Lifestyle Options In Barcelona And Sitges, Spain

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“Kathleen, in a recent editorial Mailbag, the question was raised about residency in Spain. Please allow me to comment. I happen to know Spain quite well.

“I can vouch for Sitges, on Costa Daurada, Province Tarragona. This quaint little town is less than 20 minutes by air-conditioned train from Barcelona, my favored oceanfront city in Europe (after Paris, which is not oceanfront).

Barcelona is a vibrant city, just north of Sitges, where you can find everything you may look for. Great shopping malls. Great fashion shops, great nightlife, just name it. And Sitges is only 15 minutes by train south of Barcelona’s international airport. Sitges has a great American Hospital, which is more of a 4-star English-speaking resort clinic, excellent by international standards (including surgery) at reasonable cost.

“However, bear in mind that this entire region around Barcelona is not only one of the wealthiest regions in Spain (and therefore with the highest standard of living) but also that Spanish is the second language, after Catalan. As a foreigner you can easily get along in English with some basic Spanish.

“Winters are milder in Sitges than in Barcelona, and summers are less hot in Sitges than in Barcelona. North of Barcelona is much colder in winter, and you may need heating. It has to do with the mountains and the winds. Easy to drive to any city in Europe on excellent highways (strict speed limits and rather expensive toll to most places; by high-speed train may be not only faster but also much cheaper). Lots of sailing goes on throughout the region.

“Hope this may be of some use to you and your readers.”

–Andre S., Switzerland

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