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 and from places such as Eastern Europe, South America and Morocco, 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.

Many people ask questions such as what are the best places to live in Spain for 1 month, 2 months, 3 months or 6 months etc. Basically, if you are looking to live in Spain for a short time only then we suggest a busy area such as one of the cities or Costa del Sol or Costa Blanca where you can experience as much in a short time frame as possible. The Costa del Sol would be our pick – from here you can visit many places such as Seville, Cordoba, Ronda, Marbella, Malaga, Granada etc. while enjoying the Andalucian way of life, beaches etc.

Where do most 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.

Below we have a table with statistics from 2020 showing the most popular 12 nationalities living in Spain. Not on that list are also large numbers of Germans (Costa Blanca), Irish (Lanzarote and Tenerife), Americans (Madrid and Barcelona) and Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden (Costa Blanca). As you can see a lot of South Americans come to live in Spain, mostly illegally. They come from poor countries to try get a better way of life for themselves and their families back home, unfortunately these usually very friendly people are often looked down upon by the Spanish.

The population of Spain is 47,431,256 to be exact or approximately 47 million people (and rising).

Country of Origin Population
Spain 46,450,795
Morocco 935,089
Romania 578,228
Colombia 514,110
Ecuador 416,527
Venezuela 396,188
Argentina 293,037
United Kingdom 268,957
Peru 244,827
France 210,529
China 208,788
Dominican Republic 186,395

 

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. If you are looking for the best villages to live in Spain these are definitely up there with the best.

What about living on the Spanish 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 living on the the Canary islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote? Well similar to above but at least these islands have a consistent temperature all year round being situated off the coast of Africa. 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. Many expats choose these islands but do beware of getting island/cabin fever.

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

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

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

What are the cheapest places to live in Spain?

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

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

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

What are the best cities to move to in Spain?

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

So which one?

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

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

Living in Spain in the Winter

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

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

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

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

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

Response From Silvia as a Spanish Expat in the UK!

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

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

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

Jobs:

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

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

villas-in-javea

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

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

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

Crime:

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

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

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

Mañana:

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

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

Customer service:

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

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

Getting ripped off:

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

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

Poor road/facilities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many people ask what are some of the best things about living in Spain?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regards

Shirley

Linda Whitehead is Also Moving Back to the UK…

“Hello, I am just commenting on the above writer’s online report on his life in Spain. I think he is so correct and it is not at all uncommon among expats. Here are some of the worst things about living in Spain…

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening – Adios Espana.”

Reasons Not to Live in Spain by Rachel…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jay is Also Depressed in Spain

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sammy From Murcia Writes In…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All I can say is good luck Shirley..

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


Places to consider living on the Costa Blanca: Albir, Alcossebre, Alcoy, Alfaz del Pi, Algorfa/La Finca, Alicante, Almoradi, Altea, Beniarbeig, Benidoleig, Benidorm, Benijófar, Benimar, Benissa, Benitachell, Bolulla, Busot, Cabo Roig, Calpe, Campoamor, Castalla, Catral, Caudete, Ciudad Quesada, Cumbre Del Sol, Denia, Dolores, El Campello, Elche/Elx, Els Poblets, Gandia, Gata de Gorgos, Gran Alacant, Guardamar, Hondon de la Nieves, Hondón Valley, Jalón Valley, Javea, La Drova/Barx, La Empedrola, La Fustera, La Marina, La Mata, La Nucia, La Zenia, Las Ramblas, Los Altos, Los Montesinos, Mar Menor, Mazarrón, Mil Palmeras, Monovar, Monserrat, Moraira, Oliva, Orba, Orcheta, Orihuela, Pedreguer, Pego, Pilar de la Horadada, Pinar de Campoverde, Pinoso, Playa Flamenca, Polop, Punta Prima, Rafol de Almunia, Relleu, Rojales, San Miguel de Salinas, Sanet Y Negrals, Santa Pola, Santiago de la Ribera, Sax, Teulada, Tibi, Torrevieja, Totana, Vall de Laguar, Villajoyosa, Villamartin, Villena, Villotel.

Places to consider living on the Costa del Sol: Algarrobo, Algatocín, Alhaurín de la Torre, Alhaurín El Grande, Almáchar, Almargen, Almogía, Álora, Alozaina, Alpandeire, Antequera, Árchez, Archidona, Ardales, Arenas, Arriate, Benadalid, Benahavís, Benalauría, Benalmádena, Benamargosa, Benamocarra, Benaoján, Benarrabá, El Borge, El Burgo, (Sitio de) Calahonda, Campillos, Canillas del Aceituno, Canillas de Albaida, Cañete La Real, Carratraca, Cartajima, Cártama, Casabermeja, Casarabonela, Casares, Coín, Colmenar, Comares, Cómpeta, Cortes de la Frontera, Cuevas Bajas, Cuevas de San Marcos, Cuevas del Becerro, Cútar, Estepona, Faraján, Frigiliana, Fuengirola, Fuente de Piedra, Gaucín, Genalguacil, Guaro, Humilladero, Igualeja, Istán, Iznate, Jimera de Líbar, Jubrique, Júzcar, La Viñuela, Macharaviaya, Málaga, Manilva, Marbella, Mijas, Moclinejo, Mollina, Monda, Montejaque, Nerja, Ojén, Parauta, Periana, Pizarra, Pujerra, Rincón de la Victoria, Riogordo, Ronda, Salares, Sayalonga, Sedella, Sierra de Yeguas, San Pedro de Alcantara, Teba, Tolox, Torremolinos, Torrox, Totalán, Valle de Abdalajís, Vélez-Málaga, Villanueva de Algaidas, Villanueva de la Concepción, Villanueva de Tapia, Villanueva del Rosario, Villanueva del Trabuco and Yunquera.


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

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

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Comments

  1. Dear Bob,

    So you move to a country “that you don’t know” their famous unemployment and data like that??

    Your fault. You can’t move to another country just for a good summer there. No info about, no planning… What did you expect????!!!!!

    • Didn’t move for a “Good Summer”. Life has many facets, and I knew about the problems, but many don’t. Actually, the problems are far beyond what you’d think. They treat each other like dirt in the job market and work place – so they won’t treat foreigners any better – so the “racism” many on here report is likely to be just that.

  2. Dear Heather,

    Good luck if you have cancer in USA. If you can’t pay …. you will need it.

  3. Wow… what an article. I’m sure Spain is happy to lose you, you don’t sound like the person that would get along well in a group of spanish people (or any kind of group of people if I am honest). You can’t expect everything in Spain to work like in the UK. If you don’t like it here, GO. I think you’re very bitter…

  4. A Armenakian says

    What an interesting thread! I am sorry for the writers here who loathe their Spanish experience, and I understand both sides. True about the frustrating bureaucracy, older medical staff who can be unsympathetic, shop staff who don’t acknowledge you – sometimes. But then in my small mountain town south of Granada, the same lovely guy has been delivering our gas bottles for 17 years, same waiter at favourite cafe for 17 years, hairdresser, ditto…the list goes on. I love this small-town continuity, the cheerful stoicism of hard workers and elderly people here, at least they are still sustained by community and family. Speaking Spanish is the key. I am not very good but can chat and be friendly and deal with public life here. There is a lot of goodwill generated when you speak even 60% good Spanish! We pay very low rent for our big flat, eating out and local groceries are relatively cheap. I am lucky that I can work online and internationally, yes. But I could never return to the UK as it is now unaffordable for me, but I can envisage staying here as a pensioner.

  5. desmond kelly says

    In my humble opinion this article is written by the mother and father of all whingers.Just learn to enjoy living your dream here and avoid the whingers like the plague is the secret methinks.

  6. Love the different opinions. Love the article. I ve been living in my rustic home in a small mountain village in Almeria, Andalucia for going-on 3 month.. Can’t Wait to leave!!! and as another digi-nomad and researcher in psychology and behaviorism in and around many countries here are my honest opinions. Nick is spot-on. And the following points toted. I note the couples are more strongly in defence of.. Well gee, go figure. As a single woman it’s been total hell … Gossip…. Derision..
    sexual assault in lieu of ‘help’, on more than one occasion. Judgement and nastiness akin to medieval persecution. Keep wondering if a posse is gonna turn up at my door and drag me to the stake… Its uncalled for. I almost feel as hunted as all the abused and traumatised animals around me…. Un-fkkn-believable!! My noisy and really hostile neighbours are literally Malliry’s parents from the movie Natural Born Killers…. The Brits seem to be predominantly cagey ex-cons, freeloaders, stoners or retirees and won’t lift a finger to help or just be vaguely friendly. The arrogance and ignorance of possibly one of the only countries left in the world who stoically refuse to speak another language…. Its a joke. The reckoning is upon the world and this is a fishbowl on the eve of its own demise.

    • The village people, loads of them moved into poorly built flats in the cities in the 70’s/80’s, hence all the empty villages in Spain. They cause the same problems in the cities as they did in the villages. Just to be fair, the UK has the notion of the “village idiot”.

      As for the Brits, had to laugh at the “ex-cons” bit, the Costa Del Sol is also known as the Costa Del Crime in the UK – due to Brit criminals on the run going there (especially when there wasn’t an extradition treaty in place). Plenty of feature films use this premise, for example Sexy Beast.

  7. Andrés,

    You say Spanish have the best healthcare in the world? Ha! I have to laugh at how false that statement is. The public health care system is the absolute worst I’ve ever experienced. Doctors simply do not care about you, you have to wait weeks, sometimes months to even get seen by a specialist, and don’t even get me started on the serious lack of mental health care here. The doctors think every mental health problem can be solved with exercise and a good diet. Or they just say you’re “depressed” and send you on your way.

    The public system here is horrendous because the enployees know they have their jobs guaranteed the rest of their lives, so MANY doctors working in the public system just don’t give a shit anymore and barely listen when you come to see them. I’ve had doctors blatantly say nothing was wrong with me even though my blood tests showed different results.

    Spain’s horrible healthcare and terrible approach to mental health is why I’m leaving and returning home to the US as well.

  8. Hi Jay,
    Thank you so much for calling me a lazy bugger! Just so you know, whilst living in the UK I had several jobs at the same time so I could pay my rent, bills etc. and paid my taxes so some of those who live of benefits can carry on doing nothing and abusing the system.
    What I can’t understand is why you came to Spain in the first place?! If you hate Spain and the Spanish so much, why on earth did you come?!
    I am glad to hear from your experience, that at least, the feeling was mutual. You didn’t like the Spanish and the Spanish didn’t like you in return, it is only fair.

    • Because Spain hides it’s awfulness behind sand, sea, sun, sangria & Barcelona (50% of whom don’t want to Spanish anyway – can’t blame them really). It’s not until you get there to live that you realise, as a foreigner, you’re not going to get a job, there’s already a long queue of locals in front of you.
      ps. Alicante Province is great though 🙂

  9. I must say this conversation puts Spain as a bit of a marmite country, either you hate it or you love it.

    Every country in the world has its positives and negatives. I am Spanish, but have lived in the UK for 16 years. I agree with many of those that say bureaucracy in Spain is horrendous, it is! It makes no sense and it is extremely frustrating.
    However it is also true that I have found British expats trying to rip us off charging us 550 Euros for a service that would cost 100 euros if done by its Spanish counterpart.
    I have been the victim of racism in the UK in more than one occasion but I don’t think all British people are racists, so please do not generalise.
    With regards to being bullied at school, I was bullied at school regardless of being Spanish or not. Bulling happens everywhere and mean children will use anything as an insult, read the newspapers in the UK and you’ll find there are also lots of children being bullied at school in the UK too.

    It is sad to hear people are having bad experiences but before moving to a different country, it is important to do some research and be fully aware of cultural disparities that could cause shock or upset if having to live with them.
    Pointing out cultural differences and use them to belittle an entire nation isn’t fair. Spanish people may not say thank you and please as much as the brits do, but it doesn’t mean they are not grateful. The Chinese don’t understand queuing either, there are plenty of cultures that don’t do queuing. In Spain you just need to ask who’s last and then you know when your turn is.

    The type of behaviour described in shops or supermarkets where the staff are engaged in conversation with a friend and don’t serve you happens to all of us and it tends to happen in very small places. They actually aren’t talking to a friend, it is probably another customer.
    The main problem of moving to a smallish place in Spain is that locals know each other and tend to be very insular. This means that not only Brits get treated as foreigners, we all do!

    I didn’t get mad at the UK because people did things differently there, I embraced it and learned how things got done. I do get very frustrated at how some things work (or better said, don’t work) in Spain and compare it to the UK, but the truth is, it is unfair to make comparisons like that. It is a different country with different historical events that affected the way things are. Countries, like people, are shaped by their histories.
    There’s good and bad everywhere in the world.

  10. Hey don’t knock Reliant Robins Del Boy liked his!!
    As for giving up my English passport I would if I could only
    get to the required standard in written and oral Spanish.
    Neil.

  11. Hi Matt,
    Your comment about Spain in all aspects is very true when people ask me what I like about is
    the people they are brilliant so nice and the police are also very good!! and polite.
    Some years ago I asked the web site owner to delete people like Nick Anders as they are giving
    Spain a very bad reputation all the comments from Anders et al are very much out of date now
    if there was any truth at all in what he had to say.
    Before I came to live here over a period of four years and three trips to different parts of the coast
    doing my research I knew the cost of living here etc.
    Neil,in Alicante province.
    Que tengas un buen dia.

  12. The Expats here complaning about Spain, all i can say is f#ck off then back to the UK! I lived in Spain for 4 years and loved it, yeh it has its problems like any other country. The culture, food, weather and country is beautiful! Seeing these typical expats on the costa del sol, in there expat bubble at the bar watching Eastenders and eating fish and chips, they dont even mix with the Spanish people or culture, or even know a word of Spanish. Then they complain about nothing.

    • It’s very true.

    • Diana Arnold says

      Very true. We have lived in retirement here for fourteen years and have never regretted coming for one moment.we have always been treated with courtesy by the Spanish and I hope we have been courteous to them, we have certainly tried to be. We have always found them very friendly and helpful. It certainly helps to speak the language which we both do after all you are living in their country so why should they speak English? I am sure it would not go down too well in the UK if the English were expected to speak all the languages of the foreigners living there. We have also found the Spanish Health System very good and despite several quite serios problems we certainly have nothing to grumble about. My advice to the people who hate Spain is to go back the UK and leave the rest of us to enjoy our life here

  13. Jean Wyatt says

    Thank you for all your comments – it has helped make up my mind about retiring to Spain. I think if it was just paying tax on the pension, it would still be considered but there seem so many economic pressures past and present there with everything that goes with it – I can understand why the locals are unhappy. My partner (of 30 years) I know would try hard to learn language but mobile phones were invented decades ago and he still struggles with that. I like learning languages – there is a definitive reason for learning it if we emigated. We only have one chance and we are not millionaires but comfortable. If that goes we have nothing. Everything considered, we think it is too much of a risk and so have decided to stay in the UK.

    • Wise choice jean , my husband and I have had so many complacations, and no one to turn to for sound advice ,would love to be back in the u.k a.s .a.p , kind regards

  14. YES, SAME HERE. I HATE SPAIN! So many unprofessional, rude and lazy people. I have a good job (working for an international company; I will NEVER work for a Spanish company), but I actually am thinking about leaving this country. Thing is – Spanish hate foreigners – they call us ‘giris’, and they do not want us to stay. Forget about employee rights; forget about getting paid on time; forget about getting things done. I came here 5 years ago with an open heart and now i am counting days to leave, because I can not stand this country anymore.
    Adios, lazy buggers!!!

    • Retiring to Spain on a pension is vastly different to actually working there. Retiring there is fine, but take note of the paperwork, it’s infuriating, but retirees will have the time to deal with it. Stay away from “dinero negro” schemes dreamt up by estate agents and builders, they benefit them, not you. “Customer Service” barely exists, even the big foreign owned DIY chains can be as bad as the dodgy cash in hand builder.

      From what I can see, working there is awful – if you think it’s “relaxed” then you’re deluding yourself – if you think a working day of 8.30am – 6.30pm is acceptable, then go for it. Ageism is rife, pay is low.

    • Jay you’re so xenophobic! You’ll need a description of that actually! It means RACIST! Stay away from Spain please!

      • Derek, invest in a dictionary, there is a big difference between a racist and a xenophobe. And if Jay is xenophobic, as you suggest, he would not want to move to a foreign country in the first place!

  15. Now that the Poluce are better empowered to act, hopefully Brexit will start to rid Spain of all the British illegal immigrants here. Only concerned in working in tbe black economy, and all looking to dodge the taxman. It’s irònic that mostly they don’t integrate here, won’t learn the language, have their heads in the UK, whinge about having to change their driving licences to Spanish etc, erc, – the list goes on, – while criticing llegal immigrants in the UK for doing the same thing. Go home, you antogonise the legal British taxpaying residents here, and don’t belong here now…..

    • VERY WELL SAID,JOHN

    • John, you talk of British (illegal immigrants) only working in the black economy in Spain. Well they have very good teachers in the Spanish.
      When I bought my house the notary stepped out of the room to allow both seller and buyer to discuss/ decide how much would be paid in black money and how much in white money… And, the notary is meant to make sure everything is done correctly on behalf of the Spanish State.
      The Spanish builder I hired to do work on the house wanted paying cash in hand and did not want to give a receipt (ie. black money). I paid him in cash but insisted on a receipt (which I got) but was called all the f’s, b’s and c’s under the sun. That said the builder did a good job.
      First time I had work done on my car the garage asked if I wanted to pay IVA (VAT) or not. Lets be honest they would not have offered to knock the IVA off unless they were also making something.
      A few years ago I was out for a drink on a Friday night. About 9pm all the customers were asked to leave by the owner, without being able to finish their drinks, and the bar was quickly shut up. Turns out the police, tax authorities and employment authorities were checking various bars in the small town I live in. Once the authorities raided the first bar news spread and others, like the one I was in, shut… Now, why would all those bars shut early on a Friday night if everything was above board? The daft thing is the authorities left it at that and did not come back to check again another night.
      Black economy, the Spanish are experts.

  16. I just wanted to comment on Silvia’s response as a Spanish expat in the UK regarding sick pay. This is simply not true! I’ve worked in the UK for over 16 years and I can attest that Silvia’s argument regarding sick leave is misleading.
    If you work in an industry like hospitality where Zero-hour contracts are the norm, then yes, you do not get sick pay, but you also get as many unpaid holiday leave as you want and people tend not to declare their income from tips so they don’t get taxed on it.
    A part from the hospitality industry, I do not know of any other industry where Zero-hour contracts are common. Therefore it is unfair and misleading to say that there is no sick pay in the UK.
    Thanks,
    Laura

  17. Shelagh Moore says

    Hmm. I think Nick summed things up perfectly. EXPAT . No one who is serious about moving to another country constantly refers to themselves as an Expat, nor do they spend all their time trying to live like they did at home, in a little Expat bubble. No, they spend years researching, learning the language, the history the culture, the laws, and then when they Do move, they call themselves an Immigrant.
    Nerja is a dump. As are most of the Costas infected by Exprats.
    I spent 13 years in Extremadura, where no one speaks English, there are no Tescos or Brit bars, because there are virtually no Brits just lovely Spanish Rural life. You can leave your car unlocked and the windows down; if you live in the campo, your front door open and it is like turning the clock back.
    But I am not getting any younger and an injury left my mobility a bit dodgy, so I moved to one of the quiter Costas. The Culture shock here was worse than moving to Spain in the first place! The Grey Brigade. They live in their little ghettoes, have their silly little gardening and book clubs, their tea rooms and pubs and never meet a Spaniard if they can avoid it! It is like a giant Geriatric home. Fortunately I can Still avoid them, Just! But if you look at Nick’s attitude, it was obvious he was on a Fail. As for the woman who said they call them ‘Giddies’ she knows so little about Spain that she does not even know that the word is ‘Guiri’ ‘We call them Spiks’ Classy. She is an Uninvited guest in their country. I suspect she is the very same type who voted Brexit to get rid of ‘immigrunts’ in the UK.
    I love Spain. I have Spanish friends who often ask ‘Are you sure you are English? You are like Us, you are not like Them!’
    Spain is an incredible, beautiful country, with amazingly kind people, If you take the trouble and time to integrate and not become another geriatric in a ghetto. It’s an adventure! Each region is different, even every village is different. The food can vary between exquisite to ‘sustenance’ and the wine can vary from World beating to drain cleaner! But that is part of the fun. As for the ‘bad service’ it is only ‘bad’ if you are still stuck in an English mindset. Relax, accept it, and it does wonders for your stress levels! You suddenly don’t have any! I wish more people like Nick would leave to be honest. They are blots on the sunny landscape. If you are moving to Spain, please come with the intention of being an Immigrant, not an ‘Expat’ Life is for experiencing and learning, why shut yourself into a rather nasty little xenophobic bubble in Someone Else’s country? Then complain about Them? How Rude is that!

    • Sue Hester says

      We are winter swallows.We’ve had our property here for 20+ years but have never been resident.Why?Because we like to come and go. We like our home in Rural Somerset, we like quiet country lanes to cycle in, we like the green and pleasant land of England ,the daffodils,bluebells,snowdrops,real green grass( not the fake stuff that so many brits put down in their gardens in Spain.!). Seeing cows and sheep in the fields grazing,We like visiting friends and relatives and have them visit us. IN THE SUMMER.
      It’s a different story in the winter! Then Spain comes into its own! The temperature is ambient most of the time ,we can sit out for our meals ,we can go to an uncrowded beach, still swim in the sea, wear less clothes than in the UK winter, have menu del dia with friends a couple of times a week, ride our bikes ,play tennis, go walking ,play petanc then have a drink or meal after.We like friends and relatives visit us to get away from the dreary UK winter.We still go on holidays to other countries, Oz, NZ,Asia.
      It’s about having the best of both worlds, not that one is better than the other.This is the way we choose to do it.
      Brexit has made it a little more of a challenge but with a little careful planning it’s still doable,

    • Thank you Shelagh, for putting some balance into the information presented on this page. We would love to retire (young) to Spain. In fact, we just retired! Any move is a year or two away, but it seemed a bit uncharacteristic to charge the entire country and its people by unrealistic expectations and living along one of the coastal areas. At least, it could have been more specific about the expectations overall, and not lump the entire country in to this post.

      We are thinking of Galicia anyway, a far enough distance from the other end of the peninsula. I’ve been in Spain, stayed with a family there as a house guest, also spent time as a visitor, and as an outdoor enthusiast, and didn’t really encounter hostility even when it became obvious that my Spanish wasn’t very skillful (much better these days, however!) Again, thank you for taking the time to put your experiences up on this page.

    • Brilliant comment Shelagh,
      I DETEST the word EXPAT, I regard my self as Spanish though English by birth.
      Que tengas un buen dia.
      Neil.

    • ROSA FUSTER says

      Thank you Shelagh! Muchas gracias!

  18. You have no idea about Spain.

    First of all, as I’m Spanish, I’m going to tell you how things are here.
    I’d like to point out that you were living in the worst place of Spain. We all know the bad reputation Andalucía has.
    I’m from València, and here life is far different from Andalucía. Catalonia, València and the Balearic Islands are the best places to live.
    What you said about politicians and burocracy is completely true, and we complain about that every single day.
    Anyways, here life is easy, we have the best healthcare in the world, and our life expectancy is amongst the highest in the world.
    We have the best infrastructures in Europe. It’s not my opinion, and everyone can Google it.
    England hasn’t got good infrastructure, the internet sucks, and people are rude, cold, and blue. Here you can enjoy and laugh with people even if you don’t know them, because we’re warm, extroverts, and we like to welcome everyone.
    You say rubbish about Spain, but my experience in England was not good at all.
    I was living in Bristol because I wanted to learn English, and I saw some thinks I hadn’t expected before going there. A lot of people were really drunk and lying on the floor at night everywhere and nearly everyday, and boys saying “you really turn me on, baby” to girls that came with us. They were so “machos”. It repeated several times when we went to pubs to enjoy English life at night.
    Parks are really dangerous at night and they told us not to go through them, so we had to take taxis to go back home.
    There was a lot of racism and you could even read it on walls, where paintings warned us we could be in danger, so we didn’t speak Spanish at night, just in case.
    I’ve also been in Leeds, and the story about racism is quite similar.
    When I was in Oxford, I got into a supermarket with a friend. As we were speaking Spanish, two workers that maybe thought we didn’t understand them were laughing at us until I started speaking English to them. Their facial expression changed suddenly, but they were still so rude with us.
    Not to talk about English people coming here to our festivals singing really loud at 2 A.M. on the streets like hooligans, drinking a lot, dropping A LOT of rubbish on the floor, peeing and pooing everywhere.
    And what about those festivals in Ibiza? Drugs, alcohol, jumping from balconies to the pools…
    But you know what? I don’t hate your country because of bad experiences. You should travel around Spain and see how different is from where you used to live and how welcoming people are. I’ve read a lot of opinions about how amazing Spain and Spaniards are, as well as food, culture (apart from bullfighting), weather, and how easy is to live here.

    Cheers.

    • Shelagh Moore says

      Andres, I am sorry you had those bad experiences in my country of birth. I have only ever been shown kindness in yours.
      Unfortunately those people who treated you that way arte the very ones that come to Spain and set up the ghettoes. Their only interest is in cheap booze, cheap fags and sun! So they end up looking like a smoke dried piece of old leather and drunk all the time! haha! They are desperately unhappy people most of them. With little education to make them grasp Why or how to rectify it. A wise English gentleman on Mallorca once told me ‘My dear, avoid the Expats like the plague. They are all running from something. They are carrying a lot of baggage and what they are Really running from is themselves. Until they stop and realise that they will run forever and nowhere will fit.’ I think about his words a lot when I see some of them around here and read posts like Nicks’s His problem is Not Spain, it is his fantasy of Spain, which did not meet his expectations. Partly because he never experienced Spain, and partly because his real issue is himself.

      • The thing with opinions they’re like un gilliepollis, everybody has one.

      • So true Shelagh and that was a wise man indeed. I am so pleased that you are enjoying living in Spain! We are not from where our passports say we are, but from where our hearts belong. I loved every single moment that I lived in the UK, even the painful ones, because they made me who I am today.
        I love Britain and Spain because they are both wonderful. Happiness is a state of mind not a location.

    • Carole Baez says

      I lived in Gran Caneria for over 10 years, I found the people kind, caring and very friendly. yes there were some “break ins” but you get that everywhere in all countries. I lived in the states for 10 years and I feel that the Spanish were so much more kinder than any of the Americans.
      Yes the form filling and getting the wrong information is annoying and time consuming but the UK is not much better. My job had indefinite contract, I had a job for life, my boss was the best, paid me when I got sick, put me forward for any training, I really had a wonderful time and would say to anyone thinking of going to live there, “try before you buy” it is not easy to live abroad but if you look for the best and take the rough with the smooth you will have some wonderful experiences. What Andres says is so true.

    • Carol Caldicott says

      Thank you Andre’s. My husband and I are moving to Villena permanently on June. We had a holiday home in La font de la figuera for two years. A quaint little village with 99% spanish people living there. I can honestly say we have never been made so welcome anywhere. Lovely people who treat us like royalty when we pop to the local pub. We can not wait to get out there
      Have made so many spanish friends and yet we speak little Spanish ( Google translate is a god send). I think if you go with the flow and respect the culture you cant go wrong. I for one love everything about spain. I hate most things about the uk (England) I feel safer in spain than I do my own country.

    • ¡Hola Andrés! – please ignore this person! We love Spain and the Spanish!

      At the coast here in Alicante we play spot the nation – it’s easy!

      Local Spanish – Classy – friendly – sociable – helpful – goes without saying
      Germans – friendly – organised – socks pulled up ready for action
      Scandinavians – friendly – outgoing – adventurous
      The British – no class at all (on the whole) – drunk – overweight and rude! Most can’t speak a word of Spanish hardly – embarrassing! Just like this commenter! You can see Brits arriving on the horizon!! in their zero class wife-beater vests normally! (I’m not talking about Brits who like your country & people, & are nicely settled here, people who join in with fiestas etc – You know, the right kind)

    • Denise Leki says

      Bravo! You get what you give in life and I think Nick is not a very hospitable person.
      I love Spain and I’m sitting in Melbourne Australia dreaming of my long holiday once covid allows me to travel again.

    • ROSA FUSTER says

      Hola Andres, I am spanish and worked and lived in the UK (Oxford) for about 2 and a half years. The fact that I am very fluent in English helped a lot, but sometimes you can smell the racism, like people blatantly asking me if I was there for the “benefits”. The only people I knew on benefits were english, I was working really hard and in good companies. Apart from some episodes with that racist scent, in general I was feeling very comfortable as you only need to assume where you are… living in a different country with a different culture and background.

  19. I moved to Spain in 2005 bought a new Villa and paid with extras 380,000 euros I hated the Urbanizacion we lived on and sold it 2 years later for 226,000 euros I see today 2021 it is up for sale for 179,000 euros. Do not be fooled into buying. I also hate Spain why because like the first person said it is all true and more. Corruption is everywhere and everyone gets away with it. The Banks are the worst. Never, never trust a Spainish bank. I took mine to Court – Banco Popular and 6 years later got my day in court the bank admitted they had not translated everything correctly. 7 months after the Court date I got told I had cleared my name and won where was my 71,000 euros they had stolen oh you now need to go to court again yeah really. The Spanish have changed towards the Brits they are arrogant and rude. It is hard to live in Spain even when you can speak Spanish. It is not cheap and the exchange rate is terrible. I came back in 2019 and thank goodness I did. I will never say a bad word against my Country again that’s the UK. I did enjoy most of the time out in Spain but its bloody great being home again.

  20. What nobody has mentioned here is that, first, Spain have a LONG history of severe political difficulties. The Civil War didn´t come out of nothing. A 40 year long dictatorship followed, and then, overnight, the country had to learn how to become a democracy, which is not easy. You simply cannot compare it to other, stable European countries where things run smoothly.

    Second, it is a big country with a central government and then a series of autonomous regions. It is unavoidable that burocracy is snarly. I´m surprised that no-one has mentioned that lot of the burocracy is nowadays resolved online and if you have to do it physically, you set up an appointment and get dealt with straight away. No endless queues anymore (a positive aspect with Covid.).

    Third, Spain has been in a deep economical recession from 2008-16, which hit the country very very badly. Unemployment was up above 33%. Just as the country was starting to recover somewhat, Covid hit. Tourism is one of the cornerstones of Spanish economy and that has virtually dissappeared so now it is the whole story all over again. Will probably be way worse, in fact.

    To expect Spain to be as efficient as UK, or my native country of Sweden, just because the country forms part of the EU is just plain dumb. To expect Spanish people to receive North Europeans with open arms as the potential saviours is simply to be out of touch with reality. Spansih people are struggling very hard to survive, it is impossible for young people to find somewehere on their own to live, so of course foreigners who often do not even speak the language and come with heaps of money, buying properties that the locals will never be able to buy, will not necessarily be loved. And Im sorry, but I have to say that UK citizens in particular have worked very hard during several decades to create a really, really bad image.

    Bad customer service? Hmm, I really don´t know about that one. Never had anything to complain about in my visits to Madrid, Valencia an the south, or the Canaries where I have been living since 1986. I would say that the vast majority of people I have met have been very loving and very attentive. As for the time things tend to take to get resolved, well, this is just the flip side of all those “sleepy little whitewashed towns with a laid back and unhurried lifestyle” clichés that abound in traveller´s blogs and tourist guides.

    Job situation. With the current situation, why on Earth would you get preference in the job queue? As things are right now, there is only one rule: if you are offered a job, you take it. I had to laugh about the bloke complainging about not wanting to clean pools or work in bars. If you really want to work, and you reject the job offers, you are really only ensuring that you will not be counted on again. It is as simple as that. If you want to work you got to be creative. Teach privately, set up your own business, create an online course, things like that.

    The country is very big, with more than 8000 municipalitites. There are tons of small villages and towns. I did a road trip through southern Spain a few years ago and we passed through some amazingly beautiful places with really wonderful and friendly people. I have read lots of very positive accounts of European foreigners who come and set up small farms and homesteads and who work on getting involved with their local communities. Have some lovely English neighbours myself, as a matter of fact. Spain is so very much more than the sun and the cheap booze. Now,if you insist on settling down where all the expats do, expect to be treated as an expat.

    In reality it is very simple. If you want to settle down in Spain, you simply have to accept that the country is how it is. There´s just no way around it. And, for God´s sake, learn the language properly!

    • Shelagh Moore says

      Beautifully put! The problem with the Expat mob is they have spent holidays in Benidorm and think that is how life will be. They have no interest in Spain per se, just as a base to get cheap booze, cheap fags and sun. They know Zilch about Spanish history, culture or the Constitution, nor do they want to. They want to live on permanent Benidorm booze up. Then it all starts to fall apart. Reality kicks in, in the shape of laws and taxes and proving you are legally here. They get ripped off by other Brits who charge them 950euros to change a car plate, which actually costs 45! 450 euros to get residencia which costs 12! Most of them have no idea what a padron is!
      But then, worse happens. They suddenly realise that a life of permanent booze and fags and lying about is a very hollow one and pretty miserable. So they kick back. Not at Themselves, who created it, but at the Spanish! ‘You didn’t give me my ‘Happy Ever After!’ Well, of course they didn’t! Most Spaniards work very hard, and are just like you, me and the bloke next door. Why should they be asked to be responsible for Their rather misguided choices?

      • Noreen Gentleman says

        Hi Shelagh,
        I found your article very helpful, I have been planning to move to Spain for a few years now, and was all set to make the big move last year but then the virus hit! I have lived abroad in many other countries and yes you do have to make the effort to integrate with the local people.
        I am now a young person, but I am very fit and healthy, and i found it very funny and interesting how you described us old farts when we retire. I definitely do not want to be one of the bookclub, gardening crowd! but having said I live in the middle of nowhere here in Ireland and its so boring and lonely especially since we have been in lockdown for most of the year. I do not want to live in a remote area again, so I think I will have to live in a community.
        I would appreciate any advice you can give me please. is the crime as bad as Nick says ,and is there a lot of animosity towards foreigners?
        Thank you
        Noreen

        • Hi,
          I am 82 in a few weeks and have been living in Andalusia for 8 years + 3 years of winters to begin with. We live on the portuguese Spain border in a small Spanish port. Our community is mainly spanish and our neighbours are the best we have ever had. There are crimes committed here but mostly drug running which you only see in the newspapers. There are more Police outside the schools every morning than are on duty any time in Milton Keynes.
          Having lived in and worked in other EU countries although the there is a very strong Family life here we feel very happy here and would not want to return to the UK.
          We spent 2 years in the escuela de Linguas here for free, which is available in all Spain learning the language. The only difficulty here is the natives do not speak Spanish but half portuguese and they leave the beginning or endings off words.
          Burocracy is the same wherever you go.

          • Well said Bob!! You really know how it is! People listen to and read the wrong information – especially on the internet & websites like this

            People need to see the good, rather than search out the bad!

            have a great day!
            Derek

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