Ibiza—idyllic beaches, 300 days of sunshine, and of course, some of the most famous clubs in the world.
Anyone who has ever visited this small island in the Med knows just why it is so popular with expats of all ages and from all around the globe.
However, despite its magical reputation and jaw-droppingly beautiful landscapes, there’s a less glamorous but extremely important side of Ibizan life that you need to navigate.
If then, the White Isle has enchanted and beguiled you enough to consider relocation on a more permanent basis, take a look these essential tips on moving to Ibiza and make sure you’re prepared for the more mundane side of Ibizan life.
It can be expensive
Perhaps unsurprisingly for an island located 150km from the mainland, Ibiza can be expensive. Combine this fact with an insatiable tourist industry in summer and the distinct possibility of no work during the winter, and you might find that any savings you have are very quickly eaten up by your living costs. Real estate is also expensive, both for purchasing and for renting, and let’s not even touch on the topic of funding a party lifestyle. Make sure you factor in living costs and be prepared to spend a little extra during your first couple of months.
You should learn Spanish
Of course, everyone speaks English, and probably German, and maybe even Dutch, however, if you want to call the island home for an extended period, then Spanish is essential. Not only will all the bureaucratic paperwork and applications be in Spanish, plus any contracts you will need to sign for work or housing, but speaking even a little Spanish will go a long way to ingratiating yourself with the locals who can help you in numerous ways.
Don’t expect the easy life straight away
Contrary to popular belief, Ibizans work hard. So if you are heading to the island for work, particularly within the tourism industry, then expect long and possibly “antisocial” hours. The same can be said for expat retirees, and while you probably don’t have to work for a living, you might find that the first few months are spent trawling the labyrinthine alleys of officialdom in search of the right paperwork to buy your dream home.
Expect hours of bureaucracy
Similar to the last point, the Spanish love a little bureaucracy—and we promise that you’ll hate every minute of it. Make sure you’ve checked, and double checked that you have all of your official papers in order, otherwise you’ll be back again the next day for another long wait. From applying for your NIE (tax number) to registering a new business, whatever you need will almost certainly take longer than expected.
There’s a (very) loud side but also a quiet side
Of course, today, Ibiza is perhaps most famous for its long nights of loud and hedonistic partying. However, long before the megaclubs and endless nights, the island was home to longstanding local communities and untouched natural beauty. This was the very reason that hippies from the countercultures of the 50s, 60s, and 70s started to move to Ibiza—a place of silence and solitude. Today, you can still find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the quiet side of Ibiza, away from the tourist hotspots, and your soul will be all the better for it.
Much like the rest of Spain, mañana is a very real concept. Try to step back as you are planning your move, and to take things as they come when you arrive on the island. From setting yourself up as a resident to applying for work or waiting for the builders to come and paint the front of your new home, whatever you need, you can almost certainly count on mañana.
About the Author
Originally from Nottingham, England, Richard Lacey fell in love with the White Isle back in 1993. As the CEO of Coldwell Banker Ibiza, he is dedicated to providing customers with realty services that showcase the very best of Ibiza while balancing the needs of the island and its longstanding communities.