I Hate Spain – Why I Hate Living in Spain & I’m Leaving

By Nick Anders, disillusioned expat.

Thinking of living in Spain?

Maybe hate is too strong a word but ok then I dislike Spain, I’ve had enough, get me out of here – whatever your choice, the end result is the same. I’m leaving Spain to go back to the UK.

I’m not the only one who now hates Spain. It’s a bit like the thin line between love and hate.

I moved to Spain four years ago to start a new life and at first I loved it but now I hate Spain and can’t wait to get out.

There are lots of downsides to living in Spain and I just didn’t know about these when I moved to Spain.

I’ll tell you why living in Spain is bad, I’ll list the problems and give you insights into the biggest mistakes expats make.

I’ve been living in Nerja which is a coastal town with nice sandy beach on the Costa del Sol of Spain, I won’t bore you with my tales of woe but I wanted to write this to let off some steam but also to warn anyone thinking of moving to Spain to be very careful.

At least move to Spain with your eyes wide open – aware of all the negatives about living in Spain.

An expats life in Spain can be really hard, a constant struggle, make sure you are prepared for all of this because you haven’t seen anything like this on A Place In The Sun and nobody involved in the property/estate agent business will ever warn you of the downsides and disadvantages to moving and living in Spain.

Reasons I Now Hate Spain and Want To Move Back to the UK

Crime in Spain

I felt safe in Spain when I first emigrated and moved here. I didn’t see any crime, people were friendly, I thought crime hardly existed here.

Until I found out that often when people are burgled in Spain they are bound and gagged.

The luckier ones are gassed. Even houses with dogs – and have you noticed how many people have big dogs – yeah now I get it – get hit because they poison the dogs.

No, I don’t like living in fear and I’m sure the recession will only increase crime in Spain.

Trouble is Spain is very close to some very poor African countries and there are lots of poor immigrants, mostly illegal, who will do anything to survive.

Living and Working in Spain

I moved to Spain for a better life. I hate how I now work harder in Spain than I ever did in the UK. I moved to Spain with savings of £15,000, now I have pretty much nothing but the shirt on my back.

I figured that with so many expats living in Spain that there must be a bundle of potential new business opportunities or companies looking for staff. I was so wrong!

I soon found out that jobs and opportunities in Spain were few and far between apart from the obvious ones.

Fact – I hate villa cleaning, I hate cleaning pools, I hate working in bars until 2 am waiting for the last drunken expat to leave, I hate building work in the baking midday sun. I hate Spain!

The Word Manana

Like everyone else, I thought this was a funny joke at first. Every time a person in Spain – whether Spanish or British let me down I would grin and say manana like it was ok or normal. When I’m paying for a job I want it done as promised – and on time – or am I mad for expecting this?

Customer Service in Spain

What I hate in Spain is when I go into a shop and stand waiting while the assistant chats away to their friend or relative totally ignoring me and everyone else.

In this global economy you just can’t see the Spanish having a chance against the likes of American, British or Indian companies who are hungry and put customer service first.

There is NO customer service in Spain. Much of the time you are served when people feel like it, you get little help and assistance and often you are not even greeted at the counter – you greet them. It is like you are doing them a favour by shopping there!

I hate getting anything done in Spain. Often I end up going to the local town hall and being sent from one department to another where I am told conflicting advice. The paperwork and bureaucracy are horrendous. If you are coming to live in Spain bring a photocopier!

Getting Ripped Off in Spain

I hate that people prey on each other in Spain. Everyone seems so desperate that getting cheated is a story every expat I know can tell. I personally put a €8,000 deposit down on an apartment and the estate agent did a runner with my cash. God knows where they are now but I won’t stop looking until I find them.

Other common expat stories are ones such as being sold a property that was actually illegal, didn’t have planning permissions etc and often the people had a Spanish lawyer so they were not cutting corners and they still have lost their life savings.

Corruption is a problem in Spain and often there are stories in the newspapers about local town hall officials being involved in shady/illegal deals. Anything and I mean anything, can happen in Spain.

When I first moved to Spain the currency was the Peseta. The cost of living in Spain was low as most food and drink was cheap compared to northern Europe. Then the Euro came in and it seemed everyone took the opportunity to raise their prices – typical – now I think it could actually be possible – no I’m sure it is – that the cost of living is now higher than the UK!

When I go back to the UK I notice sales, discounts. When I go shopping in Spain, despite a so-called recession I don’t see shops dropping the prices, I don’t see special offers, I don’t see much evidence of competition between retailers. In my local supermarket when food goes out of date they don’t slash the price, instead, it stays on the shelf and so you have to be careful what you are buying.

Poor Roads/Facilities in Spain

I hate the lack of infrastructure in Spain. The motorways/autoroutes are superb as a lot of EU money has been given to Spain but locally our roads are terrible. The amount of tyres we go through because of holes in the road is ridiculous.

There is no drainage so when it rains heavily places get flooded and roads are washed away. Areas that used to soak up the water have been built on due to pure greed. The councils just don’t seem to invest back into the community, instead the money collected from me in taxes is blown up – literally – by stunning firework displays that even Disney would be proud of.

I wish I had never moved to Spain and I urge anyone else thinking of Spain seriously to consider my story, especially any young families who I see writing on the expat forums about how they can’t wait to move to Spain, how they are fed up with life in the United Kingdom etc – you don’t realise how lucky you have it! Don’t even think of moving to Spain if you have no money – it is not the cheap place to live that it used to be – the cost of living in Spain continues to match UK levels.

What they don’t read about are the thousands of young families who have moved to Spain and who would love to move back to the UK, if they only could afford to as they have no money. Or the ones who have moved back already having realised their mistake in moving to Spain in the first place.

If you are thinking about selling up and moving to Spain then my advice is, if you really MUST try living in Spain then don’t sell your house in the UK, don’t burn all your bridges, try live in Spain for 6 months or 1 year by renting a house for that length of time. Then you can truly decide and you can move back to the UK or wherever you came from originally without ruining your life. Sorry to sound so negative! Adios!


Editor’s note – This article is a reader’s opinion of life in Spain, it is not shared by us but it does represent the thinking of many people who currently live in Spain or of those who have subsequently moved back to their home country.

We are always being asked, is it good to live in Spain? We do encourage you to carefully consider your decision in advance, living in Spain has both pros AND cons and you need to balance these out, judging what is most important TO YOU in life. Remember that many expats absolutely love living in Spain. Read some responses to Nick’s opinion below and in our comments section and please do share this article and like it on Facebook.

Before we get to some replies to Nick, we have a special section for those of you who still want to move to Spain and have not been put off so far! We get so many questions on where the best place is to move to so we cover some of the frequently asked questions for you below. Don’t worry, most people love Spain!


Where is the best place to live in Spain (for expats)?

We simply cannot give you one town or city and tell you that is the best place to live in Spain because it does depend on your criteria and your likes and dislikes. We will however be able to give you some definite suggestions based on these preferences in the different sections below in which we narrow down the categories and nationalities of expats seeking to live in Spain on a permanent basis. In short, we give you all the pitfalls, pros and cons of living in different areas of Spain.

Where do UK expats live in Spain?

First, make the obvious choice between living in areas full of expats (most are British) or for truly trying to integrate with the Spanish which usually means living away from the busy coasts. By busy we mean Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and to a lesser extent also Costa Almeria, Murcia and Costa Brava. If you do wish to live by the sea we suggest northern Spanish regions such as Galicia and Asturias (Costa Verde) or Costa Tropical, Costa del Azahar and Costa de la Luz.

But really you want to be slightly inland. Prices drop as soon as you get into the countryside. Expats (especially the British) are few and far between and you will have to speak Spanish, the locals will appreciate any effort and will usually be patient to you. We like Extremadura, a beautiful ‘undiscovered’ region of Spain. Or how about some of the inland areas such as the Jalon Valley on the Costa Blanca where you can reach the coast in 20-30 minutes but still feel part of the ‘real’ Spain? On the Costa del Sol you have similar villages such as Frigiliana and Benahavis (although there are plenty of expats in both).

Be careful to think about getting older. As idyllic as a house in the countryside sounds, what about when you get older and maybe cannot drive? Public transport is often minimal in Spain. How far away is the nearest medical centre and supermarkets?

If you want to know the best places to live in Spain for British people or for expats then you want to be in areas that have international schools which attracts families. We suggest Costa Blanca towns such as Javea, Moraira or Calpe, all are beautiful with great beaches. Benidorm if you want cheap food and drink and nightlife. On the Costa del Sol you have Marbella, Malaga and Puerto Banus. The Costa del Sol is the wealthiest area attracting the rich and famous. The climate is the best of mainland Spain and you can even ski just two hours away at Sierra Nevada, perfect! The inland Andalucian towns and villages such as Ronda and Mijas Pueblo are very pretty.

What about the Balearic islands such as Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca? They are lovely islands but you can get island fever where you want to get away and you feel enclosed. You will be in fairly near proximity to tourist resorts so the island will fill up in the summer months and potentially be overcrowded. We would prefer the mainland so we can jump in the car and explore different terrain and regions but that is our opinion.

What about the Canary islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote? Well similar to above but at least these island have a consistent temperature all year round. Even in summer they tend to be around 25 degrees Celsius and in winter only a little less with days in January mostly having temperatures in the early twenties. They are however much less green and scenic than the Balearic islands and much of mainland Spain.

Zoe Conlong wrote in to say: “I have lived in Spain for over 21 years. Inland is definitely the safest place to be, the infrastructure is superb, locals are friendly, schools are excellent, however, you must be prepared to learn the language and integrate! I live in Ontinyent, 40,000 inhabitants approx.”

Tony Burgess writes: “Brexit may scupper many Brits retirement plans.”

Peter Brian Gillon recommends: “Benejuzar Alicante, we have a place there, so underrated, must admit my wife and I wondered if we’d made the right decision at first, very few expats, not to be disrespectful but that’s what we wanted, now, not one regret, Spanish locals so friendly and accommodating, we laugh trying our Spanish and they, their English, such a beautiful place surrounded by orange groves and neighbouring farmer supplies our oranges free after every crop picked. Can’t wait to become a permanent resident there.”

What are the cheapest places to live in Spain?

If you need to get a job in Spain in order to survive, we have some bad news because you will have to live in the most expensive areas to live. Most jobs will be the major cities or in the populated Costas such as Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca. These are very developed areas filled with well-off foreigners and prices are usually higher than remote countryside areas with little English-speaking people.

If you are a retiree with a choice of living anywhere in Spain then you need to seriously look at the lowest cost of living. We have a whole page on where is the best place to retire in Spain. If you still want to live by the sea Spain has an awful lot of coastline so you can easily avoid the Costa del Sol, and Costa Blanca.

How about northern ‘green’ Spain such as Galicia which has wonderful cities such as Santiago de Compostela. It is however the wettest region of Spain but it is cheap for property and eating out. We also like the coastal cities of Santander and San Sebastian on the northern coast of Spain.

What are the best cities to move to in Spain?

If you are going to move to a city then surely you should live in the biggest busiest cities such as Madrid and Valencia in our opinion. The third biggest city is Valencia but that is like a small town when compared to the big two.

So which one?

Reasons to move to and live in Madrid would be the culture as it has three major art museums and the nightlife is vibrant. The capital city can, however, be freezing in winter and baking hot in August when most residents leave for the coast, which is a long-distance away.

Our choice for the best city to live in Spain would be Barcelona because it is as big as Madrid but it has more tourist attractions and arguably a more mixed and vibrant expat scene. It is literally by the beach and close to mountains (the Pyrenees) for skiing.

What are the best places to live in Spain for Americans?

We have pretty much answered the question in the section above because the two biggest cities of Madrid and Barcelona have the largest American populations in Spain and many large multinational companies have headquarters or offices here which is ideal for getting work in Spain when you speak little Spanish.

Response From Silvia as a Spanish Expat in the UK!

I’d like to give my point of view as a Spanish expat in UK.

The problem comes when you move to another country without enough information about the place. When I came to UK I spent months searching information about the country and its people. Because I really wanted to fit in. And I think a lot of British don’t do that when they move out to Spain. They spent their holidays in Spain and they think they know the country. I had been in London before but I knew that it wasn’t the same. The life as a tourist is totally different than the life as a citizen.

And, to be honest, after all this time I don’t know where I prefer to live. There are bad and good thing in both countries. But I want to focus in what you said in your post.

Jobs:

– Spain: Really?? Didn’t you speak with a Spanish person before you moved to Spain?? Any Spanish had told you about the problems we have in Spain with this. And it’s not only about find a job, it’s when you get one what conditions you’re going to have: low salary, a lot of extra unpaid hours, asshole managers….

– UK: I’m graduated and I have several experience years in my sector but I was working for 2 years making sandwiches why?? Because my English wasn’t good enough. And when it improved, it took a lot of time to have a better job, because I had experience but not in UK. So I had (and I still have) to fight for my opportunity. Because I have to prove I’m a better option than a native or someone from another place. I have to fight against the topic “Spanish are lazy people thinking in anything but take siestas and eat paella”

villas-in-javea

I worked more hours here than in Spain. 56 hours is just illegal in Spain…. the good thing is: UK they pay every single hour you work.

A bad thing in UK is when you get sick, for example. They don’t pay you, even if you had an accident at work and you’re sick or injured because of it.

I remember I had to work having a terrible flu because I couldn’t afford stay at home. Another time I cut my finger so deeply with a knife at work and I had to keep working bleeding!!! Do you know how dangerous is that a sick person makes sandwiches for customers? But I, as many other people, had to do it because we have to pay our rent.

Crime:

– Spain: It’s true, the crime in Spain increased lately because of the crisis. You have to watch your belongings because of the pickpockets. And obviously, when you’re going to pay for something (as a deposit) you have to be sure you are giving the money to a formal agency. Scammers are in all the countries. But usually Spain is safe as the statistics say. We have a lot of police patrolling the streets.

– UK: One thing that surprised me about UK it’s that the windows of houses don’t have grilles; the doors are made with wood and glass, easy to kick and open. At first I thought it was because it was safer here, people aren’t going to get in your house and steal your staff. But not….that wasn’t the true. Your can be stolen at any time. Actually, there were 3 burglaries in my building in a year. And you could think “London is a place with a large amount of immigration, maybe that’s the reason”. Well, I have to say that the police caught the thieves, and 2 of the 3 occasions, they were English.

About the police, I don’t see them, they don’t patrol the street. They come up when something happens, but they’re not watching that nothing happen really. So I can see a lot of young people offering weed in every corner of the high street. And the fights in the street are something normal every single weekend….

Mañana:

– Spain: I really don’t believe someone doesn’t make the job you’re paying for. I just don’t believe it….In Spain there is something called: “consumo”. If you paid for something and you don’t receive it you have to go to consumo and they’ll fix it. Companies and self-employed don’t want a penalty from consumo, that’s for sure.

– UK: In UK, I worked in something related with construction, remodelling houses. You can’t imagine how many times I saw a work unfinished or wrong done when the customer paid a lot of money for it, and he just didn’t have what he paid. And you cannot do anything, because in this country “consumo” doesn’t exist. So if you want your money back you have to take that people to the court and spend a lot of money, and that is so unfair.
Another example, recently I moved to another house, and I was shaking because I remember how hard is here to get your internet supply. And I wasn’t wrong. I need internet for work, I contracted one of the most expensive internet providers and the instalation of optic fibre for that company was already done in this house. Well….It took for them 1 month to come to my house to plug the router. According to them this was something only its staff could do, so they weren’t going to send me the router to plug it for myself. The real reason was it charges me 10 pounds for the technical’s visit and they told me it was an offer because normally it was 40 pounds…..come on….

Customer service:

– Spain: that’s true, customer service in Spain sucks. It seems like they are making you a favour….and it’s something I hate form Spain. Companies don’t care about his employees, they pay a low salary, employees work a lot of hours, some of them unpaid, and this has repercussions in customer services. It’s a pity.

– UK: Normally, at least in London, the customer service is good. Except for GP and hospital receptionist; doctors and nurses are really charming but the staff in the reception 90% of times are rude and impatient.

Getting ripped off:

– Spain: The thing is I can’t speak about this in Spain, I don’t have any experience and I don’t know anyone that was in that situation, even my foreign friends. Maybe because I know the country and the language and it’s difficult for them try to rip me off. I don’t doubt that this happen as everywhere.

– UK: As in Spain I don’t have the experience to be ripped off in UK, but I know some people who do. They were cheated when they were trying to rent a flat or a room. And this is something so usual in London. I read about that before I came here and it’s for that I’m very careful when I want to rent something.
They main problem here are the landlord, you can be very careful but if you have a bad landlord it’s difficult to do something. And I lived and I heard terrified stories about some landlord and their houses.

Poor road/facilities.

– Spain: In this point, I totally disagree with you. I’ve driven in both countries and in many areas of them, and I have to say that Spanish road have a high quality if you compare them with France ones or England ones. Obviously, you live in a village, you can’t expect the same road in Madrid (6 million hab.) with Nerja (21.000 hab). Some local road to connect villages to each other or a village with a main motorway could be worst. But the government just cannot invest in the best road for every single village in Spain, it’s just impossible; it’s a big country with a lot of small villages. I’ve travelled through Europe and I have seen lots of villages with dirt roads instead of highways and that it doesn’t happen in Spain, even in the smallest village in the middle of a mountain…

About the floods, that is something so difficult to fix because of the ground. That area is not used to getting so much water suddenly, and when it happens the ground can’t take it, even if it has the best sewage system. Something like that happened some weeks ago in Paris, so imagine in a village. But it doesn’t happen in the north of Spain for instance, because the ground used to get lots of water as in England.

– UK: Do you know how many council tax I pay in London? Like 5 times what I used to pay in Spain. Apparently it’s not enough to fix the streets. Every single tile in my street is not in its place, so I see every day people fall in the street because of this. The streetlight in front of my house is broken for 4 months, I’ve called 3 times to the council and it’s still broken.
The sign indicating the name of the street, two streets away from mine, fell down a month ago and god knows when they’re going to fix it.
And a special mention to the rubbish truck, which comes once every 2 weeks to take the rubbish. I know this country is not hot and the rubbish doesn’t smell as it does in hot countries but it brings rats and the foxes are fighting for the rubbish every night. And I’ll say the price we pay for the rubbish collection is far to be cheap.
One good point, public transport is expensive but it works so well and I love it.

I don’t want to compare both countries, because it doesn’t make sense. They are just different, if you want to live in one of them you have to assume the change and be part of the community.

I love my country and I think Spain have something special that everybody likes and I love England and I see special thing here as well.

I know some Spanish and Italian people here and they always say “I want to go back to Spain/Italy”, and I don’t have that feeling. When I’m here in UK I miss Spain, the weather, my people, my food. And when I go to Spain, at first I’m happy, but then after a couple of days, I start to feel sad because I miss UK, I realized I miss the same things: the people, the food, even I miss the language.

The point is, my friends want to go back because they didn’t want to be part of the English culture, so they are fighting every day to keep their culture, to not change anything. They idealize their countries and forget why they decided to leave it. And when they finally return, most of them realise it’s not what they thought.

Response From Shirley Who Does NOT hate Spain!

Below we have a response to the ‘I Hate Spain’ article from Shirley who has a house in Ontinyent:

“After reading your article from Nick from Nerja, I would expect that you received many emails in reply.

I realise that life has become more difficult for many during this recession, and Britain is no different from Spain. I don’t know when Nick was in the UK last, but around half the shops in our town in South Wales have closed down, and many families are struggling to get by after being made redundant. I work as an estate agent, and we are getting several repossessions every week and house prices are not increasing, as a lot of people believe.

I wonder if Nick learned to speak Spanish before he moved out to Spain, as I would imagine it is quite difficult to get work anywhere that you don’t speak the language. He didn’t say what work he did in the UK or in Spain.

I have been learning Spanish for a few years now and wouldn’t expect to get work in Spain, other than by working for Brits, doing things like cleaning apartments and pools. How would a Spaniard fare in Britain getting work if he didn’t speak English?

I feel that the Costa del Sol is probably a much different place to live than the Costa Blanca in many ways and I’m not sure Nick is qualified to comment on the Costa Blanca uncovered newsletter! One of the reasons we avoided the South of Spain was that it’s closer to Africa and has more crime. I wonder how much research Nick did before choosing an area to live in Spain.

We don’t know any Brits in our area, although we don’t live there, and I don’t kid myself that we could move out and make a good living, certainly not in this economic climate. I also think that moving out with just 15k savings is a very risky thing to do!

We have had no bad experiences of being cheated by anyone, and have made some wonderful friends. I am always happy with the service I get in local shops and restaurants, although I do agree that certain things are more complicated, like dealing with the council etc.

But then there is no litter in our town, no discarded chewing gum stuck all over the pavements, and NO drunken louts fighting in town on a Saturday night out. My 21 year old daughter was recently assaulted on a night out in our home town in Wales, and head-butted in the face, by a complete stranger, another girl, completely unprovoked while walking down the street with some friends.

As for Manana, when we went to buy some air conditioning in July from a small retailers, they turned up, as agreed, the following day, and worked until late until the job was finished, which wasn’t what we expected after all the stories we heard!

We recently had a problem with our internet in the UK, and were told by our supplier that we needed a new modem, would arrange an appointment for their technician to call to replace it. We asked if they could send a replacement by post but were told no. They couldn’t give a specific time, but booked a morning appointment between 8am and 12 noon.

My partner took a morning off work to be there. No one turned up, and when he rang them, they said that there had been a fault in our area at the time of our complaint, so they had cancelled the appointment (without bothering to tell us!) When he pointed out that it still wasn’t working, they said they would send us a new one, which was what we originally asked for but were refused!

I might also mention that our fuel bills at present are £60 a month for electricity, £80 a month for gas (due to increase again soon), and £45 a month for water. My council tax bill here £120 a month compared to 189 euros a YEAR in Spain.”

Regards

Shirley

Linda Whitehead is Also Moving Back to the UK

“Hello, I am just commenting on the above writer’s online report on his life in Spain. I think he is so correct and it is not at all uncommon amongst Expats.

I myself had once dreamed about sunny Spain and couldn’t believe it when my mum who already lived there told me its difficult to get jobs. Which is even worse now what with the recession.

Us Brits generally get the feeling that the Spanish do not want us here. Very often we hear them calling foreigners ‘Giddies’ and push through in the supermarkets.

Like so many people from the UK, I was bored of the climate back home and wanted something exciting. I didn’t want to hear negative stories of Spain back then. But now I appreciate what the UK has to offer. It may not have the climate but it is a country that can stand on its own two feet, economically. It has politically correctness and is generally more of a ‘forward’ thinking country than Spain.

Needless to say, I am going back home to England for good this summer and it can’t come quick enough.

Thanks for listening – Adios Espana.”

Strong Response From Rachel

I have been living in Spain for 8 years, within the first 9 months of living here our house was robbed we had a Doberman at the time they threw tiles at him and kept him at bay with a pitch fork.

They do call us “guiris” but we call them “spiks” and we are a easy target to be ripped off. They think that the girls are all drunken slags and a easy lay and English men do nothing but cause trouble>

They believe we eat fried eggs, bacon and sausages for breakfast everyday and they swear down that our food is crap,

We also got ripped off by the estate agents and lawyers being over-charged on the house price, deeds being lost and being charged twice for the same thing, then she buggered off to get a boob job and we never saw her again.

Electric bill is around 100 Euros a month and sometimes can reach 160 a month to “Shirley Who Does NOT hate Spain!”

I speak fluent Spanish and I have no English friends in Spain, I moved to a small Spanish town with my parents when I was 20, my parents even call me a plastic spik because my outlook on life and the way I live is not that of a English person, I have no job, there is no work at all, there are no opportunities to climb any ladder within any company in Spain…

Most Spanish have moved out of Spain. The only good thing about knowing Spanish is that they know they can’t rip you off… that you have been here for a while and you have some contacts up your sleeves, but then again it’s not only the Spanish that rip you off, it is the English who rip each other off which is even worse.

The customer service in Spain is non-existent. When I was younger in the UK I did a NVQ in customer service and I found it very hard at first to adapt to the way you are treated here and I still find it frustrating.

It was only two days ago I was forced to turn around and say to the shop assistant “Can you chat to your little mate after and serve me I’ve got things to do!” and the other thing that Spanish don’t know what to do is queue in the correct manner.

They are all over the place, you have to guess who is last or they will tell you if they think your pushing in, they don’t open doors, most of the time you can see a mother with a pram struggling to get in or out of a door and they just stand and stare. Or if you do help them you get no thank you for it.

It is hard to adapt to a culture that isn’t familiar to that of your own. As the years have passed I have adapted in a way to not take any notice to these faults which in my eyes they are faults, but to a Spanish person they are not, it’s just the way they are. The town hall are time wasting, table humping thieving pen pushers.

Jay is Also Depressed in Spain

Nick Anders & Linda & Rachel you are spot on, I have lived in Spain since 2007 on and off and then permanently since 2009. We bought a place in Costa del Sol and since left that to rent another, as crime scary and was a bit remote and felt unsafe.

We had the bogus forceful gas men trying to gain entry to rip us off, etc etc so we rented to be nearer people and feel somewhat safer, I agree with Nick, just today as every day, in shops the Spanish seem to chatter to their colleagues, not even look at you, while you stand with your shopping, they do it to other Spanish too though not just us Guirres.

Spanish are nice though, if you can speak some Spanish it does make a difference, but everything is such hard work, everything is done the slowest, longest, way possible, costing time and money, no wonder it is in a state, not saying other countries are any better, I can’t say, but what Nick, Linda and Rachel put is so spot on!

It’s not a bed of roses, it’s a flaming headache at times, new laws all the time, anyway they can get money out of you they will, I am told today if you drive a Spanish car and have a UK licence you are fined?? A solicitor here, a UK chap, told my son, apparently you need a medical and have to apply for a Spanish licence and if checked you could pay a fine and if you don’t have the cash you can be frog marched to the cash point.

It’s all stuff like this all the time, you get to a point you can’t be bothered to go out in the car as you don’t know what’s going on next.

It was also my dream to move here and I have never been so lonely in all my life, I am so depressed and I try and snap out of it and it just doesn’t get better, it’s hard to make new friends unless you go to bars every night and drink like a fish and I just don’t want to do that, so it’s a dismal existence…

Sammy From Murcia Writes In…

I can see both Nick and Shirly’s point of view, but I’m afraid I have to agree with Nick on this one, Spain is going downhill and fast, much faster than England, I know the recession has hit both countries badly but there is no doubt that it has really taken it’s toll on Spain.

I live in Murcia and have done for 10 years with my parents and younger brother. I’m 20  almost 21 and my brother is 19 we both went to school here as children at the ages of  10 and 11 and both speak Spanish fluently now most people think that I am Spanish unless I inform them otherwise.

It took me 3 years to speak fluent Spanish and in this time I was bullied badly by the Spanish just for being British, they would shout guiri as I walked by and insult me and tell me to go back to my own country, my brother had a hard time coping with this and disliked school so much that he dropped out early. I stuck it out and left at 18, got a job as a teacher in the city teaching English at an academy.

Not bad, my employer is English too. What I didn’t know is whether you speak Spanish or not, makes no difference once you apply for a job working with Spanish people and they see your documentation and discover you are actually English, the job is then passed to anyone else providing they are Spanish.

Being almost Spanish , having lived here 10 years i will always be a foreigner to them, no matter how good my Spanish and how Spanish I may look, the job will always be given to Spanish first.

So I studied my whole teenage years (with a few English friends at school who later left as they didn’t like living here and being classed as a foreigner and picked on constantly, while their parents struggled to find work to keep them going)

I find myself alone most nights in or at work with the few friends I have their, who are English as the Spanish don’t tend to mix with the English too much not unless you are willing to pretend to be Spanish, dress like them, eat their food, socialize only with Spanish, then they might accept you more or less, but never completely.

My parents have both struggled for work, since we arrived here my dad is a builder and my mum worked in England as a secretary to a doctor, here we have tried cleaning jobs, private teaching in my area for little money and unreliable students who do not even bother to ring when they decide not to even show up most days.

There is no doubt about it, if you are deciding to move to Spain, DO NOT EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN HERE. The bullying drove most of my friends into a depression and breakdown before leaving. I have to say it was not an easy time, the only time it improved was when I was fluent in Spanish then my classmates would actually acknowledge me, yet I was still the outsider, and was always treated as “dumb” or a “stupid english guiri” or as they like to say extranjera.

If you move to Spain and have young children be prepared for all of this as it will be a very very difficult time for your kids no matter what age they start school they will more than likely be bullied.

At the end of the day Spain is a lovely country with the sun and the laid back way of life, but once you scratch the surface, it is a holiday resort , that puts their own people first regardless of what any other person may have to offer, and life is definitely a lot more tougher than England here.

But hey, it’s been an experience, mostly bad times but some good, I’ m off to England soon to try and finally fit in!

Also may I add we came to Spain with A LOT of money,  and all of it has now gone. The Spanish should be grateful for the amount of English people that plowed their money into their economy. But no …

And Shirley, what is your plan, to stay in Spain and retire possibly  without a pension ? or survive on little money? Who will look after you in your old age?  What happens if the Euro crashes?

All I can say is good luck Shirley..

And I have read the other messages and am glad that you all agree more or less that Spain is not the place to be..

I Hate Spain Page Summary: This page features the story of Nick Anders who has become fed up and unhappy living in Spain and intends to return back to the UK. Nick’s story is good reading for anyone thinking of moving to Spain.

We love living in Spain ourselves but we have agreed to post his article in the interests of fairness as most of his points have a degree of truth in them and at least they provide an antidote to the people who have a vested interest in telling you that moving to Spain is a bed of roses.

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Comments

  1. Wendy Wearn says

    Lived here for 15 years, can’t wait to leave!
    Don’t be fooled thinking it’s better here , it was possibly in the 1960 s Have had water sprayed on me told to go back where I came from . Never thought people could be as they are but very few want to know let alone mix with you!
    I worked and never was payed for nearly two years , I was stupid but trusted the owner who always had an excuse , took him to court and he still wouldn’t pay , that cost me thousands and I lost more !
    Nothing good here the Spanish rule and will take every thing , they believe the Brits are rich and if you have it they want it.

    Best thing about Spain in the flight out!

  2. I lived in Spain for 18 months and am thinking of going back again next year for 6 months.
    I also have foreign friends in the UK.
    What I see is people being taken advantage of in both countries often by their fellow countrymen. A typical Spanish or Englishman on the street is straight enough but someone in either country that sees a chance to make some easy money from someone vulnerable will be tempted to do it. It’s harder to take advantage of someone who knows the laws of the land and the language. English people in Spain were the worst for trying to rip me off when I first got there but after a few months I knew all their tricks and the dodgy ones would leave me alone.
    I was there before in 2008 – 2009, after a recent visit it looks like things have improved overall but now you have got to be doing everything more legal yourself such as not driving everywhere in an English plated car or you will be a target. England has definitely gone backwards in the last decade and I can’t for the life of me understand why a Spaniard would want to be here especially in London.
    How well you will get on in Spain if you are from England depends a lot on who you know in Spain and how well you get on with people in general. I expect to be able to make a bit more money there in summer than in the UK because of the connections I have (nothing dodgy) but when work dries up for winter I will come back rather than end up broke like the first year I was there. The second summer I saved my money then came back and started again. This time I will keep the place I have rented in UK and just get any job as I don’t earn much above minimum wage anymore now anyway so have no motivation to stay in my current job.
    If you have any amount of debt and cannot afford to lose any money you have saved I don’t recommend trying to live in Spain. I have zero debt, a few assets and a few grand of savings I can afford to lose, plus I have better than average Spanish compared to English people. I also have experience from last time and situations in England of being able to talk my way out of trouble and don’t look like a victim. Not to mention I am a Thai boxer and have some basic knife & firearms training as people pulling guns on you is a possibility in Costa del Sol.
    As long as you don’t mind work & heat you might get on ok. If you think it will all be hablo poco espanol with your feet up and a cold beer you will be sadly mistaken.
    Also you open yourself up if you don’t have any mechanical skills, I always have tools and spares for my vehicles so I can do 90% of the work myself. Same in England though people are ripped off by garages all the time, many garages only wipe the sensors and check the dash lights on a £600 service.
    The Spanish people in general are more old school, not too many maricons and no political correctness which is one of the things I like. Also don’t mess with or disrespect the police as they will shoot, I like that too, you know where you are with them. Roads are also better and the Spanish also drive much better, the standards of both in England have got so bad in recent years I gave up motorcycling and riding a bicycle on the road.

  3. De Wilde Marleen says

    this is FANTASTIC news, I hate the English people here on the Costa del Sol becaus they dont RESPECT the Spanish people,
    you are talking and doing the same as in England, you forget that Spain is an other country & other mentality

    VIVA ESPANA for who’s speaking the language and want to adopt just a litle bit the spanish mentality

    GO ALL BACK TO YOUR ISLAND !

  4. Sara Jaiti Zamora says

    You hate Spain but you have lived here for a long time … You are very welcome to leave our beautiful country!

    Buen viaje 🙂

  5. I am a 50 year old Spanish female, and sadly I feel stuck in Spain without any future, I speak German, English and Spanish, I have 2 University degrees from American Universities and a Masters Degree. No true job I can live from though. So sad. If you happen to read me and you know of any company in UK that would want to give me a chance and would want to benefit from my enthusiasm, time and experience please let me know. focusonthismoment@hotmail.com

  6. Hi, I am from Spain and I agree with most of what Nick has written. Spain is becoming a dangerous place. We have allowed so much unregulated immigration that our streets aren’t safe any more. Many immigrants without a job, plus organized crime have joined the local criminals. Add to the mix the general corruption and you are a target for everybody (petty thieves, organized crime, desperate people, corrupted politician, lawyers, bankers…even the phone companies will try to steal from you as much as they can).
    Our politicians , who most only care about making as much money as possible, do not realize that tourism is key to the economic stability of the country. They have to make sure our streets as safe and the people that come with money to visit or invest are more protected.
    Now, saying that, like in any other country, you need to have some common sense before handing your hard earned money, Nick. Do a bit of research before buying a property or a business.
    I also agree with the bad customer service and the general lack of manners. It is a shame but that is how most people are in Spain.
    That is why I live in the UK with my family.
    But there are a few things I do not agree. Maybe because Nick is just talking about Nerja. I have not been there. In general, the infrastructure in Spain is good, we have good roads, good transport system, the bin is collected every single day!, the medical care is better than in the UK for example, the education also is better in my opinion- I have degrees in Spain and UK.
    Saying that, I do not want to live in Spain.
    As I joke in my household we call Spain- Ukafrica. You have the UK infrastructure but with the corruption levels, unsafe streets and lack of customer service of Morocco, for example.
    For us Spain is a holiday place now. We go for a couple of weeks in the summer to see the family and adios!

  7. I am Spanish and I am living in England for 6 years, in East Sussex.

    I live in Jerez, Andalucia. And well, to sum up, we have nice weather, nice food… But… That’s great as long as you have a nice wage or money enough.

    For young people like me… I finished a degree in Tourism and another one in Marketing. I learned English and German, expecting to find a nice job with good conditions. For several months, it never happened.

    Most of the jobs are required a disabled person, minimum 33% or internship. If I got a job, it was a wage that barely let me travel, safe or have my own independence. It is ok if two people are working.

    Then, I tried in UK first and started as waiter. Of course, conditions were crap as well but then another company offered me the opportunity of working in logistic. This is something I like of UK. They gave me the opportunity of working in another sector with no experience, providing training.

    The conditions were so much better and I stayed there. Then I had the opportunity of living on my own, saving money and travelling.

    When I go to Jerez for holidays, it’s great and nice but I hear several experiences and histories about how fed up people are with their jobs. Complaints and more complaints. I told them to try in another country or area.

    And well, one point I have to add. Now that I spent a few years living in Eastbourne, is that I appreciate customer service and it’s something I feel really embarrassed from Spain. When I go to the shops or Mercadona (supermarket), even the cashier shouts to another staff far away next to me, next to my ear. It happened plenty of time. Shouting next to my ear.

    When I ate at Domino’s, the staff as some people said, was rude and unprofessional. I complain through the website and never has got any reply. Same at Mercadona when staffs shout next to the customers. No reply.

    One time, I was unhappy with Southern service trains and I complained. I received an apology. Same with a unprofessional service st Sainsburys and I have got a reply.

    It is not a point of comparison but customer service for me and seriousness at work, well paid, good conditions, is a point of being civilized and I don’t feel proud about we have this in Spain but lack. (At least in the South).

    Spain is nice. Good weather, food, gastronomy, some local events, nice sceneries… But there is no progression of career for young people. It is said that money is not everything but if you want to travel, buy a laptop, have your own property, privacy… You need this. And so far, UK gave me this.

    By the way, I made as well some nice friends in Eastbourne and love Weatherspoon.

    Pst: ‘now one or some subculture chavs who does not know accept a critic will write. GET OUT then! Stay there, blah and blah. Common… (Sight)’

    • Spain is rubbish, poor and they just dont like anybody who is not Spanish, simples !! thieves and robbers, poor coastline with rubbish views, yes they have sun and nice food but thats it ….. expenisve, amazing how you can buy a house from a Spaniard who has lived their for years and all of a sudden you buy and get so much grief from the ministry, just dont buy there is not good.

      I choose CROATIA, wow what a paradise and can tell you they like the Brits, fabulous coastline food and no crime, we dont have to put bars on our windows like Spain, we also have s many more wonderful countries around us to visit, never a dull day here and especially wonderful ZAGREB.

      Forget Spain its a dream that will soon become a nightmare, no culture no future, no hope.

      CROATIA CROATIA CROATIA make Spain look like Blackpool sorry Blackpool but everybody knows its a dump Blackpool same as all seaside places in the UK no exceptions. DEFINITELY NO SPAIN

      I am more travelled than most on here…seen over 140 countries and continue to travel most of the year up to 41 countries this year !! well informed and good judgement, DO DO SPAIN THEY HATE ANYBODY WHO IS NOT SPANISH, want your money legally or illegally.

  8. I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) for 10 years now and even though I don’t consider these islands 100% Spanish (because of so many cultural differences) , I can say it’s the best place to live in the world if you want to live a quiet , peaceful and healthy life . I have a child myself who spent the most of his life here and he doesn’t want to go anywhere else .. With all the respect , the British expat community here live in a very isolated way , the most of UK people I know barely speak Spanish . And those who do , have more job opportunities because employees with a good Spanish and native English is always on demand! There are always nice jobs positions, especially in sales and in the hotel business . If you are looking for security and stability I´d suggest trying to find a work in the big hotel chains or construction companies, if you´re looking for a higher income , you´d rather be a self-employed and get a job in sales. Besides that , there are many positions for people with no job experience , freelancers etc etc .. There are always pros and cons anywhere you go . But I can say that I love Tenerife and Spain , and people are wonderful here !!

  9. Hello everyone!
    I admire all the English and English, and British and foreigners in general, who have spent many years in Spain, hating the country but, above all, hating its people, and then they have gone to their countries of origin. I really admire you. I spent a week in England and the truth, in all that time I just wanted to cut my veins. I don’t know what was worse, if the weather, the food, the people … I don’t know, I think it was all together. But fortunately, although it was an eternity, time passes and I was able to get out of there.
    That’s why I admire them, foreigners and especially the English, for being in a country they hate for so long, sometimes I think it’s even masochism.
    Like you, I think exactly the same, we are very, very incompatible.

  10. Hello, my name is joseph, I’m twelve years old, and I was born and brought up in Spain by my parents, who are english , and so I consider myself english. So, I just happened to notice this website, and glanced through a couple of paragraphs of it, an d I just think that the things you are saying are utter rot, I have lived in Spain for all of my twelve years of life, and although sometimes you get the odd person who is a bit rude, the same any and every country in the world, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Spain and the people who live here. Also, please note that I live in Berja, a small town about an hour and a half away from Nerja (both in the same province, Almeria) so there is hardly any geographic diference. All I see in this website are the words an ignorant tourist trying to put people off coming to this incredible country

  11. My wife wants to move to Spain because of the increasing violence here in Mexico. I wouldn’t mind either because at least my UK pension would be unfrozen. However I wonder what the locals would make of a Mexican / British couple, or for that matter the fact that we speak Mexican Spanish as well as English?

  12. Karima Osmani/ La Francesa says

    Hi, there. French living in Spain since 4 years now. What a joke. The only thing that didn’t fail me is the weather and nature. Everything else is a joke.
    With time working for my job, my pay went down, they change your work activities often and expect you to adapt your life entirely on them. The mañana is not to be taken lightly, it is always mañana. But then mañana well it is raining, God forbid. Then when it’s sunny, well it’s too hot or it’s time to eat or it’s Sunday, we don’t work on Sunday, or it’s festival…I mean these guys aren’t serious.
    Going into a shop, good luck. Yes yes there is someone inside but that employee isn’t paid enough to take care of you. All they say about Spain bad sides is true and I am French, I don’t compare it to UK. I mean you can find it not to be true but that’s because you got lucky. That’s an exception.

    • Karina, there is always the option to cross the Pyrenees and return to France. The important thing is not to continue suffering in a country that you hate and that you don’t want to adapt to.

      • That’s what Americans say to anyone who criticizes their country, “GET OUT THEN.” Things can improve you know, but not if we pretend that problems don’t exist. You also have the option to not read these comments if you don’t want to.

  13. The Spanish costas have a massive volume of foreign holidaymakers there to spend money and enjoy themselves so if course they are a magnet for thieves criminals and conmen. Do not judge the rest of spain on the experiences you have had in this part of spain. We retired to the North five years ago beaches and scenery superb. Everyone has been most helpful lovely lifestyle no stifling political correctness, no grilled on Windows very few guard dogs. I would never consider moving abroad to work must be an absolute nightmare to adapt no matter which country you choose.

  14. Kevin Sealey says

    I have lived in Spain since 1988 and have worked all those years up to the present day. My wife is Spanish and my children were born here. We have been married 28 years now and both our girls are out of university and one is a public school teacher and the other a Historian. My main language is Spanish obviously and my wholñe life is Spanish. It has been a hard slog sometimes as I am in the estate agency industry as well as legal investigations into property fraud. There have been times when life has been amazingly good and other where you’re on lentil soup, that’s life wherever you go unless you win the lottery!. Sometimes the Spanish can be rude but I am so fluent they are shot down in flames before they get to the 5th word and if anybody calls me a “Guirri” I ask them how it’s spelt 🙂 then tell them we are all europeans which causes a nice scene and can be great fun. I have many friends here and have my little hole in the wall paid for when I pop my cloggs. Me and the wife went back to the UK 15 years ago for a weeks holiday and after 2 days went to Gatwick airport to get a flight to Madrid where we spent the rest of our Holidays in Toledo which is a very friendly place if you treat them right. We had a gut full of the UK after 2 days, the first a policeman was beaten up in a high street and the second day an old couple had thugs throwing full bear cans at them. So Spain is what you make it, if you give youll get back if you don’t youll get nout. Things to remember. Speak Fluent Spanish. Don’t bitch everyday. If a Spaniard gives you a dirty look give one back and ask was he or she born with a face like that. Take each day as it comes and look at the bigger picture. Fun Tip, if you are fluent in Spanish go into a bar and pretend you don’t speak Spanish then after 15 minutes of them talking about you answer back in Spanish so fast they spin, amazing fun

  15. I am married to a Spanish women for the last 48 years, and do love Spain. I remember crying the first 4 years till I was able topick up the Castillano, I didn’t know what was going on in the world, couldn’t talk with anyone but my wife, and was totally dependent on her for everything. Being that my proffesion was in sales and marketing, you can emagine how things where for me, UP S–T creek without a paddle. But I will tell you this much, any foriegn country you decide to live in without the language will be the same. It is not easy to establish yourself and be successful in any country 90% of businesses go bust and few survive, even fewer make you rich, anywhere and every where you go, even in the UK.

  16. Fiona Robb says

    I have lived in a very small town (population 8,400 people) for nearly 15 years and I have to say, the vast majority of people here have been very kind and welcoming. I could probably count 8 or 9 people in all this time who have been rude or insulting to me. I wonder how many of you did some research before you moved here? How many of you took the time to not only look at the language differences but also the cultural differences? I’m afraid to say that many Brits move here and presume that the system works the ame way as the UK. It doesn’t! You need to leave the British mentality back in the UK and accept that the way things work here are completely different! Yes, things take longer here, the way they do things is different. I struggle to understand why people move here when they constantly compare it to the UK! THIS IS NOT THE UK!!! Learn to adapt or go back!

  17. Anglo-Saxons are responsible for the negativity reflected toward them in the world. They aren’t satisfied with their treatment because they haven’t treated other cultures with respect and see themselves in the mirror of experience.

  18. Ricci Sayer says

    Thanks to everyone for their comments here, they have all been most helpful. I have lived and worked in France since 2000, and have encountered some of the same problems but not anything like the extent described here by some.
    School is the same and bullying of foreign children is a problem. As always, the Brits are very clannish here, most don’t integrate or learn the language even seeming surprised sometimes to find that they actually speak French In France. The Brits always let themselves down by not doing the research before they move, then not integrating when they get here and, particularly, not learning the language.
    I have just spent the last winter in Chile, where it wasn’t (just returned) and came up against many of these problems. However, I made friends there easily, because I made the effort and, was guided and protected by them. It is a dangerous place for a European to be, whether in the city or country and the infrastructure is poor. I like tarmac on my roads and have no desire to drive a hundred kilometres without. The object of the visit was to decide if I wanted to live there. Nope, I don’t. So Spain was my next choice because I got used to the heat. My intention is to rent a finca or chalet, in the country, somewhere between Malaga and Savilla. My Spanish is passable and gives the indigenous populous a laugh but they appreciate that I learn from them and often make it their business to help. Or so it was in Chile and also Rio where I spent some time.
    In short I am very pleased to have read all the comments and will keep them at the forefront of my mind when preparing to go this winter. I’ll let you all know what happens.

  19. 10 years. I tried. says

    It’s true, Spain zaps positive energy. You get used to it, roll with it, but eventually it will beat you into submission! Spain will grind you down…The easiest retort is to call out the little Britain brigade which is undeniable – sad but true. However, I know there are many people like me (intelligent, culturally appreciative, have lived, worked, learnt and spoke the language, married a half Spaniard) who would agree with a lot of the comments. Unfortunately, it’s a backwards country at the core of its attitudes and there’s only so long a healthy mind can reasonably tolerate it. I’m back in the UK after more than a decade living the dream, and often reminisce of the good times (mainly the relaxed lifestyle and enjoying the world’s greatest cuisine) – but then you remember the hideous bureaucracy, corruption and attitudes that drove you away. I don’t regret my stint at all, so many experiences over the Brits that never discovered what I discovered – but ultimately I do think that we’re just not compatible.

    • Nice summary, my child is Spanish and every time I go there the behaviour of the Spanish just makes me dislike them more and more – grinds you down is so true.

    • It’s extremely backwards. I can’t go anywhere without hearing misogynistic or sexist language/slurs against female anatomy 24-7 (especially in the south). Catty women, gross old men. That’s why I’m trying my luck in Barcelona, much more diversity and less inbreeding.

  20. Karolina says

    I am on holiday in Almeria right now. Love the beaches and weather but people are extremely rude I mean not only rude but also very spiteful and mean. Not every single person obviously, there are nice people here, but in general it is horrible here. Restaurants, hotel receptionist what a rudeness, and omg I asked receptionist because I just couldn’t take this anymore- why are you so angry??? He replied “ me ? angry ? nooooooooo I am a very friendly “ Oh my WORD! Rudeness here is a norm and anyone who dares to challenge it is labeled as mentally ill a troublemaker. Can’t stand this people, women are even more aggressive they stare like insane with that hateful, jealous, evil, psycho killer look. Well I guess people today are just like that. Politeness, friendliness is very rare. Narcissism in on the rise….

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