Spain, part of Europe, is south of France and Portugal but north of Africa. It nestles between the the great Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The latter being a major magnet for it’s key tourism industry. Spain consists of most of the mainland Iberian peninsula, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and two North African enclaves. The capital of Spain is Madrid (central Spain). The population is around 46 million people.
Spain has a long and very diverse history and culture. It is made up of a rich mix of diverse elements, climates and terrain from north to south.
Known for their historic exploration, seafaring and conquest, the Spanish became a world power in the 16th century, and it maintained a vast overseas empire until the early 19th century. However, Spain’s more recent history is marked by the bitterly fought Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, and the ensuing 36-year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Franco died in 1975, which enabled Spain to transition into a democratic state, built a successful economy and the King Juan Carlos as head of state.
Geography and Regions
Spain’s provincial picture is a complex and evolving one. The country is divided into 17 regions which all have their own directly elected authorities and varying levels of autonomy and powers. If you travel across Spain you’ll hear different dialects. The constitution of 1978 enshrines respect for this linguistic and cultural diversity. For example, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia have a special status with their own language and other rights.
The Hondon Valley and nearby Albatera are inland of the Alicante region of the Comunidad Valenciana, a vast coastal and inland area, boasting the Costa Blanca South and North. It is a one of the most popular regions for Spanish Tourism and property development boom.
“The weather is sublime, the Spanish are so welcoming and kind, the mountains are stunning and we have fab restaurants and a wonderful community of Brits, Dutch and other nationalities. There are so many social activities too. The coast is never far away. We feel very fortunate to have found this place to live”. says Janni (Hondon Valley)
Renowned for the “Mediterranean Diet” the Spanish love their fish, olive oil, tapas and fresh produce. The medical journal, Lancet, according to a European League Table over a 20 year period, Spain is the healthiest place to live in Europe.
Mariano Rajoy is the current (2018) Prime Minister of Spain. He is head of the conservative Popular Party and took office in late 2011. Pre-crash (2008-9) the Spanish economy was of the most powerful in the EU. But their key industries of tourism and real estate development were hit hard by the economic crash causing a severe recession and by the spring of 2013 unemployment had risen to a peak of 27%. Many Expats returned home after losing their jobs or business. Many lost €10,000s on property investments.
Austerity measures were needed and imposed by the government in an effort to reduce the level of public debt. Hard times ahead indeed, but by 2013 these measures started to reap the benefit with more jobs, tourists returning and construction starting again.
Tourism is the 3rd major contributor to the national economy. Ever since the 1960s and 1970s, the country has been a popular destination for summer holidays. The main Costas along the Med’ Sea saw unprecedented and rapid property, golf courses and hotel development. 2017 was another record year for Tourism in Spain and the projections are that 2018 will be even bigger.
We live here so we know the reasons people come to Spain year-after-year, often tempting people the buy a property for emigration or a holiday home. The Hondon Valley is very popular with Expat Brits, Dutch and Belgiques who have made homes in the campo and the upmarket Urb La Montanosa, near Hondon de las Nieves.
Spanish Arts & Sport
Spain has has a long and proud past of traditions in art, music, crafts and cinema…. e.g Painters such as Velazquez in the seventeenth century, through Goya straddling the eighteenth and nineteenth, to Picasso in the twentieth.
Flamenco music and dance are widely admired around the world and can still be heard in many bars and theatres. While Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote is one of the most popular ever written.
Cinema is much loved and the films of directors such as Pedro Almodovar attract huge audiences.
And of course Spain has one of the best and most fanatical football leagues in Europe.
Fiestas and Holidays
Spain is renowned for it’s colourful and lively festivals all-year-round. But summer is the best time to see and enjoy what the Spaniards do best … PARTY!! A large number of festivals (or fiestas) are held in Spain and the Costa Blanca plays a leading role. Most festivals have a religious element to them, particularly around Easter time, but they are also held regularly throughout the year. Each town and village adds its own distinctive flavour to the celebrations, but common themes of life, colour, culture, music and dance will never be far away.
Welcome to Spain … it’s what you make it so enjoy it’s diverse offerings. We do, we love it!