How to live in Spain
If you want to live in Spain, there are some valuable tips worth knowing before making the next step.
Here are 10 reasons why moving to Spain is still a number one destination to retire or emigrate to:
1. Low property prices. Property in Spain for sale is the lowest they have been for over a decade.
2. Regular flights and deals mean that trips too and from the UK; to see family and loved ones are so much easier.
3. Warm and dry climate. Over 300 days of sunshine per year and a moderate temperature throughout the whole year. (Depending on the region & area you live in) If you are thinking of living in northern Spain you need to be prepared for an elevated annual rainfall and colder weather conditions.
4. Very good Spanish road communications and public transport at affordable rates, which is great if you are thinking of living in Madrid or another Spanish city.
Trains are very well maintained and the new high-speed rail links all over Spain are going to make travelling in Spain even easier. Motorways and roads despite having many toll roads have very little traffic and makes Spanish road travel a very pleasant experience.
5. The cost of living in Spain is generally lower in comparison to the UK. Despite inflation in the past few years Spain the cost of living in Spain is still cheaper. Council rates, utility bills, eating out and supermarket / fresh produce are all still cheaper than in the UK.
6. Schools in Spain in many areas offer a bilingual education. Children stay children for longer and the values that are shown to children in Spanish schools are of a high standard.
7. A geographical paradise. From snowy mountain ranges in the Pyrenees and Granada to tropical islands in Tenerife and the Canary islands to long stretches of unspoilt coastline and of course thousands of acres of almond, orange, grape and olive groves. Spain also has many world heritage sites including la “Alhambra”, in Granada and the “Serra de Tramuntana”, Mallorca, which was recently declared this year. World heritage sites are determined by UNESCU and Spain is second in Europe being home to a total of 42 World heritage sites. Italy is in first place with 45 sites.
8. Unbeatable National Health Service. Clean hygienic hospitals and very competent medical staff.
9. Spanish people are generally very friendly, tolerant and family orientated. If you make an effort to integrate you will find it very easy to make friends.
10. An unbeatable lifestyle. Fabulous fiestas all over the country all year around, a country oozing culture and places of historical interest, fabulous golf courses, Sandy beaches and a healthy Mediterranean diet.
Remember Spain is different. It’s not one big holiday. At some point you need to get down to the nitty gritty. Here are 10 tips that will help you prepare for frustrating moments.
1. Don´t sell up everything and make a giant step. Instead live between the two countries first. To give up your life in the UK and live in a country you have only had holidays in before, is not a good idea at a retirement age.
If you are emigrating to Spain for work reasons make sure you can establish a trial period first. Maybe it is best to rent in Spain long term before selling up. Make sure you have security in your job and you are happy with the new lifestyle.
2. Be assertive, open minded and respectful. Don´t expect everything to be done overnight. Spain has a bureaucratic system that drives even the locals to distraction.
3. Go with the flow and make sure all your paper work is in order. There will always be some other paper that is needed but you are sometimes lucky. The help of a knowledgeable Spanish speaking local or translator comes in handy in these cases.
4. Pay a gestoria / abogado to obtain an nie number and any other matters that need to be processed in the Extranjería or the offices of eg.“Trafico”, (Traffic office.
“Funcionarios”, (Civil servants) that work in administrative positions in Spain have the reputation amongst the Spanish as being the laziest workers of the nation & guess what? They have a job for life….
Rely on the help of people that are “in the know”, to process your paperwork. A funcionario’s job is not at risk for attending you badly and they will only try to make you as miserable as they are…
5. Try and learn Spanish and do not expect the locals to speak to you in fluent English, especially if you are going to work in Spain…. That is not going to make you popular with the locals or the English people that are making an effort.
Remember you are in Spain. Always try and make an effort first and you may find you will get a friendlier service and the locals will have more patience with you.
6. Don´t compare. “Well it’s not like that in England” is not going to get you anywhere. You are in Spain and the way of life takes some getting used to. Please refer back to point 1.
7. “La hora del Almuerzo”, (Brunch) takes place nationwide between 10.30-11.30 each day. Don´t be caught in any queues at that time and especially if it is to file a complaint. If you are in a queue and waiting to be attended by a funcionario…. You are likely to have the window closed in your face despite the fact that you have been queuing for 1 hour.
8. National holidays, bank holidays, local fiestas and August are all times that means that the area that you are living in is likely to be closed.
Shops, banks, supermarkets etc prepare for this in advance… Get a calendar of the local fiestas and bank holidays.
Don´t try and do anything in August that requires the processing of paper work or means placing an order for something that is not in stock
9. If it is your birthday remember it is down to you to buy a cake and the first round… Don´t expect your Spanish friends to make too much of a fuss. They are waiting for you to make the effort…. Buy your own cake and take it into work for the whole office to enjoy. If you are retired, throw a party!
10. “La Mañana”, (Morning) is until 14.00 hours. “Buenos Días”, (Good Morning)
The Spanish Lunch hour is between 14.00 hrs and 17.00 hrs.
“La siesta”, is between 15.00-17.00 hrs and is when the Spanish generally take a power nap. Call the children in from the pool if you are on a development.
“La tarde”, (Afternoon) runs from 14.00 hrs until nightfall. “Buenas tardes”, (Good afternoon)
“La Noche”, is from dusk until midnight. After that the small hours are referred to as “La Madrugada”. “Buenas noches”, (Good evening).
Try and have a sense of humour about the things that are different. Life in Spain is different and can be a shock to the system if you are not prepared for it. A good sense of humour and an open mind will certainly mean that the good will out weigh the bad.