24 Apr, 2014 @ 09:00
1 min read

Thousands of British expats leaving Spain: Have your say

fuengirola puerto costa del sol
Fuengirola is a popular holiday resort for Brits

BRITISH expats who moved to Spain for a happier life are returning in droves, with nearly 90,000 abandoning their new Spanish life last year according to national statistics.

The number of Brits registered with town halls dropped a steep 23% in 2013, plummeting from 385,179 on Jan 1 to 297,229 at the end of December.

Research has also revealed that those who choose to move to sunnier climes end up less happy than those who stay in Britain.

Dr David Bartram, from Leicester University, has discovered that 329 migrants registered an average happiness rating of 7.3/10, compared with an average of 7.5/10 for the 56,000 people surveyed still in their homes countries.

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He surveyed people who had moved from northern European countries to Spain, Portugal, Greece or Cyprus.

Possible reasons for this decline in happiness are an inability to fit in with a new culture, language and society, while leaving family, friends and homes behind. The economic crisis, shrinking job market and unemployment rates have undoubtedly played a part too.

Other European expats are also giving up on Spain, with the registered German and French populations falling by 23.6% and 12.7% respectively.

This mass exodus of immigrants saw the total population of Spain fall for the second year running, this time from 47,129,783 to 46,725,164.

Tom Powell

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128 Comments

  1. Maybe the paperwork drives some people away. I am just in the process of changing my UK driving licence to a Spanish one, the amount of paperwork is unbelievable.

  2. Fred your opinion and that of some others are being vindicated by these results, and I believe the figure is not higher because people are tied down to properties they have no possibility of selling now or in the near future. Spain is a beautiful country, has wonderful food, and in the main wonderful people too, but something is making people, who otherwise, regardless of language problems, would have felt happy and contented to continue to live in Spain, to pick up their suitcases and call it a day. What a shame. They must be aware of something others seem to ignore or are in denial of.

  3. Draconian laws, a non-existent justice system, massive inefficiency and a large rise in the cost of living are to blame.

    There is a big article in the El Mundo paper today about how Alicante has lost half a million foreigners, its largest fall in population since the 19th century, leading to a total collapse in its pension system. Well done Spain, your new laws are really helping foreigners invest in your country.

  4. Don’t hang around with just cultureless moaning Brits in Spain drinking every day and sunbathing, whilst living and eating on uk hours.

    That would be ‘Less’ happy living here.

    At least you can go back to the uk and ignore most people/neighbours.

    ALL ABOARD!

  5. Peter. Wonder if you are doing something wrong. My wife changed hers a few months ago and there wasn’t a lot of paperwork. It turned out to be a simple process.

  6. I could not be happier than I am now, living in Spain. I don’t listen to the proverbial man in a bar and find things go wrong. I research and do things properly. That way, no problem. Ultimately, my family and I are certain that if we hadn’t moved to Spain six years ago then I would be dead by now. The speed with which my brain tumour was diagnosed and treated in Spain saved my life. Couldn’t be happier!

  7. @Steve I’m doing it via a historia as I can’t go to trafico myself. So far they have my original licence, a copy of the green sheet that comes with the licence, they want a new NIE as the one I have is the old white A4 sheet, a new Padron, a copy of my passport, my Spanish medical certificate, two other forms with my parent name as well as all my details and a new residencia, also proof that I am a pensioner with an income, I suspect they will also ask the last time I had fish and chips. I’m only changing as it is the law from 1 January next year, found this out after much research on whether you actually needed to change it.

  8. @It ain’t Cricket, thank you. I wish the figures were the other way around. Spain has cocked up big time here and the figures show that something is seriously wrong, so what is it?

    @Steve, best of luck to you, but saying that you research and “do things properly” is actually quite naive, as well as insulting to the thousands of people, for example, who have irregular homes when they used lawyers to purchase their houses in good faith and now find themselves in limbo. Do you really know better than all of those people? And what is “doing things properly” exactly? Do enlighten us all lol.

  9. Steve, I’m pleased you had a happy ending. OP readers might like to know that the speed in which our building licence was revoked was devastating on my family and the damage that has been done is incalculable. We faced no socio-economic problems in Spain, we were integrated into out local community and spoke Spanish fluently, even had Spanish driving licences!! Politicians, supported by the judiciary ruined our life in Spain over a building licence that was issued by the local authority. Included in Dr David Bartram’s list of reasons should be the threat of and the demolition of peoples HOMES – for me, that has been Spain’s cancer and it’s not one they are going to recover from.

  10. Dreek: I think you’re stuck in the 90’s.
    The whole ‘stay away from the expat enclaves’ and ‘I mix with the locals in the cafe’ thing died a death years ago. It’s predictable and passé. The vast majority of expats in Spain are very aware of the country and the culture. People are voting with their feet. There does seem to be a problem with some expats unable to admit to their family and friends in their home country that they are stuck so they keep posting on message boards as if to convince themselves.

  11. Demolitions, in a word. But I can only speak for the region of Andalucia where I own property in Spain. These stats need more indepth analysis but off the top of my head I would say the main problems in Spain as a whole are unworkable property laws that need to be radically reformed, asset declaration laws, draconian taxation system, the fact that is it not a business friendly environment, generic inefficiency and the lack of English speaking facilities in areas where they are trying to encourage inward investment – not just to appease Brits but where English is the second language of other foreigners who they are trying to attract.

    It could be the best place to live in Europe and it has enormous potential but they are not exploiting it to the full. The Junta de Andalucia could legalise all affected properties tomorrow but they choose not to. This would have an immediate impact on the property market and encourage foreigners to buy property in Spain in greater numbers. The central government in Madrid could exempt foreigners from asset declaration taxes and make it easier to start a business.

    Spain needs a complete overhaul and to have a rebranding exercise, the way they operate does not cut it in the modern world. They need to put out more positive mood music, make it a user friendly place to invest with a variety of tax incentives and make it feel more welcoming to foreigners. Right now, it feels like a threatening place where you get taxed to death and live in fear of either having your house demolished or never being able to sell it if you want to.

    Spain is one great big wasted opportunity. Of course they can carry on as they are if they like but they do so at their peril.

  12. After almost 24 years here I guess It will be me left to close the door after the last whingeing Brit leaves.
    Good riddance is what I say!
    Signed: One hugely contented Brit expat who loves his life here, works, speaks Spanish (made the effort!), has no UK TV in Spain (or ever had) and the last place he would think of moving to would be UKIP’s UK!

  13. peter,dont listen to anyone who tells you you dont need a medical………..the spanish do,so do you think they would let us guiris use the roads without one???????,………..its very simple to change over…..and is recommended

  14. Ed Vaughan We Moved to Coin, Andalucia on New years eve. Its the best time to be in Spain as far as we are concerned. We have our own Web business and we are bringing skills to the country and not relying on the state. Its exciting times for us as we feel we are here at the start of something rather than at the end. Its a beautiful Country with very friendly people who have welcomed us more than we could have hoped for. Viva Espana!!

  15. Pg. to carify the medical situation for the driving licence exchange, if your UK plastic card is due for renewal then you do need to get a medical. If it still has time left on it then you won’t need a medical to get your Spanish licence but will need one later.

    Peter You say you are only changing your licence because the law is changing at the end of the year. How were you planning on renewing your UK plastic card when that is due for renewal. DVLA can’t accept a Spanish address. Some people give a friends address but DVLA confirm that is not legal.

    Fred. Doing things properly certainly isn’t naive. Those that think they are being clever by not doing things properly are the naive ones. There are many people that thought they were being clever but now, for example, find they can’t get into the Spanish health system. I am sure we all know people continuing to illegally use EHICs or don’t make tax returns despite living permanently in Spain

    I accept that there are people that used lawyers to buy properties and have now been hit but there are many others that didn’t use lawyers or just selected the cheapest and now regret it. Maybe I was lucky in that our lawyer was very thorough and steered us away from some properties that appeared legal but she found some things that didn’t quite tie up so were at risk. Let’s not also forget that it isn’t just expats that have fallen foul of licences being withdrawn. Spaniards have had houses demolished as well. It’s just the expat ones that hit the press in UK.

  16. Steve, there really is no definitive way to do things properly in Spain. Lawyers, gestors and other advisors are all flummoxed by Spain’s laws. Errors in paperwork, procedures and entitlements are rife. Maybe you were lucky, but then that doesn’t exactly square with your “doing things properly” claim. One of the reasons why people find they can’t get into (or rather “back into”) the Spanish health system is also because of recent changes in the law for foreigners which were brought in during the time many people were already living here, and not just because they are trying to cheat the system.

  17. There are clearly many factors that drive people away from Spain, I strongly agree that those that haven’t managed to learn the language must get so frustrated when dealing with paperwork, even those of us that speak the language can have a tough time as most Government departments have a draconian and outdated systems that desperately need updating to user friendly.
    The new laws on becoming a resident require plenty of paperwork and validation on who is paying for ones healthcare, officially translated docs and at least one full morning off work, as with driving Licence applications, it’s all in the ‘preparation’ making sure you have all the correct paperwork my advise is always go ‘over documented’ and take a photocopy of everything too as Government departments have even cut back on providing this!
    Spanish Tax laws again must be a factor for those that have assets outside of Spain, it seems to be Tax for everything and of course the cost of living has risen. All this said I must confess I would still rather be here and after 10 years feel like its home and don’t have any plans of returning to UK yet even though I’m feeling the pinch of the cost of living and increased taxes I’m of the opinion UK for me would be still expensive and I would really miss the sunshine, culture, landscape and mostly beautiful people here.

  18. steve……even the spanish dont know the law in spain sometimes.my personal experiance includes the tax system,driving laws,housing laws,court procedures, etc.all I REPEAT ALL ,leave you with a sense of leaving the relevant office with unease………..thats because they just dont know!!the people that are suppose to enforce,administer,JUST DONT KNOW!!…i love the spanish,and the country but argue with them and they say..if you dont like it leave spain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…….after a while,a long while i hasten to add you think to yourself?….yeah maybe i should.

  19. I doubt that people are leaving Spain in such numbers as reported in the Spanish and British press. The original information comes from the number-crunchers at the INE who take it from the ‘padrón’, the town hall register. But, no one who leaves Spain bothers to tramp up to the Town Hall to say ‘take me off the ‘padrón’, why don’t you’. So the numbers are pretty suspect. I think that the Town Halls have been told my the Ministry of the Interior to check their foreigners every five years and that these are the adjustments. A five year drop rather than a precipitate one year drop. (Of course, at least half the Brits don’t bother to get on the ‘padrón’ in the first place).

  20. Pauline,
    your moaning about having to declare all worldwide income in Spain – I’ve got news for you, all European countries do except, the UK. A long time ago a Dutch friend of mine asked “who has the longest arms in the world” answer – the Dutch taxman.

    Our ISA’s mean nothing in France. We have shares we bought years ago which have gone up and up, we shall have to pay a lot of the profits in taxes when we cash in the ISA’s as income from them is taxed as well.

    We could’nt imagine going back to live in the UK – if this is the price we have to pay, we will.

    I must say that the Tax office in Rodez could’nt be more helpful, maybe because we have learned to speak French.

    Oh yes, I’m sick of the tired old chestnut that many leave because they can’t or won’t learn Spanish, it may be true for some but don’t tar all those who left with these blanket statements, it simply is not true.

  21. MANY Brits return to the UK because the demographics clarly show the Brit ex-pat is getting older, and the treatment in the UK’s NHS is “appealing” – they don’t see the latest NHS news that some 30,000 to 40,000 have DIED because they are not given enough water to drink! Yes, water… welcome home!

  22. I seriously doubt that the figures returning to the UK from Spain are anything like as dramatic as those reported by The Daily Fail and other doom-mongering tabloids.

    Last year I left Spain after 20 years, however and I have to say that it was the best move I ever made – FOR ME! I am sure that for hundreds of thousands it remains heaven.

  23. The language issue doesnt come in to it at the end of the day if you dont learn spanish you will not be able to comunicate properly with anyone or anything and it will make spanish workers be less helpfull towards you but that is it i have lived in spain for 14 years and speak perfect spanish this hasnt helpd me in the past years to get paperwork problems sorted out 5 years i have been dealing with a certain problem with the catastral in malaga been through 6 different lawyers wich even they cant seem to help not to mention they havent even botherd to ring me and let me know whats going on 3 years later the costumer service is so bad its takes years to sort anything out and there is nothing you can do about it the system is so corrupt you just have to sit back amd wait and if they make mistakes and it takes longer you have no say it that either. There are killing tje tourism is certain places which is was bought is money and they charge stupid ammounts of money for self employment fees and to employ someone then goes back to why money you get for a normal job is so low compare to other countires beacuse it cost them so much to put workers on a contract and no help for young people who want to try n make something of themselves who csn afford to open a buisness with all the costs as it is and soon as you start 300 euros a month its imposible then they moan about all the people that are self employed and that are ilegal and say they loose so much money a year because of these people maybe if they stop to think if it was a reasonable ammount to pay people would risk being illegal as soon as the goverment get there head round this and take a look at the rest of the countries in the eu they would cut down the people on the social beacuse there would be more jobs and more people paying in and less money they would have to lay out but instead of this they keep bringing in the laws and putting everything up so untill there mentality change i think people will carry kn leaving even the spanish i starting to reaslise you get alot more else where. Then transfer fees for yout car ok i just bought my second han car and have to pay 450 euros to put it in my name are you having a laugh judt thought it would interest people that this is aparently ilegal to do this and the eu fines spain every year for doing it but yes the weather is nice the beach in summer it all seems much better but is it really worth it? Xxx

  24. @Peter

    Re changing to a Spanish licence. What law? Do you have more details? I understood as long as a licence issued by an EU state could be used anywhere in the EU for as long as it was valid.

  25. The best of Spain

    “People see the UK NHS as appealing”. Do they not realise they are leaving a very good health system in Spain. It does have its faults but we have many friends and family that work in the UK NHS and they all say that I would have died in UK because of the waiting lists. The technique used in the operation I had in Spain 18 months ago that saved my life was only approved in UK last summer. Many also think they can get straight back into the NHS but I believe it isn’t as straight forward as that.

    I wonder how many people return to UK and then regret doing so! Is there really less paperwork? Is bureaucracy any better? Does every office of the same department apply rules in the same way? I don’t think so!

  26. I’ve always been confused Robert by the ‘convince yourself that living in Spain is right for you’ phrases – I’ve only heard this from not very nice ‘miserable ex-pats’. It IS for most people, but (obvious housing problems aside – that’s a different subject.) there ARE apathetic Brits in Spain that would say they are ‘Less’ happy living here.

    I can’t believe you M in Spain saying about the speed of building blah blah after someone was happy with the speed of getting vital hospital treatment. Utterly disgraceful trolling.

    Come on here more Michael and try your luck with these lot! Fantastic!

  27. steve for your information on returning to the uk you would have to wait 6 months for treatment other than emergency treatment………….and i always love these “its better here no there ,you should speak spanish,debates!! IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOUR ATTITUDE,AND STAGE YOU ARE AT IN LIFE……..MYSELF IM VICTOR MELDREW……..I DONT BELIEVEEEEE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Spain is slowly becoming another “eastern European country” with built in corruption (some might call it good business) a non-existent judicial system..and million of fine Spanish people lost in the years of un-employment.

    The sadness of the times will reflect on the historical Spain for some years to come.

  29. I live on the Costa Brava, north-eastern Spain (or should I say Catalunya?) I often read OP & other regional sites in English. The people I know who have returned to the UK have done so for the following reasons:
    1. ill health & wanting to be nearer family
    2. missing grandchildren (probably not really comfortable in a foreign country)
    3. boredom! – especially in the winter (don’t realise what is actually going on)
    4. never really intended to stay in Spain forever
    5. Just want to go back to their own country.

    I love it here, despite all the bureaucratic problems, the PP government, hike in taxes, etc. After 7 years I am not ready to leave……but one should never say “never.” Maybe Portugal next? )I have already lived in France & Italy & certainly wouldn’t go back to France).

  30. Spain: a semi-gypsy enclave with no laws or property rights. It seems to suit the low class Brits who’s greatest achievement is learning another language and thinking they have integrated with the locals. As I said before, all of this is very 90’s speak. The world has moved on from that.

  31. Well said Paco. So many expats think it is just themselves but they forget that Spaniards have had houses demolished as well and have to go through much of the same bureaucracy as well.

  32. Paco Gonzalez, I’m glad you agree with (presumably) most of our comments on here but please, can you try and galvanise your compatriots and do something about it? As I have said on here before, Spain is like one great big wasted opportunity when it should be the best place to live in Europe.

    As a Spaniard you have the power of the vote and better language skills. Foreigners cannot vote in the elections that really matter which leaves them feeling powerless and the only way to vent their frustration is on this type of forum. Perhaps you can write on an OP type forum in the Spanish press and raise some of these issues which, of course, affect Spaniards as well. With a bit of luck and if you shout loudly enough, the right person might read it and take action – as the saying goes, if you throw enough mud against the wall some of it will eventually stick.

  33. Out of all the people I have known for years, just a handful of people have left. I have no idea where these figures come from. I do know a few of those people who came back to Spain realising just what a mistake they had made going back to the UK.
    I couldn’t live on my pension as well in the UK as I can in Spain. I am more relaxed living here and the locals are lovely people.

  34. These statistics do not add up to much. Thousands of people of ALL nationalities have quit Spain because of the economic crisis and reduced job opportunities. As for “Dr David Bartram, from Leicester University, who has discovered that 329 migrants…”, is this a joke? The number is so insignificant it means nothing.

  35. Tom you’re right. Most people we’ve met, and that’s hundreds who live in Spain, LOVE it here.

    This website though tries to delve deep into PROBLEMS in Spain, which is valuable news, but it can seem as if there are only problems living here, which is simply untrue.

    Just off out to pick myself up after reading some comments and mix with the friendly locals you mentioned. Need my daily dose of practicing Spanish too.

  36. Let us all guess Robert. You don’t live in Spain then?

    Hopefully more of those lower class Brits you think just live here, have left.

    You can keep YOUR Spain.

  37. Robert;
    Learning a language and integrating into the community is an achievement. All any citizen of any country asks an immigrant to do is learn the language and integrate.
    It is not easy learning a language the older you get, but the Spanish people love you trying to learn their language. It takes courage to move to another country and to integrate.
    As for calling people low class Brits, I think that is insulting and unnecessary!

  38. We have lived in Andalucia for three years now and, in general, our perception of the Brits is they do not try to integrate and they prefer the Spanish change their ways to accommodate them. There seems to be this smugness or arrogance that the British way is the only way. This move for us was not only a geographical one, but a total change in lifestyle. Either accept it or move on. The Spanish do not give a damn. And good for them!

  39. Well, Andalucia is a huge place and it depends a lot on where you live. If you live in Marbella, life is different than if you lived in Antequera or Jaen. The more rural you live, the more likely you are to integrate. Most Brits out here are retired. It is very difficult to learn a new language late in life. Having said that, if you try you will be respected for it.
    I have Spanish neighbours and I find they do care. I have been living in Spain for almost 10 years with family having lived here for many more years. I love the Spanish way of life, but they too want us to integrate.

  40. Well said Derek, my wife was very recently diagnosed with stage 3B cancer of the lungs, she has has had lots of visits gifts of food etc, all from our Spanish friends and neighbours, our so called English friends have restricted themselves to, how is your is wife, so sad, none of them have visited her in person. I am so glad that we are in Spain at this time and not the couldn’t care less UK.

  41. Many Spanish people are very kind and caring, that’s totally true. However, they are just the same here in the Rhondda – you can’t say that all the people in the UK are horrible any more than you can say that everyone in Spain is a delight and a joy to know.

  42. There is a world of difference between conventional immigration and residential tourism. Moving to a foreign country for work opportunities with children who need schooling is totally different from someone who is (mostly) retired, self supporting and moving to Spain for probably a limited period of time say, 5 to 10 years.

    One size does not fit all and Brits moving to/spending extended periods of time in Spain need to be broken down into several categories i.e. people moving with families (not many due to lack of work) and residential tourists (the vast majority) some who are long term and some who are long term conventional tourists but want to spend extended periods of time in Spain. Many intend to return to their country of origin eventually which is why they are called “expats”.

    As Tom said, some people choose to live in the hills of Granada and integrate with the locals and some choose to live a holiday lifestyle on the coast and there is nothing wrong with either of these lifestyle options, it is a matter of personal choice. However, I am getting increasingly fed up with the constant Brit on Brit sniping that goes on with people looking down their noses at anyone who dares to enjoy watching UK TV or shop at Iceland. Who are you, I, or anyone else to say that it is wrong for people to spend their time in this way? Presumably their money is good and they are contributing to the local economy. They are not arriving in Spain, taking the job of a Spaniard, claiming benefits and asking for social housing are they? These people are self supporting home owners or long term renters and if they only speak basic Spanish and spend all their time with other expats why is that so sinful, they are not committing a crime are they?

    Residential tourism was a very lucrative industry in Spain but as we know, they did not nurture it and it is in decline for various reasons, not least the unworkable property laws. As an industry, it has enormous potential and offers huge opportunities to Spain in terms of inward investment, employment and business opportunities but they need to decide whether or not they value it. I rather suspect that they do and if so, they need to behave like a service industry and go on a charm offensive to win back some of the people who have been put off by various horror stories and make it a more user friendly environment. There is stiff competition and people will go to places like Portugal where they offer tax incentives and have more workable property laws.

    On the other hand, future expats might read some of the unpleasant comments made by Brits on various OP articles and decide to take their money elsewhere and who could blame them.

  43. Most satisying to see Jane obliterating Derek’s argument in a paragraph. Fact is, there is no right or wrong way for an ex-pat to live in Spain. Ironically, your enemy in Spain is far more likely to be a Brit like Derek with an ego issue about how he is a “better Brit” than someone else. Of course, even having that opinion shows that he is actually inferior, not superior. Bizarrely, Derek once asked on here if people shouted at me in the street, and then just yerterday he admitted that it was actually himself that got shouted at in the street in the UK, and no wonder he attracs that sort of abuse with the attitude he has.

  44. I agree with Derek when he says Spain is a friendly place to live. If I said “hola” to a stranger in UK I would more likely get my jaw broken. In Spain I get Hola back and often, in our peublo, a chat. When I took ill it wasn’t just the Brits that were caring but the Spanish as well. A year and a half later both sides are asking after me. Both sides brought food to our door to relieve some of the pressure on my wife. It was Spaniards that hugged us both when I came out of hospital.

  45. @Steve Are you generalising about the UK when you say you’d more likely get your jaw broken there if you said ‘hola’ to a stranger? How about saying ‘hello’ in the UK which we do where we live, although often complete strangers say it first (coastal southern UK), no jaw breaking here! Say ‘hola’ if you want to to where it’s understood, in Spain.

    All countries have their trouble spots, Spain is no exception!

  46. OK, I would use Hello in UK, but you know what I meant. But I have lived in the south east of England, south coast of England, east, central and west Scotland and feel more uncomfortable approaching strangers there than I do in Spain.

  47. @Steve, feeling uncomfortable approaching strangers is not the same as telling everyone in the UK you ‘would more likely get your jaw broken’, that was OTT.

    We say hello quite comfortably in the UK when necessary and we say hola similarly in Spain which we visit regularly. In both countries we notice it is said more often when people are in smaller towns/villages or enjoying strolls along beaches or just relaxing somewhere.

  48. A give
    When I lived in the UK, in summer I would go out walking on my own, through the woods and country lanes. If I ever met any women walking on their own they would get very nervous. Few would speak or have eye contact. That is a perception that a stranger can be a danger. We teach our kids that. However, here in Spain women walking alone do not worry about seeing someone out in the country walking. The fear perception is not there. It is difficult to explain. I walk every morning in Spain and see others doing the same. It is all do do with perception.

  49. Strange experiences Steve and Derek have had. I’ve never had problems approaching people in conversation anywhere in the UK, or indeed elsewere. I think the issue must be with the person themselves. As Angie correctly says, in small UK villages just about everyone says hello to each other, or at least I do in my small village whenever I return to the UK.

  50. Fred – good post but I’m sure the little man will come back with more abusive posting, which of course proves your argument.

    Jane, agree with most of what you said but how many Brits living anywhere in Spain actually have Spanish TV or read Spanish newspapers – so how do you know what’s going on in the country you live in?.

    Where we live in France we eventually made friends with some Brits who live in the area. One couple have lived here for 15 years and speak not a word of French. Another couple – the man speaks enough French to get by but his wife not a word and they have been living here for 9 years. The next couple, the wife speaks no French and her husband who spends his working life, working all over the world speaks perfect French and Arabic – none of them have either French TV or radio and no French friends – how is that living in a country?

    We have a few French friends and many aquaintances, got involved with the local associations. There is one thing that is so different from Spain and the UK – politeness, it is part of the very fabric of life here.

    Steve, typically a ‘coastie’, there is nothing you can tell me about Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne, Hastings,great place if your a junkie.

    Sadly much of what you say is true, how different from when I was growing up. I believe the cancer started with Thatcher and continued with Tony the Liar (what can you expect from a lawyer).

    I hav’nt lived in any big city in Spain which I understand have become increasingly violent.

    I can only speak from personal experience but I have never had to think before I opened the door in Ortigueira/Guadix or here in the Aveyron. I have only seen one bar fight and that was Brit OAPs in Murcia.

    Whereas in 500 sq.m of my front door in Hove in just 2 years there were 4 murders and one attempted murder. It is dangerous to walk on the seafront in Brighton or Hove after dark, unless you are armed. The drunkeness of the English appalls me, what is it they are repressing that makes them like this.

    In London – do not under any circumstances make eye contact and never speak to anyone, they will think you have forgotten to take your meds – sad but true.

  51. Our place in the UK is in the London area and not in the best Borough but we never worry about walking out alone and I am happy to walk the dog on my own at midnight, walk back from the tube on my own at night and I am also happy to go to football matches on my own.

    I really can’t understand why people feel the way they do, I have never felt frightened or threatened in any way in the UK or anywhere else. My neighbours are a mixed bunch and mostly friendly and I talk to a lot of people in the area and local kids often approach me because they like our dog.

  52. Interesting article Stuart, but why move back to the UK because of age and the NHS. The Spanish health system is excellent.
    I appreciate some people go home because of uncertainty, but since living in Spain I would find it very difficult to return to the UK. We go back for holidays, but as soon as the plane lands back in Malaga I feel so much happier. The exchange rate did make a difference on our pensions, but we are still better off here than we would be in the UK.
    As for the price of property. Many of my friends have large houses here. Most bought about 12 years ago. The exchange rates were favourable for converting to the Euro from the pound. These days, houses sell for less, but the exchange rate is better converting from the euro back into pounds. That is only important to those wanting to sell and there are a few I know, but the vast majority of my friends agree with me. This is their home and they want to stay here.

  53. Most people I know who have returned home either came here in their late teens early 20’s for a few years in the sun and some fun and have now returned home to “settle down” or now have kids of their own and want the support of extended family. Others solely came on the back of the real estate boom for sales work and have moved on to other countries (not necessarily their home country)where there are further fortunes to be made. Of the older crowd, most leave because either partner misses the grandkids/friends etc…. I’ve been out here 30 years now and this is home for me. Not to say I might not move somewhere else in the future if the mood strikes!

  54. Whoever said that if you move abroad it had to be forever anyway? We came for an adventure, still having one and still enjoying it, but at no point did I ever say if would be forever! It might be, it might not…. Stop putting us in boxes “powers that be” !

  55. I have read with interst comments on here and amazing contrasts! We are impressed with Spain and have no regrets, the Spanish in our local town have had to deal with corruption and general difficulties in integration with foreign nationals…… HOWEVER over time, more and more are wanting to learn English, insist on speaking it, and will correct us if we mispronounce our spanish efforts……. We have amazing spanish friends in business and social aspects.

    Our biggest gripe has seriously been those people who have delusions of grandeur and make life utterly miserable – and yes BRITISH! I have squared up to numerous sadly who have been so rude and arrogant, and decided to stamp their feet in a geriatric playground!

    The health service is just terrific, I only had one grievance which was valencia, but he was just obnoxious to extreme…… but wow, it is a huge contrast to the uk, but also getting doctors in the uk to listen to to their patients.

    Our plan is to eventually return due to care aspect and family, but for now we are in the very best place…. watching all the changes!!

  56. as far as hospitals health service etc you cant beat it…people food etc excellant i have lived for 16 years in tenerife, not an easy life as people think have had and lost businesses and gone through all my savings to pay taxes bills etc, the law here is not really for ex pats example bought a property 12 years ago as an income and for 5 years had 800 a month from this all taxes were paid all legal, then they decide property is illegal so closed it down… stayed empty for 8 years 16.000euros later to solicitor and getting half price i paid for it leaving me in debt…this couldnt happen in uk …..its the laws etc can take years and i mean years… i have known so many people lose there homes because of the time it takes to sort problems out …but still hanging in here..but dont blame the people they have simalar problems …problem with a lot of brits come here and still want to live as if they are on holiday …get real….

  57. @Sue “i have known so many people lose there homes because of the time it takes to sort problems out”

    Not much point in having a great health service etc if you are made homeless. “Hanging on” doesn’t sound like a good quality of life either.

  58. Better alive with a great health service and homeless than dead from a crappy one. I speak from experience as far as health is concerned. Health care in Spain saved my life whereas the waiting lists in UK would have been too long to do any good!

  59. Steve, you can’t access the great health service you speak about if you don’t have an income, and most homeless people don’t have an income. The doctors and nurses in the NHS must be so happy for you to describe them as crappy.

  60. Fred. Unfortunately the NHS in the UK is more than just the doctors and nurses. My wife is an ex-nurse and both my daughters are nurses, They all say it is crappy because of, not the care, but the bureaucracy and management that cause the waiting lists and government that causes some treatments not to be available. Through my family and friendsI know many nurses and doctors and they all say the same. More than just family have said how lucky I am to be in Spain for my treatment. I said I speak from experience. The technique used in my op in Spain was only approved for use in UK last year, it is expensive, but was used for me in Spain a year before.

  61. Steve, thanks for clarifying what is was that you actually meant, and I’m pleased you got great treatment. I think you’ll find that good/bad experiences can be found in all health services across the world. If you read the Spanish press there have been some truly appalling cases of bad treatment recently. The UK is a small country with a growing immigration problem and a universal health service that treats all. Spain is very different in that respect and it is significantly harder to be eligible for treatment if you are of working age.

  62. Don’t worry Steve, Fred’s an insensitive pompous pseudo know-it-all!

    Quite a few people I know have been saved by the quicker Spanish healthcare system. This is also backed up by one uk doctor who said they wouldn’t be alive with differing poorer longer treatment the uk would have offered them.

  63. Even if they have a better health care system, they have no good paying jobs and 26% or so unemployment rate so it is not a good place for any non retired people to live.

  64. Derek, a few isolated cases of good treatment don’t equate to a perfect Spanish health service. There are good and bad experiences in equal measure. As Reap correctly says, a self-employed working person who doesn’t pay their enormous autonomo bill each month (which coincidentally has to be paid even if they don’t work) has no long-term eligibility for healthcare in Spain. So many people I know have fallen into this trap.

  65. Excellent NHS system in S.E. England, needed a non urgent op under a general anaesthetic, was able to do ‘choose and book’ to Benenden Private Hospital in Kent, waited only 3 weeks, op at 9.30am back to private room looked after by lovely nurses, left hospital 3pm. So, private treatment all on the NHS, would have cost several £1000’s, it’s not so bad in parts of Blighty. Our local GP practice is also excellent, pensioners also don’t pay for prescription.

    Friends of ours near Alhaurin have to pay to visit private GP to avoid lengthy queues, then pay for their prescriptions.

    Is Spain’s healthcare really better, would this have been available in Spain? Only asking!

  66. Angie. Does that not sum up the failing of the NHS in UK. It is having to pay a lot of money to the private sector to bail it out because it can’t cope! Money that would be better spent improving its own facilities and services.

  67. It depends how you view things Steve, for us we have an excellent GP practice and the ‘choose and book’ system which suits us.

    Yes it probably is paying a lot to the private sector but at least it’s by far better that this is in place than not. The NHS is creaking and groaning but don’t forget huge numbers of foreigners and immigrants (I don’t mean that in a derogatory way)are also using the NHS, Health Tourism apparently is a problem.

    The thing is, most countries don’t even have anything like an NHS, it is free for Nationals, many Brits who live abroad still like to go back for certain medical treatments if they ‘retain’ (albeit illegally) an address in the UK.

  68. Steve: It’s the obsessive quest for privatisation, driven by the current Tory administration in the U.K. that creates the problems in the N.H.S. There would be NO private sector without the tax-payer funded education system churning out health workers who then defect to the profit-driven private health “industry”. In other words-again-the tax-payer subsidises private profit. As in the railways, water, nuclear power, banks. The list goes drearily on.
    As for “health tourism” and immigration? A red herring, smoke and mirrors. Take the lot back into public ownership and plow those profits back into public services, not into shareholders pockets.

  69. Ah the old ‘red herrings and smoke and mirrors’ masquerading as truth, lol, Yes the NHS should be taken back into public ownership but pigs will fly first.

    Like most people I wouldn’t believe a word that comes out of Spain’s Government and if the same was true for the UK Government then we shouldn’t believe their 1st comprehensive report that the true cost of ‘health tourism to the UK using the NHS is up to £2 Billion a year, some 100 times more than thought’ of which the Government is thinking of ways to claw back £500 million of it per year. A trifling amount.

    Apparently and just one example, many pregnant women arrive in the UK late on in their pregnancies, wonder why?

  70. stefanjo,

    Why should the taxpayer train people for the private sector, why not make any trainee nurses/doctors sign a contract to work within the NHS for a minimum of 15 years. Or they can go to the US and pay to be trained, leaving with a debt of $150-200,000.

    There would not a be private sector without this parasites feeding off poor Joe Muggins.

    Simple to stop this health tourism – anyone entering an NHS facility must produce proof of residence. Here in France you apply for a Carte Vitale which must be produced immediately – problem solved.

  71. What’s the health service like in France Stuart? “Where we live in France” – You mention violence in the UK, but outside the nightlife areas it isn’t so noticeable. You also mention cities in Spain getting more violent, but I understand this is not the case – like the UK, crime figures are actually falling. Be nice to have some informed facts on these issues.

  72. Stefanjo. I just take you up on your point about nurses defecting to the private sector. I know several nurses that qualified as nurses but thrn found the NHS had no jobs for them. They didn’t defect to the private sector, they had no choice if they wanted to work.

  73. I have seen many such comments on French web sites and where we lave lived (France that is not the web site) for over fifteen years. Last year we dipped our toe in Spain and returned in November 2013 in that we were trussed up like a Turkey at Christmas to the UK and then back to France.

    FWW I still say that some integration and an attempt to learn Spanish is better than none at all but with advancing age it is difficult. That said having spent some six months on a Spanish Course that being latin based there are some similarities with French and which I speak not fluently but almost.

    We have experience of health issues in the UK France and Spain and would say without hesitation that France is ahead of the game and puts lots into preventative care. But of course France perhaps much like Spain is under the cosh with Hollande and it is very difficult and the cost of living huge.

    Again my experience in France is based upon integration and its successes for us. Living in a small village not far from La Rochelle there are only three English speaking people so just had to be the case.

    Then a contrary view of Javea and where English is widely spoken so is there a need or indeed desire to speak Spanish.

    We are coming back to Spain in September to have ‘another go’ but this time with the experiences of 2013 very much up-most in our minds.

    However we would not sell our investments in either France or the UK for we need bolt holes if things go wrong. Please do not read anything more into this other than the investments are somewhat small but are sufficient for our current needs.

    Just to get % into line there are over 400,000 French people in London alone more than the total Brit in France. They are leaving their homeland due to taxes.

    We all can exercise our right to move from country to country and if someone decides to return to the UK it is a personal matter. Some would never return to the UK others would so it is a matter of choice. Thus a number of people holding differing views of the same series of events. Neither are right neither are wrong.

  74. If “defects to” seems too emotive Steve, then substitute “diverted to” instead. The effects are the same. Cuts in NHS jobs in order to prop up the private sector, leading to the erosion of the Health Service. The downward spiral continues apace. Remember when basic dental care, eye care, hearing aids and prescriptions were all free? Bit by bit, the thugs carry on their stealthy muggings.

  75. This latest posting is of considerable interest in that let us say I have some relationship with the law and indeed medical negligence.

    I cannot for obvious reasons disclose private and confidential information but can advise that under the Freedom of Information Act obtained some information as to the use of Agency Staff against NHS contracted staff.

    These figures relate to a major West Midlands Hospital. The budget for Agency staff was just short of £200,000 actual usage was over £3m and I kid you not!

  76. My parents lived nr Torrevieja for 20 years before they passed away. Certainly their lives were enhanced by the sunny weather and the ability to eat out and socialize two or three times a week, which they would not have been able to afford to do in the UK.

    Toward the end of their lives, my Father passing in 2008, they did find it very lonely and hot during the summer, as the area were they lived literally emptied with people going back to the UK for those months. Equally during the winter months the home did get very cold and the cost of heating was huge.

    There are good points and bad, as with everywhere. The health service worked very well for my parents.

    I have now inherited the home. My friends use it for their holidays, but I have not been out there for three years now. I would not be able to sell the property even if I wanted to. The Spanish friends our family made over those years have remained very supportive and caring. The British friends keep in touch as well. It just is not as wonderful as the majority of people would think.

  77. I read the comments with interest as I now (59) consider retiring to Spain, looking for warmer winters to ease my aching bones.

    My wife and I have now lived and worked in France for 9 years and would never (present state of mind, consider moving back to the UK)Finding work in France I found VERY difficult, I am an HGV driver and have been for more years than I wish to remember, there is very little I have not driven and have European driving experience but came across prejudice (racism if you wish) with reference to my abilities to work in France. Gladly, I found an employer willing to give me a chance and am now into my Fourth year of work with him.
    Intergration is difficult, to learn a new language from scratch, not easy. We CHOSE to live in an area where there are not many Brits, and REFUSED invites to join British groups, classes and meetings. My wife and I both speak some French, have mainly French friends and whilst still watching English Tv and radio progs also have French Tv we watch frequently to further aid our French. Us becoming “as French speakers” will NEVER happen, language is difficult and after 59 years, I find I still learn things about my mother tongue chances of mastering French is NOT a reality. What is more, our French friends have never suggested such a thing is required, simply a will to learn, adapt and respect the way of life in a country WE have chosen to live within.

    Comparing life in the UK with France and England is complex. In the UK we lived in many towns, cities and villages moving with work, each area with advantages and disadvantages. Here in France we live in a small hamlet nearest large village is Gemozac in the Charente Maritime and life is good, quite and yes, sometimes boring, I suspect that is our fault/choice and not that of France.

    Health care here as both my wife and I have sadly experienced is EXCELLENT. Appointments at doctors until 2200hrs, hospitals clean and effective, x-rays, surgery, home visits for after care EXCELLENT. BUT WAIT….. we pay into the system, pay top up health care insurance maybe this has a bearing.

    UK, France, Spain the choice is there, if you search for the negatives, they are there ALWAYS. Maybe, we choose to concentrate on the positives and therefore, as with many of you in Spain, find life more than acceptable. My patriots here in France who find life unhappy, unbearable, I respectfully suggest that you return to where you previously found greatest happiness, and there you can retell ad-nausium tales of how you didn’t have to put up with a:b:c whilst living abroad and wish you had never returned.

    It is not my intention to cause upset, we love our lives in France (not all the time and not every day)and hope that if we do decide to move to Spain, we find the Spanish as accommodating and encouraging as we have found our French friends and neighbours. We will try to learn the language and no doubt struggle and laugh along at our mistakes and errors…………….. but we WILL try.

    Where would be the places to look to retire in Spain, we enjoy life, not yet ready for bingo, I fly a microlight (flexwing) in France haveing learnt and took my tests in French and would like to continue in Spain.

    Bon courage tout le monde

  78. @Phil You seem to have an excellent approach to living abroad. As to where to live in Spain, it really does depend on what you want. I live in inland Andalusia a couple of hours from the coast. The people are friendly and helpful and I don’t know what I would have done without them when my wife passed away recently. The cost of living is lower inland a good plus as prices rise over time. I don’t know if it’s the same but we have a mountain just outside the village which is a world class launching point for hang gliders and a wonderful man made lake (reservoir) very close by. Good luck with your hunt.

  79. Inland Andalucia is great Phil. Peter is right about this environment for things like microlights. Perfect fitting locations.

    I love your outlook. Same as our friends here. Unfortunately you will hear a tirade of Spain bashers on this site though that will try and suck the life out of you and Spain.

    After many many years in Andalucia, we still love it. Totally happy to remain in the region (whilst avoiding ex-pat enclaves too ha ha)

    I’d come over and rent for a bit in a couple of areas to see.

  80. @ Robert:

    Stating that Spain is a “semi gypsy country” is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. It would be equivalent to say “the UK is a semi-Pakistani emirate”.. typical uninformed-over prejudiced average UKIP voter bullshit..

    Same goes for an “inexistent judicial system”.. Granted it’s not the best in the World and bureaucracy is quite dry and slow (the same applies to Spaniards who suffer from that system btw), but there is a proper judicial system which is respected worldwide so just don’t talk rubbish please.

    On the Spanish vs. NHS health systems, just refer to any reputed international ranking such as:

    “http://www.businessinsider.com/best-healthcare-systems-in-the-world-2012-6?op=1”

    .. and you’ll see how high ranked is the Spanish system (even now with all the budget cuts) -which is the best one in the World for transplants for example- and how low ranked is the generally inefficient and many times outdated NHS. And I’m talking at an average national level, not with these nice exceptions to the rule found in N.E England or once in a blue moon.

    As Brits say: ignorance is bliss!

  81. First time I have read this thread. Same old mantra re. Spanish Health Service. None of you read the Spanish media? Only today there is a lengthy article that in rheumatology Dept there is over a years wait for a check up (Malaga), similar in traumatology…oh and now over 12 months for a new hip. If you read Spanish you would see these kind of reports almost weekly…perhaps best to keep your illusions an carry on reading the Daily Mail eh!

  82. Bryan, with no money left the Spanish must be cutting the health service as you suggest.
    Everything is so difficult in Spain. I give you a new example of this week. I previously took a Spanish car back to Spain that I purchased from new in Spain. In the UK I had a tow bar put on it. Anyway, the car has been sitting around in my garage over in Spain for a couple of years, got a friend to have it put on a lorry to be taken for an ITV (MOT), gets there, failed it because it has an English tow bar, has to be taken off and in Spain the tow bar has its own ‘ITV’ and has to be fitted their way, English way is no good. So, a trip to have the tow bar taken off and another €90 on the lorry to go back.
    As said a long time ago, when i purchased this car, I had an NIE number on an Alicante piece of paper, oh no, you cannot buy this car as your NIE paper has to come from Almeria province, 140 mile trip later, queuing up for a different piece of paper, same NIE number issued but with an Almeria logo on it and I was fine! It is a full time job trying to get anything done and even then you do not succeed half the time especially if it involves the local Mayor and his mates.
    Went to the local water Company 4 years ago regarding my apartment trying to get my water pipe changed from 20mm to 13mm, still waiting. Banks.. the list goes on. Much happier and wealthier in UK, no violence, live in a good area, Council tax is £2k a year, gas / electric £150 a month but then I earn a reasonable wage.. There is one comment that made me laugh on this thread and I at least agree with it 50%. Both kids at Grammar school in the UK, private tutors, in Spain my experience with my two kids at Spanish school was terrible. My kids would have gone nowhere in Spain especially as I would not have earnt any real money for tutors and the Mayor just stopped us from doing the things we wanted to do. OK for a retiree, that is it and even then the Country will drive anyone with any get up and go mad.

  83. my family moved to Spain in 2006 and I was 11 at the time, we eventually came back to the UK after four years for various reasons. mainly:
    my brother and I receiving constant bullying, racism and discrimination at school and around town
    there was no future there for my elder brother and sister who if we had been in england still, would be getting jobs and going to uni etc. All they could do was either bar work or building work.
    day to day life was suprisingly more difficult without everything you are used to having in the UK. for example, want a cup of tea in the morning? good luck finding a shop that sells tea bags. that sort of thing.
    and lastly the thing that pushed us to finally move home was my dad was made redundant. he had been working for the same company for over 20 years and when we moved to spain he was working from the house on the computer, but due to the economic climate etc he was let go, and there was no chance of him finding another job in spain.
    everyone in my family loved living in spain except me and my brother. I did love everything that my family loved it was just that I had to go to school there which was the worst experience of my life and 4 years later it still haunts me, and has completely changed me as a person.
    I can only hope that any familys with school-age children who are thinking of moving to spain and putting them in an all spanish school do their research and maybe even go to the school before hand or have a few taster days or something because just plonking a child into a spanish school with no one who speaks english is just cruel. I had to move school twice in four years and i doubt anyone wants that.

  84. Yet another story about the crumbling health service in Málaga today. There will be less consultations and more operating theatres will be closed. also an increase in hospital contracted infections. Of course you don’t see these reports in the Daily Fail!

  85. Both countries have problems. Fortunately, haven’t had much experience of Hospitals but I have heard bad stories from our expat neighbours and read the news. Many think Carlos Haya is anti-foreigner. Better the devil you know at times.
    In the UK there is the 2 week rule if cancer is suspected where they have tests and see a consultant. A friend in Spain waited 6 weeks after peeing blood!

  86. Megan, thanks for your comments and my kids went through the bullying but they only had to suffer it for one year. The teachers would stand around and chat whilst the kids were beating each other up around the corner. The teachers were not bothered at all, shame but true.

  87. I was 7 days from referral for MRI to operating table for a brain tumour here in Spain. I know of people in UK waiting weeks for results of MRI’s. Admittedly, to start with, I was on private care but subsequently was admitted into the state system and there was no problem transferring care to Carlos Haya. I haven’t experienced any ant-foreigner issues at CH. The Spanish wait just as long in the waiting room to see the consultant.

  88. Megan, thanks for sharing your experiences on here, I hope it will help others who are thinking of relocating to Spain with children. Apart from being a newspaper, this website is an invaluable source of information for people who are thinking of moving to Spain and want to try and avoid the many pitfalls – obviously it is far better to learn by other people’s mistakes than your own. It is good that people like yourself are prepared to come forward and be honest about their experiences of life in Spain, both good and bad.

    I am very sorry to hear about the terrible bullying that you experienced at school in Spain but, sadly, you are not alone, I have heard others reciting similar stories. I hope that you will eventually be able to put it behind you and I wish you the very best of luck for the future.

  89. Bryan. I think you can compare. My transfer from private care to state care went without a hitch. The only difference I have noticed has been slightly longer waiting in the waiting room to see the consultant.

  90. I live with my Spanish wife in Acoruna,and the way of life is very good.We are not bothered by costings,eg,council taxes.which in the Uk can be frightening.We live well and happy,and find the local people friendly and very helpful.
    Our weather is similar to the uk except we are 5 degrees warmer.
    We have a patio and our plants are free from infernal frost which kills everything.
    So,we look forward to the coming months with pleasure.

  91. This idea that expats are returning is not new , I have lived and worked in the French Alpes for over 30 years , and have seen many many UK nationals come and go , unable to adapt , or not finding the life they thought they could have . Another major issue is integration into a new country and many people do not make enough effort and are either sick of the expat communities or feel left out in French communities as they cannot communicate .
    Now I live in central Portugal as a retiree and its the same observation , many UK expats stay 6-10 years then go home .
    In Europe many things have been done to facilitate commerce and free movement , but in other areas there has been absolutely no co-ordination and its a mess , to add to the problem the EU just vomits new legislation all the time and thinks one size fits all , which has been proved wrong time and time again , and people are now fed up with lack of democracy .
    I wonder if there will be a rush back to the UK if it leaves the EU ?

  92. PG: (or pg lite) There would be little point staying in Spain without the, admittedly, limited protection of the E.U.
    One might as well live in Turkey or Morocco. The standards would be roughly similar.

  93. pg’s comment that the EU ‘vomits new legislation all the time’ hits the nail on the head and reveals the crux of the problems created by the mountains of Spanish paperwork.
    Every official action in Spain has to be in accordance with a Law and invariably quotes it, lock stock and barrel.
    There is no flexibility or room for manoeuvre. British law is so often based on precedent rather than upon the writings of Government Departments.
    It must take a long time for local Spanish lawyers/solicitors to go through all that legal jargon to establish whether or not their intended actions will be legal or not. Some will do nothing rather than risk making a mistake, whilst expats wait for years only to find that the villa that they bought is declared illegal and must be demolished. (Worry drives many home!)
    The faults lie not with the people currently running the system but with the original creators of it many years ago. They thought that they were doing a grand job which would leave no loop-holes for errors.
    The Spanish are a very proud people who take great pains to do a good job, (usually!). Sadly, the very system that has slowed them down so much has spawned an underworld of corruption because those involved have known that it will be many years before their crimes will become known.
    So much has changed over the past ten years that it is now quite common for town mayors and members of their staffs to be jailed, but because there is no written law to the contrary, they come out of prison and return to their former ways as pillars of the community.
    I lived in Spain for only eleven years so my take on the situation will necessarily be isolated and different from thousands of others. May I apologise in advance and perhaps save you from having to spend time ranting at me!

    • Trevor did you mix with the Spanish, live amongst them and learn Spanish. I’m a single retired woman and because my family live in Norway and I live in the UK (I’m British) I won’t be missing out on a UK family. Therefore I want to live somewhere in the Alacante region. I’ll definitely live within the Spanish community and learn Spanish if I dare to move alone. Do you think I can manage to move alone. You see I love my home here in the UK, but it’s only bricks and mortar after all and I’ve wanted to live in a warmer climate for years now, but I will have to sell my home to afford a place in Spain. Jill

      • Jill, I don’t know obviously how big your house is in the UK or the value of it but you could consider downsizing in the UK and using the surplus to buy a small cheap property in Spain, thereby having a foot in both camps should you find the move not to your liking. There are still plenty of cheap properties around despite the so called recovery in the Spanish property market. Don’t fixate on an area it will limit your choices.

      • Hi Gill,
        Don’t be afraid of doing the move as you could store your stuff after you sold up and just come over and find a place to rent very cheaply. An appartment in Malaga area woud do, then a Little car as it is needed. Don’t fix on the idea buying a property as it’s much easier and cheaper to rent. Just do it. I am retired and alone too and my Family is in Denmark, I lived there for forty years and more. You’re right about the lingo, 2 thirds of brits don’t/can’t speak spanish, I am in my third month and can a lot already. Will! I know no-one here as I livein mountan area.
        Go for it!

  94. No offense, but what i see among those comments are pure trolling disconnected from reality. I live in Spain now & i lived in Spain 10 years ago.
    Since the crisis, it is not the same country. Food is less good, the VAT increased (21%), there are empty commercial properties everywhere. People are less motivated. Incomes went down the pipes. More importantly, i don’t see any recovery with real estate. But i have witnessed the rise of real estate scams. When i see british people in Spain, i wonder how they live & where they get their money from because there is no local mid sized companies for the population. I am french & i did the math, i spend as much as i spent in France in terms of Food. Spain is not a cheap country. Electricity is one of the most expensive in Europe.
    Most of the houses are not well insulated.
    More importantly, the regional elections of Andalucia announced that for the next election of the spanish assembly, the political majority will be left + far left (podemos). The elections will be hold in November and i forecast they will kill once again the spanish economy in 2016.

  95. anna,
    inland is a completely different climate – winter very cold and summer, 6 months and 3 of those months are searingly hot but presumably you must know this since you are rec. it?

  96. I live inland on an urbanisation, it’s perfectly legal. A Notary won’t sign off an illegal property, things have been cleaned up here a lot. I don’t particularly like the coastal way of life, but intend to buy a boat to stay on during August. I love living in Spain, stay away from the nasty living from car boot sale to mouth ex-pats and you’ll be fine.

    • “A Notary won’t sign off an illegal property”

      Sadly wrong, as the members of AUAN and SOHA will quickly tell you. Those people (expats and Spanish amongst them) purchased using the supposedly proper legal procedures and found, retrospectively, that their properties were illegal or irregular in some way.

      And how does a car boot sale make an expat nasty? lol

  97. Sasha, how do you mean live on a boat in august? 1 month? Mine is for sale, 38 footer, yacht…welcome one and all. Actually I did think of buying a little boat when mine is sold and a berth in a harbour somewhere..they can be bought for 3-5000english pounds, (acc. to length), and are legal to live in, I checked, (the harbour berth).

  98. Fred is right, there are plenty of notaries who have signed off so called illegal properties over the years, that is why there are over 300,000 of them and the sheer volume means one thing, systemic failure.

  99. The worst thing for me about my time in Spain is meeting and befriending and then subsequently having to avoid the type of British people who live here. I have never met such an uneducated, ignorant, ill-mannered, small minded, racist bunch of drunken morons in my life. They are almost always the runaways, losers, scammers and minor criminals from the UK (remember the English managed to get a whole area of Spain renamed as the ‘Costa del Crime’). They moan about foreigners in Britain whilst hardly learning a word of Spanish or attempting to integrate into Spain’s culture. Oh the irony… I hate the British in Spain. They are dregs of British society and it makes me feel like apologising to every Spanish person I meet for all the other British people here. I love my hometown of London but being here makes me feel embarrassed to be English.

    • Funny, I felt the same way in tenerife in the 90s, i found myself apologizing for the football cretins. was only 22 at the time and from a pretty rough part of NW London council estate. lol

  100. Since neither anna nor peter came back with comments I must re-iterate that, unless you stay indoors all day with a/c blasting away the inland continental climate is intolerable and the heat does’nt dissipate until 4AM. Then the temperature drops for about 2 hours then ramps back up again very quickly. In winter the climate is crisp and cold but wonderful for those who are’nt slobs and enjoy the outdoor life, shame that without insulation you will have to wear thermal gear to keep warm or pay eye watering sums for gas c/h that never stops firing up as the pipes buried in the concrete slab never get really hot.

    So for those thinking of living in inland Andalucia the only time to visit is in June,July,August or September, preferably July or August. If you can take the torrid heat go for it BUT do not buy, rent and don’t sell back in the UK, rent it out.

    Indeed why tie up your capital at all just rent. Rents behind the Sierras are at least 30% cheaper than on the blighted coast. We paid €245 p.m for a 3 bedroom,two bathroom apartment with storage and access to lots washing lines on the roof terrace, shame about the lack of insulation or quality in the construction but our Spanish working class neighbours were brilliant. I could’nt imagine living on a self imposed Brit ghetto.

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