Murcia is one of the most popular places in Spain that expats consider moving to.
We interview local Dawn Marsh and find out just what living in the Cehegin area is REALLY like.
Should you move to Cehegin? We attempt to answer all your most popular questions to help you decide whether Cehegin in Murcia is the place for you or not.
So where is Cehegin and how long does it take to get there from international airports?
Cehegin is situated about 66kms from the city of Murcia and has a population of about 15,000. Cehegin is about 90 minutes from Alicante airport and roughly 1 hour from Corvera.
The nearest beaches are about 45 minutes away. All of these destinations are very easy to get to using the RM15 and AP7/A7.
Dawn – Thanks for helping our readers, I guess we should start off by asking when you moved to Spain and why?
We had always wanted to move away from the UK and live a retired life in the sun. We therefore bought a house on Margarita Island [Venezuela] some time ago, ready for our retirement. We had visited the island and instantly fell in love with it. Sadly the political situation in Venezuela made it very difficult for us to make this move so we had no option but to draw a line underneath this particular dream and think again about what we were going to do.
Peter was made redundant in September 2010 from a job he had had for 34 years. There was no way he wanted to start again from scratch in a new company so that pushed us towards making the decision to up and leave the UK.
The original plan was to spend six months in Spain – it was the closest and easiest place to get to. The plan was to then move on to Portugal, then South America and maybe Thailand. Ten years later and we are still here in Spain!
We left the UK in September 2010, the day after Peter’s eldest son married – we didn’t want to leave before we saw them tie the knot. We had invested in a dog trailer because at the time we had two Springer Spaniels who were coming with us but we hated the idea of them not being with us. So we did the right thing and packed all our belonging into the trailer and put the dogs in the boot of our estate car! The bulk of our worldly goods were following later in a removal company van.
Did you choose to buy or rent?
Not having the funds to buy a house in Spain and not really knowing what we wanted anyway our only option was to rent. Our criteria were simple – minimum of three bedrooms (we like our own space), two bathrooms and secured land for the dogs. We both wanted a ‘campo’ house as we did not want to be in an urbanisation surrounded by British but preferred to embrace the Spanish lifestyle.
Where did you move to and how did you come to choose that area over others?
Our first port of call in Spain was a place called Crevillente on the Costa Blanca for no particular reason other than we found a house we liked on an expat website. In hindsight we were pretty naive (or stupid, you decide) that we hadn’t actually seen the house, only pictures. There were so many problems with it, including leaking shower, electric light sockets hanging off the wall, rubbish in the garden – the list goes on. We did however really like the town and the people in it.
We complained to the man who was acting as our re-locator and he was gobsmacked at how bad the house actually was. He obviously hadn’t visited it for some time before showing it to us. Anyway, he was so disappointed and obviously felt very guilty so he drove around the town trying to find something else. He found us a lovely little house which ticked most of the boxes. We stayed there until January 2012.
Top tip: Don’t rent a house from the UK just by looking at some pictures. Come here, stay in a hotel and actually visit the house. (You wouldn’t buy a house this way and renting is not really that much different).
We then moved to Albox, a small town in the Almonzara Valley on the Costa Almeria but it was not an area we like so in September 2012 we upped sticks and moved a small hamlet called Los Munoces near Alahama de Murcia and later to El Escobar in the same area. For us these houses and locations suited our requirements as we were still in the campo but within easy reach of ex-pat facilities.
The second property in this area we chose for us and not the dogs, within a short space of time we discovered problems that made living there very awkward. A local farmer had several large dogs that he used to let run loose and let’s just say they weren’t that friendly. Our dogs got walked very late at night as hopefully the farmer’s dogs were safely locked away.
We looked around for other properties but found nothing suitable so spread our search further afield. A property in Cehegin [North West Murcia] caught our eye so we went to view it. Strangely we knew nothing of the area but the night before we went to help a friend with a performance he was giving in a nearby town so the next day we had some idea of where we were going. The property was not available to rent at that moment so we viewed others in the area.
Cehegin was put on the back burner and we continued to look at properties. There’s usually a problem with properties you view, the house is great but the garden is not, the garden is perfect but the house is too small, but we continued with our search.
Finally the original house in Cehegin became available and we quickly signed the contract and arranged removals. One thing I should point out is with all this moving we spent a fortune on removal costs and donated vast amounts of goods to charity. Downsizing with us was a normal part of the moving experience but there was always more to shed whenever we moved.
We are now on our third property in the town and have been here September 2016 and absolutely love it. We both agree (that is husband and me) that this place feels like home! I don’t know what it is about the town but the locals are very welcoming and helpful. There is an expat community albeit not a huge one and for the first time we have met lots of people who we can safely call friends.
Perhaps you could give us an overview of your area and give an idea of what it is like, mountainous, flat, dry, etc so readers get a better picture?
Cehegin is situated about 66kms from the city of Murcia and has a population of about 15,000. The town looks very impressive from a distance as it is built on the side of a hill and is dominated by the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene. The ‘Old Town’ has been declared a National Treasure and is packed with interesting buildings, churches and twisting, narrow streets. Obviously being on top of a hill, you do need to walk up some pretty steep hills, but the climb is worth it not just for the views but for the fantastic bars on the way, all of whom sell wonderful tapas as well as full menus.
We have a market which is held every Wednesday, selling local food produce, shoes and clothing. Which is a good excuse (not that we need one) to pop into town, look around the market then stop for coffee and pastry in one of the many bars lining the Gran Via (the main road running through the town).
Are there many facilities in Cehegin such as doctors and dentists, shops etc?
The Centro Salud, doctors and emergency are in town, mostly Spanish speaking so it is advisable to go with a translator if your Spanish isn’t up to much. There are plenty of dental surgeries including one very good English speaking dentist that we use. We have had cause to use a couple of hospitals and with the help of our friend & translator we have always got things sorted. The healthcare here is very good and we have had more tests done here in Spain that we ever had in the UK.
We also have part of the ‘Via Verde’ which is a cycling and walking path which runs along the route of the old Murcia/Caravaca railway (this closed in 1971). The route is 48kms and runs from Caravaca de la Cruz, past Cehegin, Bullas and Mula.
I’m sad to say our Spanish is not what it should be but we get by with a smile, gestures, apologies and of course Google Translate.
Are you an expat in Cehegin? What do you like/dislike about it? Let us know in the comments box at the bottom of the page.