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Alicante

Alicante

QUICK LINKS: Spain Guide - Spain Discussion Forum - Spain Property Listings



Overview

Alicante is considered to have the best of everything Spain has to offer. A beautiful city on Spain´s Costa Blanca (on the South-Eastern coast), Alicante is much less expensive to live in than the larger urban centers like Madrid and Barcelona. Famed for its architecture, Mediterranean climate, relaxed lifestyle, food and entertainment, Alicante is very popular with expats as well as native Spaniards.


Getting There

Alicante airport is a major European connection and hosts the usual assortment of international airlines as well as budget flights from within Europe and the UK/Ireland. Alicante train station serves as a regional and international hub for travellers within Spain and Europe.


Expats

The 2007 census revealed that more than 16% of Alicante´s population are expatriates and this shows no sign of slowing. Most come from the UK, with the rest being made up of French, Italian and United States citizens. The high number of expats are well catered for, with extensive support networks for expats in the social and professional streams, as well as large numbers of English-speaking services like drivers, doctors/dentists/optometrists and gestors (a gestor is akin to an intermediary and is very useful for dealing with beauracracy when an expat needs to think about residency, mortgages, and other administrative issues).

Schools

There are several international schools on the Costa Blanca (and most are within relatively easy reach of Alicante). Within Alicante proper, the most convenient international school, geographically speaking, is King´s College, also known as The British School of Alicante (http://www.bsalicante.com/). Fees are standard for an international school (around 10,000 Euro per annum) and the waiting list can run as high as 3 years, so early enquiry is strongly recommended. classes are conducted according to the English curriculum and are held in English, with some Spanish and Valencian (the native dialect of the region).


Getting Around

Unlike most other Spanish cities, Alicante is moving away from a reliance on buses and becoming a tram city. As well as being faster (dedicated tracks avoid road traffic), these are much more environmentally sound, running on electricity rather than petrol. Trams run frequently in the city area and are clean, quiet and - most importantly - air conditioned. Tickets are cheap at around 1 Euro each.


Settling In

There are a hundred things to think about when you arrive in a new country but one thing you will need to be aware of in Spain is that the bureaucratic wheels turn very very slowly. This means that doing things like registering at your local town hall (its free and allows you to register with Social Security, which then covers you for things like free emergency hospital treatment) should only take a few minutes but can in fact end up taking days of return visits. Get the ball rolling early.


Property

House prices (or rather, apartment prices as living in a house is far less common in Spain than in other countries) in Alicante are much lower than in other Spanish cities. They are also still falling as Spain scrambles to catch up to the other Western countries in the wake of the recent economic collapse. For instance, in the first quarter of 2009, average house prices were 246,000 Euro in Alicante, compared to 240,000 Euro in the second quarter. Rentals are also cheap, with a modern two bedroom, two bathroom apartment priced at less than 600 Euro per month. Be aware that apartments are generally larger than in major UK cities, but smaller than US citizens may be used to. The example apartment mentioned here is around 190 square meters.



Expat Health Insurance Partners


Aetna

Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.

Cigna

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.