Living in Spain is easy if you know how!
Making the move to Spain can be exciting or a Daunting experience. Some get here and embrace a Spanish way of life and live here for the rest of their lives and others miss what a Spanish way of life is all about.
If you want to live in Spain and you decide a new way of life is what you deserve here are some tips worth noting.
- Property prices are better than where you currently live. You can buy a nice property in a great location knowing you can resell it in the future. There are still great deals to be had!
- Regular flights and deals mean that trips too and from Europe give you opportunities to book ahead to visit family and friends.
- A Warm and dry climate. Over 300 days of sunshine per year and a moderate temperature throughout the whole year. Two rainfalls per year and a warm climate throughout.
- Very good Spanish road system and public transport at affordable rates, which is great if you wish to see more of Spain. 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.
- The cost of living in Spain is generally lower in comparison to parts of Europe. Despite inflation in the past few years the cost of living in Spain is still cheaper. Council rates, utility bills, eating out and supermarket / fresh produce are all still cheaper than European countries we work in.
- Schools in Spain in many areas offer a bilingual education. Children stay for longer and the values that are shown to children in Spanish schools are of a high standard.
- 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 unspoiled 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.
- Unbeatable National Health Service. Clean hygienic hospitals and very competent medical staff.
- 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.
- 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.
Spain isn’t Belgium, Holland or the UK it is different and it does take a little time to adapt. If you do it right you will have no regrets and you will live your life to the full. Be prepared to be frustrated knowing that everything will not go to plan but stick with it because you will get it right in the end.
Here are some tips that will elevate the frustration.
- Your 40/50 or coming up to retirement age. Come for a holiday and visit different areas. If you fall in love with any area come back again this time your looking to work with an agent who can guide you along the way.
- 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.
- Investigate around for a good lawyer. Speak to locals and they will recommend both lawyer and agent.
- 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.
- Your Gestoria / Abogado (Professional administrative agency/Lawyer) to obtain a NIE number (Number of Identification for Foreigners-tax identification) Most find someone local to where they live and build a good rapport and can call in whenever they have any challenges with general things.
- Try and learn Spanish and do not expect the locals to speak to you in your chosen language, especially if you are going to work in Spain or live there full time. 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.
- Don´t compare. Well it’s not like that in the UK, Belgium or Holland is not going to get you anywhere. You are in Spain and the way of life takes some getting used to. You might have to wait longer in queues and wonder why people stop their cars for a 15 minute conversation in the middle of the road blocking all the traffic.
- 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. Change your timetable it is much better that way.
- 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.
- If you live on the coastline expect an influx of holiday makers coming to invade your private space through the summer periods. If you live inland expect noise from Donkeys, chickens, dogs and animal life.
- 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.