Nick Snelling, author of How to Buy Spanish Property and Move to Spain – Safely and Laptop Entrepreneur: How to make a living anywhere in the world writes about Spain’s excellent infrastructure and tells us why this country deserves to remain a top expat destination.
One of the most striking changes to Spain that I have seen over the past nine years has been a marked improvement in the infrastructure of the country. By this, I mean virtually anything to do with public works, such as the roads, airports and facilities within towns.
To illustrate the point, I could take my own town of Gandia, which has some 80,000 people and is situated on the eastern seaboard of Mediterranean Spain (just south of Valencia city). Gandia sits a couple of kilometers from the sea and has an economy based around agriculture (citrus fruit) and some light industry (mainly timber processing). Meanwhile, it reaps the rewards of being a major summer beach destination for inland Spaniards.
When I first came to Gandia it was notable as somewhere that was, frankly, not very attractive. Indeed, the town and its immediate environs seemed to have received little attention for generations.
However, over the past few years, money has been poured into the town to produce somewhere that is extremely user-friendly – and pretty!
The central part of Gandia has been substantially pedestrianised, the main Paseo renewed and the pavements broadened in many places, tree lined and made safe for the disabled and elderly. Even the main entrance road to the town has been refashioned and is lined with palms, all directing attention to a water feature that looks gorgeous when lit at night. Meanwhile, considerable investment has been made to provide the residents of Gandia with excellent sporting facilities that include new playing fields and swimming pools.
Finally, a superb, grassed and palm tree lined promenade has been built that runs some three kilometres parallel to the beach, itself notable for new play areas, showers, walkways, toilet and parking facilities. In fact, Gandia probably now possesses one of the finest beach areas outside of some palm fringed, tropical island!
Needless to say, Gandia is not alone in having upgraded itself in the past ten years. Many towns and villages across Spain have done much the same as Gandia, whilst the Regions and the National Spanish government have spent a fortune on a superb road network that seems to extend to every corner of Spain, however remote. This has been complemented by major investment on an AVE (ultra-high speed) railway network that is starting to make the great cities of Spain easy and quick to reach.
You only have to enter one of Spain’s many airports to see how Spain’s infrastructure has been improved. International airports like those of Valencia or Alicante are notable for their shiny (and rather beautiful) new terminals and bear no resemblance to what they were ten years ago.
And then there are the many prestige projects that have been developed across Spain. One of the most stunning is Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences (designed by Calatrava), the sheer scale and outstanding beauty of which is, justifiably, world famous.
In fact, few people could deny that Spain has spent a massive amount of money on improving the overall infrastructure of the country and that it has been transformed beyond all recognition. Certainly, no-one could ever now state that Spain is anything but a First World country!
Of course, much of the infrastructure spending in Spain was incredibly profligate and beyond what the country could ever possibly afford (or justify logically). This has become very obvious over the past few years, as the world economic crisis has impacted upon Spain and slowed its previously dynamic economy down to virtually a full stop.
Meanwhile, Spain has a climate that is genuinely seductive, within a country that is notable for being benign. Major earthquakes and storms are unusual, deadly creatures and insects almost unknown and the country has experienced political stability for thirty five years. Meanwhile, the Spanish have retained a strong nuclear society, which has preserved the richness of their culture. This is enhanced by a wonderful sense of community and a toleration to foreigners that is often lacking in the UK.
So, despite the awful economic woes that Spain faces at the moment (which are sadly likely to get worse), the country is somewhere that still offers foreigners a terrific way of life.
In fact, Spain is now, probably more than ever, an obvious choice for somewhere to live for those wanting to move out of the UK. Easily and cheaply accessible from the UK and with a newly modernized infrastructure, Spain has everything to offer expatriates who want a new life – within a welcoming and safe society.