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.


– 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”


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.


– 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….


– 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.”



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.

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  1. Dave Findlay says

    I have lived in Spain for eleven years. Your first person who posted said they had been in Spain for 4 years when the currency was the pesada, I think not it was the euro. The main problem with most expats is that they want little England in Spain, don’t make any attempt to intigrate with the Spanish, make no or little attempt to speak the language,and wonder why they feel unwelcome. They also forget that most Spanish understand English (having been taught it since the age of 5)and will blithely make disparaging and offensive remarks about the country and people. They also do no homework before they decide to move here, have scant regard for the law evidenced by the number driving around in English registered cars which are on sorn certificates in England and so are uninsured and driving them after consuming large amounts of drink. As to the roads., are any of you going to try to tell people our roads in Spain are worse than the pothole ridden tracks in England? As to crime if you choose to only live partirme in an expat conclave which is a burglar paradise that’s your choice, and your risk, shop assistants not serving you but talking to one another, sounds. More like England to me. In all my Eleven years here I have always been treated with extreme kindness,recieved the best medical treatment.and never been ripped off except once and that was by another English expat. It sounds to me as if you expect the Spanish to drop everything for you the old expat attitude ( don’t they know ow I’m English) instead of I’m a guest here and I’m going to integrate. Can you imagine what the attitude would be if a large population of non English tried to build an urbanisation on the coast at Bournemouth would be.? So to conclude I would say to anyone in England who is thinking of moving here, is do your homework, find out what the laws are, obay them and you will find d yourself living with some of the happiest, friendliest people in the world. To those of you on this site moaning, stop we don’t want to bred you the Spanish dont want to here, and none of us want you. So goodbye

    • This is what frustrates me about Spain the most; the conformism. You can’t just think Spain’s OK, you have to love it and blindly advocate for it. The local side streets, and I live in the city, couldn’t stand up to a cold snap and three weeks of rain to the point where anything more than 20 km/h is like driving my mum’s old Triumph Herald. It’s like you have to obtain the fervour of a Spanish nationalist or else you can’t fit in, which is the point Sammy makes in the original article. I see some good, I see a lot of bad. My attitude is still that life is what you make of it.

  2. REGGIE ANDREWS (deaf) says

    I am profoundly deaf 7 77 y/o wants like leaves for sitting down in Benidorm area because of unhappy life at Poole home o I want have confidentially to leaves way to start new life there if possible but i need touch with Spain future for myself soon but I have problem with debt over £15,000 for 9 + more Owe to company i apologised about it hope able help me ways to Spain by quick leaves Possible but wait see and I need have one bedroom with walking to shower please thanks hope keep touch soon my state benefits is good but I am nt sure yet but maybe rights or not I will gets new passport near soon but my neighbour always fll noe about my own business so really nothing with them

  3. Well, english friends, certainly in Spain we are not to blame for being perfect, like you … but there is always the option to return, right? it must be a torture to live in a country that has nothing to do with yours, where the natives prefer to speak their language instead of english, where you are not given facilities to work in comfortable offices … really, are disgusting these spanish, treat the english so badly.
    However, England is an admirable country, where if they hear a spaniard speak in their language and they beat him up, where if a spaniard complains about something they invite him to leave, where if the spaniard asks for a drink and can not pronounce well in english the waiter ignores him, where the best jobs they give the spaniards is to clean dishes … then, Spaniards, you do things wells for once, and you copy to the english.

    • Juan, don’t be so bitter, The English don’t have the monopoly on biggotry and stupidity.
      People need to accept that the cultures are different and enjoy the differences.
      I spend the summer in Spain and the winter in England, the reason is that Spanish houses are so poorly constructed/ insulated. In my opinion why try and heat a house that was designed to lose heat.
      I que in the shops with Spanish people and yes we don’t que in a line
      I like seeing the traffic waiting while two friends say “hola”
      Too many English bring their English mentality with them, just the same as too many Spaniards
      have their anti- establishment closet communism chip on their shoulder.
      I have many Spanish friends and know many more spaniards that aren’t worth the time of day,and it is the same scenario in England.
      My advice is earn your money in England and spend some of it in Spain, rent a home for minimum of 2 years before buying( if at all) forget about working like a dog…. it’s just too hot ,and learn to laugh at things that used to wind you up!

  4. I have never read something more ridiculous in my life. Spain is by fat my favorite country and I’m so glad my husband and I moved here 5 years ago. All of our friends are locals (our Spanish is very good), life quality here is excellent, people are so friendly and warm, the food is perfect, we are in love with this beautiful country… The UK is depressing, people are cold, the weather and the food suck and everything is just grey. Spain is colorful, happy, warm, friendly, open… their culture is incredibly beautiful, and Spain is just gorgeous. I want to spend my life exploring every single Spanish town. The post makes absolutely no sense, everything is a generalization of a particular bad experience, or just a plain lie. Spain is the love of my life.

  5. I agree I really really really dislike living on the Costa del Sol. I imagine it would be a bit different somewhere else maybe where they aren’t andalucian but you have hit the nail on the head. No customer service at all. They are right the customer is wrong deal with it attitude. Everything seems to be cheap quality but more expensive that other places with clothes and the food quality is poor. The country is ridiculously boring when it rains or is cold as there is nothing to do but eat or drink. The driving…..do t get me started. The noise is ridiculous but the Spanish just don’t seem to notice they are screaming across a road to a ate in a busy restaurant for 5 minutes or bibbing their car horn constantly or stopping in the middle of a road for a chat with 20 cars behind. Ignorance is normality here.
    Could blame their education but it is their way and I hate it. Counting the days till I leave Europe altogether. Feels like Spai is a 3rd world country so I may as well go and live in one and get a new experience.

  6. I am from Spain, and frankly, except for honorable exceptions, I have never read so much nonsense and stupid things of my country like those that are written in this forum. Some really absurd valuations. It is to write a book

    And also almost always generalizing

    • I certainly hope you’re right, Victor. I was planning to visit Seville for a month, and look into possibly moving there. But if these valuations are correct, no thank you. I’m from the U.S. and wonder if this is just the U.K. way of looking at things

      • No, these are not the things or the way of seeing Spain in UK, are the conclusions of some people, nothing more. People who may have once arriving to Spain, had a touch with someone, and then we are all bad. Can you imagine? I’m going to the United States, I have a problem with someone or with the police, and oh! All Americans are bad! Seriously, do you see that rational? Therefore, when you come you have to draw your own conclusions for yourself, and try not to come with prejudice and not let yourself be influenced by comments from outsiders, because if you come with a negative predisposition to the spaniards, then you will not need to know us , because everything we do will seem wrong for you: the gestures, the way of speaking, etc etc etc

        In my opinion, I think that as a general rule we are friendly and cordial even with people who are not from Spain, although I also have to tell you that we are human beings, and that you can find someone who may not have had a good day. But issuing a judge for that person and extrapolating it to 47 million people would not be fair, do not you think? Spain receives 80 million tourists every year, so we should not be so bad or horrible like some want to make us seem here

        I have come to read that here there are people who hate Spain for truly improbable things, like that people here talk to each other and do not say hello. Should they say hello to this Briton, if they do not know him at all? I am spaniard, I have lived here all my life, and my friends or well-known people greet me, but not all the people, even the Spaniards, greet me. Or people who have lived all their lives here in Spain, and do not know Spanish, not even the most basic, then it is something that frustrates them, locks them up in their community and does not know the country or the culture, and from here to hate only there is a step

        I know many foreigners, in this case from the EU and mainly British who live in Spain (and here are some) and are delighted to live here, with answers such as saying look at the blue sky every day or deal with their neighbors, the gastronomy, etc etc etc, is something that is very rewarding. And I’m talking about very young people to retirees

        Learning the language also helps a lot, especially when you are going to live in a country, because it allows you to know the country, culture, etc etc etc. It is not mandatory, here there are communities of foreigners who live among them, they speak among themselves in their language, they read their newspapers in their language, etc etc etc, but after you don’t complain if you have never been able to have friends (in this case Spanish) or not know people better, or what they really wanted to tell you, etc etc etc. As I said before, from here to hate the country, it is not very difficult. And I assure to you that in Spain we are very patient (since my point of view, too much patients) even with foreigners who have gone to the doctor speaking in English, and on top of that they got angry because the doctors did not speak their language, they had to bring a translator. There are gestures of arrogance that were to frame them in a box

        In short, I think that people here without being perfect are reasonably kind. And if you ever come, I hope your stay is rewarding. And although our country is not very big, it’s not just beach, also it offers more varied things, such as mountain, fauna, history, etc etc etc


      • I think Americans appreciate Spain much more than Brits. It depends where you go really and where you’re from. Culture is very different depending on where you go. I’m from London, we’re not into greeting everybody hello and goodbye, we barely even look at other people on public transport. In Madrid, I had an issue where I wasn’t saying hello and goodbye to people in the lift in the office. Kissing or shaking hands every time you see people is just so alien to me. However, what I would consider basic common courtesy and manners is largely missing. Madrlienos don’t strike me as particularly cold but people from other parts of Spain and other parts of the UK tell me that they are.

        Don’t jump to conclusions. Make sure you’re working on your basic language and pronunciation, say hello to random grannies in the street, don’t accidentally eat tripe or intestines in a tapas bar. It’s fairly straightforward.

  7. Wow, I’ve never come across such a sad negative view of Spain.. As an American who has lived over in Europe half my life I have always strived to learn the language of my new adopted country. I think if you don’t try an integrate to some extent you will never be happy in a new country. Of course, living in a foreign land you may always feel like a bit of a foreigner but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, I’ve lived so long outside of the States that when I go back there with the current political climate I feel more like a foreigner there than in Europe!

    I speak Polish and Czech and live in Central Europe for the last 18 years. I’m now planning on moving to Spain with my family in a year’s time. Funny place to ask for advice, but from the comments it seems there are many level heads who dropped some knowledge so..

    I am looking for an area that is coastal, good weather but also not too touristy (We will leave during July & August anyway) but also not too isolated where we can leave a happy peaceful life and integrate as much as possible into the culture and language. Work isn’t a problem because we run our own small family business with international customers and can easily relocate this to Spain. The two areas we want to explore are in the hills close to Almunecar on the Costa Tropical or to Gandia, one hour south of Valencia.

    Any advice on living in the Valencia area vs Almunecar? We want to buy a small house or finca with enough land to have a nice garden and fruit trees but also be fairly close to either of these towns. We are both musicians, love to play music, hike in the mountains, meet interesting people and attend cultural events.

    Any genuine guidance or helpful opinions I’m most grateful for!

    • Liz Morris says

      Try Rincón de la Victoria, half an hour on a bus from Málaga. I sort of don’t even want to tell anyone about it. It’s so lovely. I adore Valencia, my favourite of all the Spanish cities I’ve been in. But the place I would want to live in, if I weren’t in rainy grey Dublin (Ireland) is Rincón. I have to say that I don’t know of any places that have live music there, but then I don’t know it as well as I’d like. If ever I tire of rain and grey, and want to live under blue skies I shall go and live in Rincón.
      What I know of Spain does not tally with the accounts of the people who’ve not loved it. I love Spain, love the food, love the people, love the culture. I speak some Spanish but would expect to have difficulties with my level of Spanish, just as I’d expect anyone trying to deal with housing agencies or gardaí or any State officials who didn’t have very good English if they were here. I have always found Spanish people to be extremely helpful and encouraging to anyone who speaks any Spanish / tries to use the Spanish they have. I am going to enrol in a class in Spanish in the Instituto Cervantes as soon as I can.

  8. robert cook says

    I love all this moaning and groaning about living in spain, the trouble is alot of brits who come to live here in spain are all so obsessed with themselves they think because they own their own home here that they are entittled to be treatted better than everyone else.
    They often choose to live in little enclaves or Clicks if you will, and not intergrate into the spanish way of life, I am sometimes embarassed to be English when some owners/ tourists are here as their atitude is one of inpatience and sometimes downright ignorance, but i guess you get that where ever you live or holiday.
    My family and i have lived here in spain for 12 years and love every minute of it, yes the paperwork and beaurocrasy (please forgive my spelling) can drive you mad but in the end with persisstance things get done.
    My two sons are fluent in both castillano and catalan while my wife and i are not fluent but are able to make conversation, put it this way i will never starve or die of thirst !!! we all work here and have had no problems finding work either.
    We choose to live in a village rather than trying to lord it up in some resort which frankly is not my scene, Living on Menorca i have to say yes in summer it becomes difficult to relax with tourists from all over europe and even further a field but living here you come to except it because we all know in 6 months we get the island back and its time to once more relax.

    • It happens in the U.S. all the time. Immigrants come and open their own grocery stores and restaurants. That’s what I love about the U.S. From my experience, the locals in more cosmopolitan areas are much nicer because there’s more diversity, so they’re more open-minded. Why does this make you angry?

    • I have to disagree from the perspective and experience of living in the coastal area of Marbella its awful! I definitely chose the wrong area but the Spanish way in Andalucia is a joke with the worst customer service I have ever experienced and their go away you are wrong lying attitude is unbelievable. I have set my plans in motion to leave and hope never to return to the area as an expat. Trying to get something as simple as a health card here when I am paying through the nose for tax and social security with autonomo payments and they cannot even get a card to me that hasn’t already been cancelled is a joke as with all of their other ridiculously impossible hoops they make you jump through. Glad it works for you but even with my partner who speaks fluent spanish they find it impossible and the Doctors are just as impossible who are stubborn and just get you to take expensive pills instead of solving a problem. Good luck to you all!

  9. Ok then please don’t get back to Spain.

    I think a Spaniard stole your girlfriend because I have never seen more false things in my whole life. Seriously. You just described Venezuela or something and then compared it to Spain. Just with these parts: Spain unsafe, bad roads and scams … anyone who spended at least 1 week here knows that nothing of this is true. Actually you can find better roads connecting orange cultivations in Spain than regional roads in the UK. But yes whatever.

  10. Well. Only the well off and rich Brits will be able to move to or stay in Spain after Brexit.

  11. What it might be missing is the fact of TAXATION in Spain . I found it ludicrous the fact that nothing in spain ( according to what i read on the internet ) nothing is permanent but there are always and often changes on the taxes and even Capital Gains tax charged to expats assets sold out of Spain.
    I have compared Spain with other main countries and find out that the best financially speaking in EU are:
    Portugal and Malta. Malta is a tax heaven for expats. Portugal very sensible approach to expats.

  12. Passin Thru says

    France and the US are #1 & 2 most visited. I would think instead of defending all the crime and gang issues you people would fight it like we’ve been doing. Funny but now they have a gang war going inside prison. If you keep turning your backs, the gangs will take over. They are bullies. As far as jobs, you really should have a job before you up and move to a foreign country. It’s pretty idiotic not to. My brother in law lives in NW Spain and he his wife and kids love it and are staying til they retire. Here in the US the next generation seems to be the same about Etiquette. They don’t open doors, say please, thank you only have a memememememememememe attitude. My friends daughter is 21 and thinks her parents owe her everything and to think I kicked both mine out at 18.

  13. I’ve lived is Spain now for over 30 years, mostly in Madrid but also in San Sebastian and Zaragoza (my favourite Spanish city).
    In those years I’ve set up a English teaching business with a Spanish friend – well, he was born and brought up in Morocco, but not Moroccan – but then, not really Spanish. But he’s the only Spanish friend I have after all those years. My wife is Spanish and is really the only reason why I stay in Spain.
    The idea that the Spanish are open and friendly and welcoming is not true; they aren’t. They’re not hostile either, just indifferent. Making friends or finding somebody with your outlook on life is very difficult for British people, bordering on the impossible. This is a problem for me as I had an active social life when I lived in England. Now I find myself alone apart from my wife and her family who I see about every other month for the ritual boring family get together. I’m retired now so the feeling of isolation is even more.
    There are so many cultural differences – not speaking to people you don’t know, not appreciating humour and only looking out for people who are friends or family make it hard work getting to live some kind of normal life. All my attempts at humour fall flat and my political and social attitudes – I’m inoffensively liberal –
    are way off the mark for Spaniards. Spain has a very different culture. Hard and unforgiving.
    I could go on (and on) about the lack of academic or cultural standards, the crushing bureaucracy and total lack of responsibility from just about everybody (there are honourable exceptions TBH) but suffice it to say that Spain has been a big disappointment for me. The one big plus is that the nature and wildlife in Spain is wonderful but doesn’t make up for all the other negatives.

    • As a woman who lives in Spain, Spanish women can be a bit hostile! As a friend puts it, it’s a “culture of jealousy.”

      • My Spanish can be pretty limited at times. I know what I know but I also know what is beyond me.
        However, when I go to the bank, I happily chat to the lady behind the counter and she’s quite nice to me. My wife went in there and came out saying “what a hostile bitch”. Every time I go, she’s nice. Every time my wife goes, she’s a horrid bitch. We’ve had this experience time and again with women around the neighbourhood.

        • Wow, I’m sorry 🙁 To be fair, I feel like the city makes a difference, at least from my experience. In general, I didn’t have great experiences in smaller northern cities but I love Catalunya, and so far, I’m enjoying Seville (call me crazy, but I’m going through a better astrological cycle as well, so things have improved here more than before). Whatever the case is, I know it’s a problem everywhere but some places are worse than others!

          • Also, when I deal with chauvinism here, I tend to have more issues with the women than the men. Women can reinforce sexist views as well (i.e., seeing other women as nothing but a threat and as competition)!

          • I’ve only ever lived in Madrid and, unless there’s a serious change in circumstance, I assume that will be the only place I live in. My wife is neither Spanish nor British but she said she’s take Britain 100 times out of 100.

          • I take it back – Seville is just as bad. The women are an absolute nightmare with other women. So glad I’m leaving soon.

  14. Yet more expats that have done NO research whatsoever, plonked themselves in a ghetto and now complain. What is wrong with cleaning pools? Did he think he was going to get a job as a brain surgeon? Its called “Work Ethic” some of us have it, most of these people don’t. If you need to live, you work, and you do whatever (legal) job is offered, Another Brit with entitlement issues. The idiot complaining about Spanish shop practices and queuing was another gem. The Spanish do queue. They just don’t stand in a silly line to do it. IF she had bothered ro learn some Spanish and about Spanish life she would have known that you just join the group asking “Quien es Ultima?” Who is last? They will tell you, and you know your place in the queue. When the next person arrives you tell them you are now last and so it goes. How simple is that to understand? Also it is rather nice that they like to chat Its called community spirit. You just allow time for it. People like that woman make me sick. I hope she settles back into her life in Romford or wherever And will you please stop referring to the Costas as Spain. They ARE NOT Spain. They are Foreigners living some warped idea of Spain in silly houses and being ripped of by their own. Strangely enough I can wander the streets at 2am, kids play unsupervised until 1am, gentleman carry my shopping, I can leave my car and house unlocked and no one rips me off. Perhaps because I live in SPAIN, not some abortion on the edge of it

    • Can you kindly tell me which area of Spain you live in, please. We are looking to retire in the next 5 yrs and are wanting the real Spain, not the Costas.
      Thank you

    • jane rawlins says

      house is freezing in the winter months cant get a job want to go back to pembrokershire to my detached house fully central heated woodburner and good job cant wait to get out of this place

    • jane rawlins says

      ha ha

  15. In Seville, they are overtly sexist. At these little Spanish cafes, half the time, the men won’t even wait on solo female customers. They’ll call you to pick up your food/drinks but bring out the food/drinks to other people (when a man is there, or maybe if they’re Spaniards). It’s really gross.

  16. To all the unhappy brits expats in Spain… Just move back to your country guys… Over there in the UK everything is nicer… Nothing to do here!!!

  17. It turns very dangerous when it begins to generalize.

    There is one important fact, Spain is the #1 most visited country in the world, and eventually a lot of these tourists decide to stay here. So maybe we are not that bad.

    Crazy, mean, rude, ignorant people can be found everywhere. If you had a bad experience, I’m really sorry.

    Stop spreading unnecessary nonsense hate, even when you are being kicked off Europe.

    Unity in diversity, always.

    • Si Pedro nga Ingles says

      Javier, I have just read a number of the ex pat post’s moaning about the Spanish and Spain being English myself I have say we are a lazy race of people when it comes to speaking any foreign language (I include myself), I am married to a Filipina, my wife is teaching me Cebuano ( base on Spanish but a little harder to learn) although not the national language the area’s my new family live speak this. It get’s me annoyed when someone up sticks (so to speak) moves to a foreign country be it within or outside the EU and have the nerve to say they do not speak English, they hate the British, yet when living in the UK often a foreigner is told learn English normally in a loud voice as if the person is deaf who maybe just asking the way to so and so. No one force these Brit’s migrants to live in Spain, it was their choice. If you move to a country without researching the pro’s and con’s then sorry that is your fault it is not the host countries fault. I have never had any trouble with the Spanish yes things tend to go a little slower than in the UK but you are not living in the UK and that is YOUR choice. I have been lucky in my 68 years on the planet I have travelled to many countries not on holidays but also as part of my work, I have two Golden rules and keeping to these rules I have never had trouble with locals:
      1/ Learn to speak a litttle of the language you are visiting, even if is just one or two words such as Hello, take a phrase book try to speak to a person in their languish using the phrase book, yes they may laugh at the way you are saying not in nasty way but the way you are pronoucing tthe words but if you try then they will go out of their way to help you.
      2/ Obey the country you are in Laws, you break the law then do not expect to be treated any different than any local.

      Remember the old saying “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it” as it is your choice.

      • I speak the language but I speak it with an accent, so I’m always a foreigner here (and female, which makes it worse). People are friendlier with me in more touristic places although sometimes, there are still Spaniards who just don’t like non-Spaniards and get this attitude when I speak “their” language. The provincial places might be quaint and cute to visit, but totally alienating to live in so I’ll be moving elsewhere soon, thank God.

        • Melissa Dura says

          One thing I have been doing is writing about my experiences of learning Spanish in Spain – Madrid to be exact. I do it because I love writing, but also to help me process and make sense of my own experiences, whilst also hopefully inspiring a few others. Good luck with your quest. One thing I have to say is that you will probably always feel like a ‘foreigner’. That is no bad thing, it’s simply what you are. Before I moved here I was married to another ‘foreigner’ in the UK, so in a way I was somewhat prepared for how it might feel myself. Gaining language skills and making friends with Spanish people and long-term residents will open up your world, trust me. Good luck with your quest! 🙂

          • Thank you Melissa. The friendliest and most open-minded people here are other foreigners, and I’m fine with that. I’m sure I’ll settle somewhere eventually, ideally a place with a good amount of diversity.

        • So you have an accent and people know you’re a foreigner. Welcome to the world! That’s what it is like for the rest of the non English speaking world ALL THE TIME. You need to embrace that. Let people get to know you and get to know other people. Trying to fit into a new culture takes time and adjustment.

          It’s funny here in Barcelona I reconnected with an old American friend who was living here and made friends with his other American friends. They had this little war on who was becoming more Spanish, who wad more local friends, or could speak better Catalan or participated more in local traditions. I always found it funny but also a bit sad because they were only doing that to fight their frustration. An unnecessary frustration because they were all already integrated.

          The rest goes to the OP:

          Seriously, I am appalled at what I’ve read today.

          So yes, Spain is not wonderland but many of the things that have been said here are either blatant lies or a generalization of a single bad experience.

          Crime in Spain: Astonishingly low rates of crime. Tons of pickpocketing in larger cities though.
          The only time my house has been burglared was in Liverpool, but I don’t go telling people you will get robbed if you move to the UK, or lived in fear for the rest of my stay there.

          Living and Working in Spain: Welcome to the Spain, we’ve been telling you, we work more hours and get paid less. The whole world still call us lazy asses

          The Word Manana: That’s what you get when people are being overworked and underpaid

          Customer Service in Spain: I have to agree with you on this one. Although it really depends what you like and where you are.

          Getting Ripped Off in Spain: Come on. Spain is like the cheapest country. So there are some touristy places that make money on tourists. Well, just stay away from big sangria jugs and fluorescent yellow paellas. Corruption indeed is a huge problem in Spain.

          Poor Roads/Facilities in Spain: The orography of Spain makes it really expensive to build roads and even then we have tons of free highways that are in a pretty ok state. If you compare building roads in flat Britain to building roads in the mountains in Spain that is just not a fair comparison. And in general public facilities are fantastic. Try a public service in the UK

          Where is the best place to live in Spain (for expats)? This is up to them to decide. I personally like bigger towns near the coast or Madrid. When you start talking all “costa something, costa something else” that’s when you give out you probably never got out of your expat community. It’s a learning curve to be a foreign country but it looks like you didn’t even make an effort

          What are the cheapest places to live in Spain?

          What are the best cities to move in Spain?

          What are the best places to live in Spain for Americans? Couldn’t say, but I think the question is just wrong. Can’t two different American individuals have a different experience in different parts of spain? My personal experience in the wild west of the United States as a Spaniard was great. Others might be better off in New York, or in Miami where more Latinos live.

          I don’t mean to be rude but it just gets on my nerves when people from the dominating culture just throw a tantrum about how their little ‘expat’ (never say immigrant, of course) adventure in a foreign country went wrong.

          • Carl, you can tell immigrants to “embrace” whatever, but I’ll never embrace bigotry. Sorry. Also, you’re a dude. I see men come to Spain and sweep up a sweet little Spanish wife left and right. It doesn’t work that way for women, which is something you’ll never understand.

          • Bernard Tardif says

            Here is someone who makes sense! Make a decision from living in the country you chose and adapt rather than expect the country to fit your needs. Some of the greatest experiences in life come unexpected.

        • jane rawlins says


      • Melissa Dura says

        As I have often thought when hearing immigrants to the UK saying that they hate they country, ‘you don’t really know the country’ – the same thought applies here. I thought your post here was really interesting and I agree with it 100%, living here as an immigrant in Spain. I especially like your comment that the two countries are simply ‘different’. Thank you so much for taking the time to write an honest and unbiased account of your experiences in both countries.

        • Melissa Dura says

          Sorry, the above comment was meant for someone else in this thread, but your point about the language is exactly how I feel – and also your stress on the fact that the majority of British people come to Spain by choice, and choice alone.

    • Anyone that thinks the UK is better than ANY country in the EU, sorry, but you living in cloud cuckoo land. Tory run UK is a disgrace. More corrupt and deceitful politicians than anywhere else. Only if you are a millionaire tory voter do you get treated as a person. Spain treats people as people deserve to be treated. (Mostly). They also like good workers, not the average UK shirker. I have no intention of going back to the shambles that is UK. And as for the roads, UK roads are pitiful compared to Spains.

  18. Obviously Nick has no clue what he is talking about. Firstly, he is mentioning Spain when he has been living in Nerja, a quasi village. Nerja is not Spain and Spain is not Nerja. The roads in Spain are one of the best in Europe. Nick most likely had a bad experience because he most likely didn’t talk one word of Spanish. If in Spain speak the language. If too was scammed in Spain once, not by a Spaniard but by a Brit who now lives in London. Generalizing is a very dumb thing to do. It’s like getting into a car accident in Paris and saying all French people are bad drivers.

    • Crime is rife, the customer service are rude and kids do get bullied and battered, anyone who tells you it doesn’t happen has been lucky? I was in many areas of spain and my family are Spanish, they don’t have the same brit mentality so don’t expect them to reform to you? they are kind and helpful if you ask I assure you, stupid to go without money as the country is struggling in its self, jobs are mainly restaurants/café, the Spanish have huge families and so word spread fast if a job is about to float, yes like any good country they look after their own but that don’t make them bad, crime is rife, people and dogs are doped and robbed, some leave marks on your wall for gang members to understand who or what they are stealing, kids are bullied bad and the brits do fight, so all the peeps on here screaming liers, its not lies, to all the people on here crying they hate it? well you came to a country unprepared and failing to prpare is preparing to fail, so, go spain, rent if you want to stay, but you will always be learning.

  19. I am agree that Spain has bad things but likewise in England. I am living in England for 2 years and to be honest, every day I spend here, I am looking forward to coming back to Spain. 2 years it is too long, I know but I have tried in different places. First Bournemouth, then Manchester, then Falmouth (Cornwall), Portsmout and Eastbourne (now). I tried different places and I found most of the time the same.

    – Rude people. There are polite people as well, of course, but most of them, my personal experience was that they did not smile or speak in a bad way. (F****** hell. Bloody hell…)

    – Plenty and plenty of chavs. In Spain we have some cani people. There are a lot but here in England, whenever I went, I found an incredibly huge ammounts of chav groups.

    – There are plenty of jobs and opportunities. That is good but… in which conditions. I have seen that any rude people van be manager. Maybe people don’t see the relation between ruse and professional. I have seen how managers are quiet rude and people from companies left for this. Then, they have constantily the same problem. “We are short of staff…” This is something I learnt in the university. Managers should be nice, friendly, not too bossy. Maybe, I was unlucky, but the managers I found here in the different places (not all but most of them, have been arrogant and rude).

    – Too many lads, young people, drinking alcohol in the street at 1/2 pm. One thing I was quiet shocked and surprised from England is the big ammount of people who drink in the street too early and how they have easily acces to the drugs. In Spain, people drink as well but I did not see they did too early. I have seen drugs sometimes as well. In England, it was a very big coincide that whenever I went, I found drug,
    Well, and at night I have got afraid to go out. At least I found minimum two strong fights. (I am not exagerating). At first I thought. Ups, Bournemouth… But in all the places I have been living in UK, fights in the streets. I felt not sure I always think: I don’t want to have a child and don’t grow up here… In fact, in the buses, they mess up a lot, something I don’t see commonly in Spain.

    Another thing, I found an incredibly ammount of ignorant people. They don’t know on average about others cultures nor languages. In Spain at least younger people start learning another languages or know about general knowledge. I saw a girl with a dolphin tatto in her arm and I told her. Oh, Dolphin is a clever animal” “Oh, REALLY, is it? Waaau!. Something like that.

    .Weather… I feel depressing with that. I am ea person who enjoyes outdoors, having a walk, at night with my music… Here, I can’t. When I go out for a walks at 9pm for example, I barely find people in the streets. Just lighted houses.

    And well, there are much more but I just focused in the main aspects.

    Every country has their good and bad things. Spain, the big problem is the corruption (Above all in the South) but in England I think the big problem is the society. They refer to the wealth when someone dislike his country. I found too many people “But we are richer…” Yes, that’s ok. But money is not everything.

    I prefer to be honest, earn less money and have a better quality of life. Education of the people, have a coffe in a terrace outside with nice people, talking… Go to the supermarket and find and smell fresh food and above all, walk in a place where most of the people smile and say, hello, good morning and could go out at nights thinking I am going to dance with people with nice music instead of finding problems, fights.

    Pst: AI have to add: In a pub, when I wanted to order, English that have already ordered still stay in the desk. I mean, they don’t order and go to another place and leave free the space for the next customer. I had to struggle for ordering in some pubs.

    In this case, Germany is better for living. I am going back to Spain before winter. I am looking forward to it. And If I am not lucky, I’ll be back but in Germany.

    • stupid-spain says

      One thing the Spanish won’t tell you, they are the biggest bunch of rip-off artists and con-merchants you’ll find anywhere. They do it to themselves and foreigners too.

      As for not drinking at 1/2pm, well, I’ve seen plenty of Spaniards knocking back the booze in bars at 10 in the morning.

      • Same with the Portuguese. Must be their Semitic blood. Italians are more honest.

        • Italians are more honest?! Haha! Good one. If by charging flat fees at metered taxis and inventing over the top prices for tourists, then yes by all means, they’re “honest”.

    • Si Pedro nga Ingles says

      Luis well said there is always one person who cannot hack it in another country

    • Melissa Dura says

      As I have often thought when hearing immigrants to the UK saying that they hate they country, ‘you don’t really know the country’ – the same thought applies here. I thought your post here was really interesting and I agree with it 100%, living here as an immigrant in Spain. I especially like your comment that the two countries are simply ‘different’. Thank you so much for taking the time to write an honest and unbiased account of your experiences in both countries.

  20. I am a Lithuanian expat in England and I have been to Spain many times and I can say that Spain is a very nice country with very nice people.

    • I am sure true but you are not living there. You are not an expat in Spain, I think if you ever have to deal with their bureaucracy you may well change your mind.

      • Lived in Portugal and their bureaucracy was a slight inconvenience, but the climate and the views are well worth it. It depends on an individual. I am fine with a bureaucracy as long as I set myself to live at a slow pace. No place is perfect. Not even Japan.

        • Spain has both better climate and views than elsewhere in Portugal does.
          Spain has a much better health care and infrastructure as well. It’s practically 2 different leagues. I agree Portugal is slightly cheaper but it’s not worthy. In southern Spain you can get summer days even in winter, while in Portugal that’s more like a dream.

      • Richard, bureaucracy in Spain got much worse since they entered the EU, but if you are not happy living there you can always go back to your own country.

        • Richard Tedeschi says

          My wife and I are thinking of relocating to Spain, I have lived in Italy for 30 years, I think I will have no surprises with Spanish bureaucracy 😛

        • Isabel, I am because I am fortunate enough to be able to afford to buy a house (exchange of contracts three days ago). You make it seem as if leaving is just a matter of buying an airline ticket and strolling down to the airport. In fact it is an extremely stressful exercise. You have to sell the Spanish property in a dead market, HMRC demands penal levels of Stamp Duty if you don´t do the impossible and sell the Spanish property on the same day as you purchase in the UK or rent in between. You have to purchase a house from a distance and deal with solicitors and banks that tell you to call in at the offices or to go to the house you are purchasing to check up on some minor point. You have to pack up everything to a high standard for the long trip, you have to find a company that will collect from areas with restricted access for large vehicles. If you have pets there is the making sure that they have their chips in place and the vaccinations. Then you have to arrange their transport. I am seventy, I have to do all this all by myself. Oh yes so so easy to go back.
          When I stayed in Spain for five months a year the bureaucracy was an inconvenience but nothing more. On becoming resident there was a lot of running about getting the documentation sorted out. But then came the nightmare MODELO 720. Each and everything you own in another part of the EU has to be listed in great detail and if you get anything wrong there is a threat of massive fines. I estimate it took me 125 man hours gathering the information. When I phoned the companies they did not have the information required without a great deal of passing up to a more senior level. I then I had to pay and accountant €400 to compile and present the information. And in case you are thinking my assets were in millions they were most certainly not. The standard Spanish tax return asks for no information about assets Spanish or otherwise.
          But of course the majority of people filling in that form are Spanish; with Modelo 720 the majority are foreigners. This stress is my reward for paying double tax I do UK (You have to pay both for the first year and then claim it back). I am not sure what the EU has to do with bureaucracy, they have been subsidised from Northern Europe for thirty years now (do you remember Spain before the EU? I seem to recall it was a bit like Colombia is these days although less efficient). Yes for some reason Junker and his right wing friends seems to think Modelo 720 is non-discriminatory (I do wonder what they would do if one of the protestant northern European countries introduced something similar). But they did not introduce it. It was the Spanish government. And it is the Spanish government that is still fighting to keep the massive disproportionate fines.
          Yes I shall probably be contributing to the good life of Spanish for a few years more. But not on the scale of thousands of Euros.

          • Robert James Kaas says

            Sounds like Portugal is the answer, especially the tropical Azores, where there is no property tax and not much in taxes beyond your vehicle tax of about 26€ per year. Rents overthere are 150 to 250€ even for a house. What not to like?

        • Sure. Spain, Spain. England… What about sanity? What about average young happiness (Quality of life) in the country?

          Have a look, have a look in news and articles, please.

        • Isabel (and everyone else) if you don’t like these comments, you can always stop reading them.

      • I am ok dealing with bureaucracy, cause ours is the worst.

        • stupid-spain says

          Stay away from Spain and its stupid stupid stupid bureaucracy.

          As for modelo 720, how are they going to find out, if they knew they wouldn’t ask. You can find out what info is and isn’t reported from the UK to Spain, just plan ahead. The loop holes are there (premium bonds, pensions and ISAs I think aren’t reported), no need to wonder why, the people who enforce it need to avoid it too.

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