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The Balearic IslandsBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Spain - The Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are one of the most popular destinations in the world. They enjoy over 300 days of sunshine each year and are proving to be very popular with those who have had enough of more temperate climates in northern Europe. This means that there are only a couple of months each year that experience cooler temperatures, so activities such as fishing and hiking can be enjoyed all year round and they are one of the most popular expat destinations in Europe.
Mallorca has become one of the most sought after Spanish locations for expats (expatriados) and has one of the largest international communities in Spain. The island has a well-earned reputation for being a lively place to live and work. The island has a large number of both British and German expats, although those of other nationalities are also beginning to settle there.
Expats are attracted to the island as buying a property (propriedad) there is relatively easy. There is a certain amount of rules and regulations which need to be adhered to but the island has a growing property industry, with many estate agents (agentes de la propriedad immobiliaria)and legal advisors who can guide you through the whole process, making it relatively simple to purchase a home. For expats it is also made easier by the fact that there are some advisors on the island who are fluent in other languages such as English and German. This also applies to staff in other businesses, such as shops and banks.
Many of the medical staff on the island are also able to communicate in languages other than Spanish and a number of practices have been set up which are aimed at the foreign residents of the island. The island has no less than 8 international schools so educating children in their own language is also an option, although the local Spanish schools (escuelas) have a very good reputation.
As Mallorca is an island, there is a limit on the amount of property that can be built, as the authorities try to prevent over development. Building plots (solar) are difficult to find, so expats are advised to concentrate on existing properties when searching for a new home. This means that even in the economic downturn, prices have not fallen and in some areas have actually risen slightly. However, the homes that are available range from apartment complexes (complejo residencial) to older style homes (casa de epoca) in the rural areas.
The island has an international airport which offers daily flights to most European capital cities which also makes it an attractive destination for expats, as returning to visit friends and relatives can be done easily and is relatively inexpensive.
Personal safety is a factor which must be taken into consideration when choosing another country to move to and crime (delito) on Mallorca is at a relatively low level, although the more touristy areas attract petty criminals such as pickpockets. In some rural areas people still leave their doors unlocked as the incidences of housebreaking are virtually non-existent.
The capital of Mallorca is Palma, which has a population of over 300,000 people. This is around half of the island’s total population, but at the height of the tourist season this can double. Palma has been declared to be one of the best places to live in Spain. Palma is ideal for those who enjoy evenings out, as it is packed with restaurants and nightclubs, as well as several cinemas and theatres.
Ibiza is not the obvious choice for those who are looking for a quieter life, as it has a powerful reputation as Spain’s clubbing capital and as such is very popular with young people who come in search of lively nightlife (vida nocturna). The main towns are Ciudad de Ibiza (the main resort) and San Antonio. San Antonio has a very modern look and is filled with apartment blocks, so is not ideal for those looking for a typical Spanish property.
However, there is much more to the island than nightclubs and tourism. If you look beyond the main towns there are plenty of tranquil rural areas to be found, which can be ideal for retirement or raising a young family. Away from the coast the island has many properties on offer, although the influx of tourists to the area is helping to keep both the property prices and the cost of living higher than average.
The island does have the added bonus of being relatively easy to get to, as there are flights to the island from most areas of Europe every day, and the winter sun means that visitors arrive all year round.
Work opportunities exist mainly in the tourism field, with shops and bars having long opening hours to accommodate the influx of visitors and large numbers of hotels and holiday apartments on the island. There are also opportunities for those who wish to start their own retail outlets or run holiday accommodation.
Menorca has a reputation as a much quieter island than either of its neighbours and is becoming very popular for those holidaying with their families. When searching for a property (propriedad) on the island it is mainly existing properties that come on to the market as there is very little building work allowed for new developments. This is intended to keep the island as unspoiled as possible, so it is perfect if you are looking for an older style property, such as a finca or something similar.
The island’s capital is Mao and it is connected to the old capital of Ciutadella by the only major highway on the island. The island has an international airport and there are regular flights during the summer months to many of Europe’s major cities, although flights are limited outside the tourist season and it may be necessary to take a flight to another destination first to catch a connecting flight.
This makes it a popular destination for those looking to retire as quiet times are almost guaranteed on the island.
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