The advantages of growing older in Spain


To counteract some recent gloom about the falling pound and the struggle to make ends meet, it is worth reflecting on the positive side to life in Spain particularly for those approaching or in retirement.  On November 15th, I celebrated my birthday with a family picnic bathed in warm Autumn sunshine and counted my blessings. But there some more practical and immediate benefits to living in Spain than the ability to enjoy great weather in an uncrowded, beautiful and relaxed country.

Free Card Trick

If you are approaching retirement don’t think you can avoid the inevitable “bus pass” comments and jokes just because you moved to Spain. They have similar benefits here on retirement. The regional government issue a card called the “tarjeta sesentaycinco” to all residents aged 65 and over which entitles the holder to, among other things:

  • 50% discount on bus travel for all journeys within Andalucia

  • Up to 55% of glasses and hearing aids

  • Discounted entry to hotels, cinemas, monuments, theme parks etc

  • Subsidies for home improvements, handrails, ramps etc

  • Up to 100% off the state’s Telecare service, a handsfree 24 hour support callout service

It is free and can be applied for online at (search for “tarjeta sesentaycinco” and go to the English section)

Grand adventures

In fact, in Spain, the benefits of growing older kick in well before retirement. For example the regional government has a “Grand Experiences” scheme offering excursions, activities and holidays, mainly during low season, at discounted rates for those aged 55 and over. On the English language version of the website you can download a catalogue or browse offers, many for groups, online. Some examples:

Wine-tasting in Cadiz with tour, lunch and drinks included for 19,50€

The world of honey and bees in Jerez including food and tasting from €4

Guided Tour of “Hidden Seville” from 25€

2 night “Spa and Caves” trip to Nerja from 82,50€

Link (in English)

Making tracks

Why stick to the bus? For 5€ Renfe issue a “Tarjeta Dorada” to the over 60s. You can get one instantly from Renfe stations and travel agents with a passport and residencia or NIE.  This entitles you to a 40% discount off all fares for journeys from Monday to Thursday and a 25% discount off weekend fares as long as you book your ticket in advance. As the price of rail travel in Spain is already quite low this can make even long journeys affordable and save a lot of driving.

It is easy to focus on the negative particularly during a recession, but one revolutionary social change that we have seen in our lifetimes is the way the majority of people are able to do much more for much longer as they grow older. Hopefully this article has shown that Spain is doing its bit to further this positive trend.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
bakeja New member
Member since 22 December 2009
Estepona, Spain
4 years ago

I see I forgot to mention the cost of the day trip with Acciona, probably because I'd been looking for a record without any luck. It was either ?12 or ?15 a bargain at either figure. A few years ago I had to stop driving because I'd developed cataracts in my eyes and couldn't read the road signs. On a visit to see my doctor for a completely unrelated problem he noticed that I was having trouble seeing things and arranged for me to have my eyes checked at the local hospital. The outcome was that the cataracts were removed by laser surgery with no charges. According to Sky TV, in the UK the treatment costs around £500 per eye.

4 years ago

Mmm this article is aimed at Andalucia. some of these offers DO NOT apply to people living in the Valencia Province i.e.I have never heard of 55% off glasses etc etc. Each Province has their own little perks/or not...

4 years ago

The best bargain ever? When Acciona started their Ferry operations between Palma and Barcelona we had a day trip. On arrival at the boat we were escorted to a table in the First Class Lounge. As the boat got under way we were served with Cheese and Ham sandwiches and a quarter bottle of Sangre de Toro (there's not much red wine better than that)each. After a pleasant day exploring the Rambla area of Barcelona we rejoined the boat and were shown to a First Class Cabin for the overnight journey back to Palma. Once you are Resident look up Mundo Senior, a week's holiday in a four star Hotel, full board and transport to and from for (Three years ago) ? 130. The Spanish are not a law abiding people. On one occasion while talking to a policeman we saw a motor cycle rider ignore a Stop sign and then ride the wrong way down a one way street. When we commented to the policeman that in England or France such behaviour is against the Law and would result in immediate prosecution, he shrugged is shoulders and said "We have just the same Laws as the rest of Europe, we simply don't bother to enforce them. On another day we went to the Guardia Civil to report a burglary. The Sergeant in charge sat behind the reception desk puffing away on a big fat cigar. Above his head a "No Smoking" sign. You will learn to live with this if you stay. I've enjoyed most of my first 20 years as a pensioner in Spain, now I've moved to Cyprus for the second 20 years and after that who knows?

5 years ago

Hi Bakeja, Great Article, good to see some positive vibes going round in these tricky times. It\'s all about the attitude I guess...

7 years ago

Thanks for the really upbeat article. We also love living in Spain after 60. Haven't quite made it to the 65 yet, but we find very many benefits, both material and simply the joy of living in such a beautiful area with friendly people. Valerie, Cortegana, Huelva.


See also

Spain is a very sporty country where you can enjoy various types of sports. Football, of course, is the most popular sports, both live and TV broadcast.
Spain has a unique mix of culture thanks to its rich history. It also successfully combines historic tradition with modernism in many aspects of life.

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