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Looking for Potential Places to relocate to in Spain

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Hi all! DH and I have a dream of moving to Spain in a few years. We currently live close to San Juan de Puerto Rico, where I’m from. DH is Swiss born but lived many years in the U.S, he moved to PR first because of his job and then for me. Since he now retired and DD has moved out, there is no binding reason to stay in the island anymore. Once we move I will not be working anymore.

Recent events indicate that this move to Europe might actually become a reality and perhaps sooner than we thought. We are now beginning to plan a trip to places in Spain that we have not been to yet, but would like to keep an eye out for potential places to relocate to.

I would love to get suggestions of towns/cities which we could evaluate. We have been two times to Spain and hit most of the biggies; the first trip was to the South (Madrid/Castilla and Andalucía) and the second one to the North (Asturias, Basque Country, Galicia).

The Upcoming Trip:

We are almost ashamed to admit that we have not yet been to Barcelona; this trip will correct that gap. We will be flying in and out of BCN, spending 5 days each in Barcelona and Valencia. I’m planning a route that will take us from Barcelona through Girona, Benasqué, Torla, Jaca/Huesca, Zaragoza, Teruel, Valencia, Tarragona and back to Barcelona. This is a very, very preliminary route.

I might ditch the road trip and hiking in the Pyrenees (Benasqué, Torla, Jaca) and leave them for the time we actually live in Spain. Instead I could go to some other ‘livable’ cities.

What we want in a place to live:

- FOOD! We love to eat and cook, food is a significant part of our lives. We adore Spanish food but we also want to go to a place big enough to have multi-cultural restaurant offerings and where one is able to shop for ethnic ingredients.

- Weather, mild seasons would be the best. DH is concerned that Northern Spain would be too rainy and I prefer a place which is not a semi desert. I have lived all my life close to the ocean and would prefer to stay that way. This does not mean that I have to have a sea view, or having to be able to walk to walk to the beach. But I would like be Oceanside in an hour, an hour and half; something like that.

- Entertainment, even though we don’t go out that much right now with the exception of eating out, we like to have options and not feel like we are out in the boondocks. Once in a while we go to movies, concerts, theatre and ballet. We want to be able to have bars and cafés to go to and be able to participate in community life.

- Nature, we love to hike and take road trips (DH does drive manual) to enjoy the scenery

- Public Transportation, I dislike driving and have not yet learned to drive manual shift (I will work on this in the near future) so I would love to be in a well connected centric location with access to services and entertainment

- Access, I would like to be in a place where I can get to major airport within not more than two hours. The trips back to PR or the continental US are already long enough for visiting with family.

- Health Care Availability, we don’t have any major medical issues right now but we want to be near medical facilities and specialists if we ever need one, hopefully not.

- Authenticity, I want to move to Spain, not into a German, English or any other country colony (talking about the endless summer condo/time shares along the beach from Málaga to Alicante; perhaps all the way up to France and beyond)

Cities in Spain that have seemed ‘livable’ to us are Granada, León, Burgos, Santiago de Compostela. In the rest of Europe some of the cities we have liked are Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, Florence, Bern and Lugano. We dot dislike capital cities but we might not want to be smack in the middle of downtown or historic center where things are completely overrun by tourists during the day and ghost towns in the evening.


So, where would you Fodorites like to live in Spain? And why? Suggestions would be greatly appreciated and thoroughly considered.

Thanks to all!

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