golden Visa’, which gifts non-EU citizens Spanish Residency in exchange for property investment. The benefits of Spanish residency include free travel throughout the 26-country Shengen zone and the opportunity to establish a business in a modern and competitive corporate tax system. Aside from boasting some of the most beautiful properties in the country, Lucas Fox, wtih the help of LFStyle have put together 5 reasons why we think Americans should move to our 8 key regions – Barcelona, Costa Brava, Sitges, Maresme, Madrid, Valencia, Marbella and Ibiza.
The maestro of Modernisme who is idolised around the world for his avant-garde masterpieces such as La Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, Parc Güell and La Pedrera. Americans love European architecture and you really don’t get much better than that.
- 21 Michelin Star Restaurants
Tickets, Pakta, Moo and Disfrutar are just some of the stand-out eateries in the Catalan capital, many of whose chefs have honed their skills alongside the master of modern Spanish cuisine, Ferran Adrià, whose restaurant elBulli was once described as ‘the most imaginative generator of haute cuisine on the planet’ and reigned supreme as the world’s Number One restaurant for a record 5 times.
- Excellent American Schools
The American School and the Benjamin Franklin International School are two of the city’s best. Located in the residential Zona Alta district of the city, they both follow the US curriculum offering the American High School Diploma and the International Baccalaureate (IB).
- Shopping Malls
Americans can feel right at home by getting everything they need under one roof in one of Barcelona’s numerous shopping centres. Favourites include Diagonal Mar, L’Illa and Las Arenas. Established and high street brands sit side-by-side and when you’ve had enough of spending your cash, pop upstairs for a pizza, burger or steal an afternoon movie.
- Easy Access
It is incredibly hassle-free to get around Barcelona. You can walk from top to bottom by foot in a day, catch a bus, a metro, a tram, a cab, a bici bike or simply drive (most of the city is a grid structure similar to New York).
- Pure Beauty
There are few places in the world which offer such unadulterated beauty at almost every turn. Whether it is the island’s pine-clad hilltops, its stunning isolated beaches, its pretty hilltop hamlets, its sweet-smelling almond groves or the rich heritage of the Dalt Vila, the White Isle is a real feast for the senses.
Ibiza is still the world’s party hotspot despite fierce competition from the likes of Las Vegas. The crop of Europe’s DJs such as David Guetta, Luciano and Sven Väth have transformed the island into a Mecca for clubbers with Amnesia, DC-10, Pacha and Ushuaïa just a few of the big name venues which draw in thousands every summer. The likes of Lindsay Lohan, Justin Bieber and Sean Diddy Coombs are regular Ibiza party people.
- Clean Eating & Yoga Retreats
For Americans who are into eating both delicious and healthy grub, you’ll be able to find the likes of kelp noodles and chia pudding in a wide range of ‘organic, ecological, kilometre zero’ restaurants, no doubt born out of the necessity to detox after a week’s clubbing. For those burnt-out city bankers, there are also plenty of yoga retreats in some of the most beautiful corners of the island, offering everything from mindfulness to cranial-sacral healing (whatever that is) so you can now just as easily be part of its holistic lifestyle as much as a hedonistic one.
- Top Hotels
Ibiza is a millionaires if not billionaires playground and has some of the world’s top 5-star hotels to match. Americans will feel right at home at the (newish) Hard Rock Hotel in beautiful Playa d’en Bossa or for something more authentic, the agroturismo hotel Atzaró is an oasis of calm in the heart of the Ibicenco countryside.
- Hippy Lifestyle
Born from the 60s freedom movement, Ibiza retains its hippy soul. It was an era when artisans and painters flocked to the island and were the influence for its numerous hippy markets, the most famous of which is Las Dalias in Sant Carles in the north of the island.
Americans love their food (we all do let’s face it) and the Costa Brava / Girona region offers 16 Michelin star restaurants, including El Cellar de Can Roca – the world’s Number One restaurant in Girona city. It also boasts some excellent wines under the Empordà label.
- PGA de Catalunya
Golf is another great passion of the Americans and the Costa Brava is home to Spain’s No.1 golf course and Europe’s No.1 new golf resort in PGA de Catalunya. It really is the ultimate golfing destination in Spain and possibly Europe, halfway between the beautiful Costa Brava beaches, Girona city and cosmopolitan Barcelona.
The Costa Brava / Girona region boasts a rich historical past – a key attraction for Americans. This includes the Greek and Roman ruins in Empúries, the Roman settlement in Ullestret, the numerous medieval villages of the Empordà, the prehistoric caves of Serinyà and the beautiful historic quarter of Girona city.
Americans love Dalí and the Costa Brava was the inspiration behind much of his work. Dalí’s former homes in Púbol and Port Lligat are both open to the public and Figueres boasts the largest collection of Dalí’s work worldwide. Its long coastline inspired great artists such as Picasso, Klein and Marc Chagall.
- The Coastline
The rugged and dramatic headlands and small sandy bays around Begur are often compared with the Californian coast so any American purchasing in the area should feel right at home.
- Beautiful Coastal Towns
Some of Spain’s prettiest towns and villages are located in the Maresme and these Barcelona commuter spots offer everything from hiking and mountain biking to sailing and kite surfing. Just a hop, skip and a jump (20 minutes to be precise) from Barcelona city by train or car, they are relatively undiscovered by tourists and boast little traffic.
- Golf Courses
There are several within a 30-mile radius. Americans can play a round of golf in these well-known clubs whilst interacting with locals or other foreign businessmen and women . If your game is not the best, there are many pitch-and-putt courses also available.
- Wine Cellars
Maresme’s ‘poster town’ Alella being the main focal point. Americans can visit these wine cellars and enjoy a full day getting to grips with everything from production to harvest. Most of these wine cellars have there own restaurants and guided tours. All located just 20 minutes from Barcelona.
- Outstanding Cuisine
Rustic or modern, the Maresme offers a plethora of restaurants to suit all palettes. Some products have been acknowledged for their outstanding quality, such as floreta and garrofal peas from Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, strawberries from La Vallalta, del ganxet beans from Malgrat de Mar and d’en Roca cherries from Arenys de Munt. Seafood from Arenys de Mar is also widely acclaimed.
There are few places in the world which appeal so widely to families. Whether it is the 50 kilometres of beautiful beaches, endless hiking trails, family-friendly restaurants, friendly communities, fantastic sports facilities or its excellent selection of local and international schools, the Maresme coast offers it all.
- The Penedès Wine Region
Ok it is not strictly in Sitges, but within half an hour’s drive you can find yourself gazing at some of Spain’s most spectacular scenery which also happens to be home to Catalunya’s Cava region. Penedès has also been credited with producing a range of award-winning red wines.
- Links with the Past
American magnate, philanthropist and American collector Charles Deering commissioned and transformed the Maricel Palace, one of the first examples of Noucentisme in Sitges. Deering, who spent several seasons in Maricel, became a key benefactor of Sitges and left behind a great legacy.
For a relatively small coastal town, Sitges boasts a whopping 17 beaches. You can choose from family-friendly, gay or even nudist. After an afternoon soaking up the rays, there are a plethora of chiringuitos (beach bars) where you can sip a Gin and Tonic whilst your toes dance in the sand.
- Big Al’s
Described as producing ‘best burgers in Spain’ (and Spain produces a lot!), this joint is certainly a home from home for any visiting Americans. The restaurant has been so successful that Al opened up Big Al’s Smokehouse which serves up Texan BBQ fare.
- An Artist’s Paradise
Sitges has always been a hub for artists and writers because of its slightly unconventional lifestyle and bohemian reputation as well as the beautiful scenery and unique light. Artist Santiago Rusiñol i Prats (who influenced much of Picasso’s work) lived in Sitges leaving several Modernista buildings in the town. There are also numerous art galleries in the Old Town and frequent art festivals on the beautiful seafront promenade where local artists showcase their works.
- The California of Europe
Thanks to its multicultural ambience, vibrant restaurant scene, and endless beaches, Marbella has deservedly earned this nickname. A privileged place to live, Marbella has been a holiday and second home destination for wealthy Americans and Hollywood stars for many years.
- Diverse Gastronomy
Whether you fancy authentic American cuisine at the Hard Rock Café, a Californian roll at Takumi or some creative new Spanish cuisine at Messina, you will find gastronomy of all types within minutes.
- Puerto Banús
The ‘bling’ capital of the Costa del Sol, with its cacophony of designer brands from Fendi handbags, Missoni frocks to Chloe belts and Dior sunglasses. It’s the place to be seen and to see and Americans, like the rest of us, will love it.
Most Americans love their cars and along the Costa del Sol, you can catch some of the most eye-catching high performance cars which are regularly driven up the famous Ronda road to the popular Ascari racetrack.
- The White House
Just when Americans thought they could escape their country’s most iconic property, Marbella offers its very own replica. This once holiday home of the former Saudi prime minister King Fahd was built in marble and gold at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.
- Location & Communication
Not only is Madrid Spain’s capital but it is bang centre in the middle of the country allowing easy access to rich historical towns like Toledo, Segovia and El Escorial. Madrid’s airport, train and bus stations are the best connected in Spain – 5 international airlines companies offer direct flights from the US to Madrid.
Where to start? Besides the fantastic permanent collections of the Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum and Thyssen Bornemisza, there are a plethora of other museums, cultural centres, galleries, theatres, cinemas, music venues, flamenco locales and so it goes on.
We had to include Spain’s number one sport somewhere and apologies to all Barça fans. Spain is soccer-craaaaazy and Real Madrid fans are probably the most passionate in the world. Founded in 1905, Real, as the club is more commonly known, has established itself as a major force in both the Spanish and European game. The club is currently estimated to be worth around $3.6 billion.
- Tradition & Modernity
Madrid was at the forefront of cutting-edge living in the 80’s, but it fell behind Barcelona’s Olympic shadow in the 90s. It is however currently on its way back. Traditions like San Isidro and El Rastro flea market prove Madrileños value local customs, while the gay neighbourhood of Chueca, rocking Malasaña and multicultural Lavapiés prove that Madrid is fervently embracing modernity as well.
99% of the time what impacts first-time visitors is Madrid’s incredible nightlife. The Spanish schedule generally runs later than most, but even more so in the Spanish capital. A night on the town typically begins around the time many Americans pubs and bars are closing. ‘Salir’ – to go out – only counts if you’ve made it past 4am. Otherwise it’s just a ‘vuelta’ (a stroll around the neighbourhood).
- Cost of Living
For a vibrant, progressive city, the cost of living is suprisingly low in Valencia. Rents even in the most central of locations are affordable as is transport and entertainment. Not to be sniffed at!
Despite increasing numbers of tourists every year, Valencia offers authenticity at almost every turn. Whether it be traditional cuisine (Valencia is the home of Paella and Horchata and even has its own alcoholic drink, Agua de Valencia), festivals (see number 5), architecture (Gothic, Baroque, Modernista) or neighbourhoods (Carmen, Eixample, Ruzafa), Valencia continues to be true to itself.
Valencia, like Barcelona, is both a city and a beach destination, or an ‘urban resort’ as these cities have been coined. You’ll find Blue Flag beaches such as Las Arenas, Malvarrosa and El Cabañal just short drive from the centre. Perfect for families and singletons alike, these beautiful stretches of sand offer a plethora of bars and restaurants as well as great nightlife.
- The City of Arts & Sciences
If Americans are after a dose of culture, the iconic City of Arts & Sciences offers it in spades. The complex was built between 1998 and 2003 by Spanish ‘Neofuturistic’ architect Santiago Calatrava and comprises a science museum (El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe), planetarium (L’Hemisfèric), opera house (El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía), promenade (L’Umbracle) and a parking structure. One of Spain’s great landmarks, it should be on everyone’s bucket list.
- Las Fallas
Who doesn’t like a great show? Las Fallas is one of Spain’s ‘super festivals’ and attracts thousands of visitors from overseas every year. From 15 to 19 March, Valencia is transformed into a city of noise, colour and fire. Not for the fainthearted.