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. I was very drawn to this article, as we are currently planning to retire in Spain. We live in South Florida, and have a good income now, but, it costs a fortune to live here, and we’d be working forever. We were thinking about Cascais, PT, so we just traveled through Portugal and Spain, but really liked Spain a lot. My husband is British, but we would never think of living in the UK with the Brexit mess. Also, too cold and too expensive. We really liked Malaga–we have to be someplace mostly warm, it’s a city, but a small one, and it is extremely low COL compared to Florida–maybe a third of what we need here. The US is not such a great place to live these days, in our opinion. The political climate is toxic, the divisions between people are huge and the gun situation is a nightmare. The USA is being taken backwards and regressing–some may like that, but I hate it. I like to look forward and believe in science. I do not like the US anti-immigrant fervor–it is mostly scapegoating anyhow–but it is getting pretty ugly. The US also has its share of homophobia and racism–more so now than ever. I thought Spain was actually more progressive than the US. The transportation systems are extremely good compared to the US. Spain seems much more progressive regarding the environment and wastefulness, electric cars, etc. Americans are massively wasteful–everything is disposable and people are pretty much focused on income and material things. We waste water, paper, plastic, etc. I felt like I was coming back to a third world from Madrid to Florida. Madrid was so much more efficient and organized. In Florida–there are not really any affordable restaurants or bars on the beach, and some counties’ beaches do not even allow bars to exist. So you cannot sit by the water and have a bite or drink and relax. When you get near the coast, it is very expensive–the wealthy pretty much own the coastlines and beach areas here. Spain just feels better–better lifestyle, more relaxed, more fun. Also, we can travel to other cities in Europe. Florida is sort of boring if you don’t play golf or work, and I’ve been everywhere in the US I wanted to go. We are learning Spanish, and plan to visit in the winter to see if we still like it when it is not so sunny and warm, but so far, we have not been anywhere else that fits the bill like Spain does. We don’t really have a lot to lose–we can always come back–but I can’t imagine wanting to–I really can’t wait to leave. I see it getting worse here–much worse.

  2. Living in Spain is not complicated, it only requires learning the language, not going with pretensions of superiority (yes, I say it especially by you, Anglo-Saxon person) and respecting the norms and customs of the country. With this I do not deny that you ever meet a Spanish person who is unpleasant and hostile to you, I say it because I am Spanish and unfortunately Spain is not an exception, but if we had to generalize to the Anglo-Saxon countries like United Kingdom United States, Canada , etc. they must be considered little less than social dumps, due to the great hostility and racism that exists in those countries towards foreigners.
    In Spain, we tend to have a lot of tolerance towards foreigners who come here, especially those who have been living in Spain for many years and never bothered to learn the language and integrate into the country, they only live with their people in their “little England “,” small Germany “etc.
    This is not a perfect country and Spaniards we are more critical than anyone in this aspect, but if it is such a diabolical country for some expatriates, it is best to pack and leave, which is why airports and airplanes are already there.

  3. Interesting re: Spain No place is perfect; I have lived in Hawaii for a few years where I own a house: Hawaii to me can be very boring so I enjoyed the other views of the people living in Spain. I live in Hawaii and I went to the ocean once in the past year and a half; I cannot swim and the sun is too strong; I live at 800 metres (2700′) so I enjoy an equitable climate yet I am still bored; I am retired. Hawaii though is nicer than California where I lived for many years; friends want me to return but I have no desire to do so. California is truly a hellhole. I may yet leave Hawaii. 3 WEEKS IS A VACATION but regular living is routine wherever you live longer. So who knows? I hope all people make the right decision. I considered Cornwall years ago but I have tax issues re: living in another tax jurisdiction as I would pay dearly for my residency with 2 taxes. Cheers from Hawaii

  4. Just my tuppence as someone who has lived in different countries, well looks like Spain is like everywhere else!!

    I’m British, born in Switzerland, lived in Canada for 3 years, in the UK for 10 years, now back in Switzerland. Well guess what, all these countries have their pros and cons, but a few things are for sure:

    – you need to speak the language. No ifs, no buts.
    – you have to look into the country seriously. Not a couple of holidays. Rent before you buy. Don’t be arrogant and/or stupid enough to think the want/need you there, they don’t. We paid an arm and a leg for a Canadian visa, well guess what, they don’t care, they will still give preference to a Canadian, laugh at your accent behind your back and tell you to return home if you dare criticise anything, including the climate…. same thing in the UK, they were horrible to my husband, couldn’t place his accent, therefore decided he was polish, he got the worst nastiness hurled at him. My kids got bullied in school, despite having British passports, and then got bullied in Switzerland despite having Swiss passports!!!!!
    – at the local coop in the UK one of the workers flatly refused to ever serve my husband. She would literally just stand there and ignore him, he would have to wait until someone else came to be able to pay for his shopping. Sone of his colleagues laughed at his accent behind his back and otherwise completely ignored him. My sons were told they were not welcome in the UK and asked if they are even British.
    – in Canada one day when I was commenting on the cold and snow, mid May…. the sales person very aggressively and nastily told me to go back to France, and my 2 year old son who was counting in English was told that in Quebec, you speak french, very aggressively.

    Anyway, all that to say that you will encounter good and bad everywhere, and if you are not ready to open your mind to a new culture and language then yes, you should defo stay in your own country!!!!

  5. I totally agree with you! it is a third world country from the northern point of view, yet people who are coming from lesser developed countries will never understand. I had so many issues because people thought i was spoiled, but in fact, i could not stand racism, envy and hatrid- all things i experience in Spain. As a Canadian, from a country that promotes peace and where diversity is our strength, Spain is lagging behind!

    • Hi Laura, I think the problem is more where you’re from and what you are used to. I lived in Canada for 3 years and what you describe is certainly not what I encountered, actually i encountered in Canada what you encountered in Spain: racism, envy and hatred, to the point that we gave up after 3 years and that I would never want to go back there because I hated Canada!!

  6. Honestly, i am a Canadian, from a country where we promote peace, thrive on diversity, and help one another. Spain was the contrary. It was very hard living in Spain and i only lasted 6 months. Perhaps, i am very privileged and not all Canadians are nice people, if so, but my parents did an amazing job at raising me in an environment with people who think about helping others. In Spain, everyone was so envious and dishonest. Its like you owe them something! i hated Spain and if i ever go back, its a quick vacation

  7. I am Spanish although I have lived in several countries. Sincerely, Spain is a country for a quick holidays to enjoy the sun, beach and food; nothing else. If you are an honest, empathetic, hardworking, considerate, educated person, who does not enjoy parties, who hates noise and bad manners, I would never never NEVER recommend you living in Spain. My partner and I made the wrong decision to return after living in a civilized country (we are entrepreneurs) and after a year and a half we are bitter and looking for a country in which to feel good to get away from this definitely. Spain steals you a lot of positive energy. We have lived from north to south of Spain in different cities and the only place where we can stay longer without feeling too bad is Madrid city center. The Spanish culture is frankly difficult; we know it in depth. However, if you are retired, you do not care about the lack of honesty and discretion, you do not mind the noise, you have a lot of patience and you only enjoy the parties, sun, beach and food, it is undoubtedly your country. PD. After the crisis Spain has become even more unbearable as almost everybody tries to cheat to you (restaurants, hotels, services …). Of course there are wonderful people here, but unfortunately, the most prepared and outstanding people have to go to other countries, because envy is the capital sin of Spain.

  8. Richard Tedeschi says

    Take this as a generic idea and with a pinch of salt because like anything in life some of it can and is true, some other things are the person who writes perceptions, their time in life, their circumstances, what they expect and want from life, no place in the world has everything and no place in the world is perfect, I know British and Germans living in Spain for decades and they would NEVER go back to the countries they came from.

  9. John Thomas says

    I lived and worked in Spain for 12 years. If I could, I would be back there in a second. The friends were the best I ever had and loyal to a fault. It is not a dangerous country and most crime is of a petty nature, like pick-pockets. There is very little violent crime and having some moron go into a mall with an assault weapon is unheard of. Yes, life is unhurried and people eat later in the day. For this reason there is less stress and people live longer. Also the national healthcare system is excellent. I had to go into the hospital twice for surgery and paid a total of $25! And that was so a friend could sleep over with me. I am suspecting that the author of this article went to Spain with an attitude and expected everyone around him to change to meet his expectations instead of taking the time to grow into his environment. I would go back to Spain in a second if I could and I pray that in the future I will be able to retire there.

  10. F C Greybe says

    How old is this post???? He says “I moved to Spain four years ago to start a new life” and then later on he says “When I first moved to Spain the currency was the Peseta” – Doing the maths he must have moved to Spain before 2002 so this viewpoint can’t be later than 2006 – a lot has happened since then so most of these comments are no longer current. Pointless! hats just apart from all the gross generalisations and inaccurate, unfounded conclusions.

  11. Well, it seems to original poster, Mr Nick Anders, of this will be happy now that Brexit is happening. I’m sure he voted for it. So he moved to Spain, and gives out about immigrants? Give out because he can’t get a job. Blame an entire country for their problems?

    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!

    So it’s Spain’s fault that the only work you can get is villa cleaning, pools, bars etc?

    No sales or discounts in Spain? Have you had your head stuck up your backside since you arrived? There are sales all the time there, and I’ve regularly picked up clothes etc in sales.

    You should move to loyalist East Belfast. Union flags everywhere, red, white and blue painted kerbs, they don’t like immigrants and they love Brexit.


    • Bazza, Loving Brexit – is only what the majority of the UK decided to do in a referendum. Only someone out of their mind would want to see democracy ignored. It’s nice that Belfast is proud of the union. Spain is now more expensive than the UK, all thanks to the EU and the €. And yes there are no jobs there in Spain

  12. All this problems is a normal problem when you move to another country, you got lenguage and culture barrier, and is normal to compare, but all countries have good and bad things, and depend of the people and the place where you been. I am living in Nottingham now but I am move back to Spain , because I hate England, I am joking…. Is because I don’t match with this counter and culture…. So… Is you choice where you want to live and stay, I had racist English people with me and I’m not feel well for that but I know ignorant all over the world.

    • Viva España great place to live we try hard to integrate and have found the Spanish on the most part warm and friendly
      Lived in UK for 60 years and when you move or lived in a new town / village, the locals would not accept you small town mentality.

      Thank you Spain

  13. Elizabeth says

    I live in Spain. Moved here with my two girls. We all speak Spanish so no issue there. There are things I hate about Spain: people generally are more closed minded and it’s hard to make good friends at first, the school education is totally different from the UK, they shout and are generally ‘ruder’ but I have to take the rough with the smooth and have a positive attitude towards the Spanish. The food and weather is better plus there are good things you can always take home from every culture.

  14. I went to Cardiff University and got taken the mickey behind my back, I heard them, by fellow students because of my Spanish accent. Spent a year studying a Master in Leeds where I once went for a job interview at a company a bit outside the city. They assured me they would pay for my taxi but when I got there not only didn’t they give me any money for the taxi but also I got mocked by the examiner in front of all the candidates “Spaniard, eh? mañana, mañana” Political correctness my a—-, twenty of them were laughing at me to suck up to the examiner and get rid of the Spanish competitor, two in one. On my last day in Leeds, my landlord, who called himself Dr Biswas, failed to turn up to return the deposit from the apartment, knowing that I had a plane to catch. My three years in Cardiff, God I love that place, were wonderful except for the constant stream of wa>ke>s in the park along the Taff river were I used to take daily walks with my dog. They probably were rapists but my German shepherd kept them at bay. Is that respect for women’s rights? Is that a more evolved society? By the way, my darling dog scared burglars off the house while next doors were broken into a few times. I absolutely love England and British people and culture. There are idiots and crime everywhere. You will be happy if you want to.

  15. I feel terrible for anyone who experienced a bad time in Spain but to generalise an entire country for an experience in a small town / village is narrow minded and bigoted, they comments on the Spanish people in themselves derogory and racist – shame on you all for being hippocrits!! Especially the comments about calling Spanish people Spics – most racist comment on here !!

    • Meeka G. Gonzalez says

      Excellent comment! I lived the 7 happiest years of my life in Spain. I understand the haters of Spain now-a-days. I lived in another Spain, during the last 2 years of Franco and 5 years of the “freedom” post Franco era. I had a well paid bilingual position, I met the best kind of people Spaniards, Brits, French, mainly. That Spain was wonderful, people were very nice, courteous and culturally well rounded. I would not like to live in the mess the socialists have turned Spain into and having to look for a job and not having a perfect command of the Spanish language. Try getting a job in England and in Germany or France not speaking English and German or French perfectly well. I fell in love with Greece so the first thing I did when I returned to Spain was to look for a teacher to learn modern Greek. By the time I had a pretty good knowledge of the language, I had fallen in love with Spain. You must speak the language of the country you are planning to move to. Study the history, government, laws, criminal life, traditions, food, religion. Ignorance makes people very unhappy.

  16. Boy, you sound a good! They’ll miss your joie de vive

  17. I think the experts and Spaniards alike will grieve heartily when you shonk off back to the uk, you sound like a hoot

  18. I have to agree with Just a Spaniard, people is generalizing a little here.Seems like you’ve had many bad experiences, or lived in bad places in Spain.
    Well, I was ripped off in France my first day there.
    Me and my girlfriend got robbed in Amsterdam. Some guys took my backpack and the police just ignored us when we told them.
    I’ve seen kids in London yelling at a guy in his store calling him a “fucking paky” in front of his daughter.
    I’ve seen horrible roads and facilities in many places in Germany, and the worst apartments i’ve ever seen in Berlin.
    I once talked to a swedish gay couple that told me they had moved to Madrid because they didn’t feel comfortable nor accepted in Gothenburg where they lived, and they where absolutely amazed by the gay community and movement here.
    I’ve experienced all sorts of bad things in many countries, but i would never say that France, Germany, Netherlands or Sweden (where i haven’t been yet but i’m eager to) are racist or homophobic countries, or places where you always get ripped off.
    There are a lot problems here, and yeah, there is still some ignorant, racist, homophobic, rude people here. But just like everywhere else i suppose.
    And if you think Spain is a third world country, well, i guess you’ve never been out of Europe.
    Just like a week ago i went to have some drinks with an argentinian friend who came to visit and he was telling me how different it felt to be in a first world country like Spain lol.
    As for your spanish studies, there’s still another 600M people you can talk to other than spaniards.

  19. Just a Spaniard says

    Im sorry you had such a bad experience in Spain, but Spaniards are generally not homophobic people, its one of the most tolerant countries in the world. Its also one of the first countries in Europe to legalize same sex marriage and adoption by gay couples probably even before most of the nordic countries you are talking about. About women´s rights, I totally disagree with you, I just think you got a wrong concept of Spain,women here have the same rights than men just as gays, lesbian, transexual people have furthermore Spain has one of the lowest rates of gender violence if you compare it to other countries like Sweden France or the UK,you can look it up if you dont believe me. What happened to you in the street can happen every where Im not saying I dont believe you but that is really uncommon here, never heard that before and I have a lot of girl friends with short hair trust me. Maybe Spain was just not the place for you or you just had several bad experiences but not because of that its a third world country with no rights, to me nordic countries are quite boring,its seems that there is really nothing going on there,you don´t see vibrant and outgoing cities like in the rest of Europe especially the south, the weather is also awful in my opinion but I wouldnt generalize like you did and say all nordics are boring and living there even in cities will make you feel isolated from the rest of the word. Hope you come back and get another view of Spain and its people, dont feel bad that you spent some time learning the language, after all its the second most spoken language in the world and very useful for traveling especially America, unlike nordic languages spoken by 6-7 million people that would only be useful if you want to live there .
    ¡Ánimo que siempre se puede tener malas experiencias pero aprende a no generalizar!

  20. Spain is indeed a third world country from the northern point of view, in every possible way. I’m from a Nordic country, so the difference is probably even more striking for me. I’ve travelled in Spain twice, and lived in Valencia half a year because of my studies, but that was enough. What someone said about the apparent influence of the Franco era was really spot on – and it’s also true when it comes to women’s rights.

    I was appalled by the racism, machismo and homophobia, though I must say I did meet nice spaniards too. I’m not surprised at all about the bullying in schools someone else mentioned. I was yelled insults on the street just because I was a foreign woman with short hair!

    I actually feel a bit sad I spent years studying the language instead of something else.

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