Whether you’re dreaming of sunny days in Cyprus and Spain, or want to soak up the culture in France and Portugal, there are some amazing expat locations out there just waiting to be uncovered. Some of these are listed below.Cyprus
If you’re a keen sun-seeker, Cyprus may be a great match for you as the nation has around 340 bright sunny days every year. Whether you want to spend your days by a pool or tracing Cyprus’ fascinating history, there’s something that can appeal to every expat.
Established Expat Communities
One great aspect of Cyprus is that expat communities are well formed and established, so if you’re looking to move amongst like-minded people, you’ll have the option to integrate into a society of expats who’ve also made the leap to live overseas.
It can be daunting knowing no one when you move abroad, especially if you’re not working and don’t have a direct way of meeting people. Why not plan ahead and start reaching out to other expats on dedicated expat forums, so you can make friends before you even step off the plane? There are lots of different forums and Facebook groups online where you can talk to other people. You can read about other expats’ journeys and ask for help from people who’ve already been through the process.
A Collaboration of Cultures
Cyprus is a divided country, with Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots in the south. Roughly one in four Cypriots are Turkish, which reflects the amount of land they occupy in the north. If you’re moving on a budget you may want to consider moving to the north as it’s considerably cheaper.
Another great aspect of Cypriot living is their passion for food and entertainment. So, if you’re partial to culinary delights, you’ll be in for a treat in Cyprus. Traditional dishes hold influences from Greece and Turkey, and you’ll find lots of slow roasts, kebabs and stews on the menu. Also prominent is mezze, which offers a selection of small appetisers that usually come before a meal.
As Cyprus has such a varied culture with influence from the Roman Empire, Britain, and of course Greece and Turkey, English is widely spoken so you’ll be able to communicate with ease.
The cultural history of Cyprus is not one to pass by either. When you’re living on the sunny island, take a day off from sunbathing at the white sand beaches and step back in time, discovering places like the Tomb of Kings where you can unearth 4th century tombs. There are a number of ancient sites, some of which are still being excavated, and there are also stunning buildings such as the Kolossi and Kyrenia castles.
Whether you’re moving for work or retirement, France has a unique atmosphere that combines the rustic with the contemporary. So, whether you want to be in an exciting fast-paced city or want to step away from the hubbub and unwind in a quaint village in the countryside, you’ll find cultural clues in every footstep.
Shorter Working Weeks
If you’re considering moving to France for work, you may find it a little different than what you’re used to. You’ll be able to enjoy shorter working weeks, longer lunches and an almost guaranteed Sunday off to spend time with your family. If your employer asks you to work over the 35 hours a week enshrined in French law, you’ll be paid higher rates for it, although recent reforms in employment rules are likely to mean you’ll receive less than the 10-50% extra each hour previously on offer.
Art Lovers’ Haven
France is known for many things, and perhaps one of the most prominent is its history is the arts. Whether you’re visiting Musée Marmottan Monet to view the largest collection of Monet paintings and drawings, the Musée National Picasso for inspiration from one of the greats, taking a trip to the theatre, or spending time touring the cities to view some of the fabulous architecture on offer, France has an array of museums, galleries, and activities for every art connoisseur.
The Finer Things
If you’re passionate about great wines and delectable dishes, France offers you the opportunity to taste your way around the country. No matter where you’re based, you’ll be able to seek out great local eateries and vineyards and make trips further afield in your spare time to enjoy some of the finer things life has to offer.
Whether you’re tasting a vineyard’s first growths in Bordeaux, or drinking Champagne in Champagne, you’ll find a great array of opportunities to broaden your knowledge and tantalise the taste buds.
A Rich History
If you prefer to step back into the past, France has a diverse history to uncover as one of the world’s oldest nations. Dating back to the iron age, France has influences from the conquering Romans, Celtic tribes, and Greece. Why not venture out and learn more about the French Revolution, take a look at what the French Renaisssnce meant for the nation’s arts and culture, and bury yourself in extravagant history by visiting countless luxury chateaus and castles, to see how some of the most prominent members of French history lived.
If you’re looking for an exciting overseas lifestyle somewhere with glorious beaches and friendly people, Spain could be a great place to relocate to.
Relaxed Everyday Life
Similarly to France and Cyprus, family is a very important part of Spanish culture so it’s not unusual to see large families spanning many generations living together. Spanish life is laid back, with many not beginning work until 10am and having a siesta between 2-4pm every day to lunch with friends or family, or catch up on some sleep. So, whether you’re moving to Spain to work, or retiring to spend time in the sun, you’ll always be able to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle surrounded by easy going people.
If you’re looking for exciting cultural events that light up towns and cities for days on end, Spain is certainly a country that can provide. Whether you watch the Semana Santa processions making their way through the streets, join Valencia for the Fallas where you’ll find enormous colourful statues throughout the week before they’re burned on the last day, or attend a colourful carnival in Tenerife or Cadiz and get caught up in the intoxicating energy of the party, cultural events are scattered throughout the year for you to attend.
If you want to be surrounded by beauty, some of Spain’s architecture will certainly help your dream become a reality. Baroque architecture arrived from Italy in the 16th century; for some of the nation’s best examples, visit places like the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and the University of Valladolid. Spain has many different styles of architecture that can be seen throughout the nation, including Colonial, Neoclassical, Renaissance, Gothic, Romanesque, and Mudejar.
Sweeping coastal backdrops and stunning little towns are part of Portugal’s charm, but life in this sunny country offers variety for any expat.
Like Spain, Portugal places a heavy emphasis on a relaxed lifestyle and the importance of family, so this cultural country is a great choice for those wanting to spend quality time with loved ones. Diving into the Portuguese culture is the best way to experience authentic living and you’ll soon find yourself falling in sync with local life. Portugal also houses a high rate of religious people, so if you want to stroll to the church on Sunday in gorgeous sunny weather, Portugal could be a great choice.
Cities on the Water
One of the great things about Portugal is its exciting cities that are close to the water. You can enjoy Port in Porto before a sunny stroll along the waterfront, or shop in Lisbon before dining al fresco at the water’s edge. You can observe the boats making their way down the Gaia Waterfront before taking a look around Porto’s market, walk across the Tagus boardwalk, or enjoy the park by the Vasco de Gama Bridge in Lisbon.
Portugal has some excellent dishes on offer to please any foodie and has an array of fresh fish dishes you can enjoy while overlooking the water. If you’re in the Algarve you can try Cataplana de Marisco, a seafood stew served with rice or chips, or enjoy one of the nation’s favourites, Polvo á Lagareiro. This dish grills fresh fish over a slow fire, and is served with lemon and rosemary seasoning. If you prefer beef, ask for the Posta Mirandesa—a tasty tenderloin steak cooked over a strong fire.
Transferring Money Overseas for your Move
You’ve decided where you want to move, you may have even chosen a house, and now you just have to pay for it and move your savings overseas, but where do you begin?
FC Exchange are experts in helping expats move their money overseas for house purchases, pension payments, or regular payments to cover costs at home.
What to Consider
When you send money overseas, you need to ensure you’re getting a great exchange rate so you get as much currency for your money as possible. What’s more, you want to try and avoid transfer fees, especially on regular overseas payments, as these can add up and become quite costly.
Registering with FC Exchange takes a matter of minutes and once you’re signed up you’ll be able to receive quotes from your dedicated account manager, as well as being kept in the loop with regards to what’s happening in the market. At the moment, while Brexit negotiations are taking place and the UK’s political landscape looks a little uncertain, the pound is susceptible to how events may unfold as markets shy away from these factors.
As an example, in June 2016 just before the EU referendum, you may have received a pound to euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate around 1.30. However, just a few weeks later in July following the referendum announcement, you might have only received a rate in the region of 1.16. If you were transferring £300,000 overseas to buy a house, with a rate of 1.30 you’d have been in receipt of €390,000. A few weeks later when the rate had dropped, you’d only get around €348,000.
These kinds of political developments can have a big impact on your exchange rate, so speaking to a currency expert before you make your transfer is a great way to plan ahead. Your account manager will be able to tell you whether an important event is coming up that may create volatility, and even help you to lock in an exchange rate now, for up to two years. This means you can avoid fluctuations created by political factors, economic data, and central bank developments, and know exactly how much currency you’ll get for your money when you transfer. Contact FC Exchange to discuss your international money transfer and see how you can maximise your funds.