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

By Nick Anders, disillusioned expat in Spain.

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.

So you want to know what it is like living in Spain? Here goes!

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 Spain’s 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.

Living in Spain in the Winter

For many people, particularly pensioners, Spain is the ideal place to choose when looking to escape the nippy UK winters. It is arguable that the Canary Islands are the best destination to spend your time in given that they’re located so much further South than Spain’s mainland. If lucky, the coldest months of the year can get up to 20 or 21 degrees Celsius, whereas if you choose to spend your time living in for example Madrid, you’d be dealing with cold 10-12 temperature degrees at best. If you were set on choosing to retire or move to the mainland, the Costa del Sol coast is the way to go; you’d be enjoying 14-15 degree warm weather making sightseeing during the winter completely do-able while also benefiting from the smaller crowds.

Living in Spain during the winter doesn’t require a far-fetched budget. When looking for affordability as well as the ideal temperature, Malaga has the best of both worlds. Being in Andalusia, its temperature is pleasant all year around and long term rentals are absolutely reasonable. Malaga offers culture such as the famous Picasso museum, beautiful beaches and the close proximity of so many other amazing Costa del Sol destinations one can enjoy on a day out.

As mentioned previously, the Canary Islands attract many with its fantastic weather. As a result of lots of competition, long term rentals and lets on the islands are very affordable. The best and most cost-effective of the islands are Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Due to their popularity, airlines have even increased their number of flights for Britons going out to the islands, which makes getting out there easier and cheaper as well.

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.

Is Spain a Good or Bad Place to Live? Shirley Loves Living in Spain!

Many people ask what are some of the best things about living in 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 among expats. Here are some of the worst things about living in Spain…

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.”

Reasons Not to Live in Spain by 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.

Most Popular Related Reading…

Move to Spain Index

Working/Jobs in Spain

Compare Car Insurance in Spain

Home Page

Full Index

Comments

  1. The language barrier is a handicap when ones move abroad. That is something we should not doubt about at all. Although any of us has great and bad live experiences, there are some facts we cannot run from.
    One of them is that the human being is discriminative no matter where we chose to be, one will be discriminated. I want to point out that some places are worse than others. For example, I was shock when my cousin in U.S.A. asked me to remove my face picture from a CV I had sent to her twelve years at the beginning of the economical recession. Guess what, In Spain you should present a picture of yours in the first page of your CV. Of course you will be discarded. If you are not good looking enough you will be discard by your name or surname . Always there will be something that will say you have a different background. I know this because I am Spanish, born in Spain but with African background. As soon as I enter in a bar or shop, I have all eyes on me. Anyway, discrimination is within the human being. While I was in Scotland I did not have any issue however my partner did. (She is from East-European) Here the skin factor was out of the ecuacion.
    Second, is not only Spain, Italy and France are not too different neither.
    Third, no matter how good you are at your job or a great work candidate. The family or friend of someone else will have the job before you! I personally have not suffered this situation in the UK but perhaps someone else have lived it.
    Four, big cities are more welcoming to foreigner because people are a bit more open minded.
    My last point is that except for when we are kids be integrated in a new community is almost impossible for adults. I do not know why but, by our biases we tent to be less opened to new peoples at our adult years. In my case I have study English for so many years and assist to all type of events but for one reason or another British people are neither open to accept someone else from other nation in their group of friendships. I strongly believe that so are other nations.

    In general I do not want to complain at this stage of my life and having lived in several countries I can say that we are not too pleasant to be around. However always there are great people in between that are worthy. (Do not expect have a great life without any pain).

  2. I have to agree with many of the comments here. I lived in mallorca from 2004 until 2018 and whilst its nice to wake up to many days of sun and blue sky there is a price to pay for that benefit. We knew many people who were robbed,personally and broken into at home, dogs and children drugged overnight from gas canisters thrown into their air con units! Laws that change daily, ridiculous amounts charged in traffic fines that continue to increase if not paid in the correct timeframe oh and dont expect a letter dropping through your letterbox it’s down to you to check online to see if you have incurred any fines (many shocked people who discover old fines which increased to a crazy crazy amount). Spanish want your money..period!
    Other nationalities that live there also have learned “when in Rome”
    Tax authorities who can take money from your bank account without permission, and they very often get it wrong, but never to your advantage and you just try to get that money back…good luck! Outrageous electric bill’s that have no rhyme or reason. Try to find out why….good luck! Any unpaid fines of any kind and they will “embargo”
    (Freeze your bank account), until you pay even if you dont know you have fines as that’s down to you to find out!
    Endless paperwork and bureaucracy and God help you if you have to go to the town hall or traffico…you will be in endless queues and each will send you on a merry go round to different depts. as no one wants to be responsible for anything so they pass the book. Also, if you want to be self employed you will be charged approx 300 euros a month just for that priveledge. If you dont pay they will just take it from your account anyway. Buying a second hand car if it has fines outstanding to it you will be legally liable to pay them regardless and it’s not straight forward like buying a car in the uk. You also have to pay tax on a 2nd hand car regardless of what you paid for it, THEY tell you the value and you pay a percentage accordingly. Corruption is rife it’s in their DNA. Landlords are Greedy and I would suggest to never rent from a local spanish, big deposits usually required, then when things go wrong they will not spend a penny on fixing, you really have to be careful. I would never live there again, whilst it wasnt all bad they make things complicated and you pay a lot for basic things.
    Red hot, humid summers and very cold damp winters, mold in a lot of houses and apartments which is due to the humidity and very hard to stop! Limited on choice, things you take for granted in the uk you will struggle with in mallorca, although that has improved recently.
    You really have to research everything before thinking of living there full time.

  3. Jeff morton says

    This article put me off moving to Spain!

  4. Congratulations, all of you came to a southern little town, in the middle of nowhere. The closest big city is like 45min away and is just a crap southern, hot and sunny city without any big company there. What do you expect? To come with your punds with any spanish word to say and be like a king? Why a company of a non-technical job will chose a expat that hardly speaks spanish if you don’t want to clean, construction worker or whatever. Also if you’re looking for a technical job you aren’t the smartest person I know. WTF are you doing in Andalucia?

    I see that when you think about Spain is just sunny cheap places where you can buy a house for less than 150k €. Don’t you think WHY they cost that? Because no one wants to live there! There is no job, no oportunities, only sun, good beaches, cheap (big and good) houses and bad jobs. Do you expect good roads in a place that lives only less than a milion of people? you’re talking about crap southern roads like all Spain are the same. BTW why a country that barely hard rains 4 days each year will spend money and design a drainage system for roads?

    The only possible ways to have a future in Spain are Barcelona and Valencia, with sun and beaches. Madrid is also good for a good jobs but crap weather. Bilbao and Santander also but wheather is more like UK with much more rainy days, lots of green mountains there.

    Then forget to have a house for 150k. Even a Flat in Barcelona outskirt.

    I’ve meet several Expats in Barcelona and they are fine here. Even American one. Just forget the idea of settling in a crap and cheap southern town. Forget to think you’re a god because pounds and english. If you come here like that forget to success.

    Even in countries, you get what you pay for. Cheap place? done. Why are they cheap? all the answers are in that thread.

    Catalonia is not Spain. Come and you’ll see how differente we’re.

  5. Will Ross says

    USA and European social-economic models are different. First, if you want to comapre Spain with some other country, the logical way would be to compare Spain to the other european countries that follow the same social-economic principles (more or less). That is when Spain becomes the big looser. You are moving to Spain and you are from the USA? Well, sure your are not moving because of the nice weather -USA has a lot places with amazing temeperatures and beaches-. In Spain you will have a better health care system without having to pay enourmous amounts of money -remember the high taxes in Spain, specially for the low-medium classes… -another form of corruption-, but here is where everything good ends (I do not comment on gun law- in compariosn Spain’s laws do make it safer then USA in this aspect): better worker rights? If you think that, then you know nothing about Spain. Salaries are shit in general (Unless you are a manager in a big business, if you have specific social contacts here lol). In Spain there is no gtechnological growth in comparison to USA, Germany, UK, Ireland, France, Norway, Holland, and a large etc…, that is one of the general problems in Spain. If you are a high valued worker and you are moving to Spain -God knows why- I wish you good luck in your life (why do you think Spain is one of the western countries that has thwe mos qualified emigrants) . About worker rights… don’t be confused: they can fire you in a heartbeat, and it’s easier than what one may expect even if you have a legal contract. Spain is famous because of the use of a large amount of temporary contract workers -but not like Germany, where these contracts in general have better conditions- and the abuse of unpayed internships. There are more issues that have to be mentioned, like their famous corruption. If someone is interested in knowing facts about Spain’s economical structure,, almost everyone knows that the internal canals of Spain (what to say about they corrupted media) are manipulated and extremely false. Much better, check these elements on international sources. In the same way, lot of people know that there are a lot of spaniards or people who have economic interests there (basicaly summer tourism offices) that are cheking in the web places -like Quora- where people says ‘discouraging things’ about Spain and their reality for interviing defending an ‘abstract perfect Spain’ using fake news or simply the little data that they found helpfull without considering the rest of the bad data (ej: Spain is safer than Bolivia for a travel. (…) Congrats). You have to know that Spain only spends money on marketing and tourism, because their economy is sustented by tourism. If you want a better life, I would recommend UK, Ireland, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zeland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, USA, Austria, Finland, etc, like the spanish emmigrants always do. Then, u can earn money constructing a future and one of your summer options could be Spain! By the way, I always noticed that the only people who defend Spain no matter what, in social media are, what a coincidence, spanish nationalist people or people who have economical interests in Spanish tourism; but is nice to see when much more spaniards starts to say that people are lying lol. Please publish the comment, there’s something called freedom of speach… even when you talk about Spain lol. Thanks a lot.

    • Will Ross, tourism is not the only industry that moves money in Spain, tourism is just another sector. Ignorance is very daring, and you just have to read yourself to realize it.
      It is true that today Spain has many problems and, above all, with this inept government that we have, starting with Pedro Sánchez, but you can believe me, I would never change my country for yours. I do not like his country of morons, where the rights of blacks remain as in 1865, where every year thousands of people die from gunshots and murders, where seeing a person electrocuted or with an injection die is quite a spectacle, where the Racial segregationism is the fundamental normal, where if a person does not earn enough to pay for health insurance under conditions he dies on the doorstep of the hospital … and well, let’s not say people without resources and who have to undergo some costly operation, many of them have to go to have surgery in Spain, or buy their expensive drugs in Canada.
      No, Mister Ross, thank you. We don’t like your violent and demential society. Have you seen the murder of the young black man in Minneapolis lately? just like in 1991, when they hit Rodney King.
      Your country may have more money, more technology companies etc but as a society it is a real rubbish. It is not surprising that it is the country with the most psychopaths in the world.

  6. Carolina says

    Good morning. I think you’re generalising in a lot of aspects that you write about in this article. You are perpetuating stereotypes of my country that, frankly, aren’t true. We have amazing cultural diversity, our infrastructures, honestly, better than I’ve seen in other countries, historical and monumental legacy…
    People here will be more friendly to you than I’ve seen in other countries (including the UK).
    Please do us a favor and try to check yourself before perpetrating harmful stereotypes about us. Have a good day.

    • Will Ross says

      They are perpetuating facts. There are no stereotypes here. There are friendly and disgracefull people in every place of the world, i’m sorry if u thought that ‘friendly people’ only exists in your country. But, as I always see on social media like Quora, there are always some spaniards that intend to hide the general realities of Spain because spain REALLY NEEDS the tourism (Spain’s economy is sustented basicaly on tourism…). You know, always marketing.

  7. ye you’ve just said your opinion, but that doesn’t mean everyone else will think the same! :/

  8. Why are you making this sound as Spain is the most horrible place in the world?! I believe (even though I have never been to Spain) that it is a hot, sunny, friendly place to be. I have always wanted to go to Spain and it is basically one of my dream places to go! I’ll tell you this though: Spain is much better than the UK for several reasons. So then, where is the nearest nice beach in the UK huh? Oh ye you have to travel ages for a nice beach. But in Spain, the ocean is nice, the weather is nice, most beaches are nice… So you might be right about one particular place in Spain, but one place is very different from another.
    Lucy xox

    • Sorry, but you sound as thick as mince

    • Who cares about beaches and nice weather when people are running out of money and are unemployed. Spain will fall into a very deep depression, not just a recession, things will get very bad for many years to come, and as usually most country´s from south europe will suffer a lot more. Expect very high rates of unemployment, criminalitiy, and the housing prices will crash because many so called ´´expats´´ will leave the country and second home owners will also try to sell, while the spanish won´t have money to buy. The entire economy is in deep trouble, but spain will be worse of.

  9. Canon MG3550 says

    You’re such an idiot actually, if you hate it that much why did you go? And also like everything, it depends of the zone you went, literally ALL DOES DEPEND OF THE ZONE.

  10. Spain is a haven for drugtraffiquers,alcoholics and trades that goes against the law. In some regiones the salary of a policeman is much higher than the waage a
    of medical doctor.The only advantage is the sun and the life outside from home.

    • Hola Pedro. No se si habrás estado en los Estados Unidos. Yo la primera vez que fui lo que más me impactó no fue la infraestructura ni la diversidad cultural, sino la cantidad de gente que estaba en la calle sin hogar por problemas de drogas.
      En España hay cosas malas, como en todas partes, pero no debería de hacer una generalización como la que acabas de hacer. Que tengas un buen día.

      • Will Ross says

        Hablaré en su idioma, doña Carol: ¿No generalizar España? Don Pedro ha dicho datos que son contrastables todos ellos -y no mediante diarios nacionales pseudo-patriotras, sino mediante estadísticas y cifras oficiales… como lo de los sueldos de funcionarios públicos y su desajuste entre especialidades… por solo citar una de las vergüenzas de la administración española, que siempre es un desastre para cuadrar en los presupuestos y que toda la Unión Europea, en los círculos internos, siempre advierte. El trabajo en España es indiscutiblemente precario en comparación con muchas naciones europeas equivalentes; su grado de corrupción institucional, político y empresarial es de los más altos de la European Union (busca índices); y un largo etcétera que si quiere puedo especificarle. Respecto de los USA, su sistema es opuesto a la concepción europea de Estado del Bienestar; sus especialidades tiene ventajas y desventajas. Evidentemente, por mi parte, prefiero el modelo europeo. La comparación USA – Spain es absolutamente falaz, todo el mundo que sepa algo de economía y política lo sabe. Compare España con sus socios europeos, a ver que tan bien parada sale, y luego si quiere comparemos modelos socio-económicos. La demagogía en España es una herramienta habitual, pero para los que somos de otras partes del mundo no nos ‘cuela’, como dicen en España. Estoy deseando que salte algún patriota spaniard a defender su modelo de país, con orgullo de hacer malvivir a una alucinante proporción de sus propios compatriotras.

  11. I have lived in two foreign countries in my life and my son has lived in Spain for 30 years.
    In my experience there are similar things of importance when living abroad..
    1.
    You must not expect it to be like your home country after all that is why you are leaving.
    2.Do a lot of research before you decide to move.
    3.Learn language even a few basic words will help.
    4.Both counties I have lived in have more red tape than U.K.My son has great problems in in his 30 yrs.
    5.Go out of your way to talk,meet and laugh with the local people as it will help with your integration.
    6.Above all revel in the differences.
    Although I said I have lived in two countries maybe it should be three because and now live in Cornwall but feel accepted(i am being a little flippant)
    My other adventures were in France and Bahrain.

  12. Believe you 100%. Spain/England both suck. Do yourself a favor move to U.S.A there is a reason its the best country in the world. Move to Rhode Island. You will get TDi taken out in case you need an operation or are I’ll for months. Workmen’s Comp covers worker injury ( employers pay that) You & employer will pay for health insurance. We have excellent customer service. Rhode Island/Massachusetts is much like England, Beaches,Rocks,Green lands, Fish-n-chips etc.DO NOT LIVE in a city,but on outskirts of a city. We have tropical areas so you don’t have to leave the country for vacation. I am Latino decent & We Hate Spain & their bloody lispy language. We feel that England is somewhat nice,but as of late seems populated by Thugs who will kill you at a soccer match or classless women who dress like clowns. Come over the pond you won’t be disappointed if you move a seaside community in New England.

    • Fine in Spain says

      Me Too, I have to disagree with you. I’ve lived in Spain since 1991. Before that, I lived in Boston. Spain has plenty of things that can be bettered. But it has others that are much better than any you will find in the United States. Workers have sick leave. Everyone has health insurance paid through taxes, with extremely few deductibles (you pay around 4% of the prescription price). You do NOT pay for insurance out of pocket, nor is it dependent upon having a job. No one goes bankrupt to pay a hospital bill of any kind. There are many areas in Spain where it is much cheaper to live than in New England, which is one of the areas of the United States with the highest cost of living. Besides, we don’t get New England winters, except high in the Pyrenees. As for your description of the English, it seems you are generalizing an opinion which is not based on facts.

    • Your comment is ridiculous! The states is filled with much more crime than the UK a lot more homicides and gang violence. Yes we have fights in some football matches but that was much worse in the 80’s and 90’s. The USA can be a great country if you are rich and successful for anyone else it’s a big struggle filled with poverty and if you get sick and don’t have money forget about it you’ll struggle to pay your medical bills. England may not be always the most exciting place but it certainly provides a better quality of life for all people not just the wealthy. I think sadly you are speaking from lack of experience.

Help Add To This Page - Send Us a Tip or Comment - Add a Photo - Suggest a Correction...

*

Solve : *
4 × 3 =


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.