Armishaws are a leading removals companies in the UK who regularly move worldwide to most locations, including Spain, so have given their top ten tips and facts about moving to Madrid:
1) British families who move to Spain with school-age or pre-school children should register at their town hall, who will advise about schools.
2) Spanish families place high priority on giving their children a good education; consequently places at private schools are filled well in advance, and there are waiting lists.
3) Upon successfully completion of four years of secondary education they are awarded their ESO (certificate of secondary education, Educación Secundaria Obligatoria). This may take more than four years since failure to make satisfactory progress can mean repeating the year.
4) Some fiestas are location-specific, based on a local legend or a real historical event. A good example of this is San Sebastian, in the Basque country, which holds a festival each January to celebrate their liberation from French rule by Lord Wellington in 1812.
5) Many aspects of the Spanish lifestyle are extremely easy to get used to: the sunshine, the wine and the sangria, the paella, the tortilla and the tapas, and the uplifting rhythms of the bossa nova and the flamenco as the sun goes down and nightlife begins.
6) Spectacular fireworks are a popular feature at fiestas, and probably the most spectacular of all are the ones that light up the skies at the Summer Solstice, when bonfires are lit to celebrate the longest day. This tradition is especially strong in the south of Spain
7) The Spanish healthcare system works well, and it is often even possible to find English speaking medical staff. However, before moving to Spain you need to be sure that the costs of future medical treatment will be covered.
8) Spanish healthcare is not free, but individuals who are covered by the State system pay only a small contribution towards the cost, depending on their personal circumstances.
9) For those looking to embrace a traditional Spanish lifestyle, inland Spain has plenty of attractive villages where life is not seasonal, property prices are lower, and you will be able to join in local community life.
10) A common pattern is for people to move from the UK initially to their Spanish holiday home, and to relocate to a different part of Spain a few years later after exploring the country in greater depth. There is probably a richer variation in regional cultures in Spain than in any other European country. Each region has its own history and its own traditions, and regions such as Galicia, the Basque country and Catalunya still retain their own languages alongside Spanish.