Moving to Alicante
Long before becoming a tourist hotspot Alicante was an important port in the Mediterranean. Over thousands of years the inhabitants of Alicante handled the goods of Phoenician, Greek, Carthaginian, Roman, Arab and Castilian traders. This illustrious history is etched into the landscape of the city in the form of castles, basilicas, monasteries and fortifications built to defend against Barbary pirates.
Combined with the hot mediterranean climate, international airport, welcoming population of 334,000 people and Blue Flag beaches it’s easy to see why Alicante attracts so many visitors each year. It’s also easy to see why so many are tempted to return for good and buy a main or second residence in the city itself or the surrounding area.
Unfortunately the ‘second residence’ industry became something of a bubble in the mid-noughties and led to considerable over building. As a result property prices have fallen significantly since the onset of the wider financial crisis in Spain in 2009. The population of Alicante has fallen slightly in the intervening years as young Spaniards have moved to larger cities or abroad in search of work.
A slight silver lining is that the rapid construction - some of which raised serious environmental concerns and opposition from the locals - has ground to a halt.
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Moving to Alicante from the UK
Moving from the UK to Alicante shouldn’t be attempted at the present time unless you have the means to support yourself over the long term or are assured of employment. The unemployment rate in the Valencian region is currently at 28% making the chances of finding work rather slim.
For those who don’t have to worry about income Alicante and the satellite towns and villages are ideal places to settle. The local population are very receptive to British immigrants and the area has a large number of expats already.
These days there are many free online resources for learning Spanish but you can also take an intensive two week language course in Alicante for around €250.
There are fifteen bilingual or international schools in the Alicante region.
Property prices, on the slide since their peak in 2008-2009, are currently averaging around €221,000 (£190,000) for a three bedroom property.
In Aspe, popular with expats and a 25 minute drive to Alicante, you can currently buy a three bedroom house with a pool for about €170,000 (£146,000).
The buyer of property in the Valencian region pays a property transfer tax of 8% of the purchase value.
Comparing Alicante vs London
Alicante has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate and experiences almost twice as many hours of sunshine per annum than London. It also sees 43% less rainfall than the UK capital, almost all of which falls between the months of September and May, leaving the summer dry and hot. Average high temperatures in July and August are just over 30 °C - about seven degrees higher than London’s July-August average.
The cost of living in Alicante is significantly lower than in London. As well as cheaper property and rents, Alicantinos also enjoy lower prices for groceries, utilities, transportation and meals out.
Residents of Alicante also report, on average, greater feelings of safety than Londoners.
While less than extensive the city’s public transport infrastructure includes a tram that connects it with Benidorm, El Campello, Dénia, Altea and Calp.
Alicante’s chief attractions include the Gothic Basilica of Santa María, the Huerta de Alicante defence towers and a dozen museums. The Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ) has a fine collection of artefacts, some of which date back over 100,000 years.