Best place to live in Spain

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    Sep 10, 2011 4:32 PM GMT
    I'm thinking about moving to Spain. So, what is the best place to live for a year? I'll be teaching, so what's the best as far as cost of living? I also like climbing and the outdoors, but have to live in a big city. I'm not real big on living in the sticks.
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    Sep 10, 2011 5:56 PM GMT
    Andalucía, the main southern region of Spain, has the lower cost of living and more pleasant weather than most of Spain. I myself am from this region. There are many great natural areas (parks & shit) for climbing and hiking aficionados. Some of the major cities there are Sevilla, Málaga, Córdoba, Granada, and Cádiz. Sevilla is the largest city in the region and also the liveliest.

    Southern Spain is also a tad bit less racist than northern and central Spain. There are many, many British and American expats living in coastal areas of Andalucía, so you'll never be too far away from people who speak English, haha. The vast majority of Spaniards don't speak any English at all, so if you long for a taste of home, living near an expat community could be nice.

    The downside to living in Andalucía is that the unemployment rate is highest in that region. It's bad enough that the national average is 20%, but most of that figure comes from Andalucía alone. Many Andalusians have been migrating to other regions of Spain over the past few decades since the region is not quite as industrialized. However, it's by far the most extroverted and festive area of the country!

    If you already speak Castilian Spanish, good luck trying to understand Andalusian Spanish, haha! People will understand what you say, but you won't understand much of what they say! I like my Andalusian accent, so I don't really care what other Spaniards think icon_cool.gif

    If gay life is very important to you, then living in Catalunya is your best bet. Not that gay life is suffering in other parts of Spain. It just seems more alive in Catalunya than anywhere else. Living in or around Barcelona will allow you to be as gay as you want! Hell, I dare say Barcelona these days is probably gayer than San Francisco or West Hollywood. Anywho, the cost of living there is absolutely outrageous (mainly in finding a place to live). Expect to pay a lot of money for a flat that's barely bigger than the average American bathroom!

    It's recommended that you learn the regional language if you live there - Catalan. While every Catalan can understand and speak Spanish, many are resentful to all things Spanish for historical and political reasons. It's much appreciated to speak Catalan when you can with people there. Plus many public things (signs, notices, brochures, some restaurant menus) are published only in Catalan. Catalan is very similar to Spanish, so it wouldn't be that hard to learn anyway.
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    Sep 10, 2011 7:49 PM GMT
    What's the best place to live in Spain? That's like asking what's the best place to live in the US!

    Spain is an incredibly diverse country in terms of geography, climate, and culture. Where you will enjoy living the most depends on your own personal tastes.

    Having said that, Barcelona is one of my favorite cities on the planet (a feeling I share with almost everyone who's been there). Lots of very interesting architecture, a nice casual vibe, and good beaches nearby. Fantastic food too. And, it's close to the Pyrenees, to feed your outdoors/climbing addiction.

    Personally I found the locals in Barcelona more than happy to speak with me in Castilian - They actually seemed pretty impressed. But I'm American, not Spanish. I know regional rivalries exist, but as a foreigner you're pretty much immune to that. Just the same, do learn some Catalan if you're living there.

    I like Andalusia too, for the culture, but it's not a great place for a climbing enthusiast (although Tarifa is the best place in Europe for kitesurfing/sailboarding) - and summers are HOT!!! Also, as the previous poster said, I couldn't understand most of what they said - even though I speak pretty fair Mexican.
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    Sep 10, 2011 8:05 PM GMT
    I would also like to make a case for northern areas of Spain - Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, and Euskadi (Basque Country). They have incredible scenery. They're not called Green Spain for nothing.

    The drawback to those areas, though, is that their climate is a bit too similar to the UK's. Lots of clouds and drizzles on many days of the year.
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    Sep 10, 2011 8:11 PM GMT
    If I were to move back I´d go to Barcelona, possibly Valencia. Seville is nice, Granada is stunning. Maybe Madrid, but I´d go to the coast.

    The north coast is STUNNING, but I´d want the south for the sun.

    However, be aware that the economic situation in spain is horrible and parts are really depressed and depressing.