Why we chose Spain

Why We Chose to Move to Spain: Our Journey from Dream to Reality

Spain is rapidly becoming the go-to destination for those seeking the perfect retirement, investment opportunities, or embracing the digital nomad lifestyle. What unites these diverse groups? They’ve all discovered in Spain not just a country, but a haven for new adventures and welcoming communities, offering them peace of mind and a sense of belonging that is hard to find elsewhere. Join us as we dive into Addy and Dawn’s exciting journey and gather their unique insights and advice for embracing life in Spain.

Why did you choose to move to Spain?

We wanted to experience different cultures and meet new people, so we decided to explore Spain and Portugal. In 2019, we traveled to both countries for a firsthand comparison.

Though Portugal was beautiful, with its stunning sites, rich history, and delicious ‘pulpo,’ it didn’t feel like ‘home’ to us. We didn’t feel a deep connection there. So, we continued on to Spain.

Traveling through northern Spain, we immediately felt a sense of belonging and connection that we hadn’t experienced in Portugal. We fell in love with Spain’s people, culture, food, and way of life. Our plan was to explore the south next, but we had to return to Miami. We vowed to return to Spain in 2020.

However, 2020 had other plans. Instead of traveling, we began researching everything about Spain, particularly the process of obtaining a non-lucrative visa. 

Our journey to Spain

We joined various groups to understand others’ experiences and performed cost analysis to validate our decision. The more we researched, the more Spain beckoned us.

Our research included health insurance, the decision between buying vs. leasing a flat, feeling secure, the cost of living, and the transit system.

What are some benefits Spain has to offer?



Moving to Spain

Health Insurance:

Our US health insurance was our largest expense, accounting for over 25% of our yearly budget. Our research showed that yearly health insurance in Spain, with no deductible and co-pay, costs what we were paying monthly in the US, offering us significant yearly savings. Spain provides both private and public healthcare. Private insurance is more expensive, but still costs thousands less than in the US. The World Health Organization ranks Spain’s healthcare among the best globally, with modern-equipped hospitals and highly trained doctors. Although insurance doesn’t cover prescriptions, medicines cost less than in the US, and pharmacies provide prompt service.

Note: During our stay, we had an emergency hospital visit. We were in and out in under two hours, at no cost, a stark contrast to our experiences in Florida.

Buying vs. Leasing:

We decided against buying a flat immediately and chose to rent instead. Rental costs in the US were skyrocketing. One-bedroom apartments in our US building, about 850 sq ft, were renting for over $2500. In contrast, we found greater value for money in Malaga. When our visa was approved in March, we visited Malaga and found a beautiful 1700 sq ft, 3-bedroom flat for 1900 euros a month. Though this might seem high, the cost was justified by the location, pet-friendly policy, and proximity to the beach.

Safety in Spain:

Spain is considered a safe country with a low crime rate compared to other nations. The 2023 Global Peace Index ranked Spain as the 31st most peaceful country (compared to the US’s 131st), with Málaga being the 3rd safest city in Spain. We learned to be cautious of pickpocketing in crowded areas.


Not wanting a car, we looked for a city with efficient public transportation. Spain’s system, including metros, buses, and trains, is excellent, further reducing our need for a car and car insurance. We could walk everywhere or use public transport for longer distances.

Cost of Living:

We found savings in health insurance and transportation. Gym memberships and name-brand clothing costs were similar to the US, but cellular and internet services were a third of the US prices. Electricity is higher in the summer but more affordable in cooler months. Grocery shopping is cheaper, and the quality is better. Eating out is slightly more expensive, but the social aspect of Spain makes it worthwhile.

Moving to malaga

So, in August 2022 we finally returned to visit Southern Spain.  We made several stops before reaching Malaga.  The moment the trained stopped, that we got off, we knew this was our place.  It was a feeling like we’ve never felt anywhere before.   We stayed for 10 days in an AirBNB and lived like the locals.  Nine months later, we are living here as a local.

We choose to live a very socially active life, so much more than we did in the states.  We think it’s due to everyone’s ‘chill’ disposition of living and enjoying life and not taking any moments for granted.  

It’s hard to believe we’ve finally realized our dream, but we did it!  

Dawn & Addy

Malaga, Spain


Related Posts