Living in Spain: Pros and Cons

I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts about the pros and cons of living in Spain pretty much since we moved here. Life in Spain can be wonderful but there are some disadvantages too.

If you remember, we decided to leave the UK about a year ago. We travelled quite a bit since lived in Portugal for a while and then decided to settle in Seville.
If I’m honest, moving to Spain from the UK wasn’t our best decision. Not saying Spain is not a great country, is just not great for us. We have friends and even family who love Spain and we respect that. But I wouldn’t say that Spain is a good place to live in. I am aware that more people decided to live in Spain, especially since Brexit has finalised. And at first, it makes sense: lots of sunshine, good food, relaxed lifestyle. But while clear skies and sunshine might sound appealing, living and even working in Spain are a completely different thing to consider.

A beautiful vista of Seville as seen from one of its main tourist attractions called the Setas of Seville

I want you to know that living in a foreign country can be difficult. There is a risk of experiencing cultural shock and some people never manage to adapt. This was the case for us with Spain. We found a lot more negatives in living in Spain than positives and we think these are points which need to be addressed. It’s perfectly ok for you to not agree with everything we experience. Everyone has a different experience when living abroad.

If you are Spanish, a Spain lover or a Spanish resident, please don’t take this to heart, these are my opinions based on my unlucky experiences. If you are keen to move to Spain, then take this article with a pinch of salt. We are all individuals with different requirements and what bothers me, might be the perfect thing for you and vice versa.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the pros and cons of living in Spain.

Table of Contents

Sunny Seville with its beautiful plaza de Espana, a well know place to visit

Living in Spain: Pros and Cons

We moved to Spain in June 2017. Our move was a business decision as well as a personal choice. We initially decided we wish to live in Portugal, but the housing market was not advantageous giving the summer gold rush and the demand for short term lets. From a business perspective, we figured we could potentially find more freelancers in Spain we could work with. During our long drive in Europe, we visited Seville and fell in love with the city. But, you know what they say: one thing to visit a place and another to live there.

Our lease in Portugal was quickly running out and since we were out of options, we decided to give Seville a try. Houses seemed better, larger and cheaper than in Vilamoura. And so, we found a house and started our new life in Spain.

Many will argue that the cultural scene, the weather and the food are the only things you need to enjoy a country. Others are impressed to see how friendly people are in Spain. If you see yourself living in Spain after Brexit, read on as some of the points we address will help you make up your mind.

Located in Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, Spain has 17 autonomous regions with diverse geography and cultures, which makes the country pretty great for travellers and explorers interested in variety. It just happens, that we didn’t quite fit in, culturally, or otherwise. We faced many disadvantages to living in Spain.

A view of a residential area of Seville as seen from above

The food in Spain


Food in Spain is seasonal, fruits and vegetables have great taste. If you love seafood, then you will find plenty of fresh fish at your local shop. There are various Spanish cheeses which taste good and many are accustomed to the Spanish Jamon which is actually really nice. The meat looks generally nice, much better than in a supermarket in the UK. Prices are quite decent too. There is a huge variety of food available for gluten intolerants for the same price as the rest of the products. We found lots of foods which have zero or no added sugars, including ice cream or fruit yoghurts. You can buy freshly baked bread from pretty much any shop in your area. For a simple but healthy lifestyle, you can definitely find everything you need in Spain.


After a while, the food becomes a little boring. There are not many international products or niche supermarkets around, which makes it harder to spice up the dishes. Seasonal food, as great as it is, can also become a little problematic. When you decide to make a particular type of food and realise you don’t have ingredients until next Autumn, it can easily be a little frustrating. I love Asian dishes and for example, making my own coconut curry costs me quite a big buck since coconut milk is really pricey.
I find some food items unreasonable expensive in Spain: oranges and olive oil. It is well known that Spain is a huge producer of both: oranges and olives. I mean, how is it logical that in the UK, Spanish imported oranges were better tasting and cheaper? How is it possible that Spanish imported extra virgin olive oil was cheaper? I don’t get this…


I prefer lots of options when it comes to products and unfortunately, I didn’t find a huge variety in Spanish supermarkets. Carrefour, for example, has a much larger selection of products than say, Mercadona, but unfortunately, the prices are also significantly higher. Overall, food prices are higher in Spain than in the UK, and for the same amount of food, we pay 1.5 times the amount of money. Spain is a good country for fresh produce, but not so much for international options.

The view of Spanish houses located on the steep slopes of Ronda

Houses and Rent in Spain


This will depend hugely on the area you wish to move to. We found a terraced house not far from the centre of Seville and pay £200 less than our rent in the UK. The house is much bigger, well organised and nicely decorated. There is no council tax added extra which makes us save quite a lot of money. Apartments are even cheaper, even the ones in the centre of the city. House prices are most certainly a great advantage for Spain.


Whilst is awesome that you can save so much in rent, it’s a little sad that you have to pay a lot of money for utilities. Never in my life, have I paid so much for electricity or water. I understand that water can be scarce in Spain, so sure, I have no issues paying more than in the UK, but overall, the prices seem just ridiculous. As such, what you save on rent, you spent on utilities.

Another thing I found upsetting, is the sheer amount of sun that Spain has, and the unnecessary amount of money people spend on electricity bills. With so many hours of sunshine, Spain could install a large number of solar panels, reduce prices for its citizens and export to other European countries.


While rent is much cheaper and the houses are more spacious, you lose a lot of money on amenities. What I gained on rent, I lost on electricity bills. Before starting your life in Spain make sure you calculate your rental and bill outgoing to see how it compares with your current situation.

Couple rowing on a boat on the river in Seville towards plaza de espana

Weather in Spain


How much do you like sunshine? If you love long summers, then Spain is definitely the place for you. Even when we came back from 3 days in Vienna in October, we had to change into our shorts before driving on the Spanish motorway. I’m literally sweating as I’m writing this article, whereby all my friends from the rest of Europe are looking to buy winter jackets.


Things change if you decide to live in Southern Spain, so this is very important to note. The summer in Seville is like stepping into a frying pan. We’re talking about 42 C degrees. And if you think that’s awesome, think again. Every time we would switch the TV on, the news would be all about people complaining it’s too hot. Moreover, to survive, you need to have air conditioning in your home. That further inflates your bills, which makes living in Spain quite expensive.
Please note that Spanish houses don’t tend to have central heating. Which means, for the short but cold winter, you need to get an electric heater, which…yes, you guessed it…inflates your bills yet again.


Not all of Spain has the same climate. If you want median temperatures, go for the North of Spain. Check the annual averages in the city you want to live in. And please make sure to wear sunscreen all the time, especially if you come from a Nordic country as your skin will be a lot more sensitive.

An alternative option is to move to the coast, so you can enjoy the sea breeze. I would avoid Seville in the summer, but rather aim for something in the mountainous regions such as Granada. If you want to live in Marbella, for example, the weather will definitely be a pro as you have mountains and the breeze from the sea.

Cory walking in Seville and passing a gorgeous historical door

Plants and exotic gardens in Spain


We have a beautiful, tropical garden just at the back of our house. When we go for our evening walk, we enjoy the gorgeous sunset over the palm and banana trees. There are plenty of jasmine bushes all around us, which fill the air with gorgeous flowery smells. Seville has lots of exotic gardens and is home to the Alcazar, which offers free entry to Seville residents. The plants are gorgeous and I can’t find any cons.

This applies for the rest of Spain too. It has such lovely natural landscapes with mountains, beaches and plenty of nature. I would say that nature in general is Spains’s biggest advantage.

Palm trees and beautiful plants in the Alcazar of Seville

Parties in Spain


Do you love parties? Then Spain will definitely be your place. These people love and know how to party. Think of those Latino summer nights, Latino music and the dancing vibes. I’ve heard from other expats that parties are ideal for meeting new people and making great friends. As such, for university students especially, Spain really is awesome. I mean in general, Spanish people are friendly and inclusive and they do know how to have a good time.


We are not party people. We love quiet, which means that we don’t enjoy listening to music until 1 in the morning. We also don’t have the same taste in music as our neighbours which makes things a little tricky. Nobody seems to crank up the classical music or some zen chillstep. During summer, people tend to go out after sunset (understandable as the weather is insufferable before) and just talk really loudly in front of the houses. This can go on and on, until crazy o’clock at night. Come on, guys, we all know nothing good ever happens after 2 am.


We prefer peace and quiet and would trade a silent place for lively Spain any day. We actually love the insatiable appetite for life the Spanish have and in a sense, wish we would be more like them. However, since we are reserved people who love the sound of silence, we couldn’t adapt to this and weren’t prepared to change our sleeping patterns. For people who want to retire in Spain, this might seem like a huge disadvantage as elderly people might want to enjoy their peace and quiet. But of course, this is entirely based on your personality.

Las Setas structure in Seville Spain during sunset

Spain is a pet paradise


Spain is super animal-friendly. If you have a dog and are thinking about living in Spain, go for it. There are lots of bars, restaurants and places which encourage you to bring your pet. That’s pretty cool. In fact, I don’t know anyone around the neighbourhood who doesn’t have a (massive) dog. Dogs are huge here (think Rottweilers and Great Danes). To be honest, even when we go for super long walks, we see virtually everyone accompanied by their dog. P.S. I didn’t forget about you, cat lovers. There are lots of cats in Spain too. There are even stray cats which are being taken care of by locals. Since cats are more incognito, they are not as obvious as say… five huge great Danes in the middle of the street.


People don’t seem to be as obsessed with training their pets as UK folk. This means that dogs will freely bark at any time of the day, evening or night. Dogs will bark every time there is a car or a human in front of the garden. Nobody ever tells a dog to stop barking. You can imagine the sort of bark concert you can hear at all times. Although we live in a residential area with villas and large pools, people deem necessary to have chickens and roosters around here. This is madness! We had friends over for a week and they couldn’t sleep in the spare room because of the rooster.
Another major issue? People don’t clean after their dogs. Anywhere you look, tons of dog poop. I don’t like it that kids play outside where the streets are full of animal poop. And yeah, no matter how you put it, it makes Spain pretty shitty.


If you love dogs and don’t mind the barking, then awesome. But if you love quiet, make sure you move in a stand-alone house, ideally as far away as possible from other houses. Maybe look for a house with trees all around it to further soundproofing. We can’t comment on life in an apartment as we only lived in houses while in Spain.

We love dogs so much, but their barking kept us up at night on many occasions. Maybe we would have gotten used to it eventually, who knows. Either way, this is something to consider and check before signing the lease agreement.

Beautiful arches in a beautiful garden in Seville

Healthcare in Spain


Once you register as a resident here in Spain, you can get access to free medical care. As European citizens, this is not unusual for us, but we are aware people from the USA find this an attractive pro for living in Spain. Many people from the UK choose to retire in Spain, hence it makes sense to know the government has your back for when you are old. Having access to free healthcare seems pretty great no matter how you look at it. Luckily, we didn’t have to use the healthcare here in Spain, so we are not aware of any cons.

UK citizens need to check how to get access to the Spanish health care after Brexit. There are new regulations which came into force in January 2021 so make sure you read about them. When moving to Spain check what type of paperwork you need to sort out so you can access your social securities to Spain.

The gorgeous town of Ronda with its specific Spanish buildings located on steep slopes

Culture in Spain


With 17 autonomous regions, you can expect an array of cultures in Spain. From the passionate sounds of guitar in Andalucia, through the cosmopolitan vibe in Madrid, to Gaudi’s unusual architecture in Barcelona, Spain is a delicious cultural dish.

All you have to do is figure out what you love and make sure you select your region carefully. As you gathered thus far, we picked Andalucia. There are various interesting cultural things about Andalucia. Flamenco music and dance originated here. Bullfighting is another tradition in Andalucia and the way of life down south is laid back and drawn out.

For history and culture lovers, Spain has many strengths.


The part that concerns us most about culture in Spain is how many events are cruel towards animals. Miguel Ángel Rolland created a documentary about animal cruelty in Spain during the 16,000 religious festivals across the country. He calculates that during the 1,868 festivals involving bulls last year, more than 11,000 were tortured and killed. You can read more about it in this awesome article.


There is something awesome about the whole community coming together and sharing food, love and experiences. Spain is soulful and the people are kind and open. That’s a lovely aspect of the Spanish culture. Ultimately, you have to be cut for this sort of lifestyle. We are more reserved and prefer a completely different type of human interaction.

A doorway which leads to more vegetation in Seville Spain

Cleanliness in Spain


Seville has to be one of the cleanest city I’ve visited in Spain. A while back I visited Barcelona and you know I didn’t like it. Partly because of how dirty it was. Seville, though, seems spotless. It really is beautiful to walk around this city. I love the exotic gardens, the amazing architecture and absolutely adore how clean its streets are. And Seville is not the only clean city! In fact, you will find this as a great positive when living in Spain.


The suburbs and some communities in Spain tell a different story from their cities. There are overgrown parts, dog poop everywhere, dirt in front of people’s front yards. Even the playgrounds for kids are in pretty bad shape. Communal spaces are just not well kept.

Again, this is my experience in the outskirts and not in the city itself. Either way, I simply don’t like an unorganised and dirty place. There is no excuse for such a tight community to not come together every week and clean their own space.


Living in the city might be cleaner than in the villas just outside the centre. However, I want to stress that people in some dirty neighbourhood are not poor. Their villas are huge and as I said, people have pools, pool houses and mega large gardens.

I didn’t see the same level of dirt in the city, as I mentioned, so I am not too sure what is causing some parts here to just be left overgrown and dirty. For me, this is an issue and I prefer an organised, clean neighbourhood. Before starting your life in a specific neighbourhood, make sure to drive around so you can get the feel for it.

Las Setas in Seville Spain at night

Friendliness in Spain


It’s so fair to say that everyone in Spain seemed super friendly and open. Even the lady from the bank, the local baker or the lady from the fish counter. Everyone was keen to ask questions, smile and make us feel pretty great. In the UK we got used to a superficial type of relationship, so it was really nice to see Spain so open and positive. People seem more genuine in Spain.


While people are friendly, they can be extremely slow. I went to the shop, the bank, the government building and I never got anything done fast or efficient. I would say that service is so slow, it quickly became a huge issue for us. We ended up wasting a lot of time with errands than necessary.

Forget service in a clothes shop. Want to try a dress on? Be prepared to be ignored for minutes before anyone acknowledges you. Want to pay? Expect to waste time in a queue, where people barely move when they scan the products.


On one level, Spanish people are so great and friendly. On another, it takes far too long to get anything done. There’s too much paperwork, or people move to slow.

If you work, this might be an issue for you. For example, we are self-employed so every minute of work counts for us. We rely on contracts and projects done fast so we can afford to pay rent.

If you are retired, then slow staff won’t become a negative for you. After all, you just want to take it easy and enjoy your time. Sun is shining, birds are chirping so why rush?

The beautiful and unique town of Ronda with specific white washed Spanish houses

Being laid back in Spain


Everyone says that Spain is about loving life. Take it easy, have a siesta, spend time with your family and friends. It comes a time in life, when people realise it’s better to care about human connection and taking it easy, then going, going, going at full speed. It, of course, depends on your requirements, life stage and personality.

This was not a pro for us, but I like to mention it because I am aware of how much people love this lifestyle. So it can be a great positive for some.


We are young professionals who are just about getting excited about career prospects. We love living life to its full potential, and that means going, travelling, doing as much as possible. The more we do, the more we feel alive. Time is a precious commodity and we wish to spend it experiencing as much of this life as possible. Taking it easy doesn’t make sense. At least not in the 3-hour siesta way, or moving slowing in a queue.
Breaks are welcome, but we are still at the “let’s go for it” stage. Of course, there needs to be a balance. We need a place where we can go, go, go, but also find things to do which relax us. Unfortunately, Spain isn’t the place for it. It’s clear that we are not cut for this lifestyle quite yet. Maybe in another 30 years?


If you love the Italian saying Dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing), then you will also love Spain’s lifestyle. Since we loved our life in Tokyo, we enjoy a place which is robotic, automatic and efficient. Everything has a place, a flow and makes sense. Wasting time seems unusual.

But if you are at a stage where you can pause, take a break and really immerse yourself in this type of lifestyle, then honestly, Spain is the place to be. Of course, please consider that different parts of Spain move at different speeds. For example, Barcelona was a lot more fast-paced than Seville.

The beautiful Plaza de Espana in Seville with its water and colourful rails

Children in Spain


I’m going to try and be super objective here. We don’t have kids, but we can see why Spain would be a great place if you have kids or want to have children in the foreseeable future. Spain is quite family oriented and here, kids are still kids. I mean, it’s been 20 years since I’ve seen kids playing actual children games that don’t involve a phone or a computer.

In Spain, kids seem to still enjoy their childhood, a more relaxed, computer and phone free life. We live across the school and it’s crazy to see kids actually playing during breaks rather than silently be on their phones. That must be Spain’s biggest advantages for families looking to start a new life here.


If you are a young professional, maybe you don’t want to be surrounded by loud kids. You will see kids everywhere: supermarket, down the road, in front of your house, local shop, restaurants. Kids in Spain are loud and if that bothers you, maybe this country is not for you.

We noticed that when children cry, parents don’t tend to tell their kids to be quiet, but a bunch of people get around spoiling the little thing further. Maybe we come from different societies, but we don’t see eye to eye on this approach.


Whilst we understand that children represent the survival of our species, we perhaps prefer a more balanced society where there are more young professionals and fewer children. We are at a stage where we still want adult only restaurants, planes and hotels. Not because we don’t like children, but because we have a lifestyle with a different focus. Our friends are young professionals with no children.

Maybe this will change, maybe it won’t. But for now, a child-focused society is a definite no for us.
If you want a solution, know that there are plenty of countries whereby parents educate their kids to be very quiet from an early age. France, Germany and Austria are great countries whereby you can still see parents with kids, the only difference is that everyone is silent, polite and organised.

Sometime to consider before deciding if Spain is a great place to live for your current situation.

Ronda with its gorgeous bridges as seen from afar

Bureaucracy in Spain


There is no pro to bureaucracy. In Spain, bureaucracy is evil. When we moved here, we needed the internet so we can continue to work on our companies. To get the internet, we needed a bank account. To get a bank account was a whole new can of worms. We tried getting a bank account here, there, but nobody would actually help us. They kept saying to send them an email with all our details and they will get back to us. Eventually, our landlord helped us out and we opened a bank account with Santander.

But that’s not all. It’s been 6 months and my bank card never arrived in the post. Since I use internet banking to pay the rent, I once forgot my “firma electronica” (don’t even ask what that is…) and I couldn’t restore it over the phone. I had to go to a specific branch, wait for 30 minutes in a queue, get a new piece of paper to be able to restore my electronic account. I mean that’s crazy talk. We are spoiled in the UK that everything can be done over the internet. I needed a new paper from the government: it was sorted within 10 minutes, via the online chat!

Cockroaches in Spain (say what?!)


This is by far the biggest negative about this country. There are cockroaches in Spain. And not the tiny type, but the huge, run-for-your-life type. We all have some fears, but cockroaches are my worst nightmare. When we moved to our house, we noticed about one roach every couple of days in the bathroom or the living room. Naturally, we panicked. We are extremely clean people, but we went into overdrive. We bleached the floors every night (bad for our health), poured bleach down the pipes, put duck tape on vents and openings, and used the sink plugs at all times. We bought all sort of things from the supermarket too.

For about a month I lived in fear. Going to the bathroom was a game of chance and when we went to the shop, we would have to check the whole house for any potential pest. It was hell. Going out of the house was even worse. After dark, the neighbourhood would become roach hell. We were shocked to see people eating out, having their windows and doors wide open when these creatures would virtually be everywhere on the house walls, roaming on the street, on the fences. Going for our evening walk was like an adrenaline roller coaster and not the fun type.

After a month, I couldn’t take it anymore, I emailed the landlord in desperation, asking for advice. I already turned the internet upside down for solutions. The landlord said the neighbourhood gets treated every now and then and he was convinced this issue got resolved in the past.

He called an emergency pest control company who came within a few hours to fumigate the house. The guy explained that houses in Spain have hollow walls and that pest tends to live there. Apparently, if you knock on the walls you can hear them run. Luckily, he heard none in our walls. He did an amazing job and reassured us we didn’t have an infestation, but the neighbourhood is just not always treated enough. The emergency service cost 60 EUR and that was the end of it. They said it should be fine for about 6 months and to call them again if we start spotting roaches again. Apparently, this is totally normal. Normal?!

After the fumigation, we stopped seeing as many outside as well. Apparently, the solution is meant to keep the pest away for about 200 metres. That’s good enough for me.
Still, during the evening walk, we would spot one or two, but as long as they are nowhere near the house, I could relax.

This reminds me of Tenerife, which really, was the worst place for me as it was fully infested. We saw them everywhere really. Restaurants, luxury hotels, on the street in busy centres.

FYI, I asked Spanish people if this is normal and I swear everyone says it’s not. Apparently, they never see them. Maybe one or two in the summer. So, I guess it might be down to luck, place you move, how well the neighbourhood is treated etc. One thing though, I’ve never seen them in city centres on the mainland. Just on the islands as mentioned above.

Wherever you decide to live in Spain, may the odds be ever in your favour.

The tram line along the main boulevard in the centre of Seville Spain

Mental stimulation


One of the greatest advantages of living in Spain is that you can access an array of cities, beaches, mountains, forests and more. You can find something for everyone which is such a positive aspect of living in a large country with such varied landscape. Public transport enables people to travel from place to place and if you own a car, even better. If you already decided that Spain is the place for you, chances are you enjoy the laid back lifestyle and you will always find something interesting to do.


Sometimes Spain can become a sensory overload for some. The traffic, the heat, the colours, the people, the barking, it can all become too much, too sudden. It certainly happened to us at times but it’s not something you can’t overcome. Of course, if you like a quiet place, you might have better luck settling down elsewhere.


I would say that it’s best to visit Spain for a prolonged period of time before you can decide if you enjoy the type of mental stimulation you can get there. Visit Barcelona and you’ll see how busy and manic it gets. Visit a small village in the countryside and there will be no mental stimulation at all. Just peace and quiet and lots of sunshine.

It’s crucial that you explore the part of the country that interests you the most before deeming it perfect to live in.

Poison ivy through beautiful arches surrounded by wonderful Spanish tiles

Living in Spain: what went wrong?

I’m sure you can tell by now that Spain is not our favourite place to settle down. I think in a way, it all came down to luck. One thing after another, it all went downhill really quickly. It all started with the weather being too hot. As we are outdoors people, after work we need to go for long walks in nature. Since we couldn’t do so until after sunset, our whole schedule became all over the place. After dark, everyone would be out, hence the place would be too loud and not at all relaxing. After dark, we would see cockroaches which would make us agitated as opposed to calm. This, in turn, made us kinda hate going out.

Because we would be so agitated and lacked movement, we wouldn’t sleep properly. We couldn’t leave the window open as everyone would be too loud, but couldn’t sleep with the window close as it would be too hot.

Above all, the service was too slow, bureaucracy unbearable and nothing fell into place. To top it all up, dogs would bark, we would be surrounded by roosters, we have a school across the road which now made our days noisy too.

The streets of Seville during the summer

So you see, it’s maybe not Spain’s fault, but everything went badly for us. Our relationship with Spain was not a smooth one, but a bumpy ride which made us hate the place. I do hope you learn a little from our bad experiences and know what to search for in your new life in Spain, to avoid making the same mistakes. Because you see, despite all these, I don’t find Spain a bad place for retirement. It’s just not quite what we had in mind.

One of my friends made it clear that Spain is not for everyone. She is absolutely right. As much as we wanted to make this country our home (and we tried, believe me) we just couldn’t, there were too many disadvantages in living in Spain. Spain and us we are like water and oil. Don’t mix well together in any way, shape, or form. And that’s ok. We tried it, and now it’s time to move on.

Beautiful sight of the Seville cathedral from Las Setas

In conclusion, there are many pros and cons when it comes to living in Spain. Ultimately, it comes down to your personality and your needs. Maybe you are in a place where you want to have children, or you want to be part of a lively community. Maybe you don’t care so much for service or you are a desert child in which case the arid plains of Spain make you feel at home.

You are ready to leave the city life behind and want to get a couple of big dogs and live a simpler life. Whatever the reasons for moving to Spain, make sure you really understand this place before the big move. Living in Spain was not for us. But for you, might be the best thing ever.

Whatever your decision, you know know the advantages and disadvantages of living in Spain. You can now pay attention to details only local would have noticed from experience. You are an insider now!

Did we forget something? Do you have a pro or con about living in Spain? Please let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory Varga is a licensed travel agent and published travel writer. Her main expertise is writing about Japan, where she happily lives with her husband.
Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan and wants to share more about the local customs with the rest of the world.
While Cory has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries, Japan remains her favorite place to live and write about. Cory is multilingual.


108 responses to “Living in Spain: Pros and Cons”

  1. Nicola | suitcase and wanderlust Avatar
    Nicola | suitcase and wanderlust

    Wow. What an honest article. I think it is great that you actually wrote it. I never thought about the weather aspect. I would assume, too, weather in Spain is just great. But I’m not a 40° person either. I really hope you will love Vienna…

    1. Cory Avatar

      Thank you for your message. I was just thinking the other day (it’s cold here in Central Europe) how much I miss the sun tho 😛

  2. Naomi Avatar

    I totally get you. I discovered a long time ago it is one thing to like a place and travel to it, it is completely different to live somewhere and try to build a life. After one week of vacation in Andalucia, I’m really to go hone and leave all the noisy children behind. Byebye. Adios!

    1. Cory Avatar

      For sure! Don’t get me wrong though, I love Andalucia still, but you are right, visiting and living…different types of soup!

  3. Kay Avatar

    I didn’t have the time to read it in it’s entirety, but I’m pinning it! Really good summary so far. I need to write one of these about living in Switzerland. It can be hard to put our true experiences out there sometimes especially when they don’t line up with people’s stereotypes of “dreamland”.

    1. Cory Avatar

      I know everyone imagines Switzerland as dreamland…even we do, we just find it too expensive. I’d be keen to read your article.

  4. Sarah Avatar

    So sorry you’re not loving where you’re living right now. It definitely sounds like a move to Tokyo would be great for you! I’m about to move to a new country myself and am nervous about culture shock, but I know we love the place given we’ve spend over two months there already. I’m sure there will be things to surprise me, but hopefully not too negatively. And hopefully not in the form of monstrous cockroaches!

    1. Cory Avatar

      Ah, Tokyo, the dream! I never wanted anything more than that! I hope you will never see cockroaches…EVER!

  5. Alissa Avatar

    As someone who once lived in Sevilla, I had to see what you thought of it! It’s a bummer to hear that it didn’t work out the way you hoped it would, but here’s to the next place being a better home for you 🙂

    I found Sevilla slightly difficult to transition to at first, but after a month or so I really fell in love with it and was very happy living there. But I also was only there for about 6 months, and never spent the summer there… I think that Sevilla has some very beautiful traditions, such as Semana Santa, the feria and sevillanas music and dancing, and more. At the time it was a good fit for me, and I felt very much in awe of the rich cultural experience that I was having. But of course, it’s not for everyone. And it’s also funny, because after a recent visit I knew that I wouldn’t want to live there again… but I really enjoyed it at the time.

    In general I really appreciate your perspective on Sevilla and I understand your frustrations! There are things about it that can be really challenging. Food for me was a big one, and it also took me a while to make friends and find communities there. But I’m confused as to why you talked so much about the pros and cons of living in Spain so much throughout the article when most of what you’re talking about is unique to Sevilla/Andalucia. Spain is a very diverse country in terms of languages, cultures, and traditions, so someone’s experience living in Andalucia is probably pretty different than another’s experience living in say, Barcelona or Bilbao or Santiago de Compostela. Food for thought 🙂

    1. Cory Avatar

      Seville has to be one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. I am still keen to go back and photograph it, experience it and be there. I think it was different living there, maybe because I was in a bad house with loud neighbours…who knows. I am aware Spain is not the same everywhere and we are considering trying the North for sure. However, we already tried Barcelona and it was much worse than Seville, hence the title in relation to Spain as a whole.

  6. Stephanie Avatar

    Thank you for the candid perspective. We are thinking of moving to Spain at some point, but it sounds like I have some things in common with you and your husband in terms of personal preferences, so this was a good warning!

    1. Cory Avatar

      I hope you will find what you need though and will love your time in Spain. As mentioned, don’t be put off. Ultimately, all it takes is a bad neighbour to make the experience sour. Good luck!

  7. Cris Avatar

    We lived in Italy for 5 weeks (I put a cap on it with the return tickets!) although after 3 days I was looking at changing the flights.
    We decided to ditch the cold Romania and go to warm Italy. Perfect, right? Ok, so we did choose a hidden place, a resort which is kind of dead in winter. Perfect for silence. Right? No! The kids would decide to gather at the corner of the street where we lived and talk. Loudly! Between 1 pm and 5 pm. When everyone was supposed to be asleep. Everyone but them! We quickly found out they were using what should have been our wi-fi. Haha! That’s another story. We ended up with a 4G (ok, fine, 3G lol) wi-fi router which, on a good day (read: not windy) it was slower than my 3G at home.
    Oh the warm weather. It was nice. Outside. Inside, as you mentioned, no central heating! So yeah, we found a way to get the rooms to a decent temperature and included the electricity in the rent (pointer from a local).
    I wouldn’t want to move to Italy for ever but…1 month I can bear. But I should reconsider the internet part and save enough money not to have to work for a month.
    Long comment, sorry, but , yes, I get you.

    1. Cory Avatar

      I am sorry you had such bad experience in Italy. We love Italy but not enough to live there. We actually left Spain just on time as it was getting really cold at night and same as Italy: no central heating. The internet was amazing and in general, the weather was great. But yes, I get you too 🙂

  8. Des Avatar

    I’ve been in Valencia Spain for nearly 10 years now, so I’ve got used to most things. The one thing that I can’t get used to though is the dog poo everywhere.

    1. Cory Avatar

      As, the almighty dog poo 😛

    2. Steve Avatar

      It’s pervasive in the US too so you really can’t escape It unless you move to the country/ rural area.

  9. Davi Avatar

    “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”

    This is certainly true of how we will have a different interpretation of things. I hope you have found your happy place 🙂
    I lived in Barcelona for 3 months and absolutely loved it! I didn’t see a lot of dog poo, it didn’t seem messy and the customer service was great!
    I plan on returning there to teach English in another year and I hope that experience will go well, but I have no expectations good or bad. I’m just going to bring a positive outlook and lots of patience.

    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi Davi, honestly, so many people LOVE Barcelona. And that’s super cool. We encourage people to follow their dream. We didn’t mean to upset anyone, but to share our experience as they happened. Looking bad, the crying child next door which didn’t allow us to sleep or the giant roaches which didn’t allow me to go out for a run in the evening sure made things worse. Without these, I reckon I would have loved living in Spain. We would have moved further North for the weather but apart from that, Seville really was fantastic.

  10. ande Avatar

    Thanks for writing your honest thought about living in Spain! You had similar experiences to what I’ve experienced here in Argentina — the bureaucracy, loud dogs, children and people on the streets, cockroaches, the animal cruelty, dog poop on the streets, searing heat, lack of customer service, organization and people who have a similar level of ambition (—and luckily you’re in a couple so maybe you didn’t have to deal with machismo as much?—). I guess these cultural traits carried over to their colonies! I also feel divided about it because living here had afforded me a more privileged lifestyle, but it is a trade off!

  11. Nick C Avatar
    Nick C

    Hi Cory, thanks for the honest post. I’m in the process of moving to Alicante, where I lived for a few months in college many years ago. While I admit wincing at a couple of your passages, I found your post invaluable overall, especially in terms of choosing housing. I think you might have been in a phase of life not well suited for Spain – being single is great there, as is having a family. But a couple with no kids may not find a place as easily. Spain can’t really compare to Japan (nowhere can IMO), but Spanish is a lot easier to master than Japanese!

    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi Nick,

      Thank you for your honest message. I must admit, looking back, even I wince at some of the paragraphs. Not a day goes by when we don’t miss some things about Spain. It’s true, we think we will eventually come back and give it another go (this time in the North though!) but we are not ready yet. We weren’t prepared and we learned a valuable lesson. I hope Alicante will treat you well. It truly is a beautiful place in Spain.
      Good luck and have a smooth transition.


  12. Pietro Avatar

    That’s a very interesting article! I live in a big city in the north of Italy (Milan). We experience the same issues when we go to the south of Italy. Here in Milan everything works, health system is good, bureaucracy has gone digital. Italy is very regional… so when you visit another region of Italy is like going to another country. Now we’re thinking about moving to a Spanish city by the sea but we’re quite scared to find a situation like the one you found in Sevilla. Spain is awesome when you visit it as a tourist, but living there is another story.
    Since you have the same needs as we do: a big but well-organized and quiet city (on the sea), no screaming children around, cultural offerings, will you tell us if you find a city that suits you best? Thanks!

    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi Pietro,

      We heard amazing things about Northern Italy. If you like it, why do you wish to move to Spain? If you want to experience it for short term, I’d say anywhere in Spain will be fine. Of course, you now know what to look for when you wish to rent a flat / house in Spain. We LOVE Spain as tourists. We also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Seville. To this date, it remains one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of Europe. It’s simply stunning. Living there, it’s another story. Perhaps we will move back when we are older.
      We just came back from a holiday around Croatia. So far, we are rather excited about Split. Good location, people were quiet, it was on the beach, large(ish) city with plenty to do. Great history, no screaming children, excellent locals, excellent food, very clean…it fits the bill. We know very little about Croatia but we have friends who already live there. We will learn more about it soon. It might be what we were looking for..,
      In due course, we are in Budapest, which is our base for travels (excellent location, excellent prices).
      I wish you the very best.

      Kind Regards,


    2. Sarah Avatar

      I think castelldefels might be a city that you might be interested in. It’s a 25min car trip from Barcelona and there’s an amazing beach.

    3. John Avatar

      Bureaucracy in Milan and Lombardia is a nightmare. Health service is in private hands. Waiting times for residence permit or tessera sanitaria way longer than most other regions. I know this well because my girlfriend is not European and she was living there until a few months ago. It was almost impossible for her to get an appointment for Covid-19 vaccine. She had to take appointment in another region, 400 km far from Milan, where, despite not being resident, she got vaccinated one week later.

  13. Andrew Halliwell Avatar
    Andrew Halliwell

    Good article – challenging many accepted ideas. I’ve been in Spain for a total of around 10 years. The beaurocracy is a nightmare for sure – To move from San Sebastián to Tarragona, buy a car and become self-employed required 29 separate trips to various meaningless offices. About a month in total. The health service is good. The weather is fabulous here in Tarragona, no winter and rarely over 30º. I can swim in the Med 7 months of the year, have local mountains, can drive to the Pyrenees in 2.5-3 hrs and have Barcelona a short train ride away. Plus the city is beautiful in parts and cheap.

    On the cons side, Spain is noisy and the people are often rude and inconsiderate and the way they live their lives is equally confusing, beguiling and annoying. The smaller cities may drive younger people mad. No spark, just people going out after 1am. All festivities, family lunches, no cosmopolitan food……I agree with much but not all of what you say.

    For me the climate, the beauty of the countryside, the history, the cheapness and the job prospects make it well worth putting up with the noise, the frustrations and the dog poop.

    Happy travels

  14. Mac Avatar

    Cory, your brutal honesty was refreshing and helpful.
    My wife and I live in Melbourne Australia and are about to retire.
    We are tired of the cold winters here and are about to explore several places with a view to relocating to one of them for the long term.
    High on our list, and the first place we will visit in May, is the Girona area, probably Llafranc in particular, but, thankfully, we will go there with a more critical and objective view than we would otherwise would have had thanks to your post.
    We have been to Spain – Malaga, Barcelona and Donostia – before, as tourists and realise the that there is a massive gap between the tourist fantasy and the resident reality. It all too often gets overlooked and ends up in unhappiness. So, again, thanks for the sobering truth.
    By the by, the next two places we will be trying for a few months at a time are Cha-Am, in Thailand, and somewhere quiet – i.e. not Seminyak or Sanur or similar – in Bali, Indonesia.

  15. Francesca Wellman Avatar
    Francesca Wellman

    This was a really interesting article – my mum has a flat in Torremolinos and we’ve stayed for 6 weeks at a time before, but I’m aware living there permanently would be very different. I do agree with your thoughts on cleanliness! For all it’s pros and cons though, I do love the country, and definitely want to try living there at some point.

  16. David Avatar

    I live in Spain and this article actually got me interested in living in the UK, sounds like a better place for an introvert like me, in spain im considered crazy for not liking partying and socializing 24/7

    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi David,

      We were seriously considering going back to the UK, but the rain can get to you. There are plenty of other options with good weather and reserved people 🙂
      You are always welcome to visit the UK. I hope you will enjoy it

      1. Ivka Avatar

        Hi Cory,

        Where do you recommend going for a reserved couple? My husband is graduating this year with an LLB from the University of York. In which country can he use his English LLB? What LLM should he do? LLM in International Law or LLM in Intellectual Property or LLM in Corporate Law? Which LLM will be more appropriate if we are planning to leave the UK as we do not like it here? The island is very undermaintained compared to the USA. The UK’s housing market is overpriced, and houses are poorly built and have poor energy efficiency ratings. The UK has no architecture and poor infrastructure. The roads have potholes; the sidewalks are broken; the street lights are nonexistent; the streets and buildings dirty; council tax is high; social determinants of health are not taken into account when determining tax band for properties; there is no sun; the weather is dreadful; there is poor customer service; no places to see and go; cannot exercise here, life is stand still here. The UK has no lifestyle when compared to the USA. UK citizens are treated poorly, and they are used to it.

  17. Violet Avatar

    Hi Cory and G,
    That is a great article. We live in Canada with 3 daughters and my husband is tired of the high cost of living and the looooong winter. He’s been unhappy for years now. We have the Spanish citizenship so are thinking about giving Spain a try.
    I love the Toronto way of living, just like you, I hate rouches and I’m all for good, fast service. Here everything is done over the internet and I love it.
    Anyway, he’s not happy so I need to compromise, the nice hot weather seduces me but I am worried about all those cons that you are describing 🙁
    All the best finding another country to live in!

  18. Steve Dougherty Avatar
    Steve Dougherty

    Enjoy your Spain article and had a couple of laughs. My wife (originally from Seville) visit Sevilla several times a year but never in the hot summer months where we move to Rota where it’s very comfortable during the summer. I was intrigued about your comments about Japan and may visit there since I too like it quiet.

  19. Tony Spence Avatar
    Tony Spence

    Thank you, an interesting read. I would say that Spain is a large diverse country and perhaps you where just in the wrong place? A hot city in any country is not very pleasant. ? Good luck! ?

  20. Unsuccessful Paradise Finders Avatar
    Unsuccessful Paradise Finders

    We have been experiencing exactly the same in Valencia living here for over 2 months. Believe me as a family with a baby, all those cons become even more difficult to accept. We have already decided to get back after new year.
    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Good luck in your journey for finding the right place to live!

  21. Charles Avatar

    I’m so glad you wrote this article. I had considered (loosely) retiring and moving to Spain but thanks to your article I now know that it would not be a good fit for us. I’m not sure about the other regions of Spain but I can at least scratch Seville off the list!

    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi Charles,

      Thank you for your message. We still encourage you to visit Seville, it’s an amazing place. Granada is even more impressive, with its gorgeous peaks. Ronda is a fantastic location too. We are certain you will find a great place to retire in Spain. The country has so much to offer!

      Kind Regards and Good luck finding a great place 🙂

  22. Anja Avatar

    Hi Cory, what an awesome article you wrote! I love your almost brutal honesty while staying nuanced at the same time. My dream is to retire to Spain in two years from now, but the noise ( people, children, dogs, roosters, scooters, etc) worry me a lot. I hate noise. So I will explore extra careful. Thanks again!

    Oh, and do you think Portugal is better, in that regard?

    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi Anja,

      Thank you for your message. We loved Spain, I just wanted to clarify that. Spain is a fantastic country with so much to offer. We were very unlucky with the places we picked and noise is a huge issue for us. We think Portugal was far better. Although, we did have a rooster next door haha and there was a lot of drilling during summer time. But if you live far enough from your neighbours, I reckon it’s great. We’d go back to Portugal in a heart beat!

  23. Erika Avatar

    Interesting article. We are living in Scotland but I am not really liking it here. The weather just makes me depressed and all time sick with sth. I was considering to move to Spain but this article made me think as I used to live in Seoul and really like efficiency. Could you advise me some European country with warm weather but without the cons in Spain? Thank you

    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi Erika, we are still searching for a place with good weather which happens to be efficient. We are currently settled in Germany and we love it here. But the weather has 4 seasons. We don’t miss Spain at all, and we are happy to trade the good weather for efficiency. Scotland has challenging weather, no doubt. Have you considered trying France or Germany? I recommend checking Spain but wouldn’t commit until you are certain!

  24. Esther Avatar

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

  25. Mel Avatar

    Hmmm. I wonder if maybe you were just not in a good place for your needs in Spain. Sounds like maybe North Spain or so may be better for you guys compared to Seville? Hope you are loving wherever you are now!

  26. Frank Avatar

    Noise can be a real problem. Including barking dogs. 6.30 am – barking – 1.30 am (in the night) – barking – and we live in an apartment with faily little dogs around it. Spanish tend to have culture noise, not all, but a few. And those few are bad enough to drive you crazy. It’s ok to visit a few weeks, but living here. Better not. Your article is spot on Cory! Same goes for all the points you mentioned. Including Bureaucracy. I ran out of a vaccine and need a refresh of tetanus and doctor would not attend me but was told to go to public health service queuing for hours. Awful.

  27. Manu Avatar

    “Unfortunately, Spain is a child-oriented society. This means that here, people have lots of children. If you are a young professional, maybe you don’t want to be surrounded by loud kids.”

    Spanish guy here… Actually one of the next greatest problems of Spain is low natality rate. The country is amongst the ones with the lowest natality index in Europe. That means more retired people than actual future workers to pay their pensions.

    So we don’t have lots of children, but maybe they are constantly outdoors and (yes) shouting and yelling, haha.

  28. Vanessa Haywood Avatar
    Vanessa Haywood

    Thanks for your honesty. Most post simply list the pros and forget the cons. I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but glad you shared your views.

  29. Kris Avatar

    Absolutely agree. I could extend your list to the traffic, the almost inability to find competent professionals,rising prices and crime etc. It is always a balance living in another country. For me at the moment the cons outweigh the pros living in Spain.

    1. Esther V Avatar
      Esther V

      for me the pro’s outweigh the cons, big time.

  30. Bianca Avatar

    Great article, raw and good without being sensationalized! I know visiting is different from living, but this article addressed some of my concerns. It also made me more inhefesfed in Great Britain, haha.

    1. Kostas Avatar

      I wonder why a lot of people when they retire they want to go to Spain and not to Greece for example?

      For the information I am Greek which lives In Germany for the last 7 years and What i realized is that unfortunately it is difficult to have everything you want. For example in Germany is all about work and money. There is no entertainment, the same in Austria and all the surrounded countries, so when you move south to Spain, Italy or Greece of course you get issues with bureaucracy but you get also the pleasure to go out with friends and enjoy life. In Germany shops close at 7 or maximum 8 and people sleep from 9 o clock where in Greece people start eating at 9 or as you said in Spain children play out durIng the night. At the end is a matter of what basically you ask for your life

  31. Sara Avatar

    Hi! As a Spanish I appreciate the effort you put on this article and I really like to read about Spain from people who are not Spanish. After carefully reading your post I would say that you did not chose correctly the place to live in Spain. It is well known in Spain that Seville is the second warmest cities, in Andalucia things happen slower and they have a particular way of life. I would say that you would love to live in Santander, San Sebastian or Bilbao.

    Anyway, thanks for your article and I hope you enjoy the next city!

  32. Lissy Avatar

    I thought I was the one with the problem because even as a tourist I’ve experienced some of what you did. Having a Spanish background didn’t help at all because I grew up in the states and my mentality is very American but glad to read that other people feel the same as me. It was a nice place to visit but definitely couldn’t live there.

  33. Annie Avatar

    This is very helpful. Thank you! I can absolutely relate! Would love to hear your experience with transportation and commuting.

  34. K Avatar

    Spain is not for everyone. We moved here to test it out and im quickly coming to realise i want nothing more than to move to the UK again. It is a huge thing for us that most of the costa blanca is effectively a giant retirement village. Musical entertainment if any is sub oar- caters for a certain demographic. I find living with dogs here shocking- i dont have the freedom of movement as i did in the uk- it is dangerous to let your pets off leads- if not poison laid by hunters, then hunting all around the region for most of the year. Convinced j will get shot one of these days if i go for a hike. Deadly caterpillars put a cap on walking anywhere near pine forests anywhere from feb- may and youre not allowed to take them to any beaches. This level of restriction and constant looking over my shoulder has been stressful. I dont want bread and ham for every meal including breakfast and every restaurant has the same menu on repeat. Ive found some locals not overly friendly- it is perhaps because of all the wealthy retirees who push them out of their regions and make it unaffordable for them to live in their own towns. I am quite a fast paced person and my planning nature and efficiency just doesnt gel with the level of non urgency, that will never change. Huge snakes and spiders. And i am a sauv blanc drinker unfortunately- so i have yet to find a drinkable white wine here. The cheap plonk is fine i suppose if you like local white ‘young wine’. But they only sell spanish – and if i wanted a bog standard sauvignon blanc i would have to pay €30 for a bottle. So i really miss wine. The sun is nice. But i figure i can go on holiday for sun and just go back to the uk and complain about the bad weather while having a large glass of wine i like, inside a nice pub.

  35. Jasmine Avatar

    I definitely found this to be an interesting read and agree with one thing is love a place while visiting while another one is to actually live there. Of course what some people might love about their lifestyle others will not. Definitely wouldnt love seeing loads of dog poop and paying a crazy amount for food. I just cant seem to understand why a Pro in kids is that kids in Spain kids are actually kids and in the Cons its bad that they are loud and you proceed to say that other countries teach their children to be quiet. Maybe it is because you arent a mom but some kids are quiet, some are loud, at the end of the day they are children and should be able to enjoy life too instead of constantly being told to quiet down.

    1. Claudia Avatar

      I totally agree you you Jasmine. Children should be children and be able to express themselves. I did not like that bit at all. I love children. I am Italo-Irish, family means everything.
      I agree about dog poop, but the bit about children NO!

  36. Tori Avatar

    Rested several times in Spain, I liked everything. It is clear that going on vacation and living in the country are different things. Thank you for sharing the information

  37. Luis Avatar

    Cory, I read your experience in Seville Spain.
    Sorry you had that bad experience.
    I live in New York and I am retiring in less that 2 years I have driving around Spain for a month in 2018 and got in touch with 2 college classmates from Argentina (I grew up there and I am originally from Chile). US American citizen now for 30 years.
    My decision it is the “Costa del Sol” one of the little towns there. I have like 10 in my list. Of course not Málaga or Marbella. I have been also in Seville in summer time.
    I think you did not do enough research before picking Seville, that is one of the hottest cities in Spain.
    In my case I love hot weather 40 Celsius degrees are fine with me (I grew up in San Juan, Argentina where the weather is like that). Being in “Costa del Sol” gives you the opportunity to go to the beach (I just hate snow).
    I think you were unlucky with the roaches which of course you’ll find more in warm weather cities than in the North.
    Latin culture party late and makes noise you’ll find that in all South america which had inherited the Latin culture.
    Bureaucracy, I grew up in South America and cannot be any worse than that but it is all about adjustment. After 30 years living in New York city I find a lot bureaucracy here (I even work for Federal government).
    My pick could be Torrox which has the best European weather.
    I keep reading a lot and I still have almost two years to find the right town.
    Thanks for your input and experience in Spain.

  38. Thierry Avatar

    Cory, I really wanted to thank you for this amazingly helpful piece. Nowhere else on the internet could I find such a comprehensive, candid and disinterested analysis of actually living in Spain, as opposed to being on vacation there. It is not that I am surprised by most of the cons you mention. You simply jogged my memory. That’s why I know how valuable reading this blog post has been. Having a somewhat similar travel background to yours (born in a very tidy place, loved living in Japan…) I would recommend you look into visiting countries like Germany (except Berlin that is way too chaotic and un-German; I lived there for a year), Austria and Slovenia. I am not mentioning Switzerland because of the exorbitant cost even though I used to love spending time there. Once again, thank you for your wisdom and the courage you showed to dare express it.

    1. Cory Avatar

      Dear Thierry, thank you so much for your candid words. I’m pleased to say that we found our space in Germany 🙂 We live in Dresden which is so well located for our travelling needs. And you are so right, Berlin is brilliant, but not for living there.
      Thank you for reading between the lines and taking this article as it was intended. Much love, from Germany 🙂

  39. Chloe Avatar

    This article is not about living in Spain, but living in Sevilla (a city in the south of Spain). The weather there is completely different from other cities in Spain. And yes, there are Cockroaches in the south of Spain, but not in the central or Northern cities. Personally I hate Sevilla. People there are generally close-minded, laid down, everything is slow, hot and the cockroaches are a nightmare but that IS NOT SPAIN. Other cities work perfectly fine and they are beautiful, peaceful, fun, depending of what you’re looking for. One thing I would never do is move to a city without knowing anything about. Probably you choose Sevilla because you were after sunny days, and the typical portrayed picture of the Spanish ballerina. And that’s exactly what you had. I hate animal suffering and Sevilla is like the most barbaric city in Spain. But that does not represent the whole country. In catulunya shows with bulls are forbidden. You totally did fine running away from Sevilla, but please next time try other places in Spain so you can judge the whole picture. And please don’t go where all the English people go because if you do you will regret it. Ask locals (not sevillians) and enjoy Japan, I think is an extraordinary country (except by the fact that is super sexist)

    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi Chloe, thank you for taking the time to write back to me. You kinda hit the nail with your comment. You are right, the article is about a subjective experience in Seville and not in Spain as a whole country. We since visited plenty of wonderful Spanish cities and we loved them to bits. Nevertheless, leaving Spain and settling somewhere else has been the best decision for us and our lifestyle.
      As for Japan, I can only hope it is changing for the better. I can see news about how women are becoming more respected and their voice are being heard. Let’s hope that soon enough, sexism will be nothing but a cautionary tale from history.
      Spain is one of the most incredible European countries to visit and enjoy. We love the islands, the vast, everchanging landscape, from forests through rugged terrain, to gorgeous seascapes. Whoever finds Spain the ideal place for settling down, I’ve no doubt they will love it for the right merits. It’s sad that we had such terrible experience which pushed us to still try and find a new home, somewhere else.

      1. JW Avatar

        Hi Cory,

        Why don’t you move to Japan? You seem to like it so much, although cost of living and women’s rights- and, racism could be a problem. Seems as though you moved to Spain without much research, at least that’s the impression I had after reading your article. Hopefully, you’ll do mute next time.

        I appreciated your the in-depth analysis, and share your quest for quiet.

        Wishing you much luck!

  40. Jose Avatar

    Hi, first of all sorry for my english i hope my writting is understandable.
    Spanish here Who was born in Seville, living now in the East coast (Alicante). I have to say that i had a similar experience, but the other way around (went to the UK). As you know there is many british here, living in Spain for years. They normaly like to live between spast and dont learn the language often.i have the feeling that they área not interested or capable of adappting to here. I went to the UK without speaking any english and had a really bad Job working many hours as a kitchen porter, getting 600 pounds a month and living un a staff house Who was full of employers from every where and a very loudy and dirty house. It was Hard times to me, specially because i was living in Marbella those days (almost a paradise). However i decided to refuse the cons and enjoy the pros as if every day it was the last day of my life, and really enjoyed the UK, but they where many negative things as well. However, i did my best to addapt to english People, learned the language as fast as i can and mové from that house to another one with a english guy, i think i did the best. I am so happy (i travelled a lot in Europe and usa) living in Spain and Couldn’t live in a diferent place, so i consider my self very Lucky to find hapinnes in my own country, never in my 45 years old had problems with crime, insects, baby crying or finding al Job whatsoever. Said this, however, i have to recognise that Spain is not from every one, and UK either, usa either, and many other places either . At the end of the day happiness is in your heart not in the land where you living and any country are going to turn your Dreams come true, in my opinion . I am Sorry to ear you didnt have luck in Spain and hope you are happy what ever you are. All the best

  41. Claudia Avatar

    I recently read your blog on Bristol. I visited Bristol and north somerset. I have now read your views on Spain. I was about to move to Bristol but changed my mind last minute due to Brexit etc. I was contemplating spain, but this article does put things into perspective. I currently live in Sardinia, a beautiful island. However, the school system is awful. Children and teenagers are overburdened with homework, they have no social life. I have decided to leave. It is so difficult to find the right place. I do understand what you guys went through. I am so disappointed in Sardinia. I hope to find our next destination. I may still visit spain and wales and see how that goes, but I guess you really have to live in a place to understand how it works. All the best to you guys.

  42. Arantzazu Naveiro Avatar
    Arantzazu Naveiro

    Hi! I’m a native spanish resident and i’ve lived here my whole life.

    There are some things i have to agree with. I live on Catalonia and what you say is true: There are many kids shouting and yelling, and the cities are very dirty. I’m sorry for your experience but there are still cities you can visit! There are many places like Extremadura and Castilla La-Mancha wich have many cultural places and a warm weather. Catalonia has very beautiful beaches in Begur and Palafrugell. I still hope you can give Spain a second chance.

  43. Juan Avatar

    You say food prices in Spain are high but they are much cheaper than in the UK.
    If you want more variety you should go to El Corte Inglés or specialized groceries or delicatessen, but of course they are more expensive, as are delicatessen expensive in the UK.

    In the UK you can find more Asian food, but that’s all.
    Most English say “International food” when they just mean using a lot of curry and hot spicy sauce everywhere, making all food taste the same and masquerading the real food flavours.

    In the UK you can find almost everything, but only in some areas of London, if you are living in a small city like Seville, life is also very boring and the variety of products very reduced.

    In Spain most people don’t like bullfighting, me included, and it’s being banned in most regions of Spain.
    Anyway in the UK you also have equivalent activities, for example you hunt foxes with dogs while chasing them with horses.

    In Spanish cities some neighbourhoods are clean some other not, but the same happens in the UK, where districts with cheap houses are really dirty and abandoned. The difference is in Seville the soil is dry while in the UK is a mix of grass and mud.

    In Spain we have very different areas, some hot and dry and some wet and cold, but it’s true, we have too many of the former. That’s the price we have to pay if we want sun.

    Seville is in a poor region.
    At the end… most people misses his country, his people, his language, his weather, his food.
    For most Spaniards the UK is a nice place to visit but boring to live in, you have good wages but everything is expensive.

    1. Jack Avatar

      “Anyway in the UK you also have equivalent activities, for example you hunt foxes with dogs while chasing them with horses.”

      This made me laugh.

  44. Rafa Avatar

    I desagree in almost every point, but I won’t discuss, it’s your opinion, except for…. bureacracy. Really??? If you don’t realize you’ve got a huge bureaucracy problem in the UK it’s perhaps because you are not a foreigner there. I can’t tell how much I had to struggle to settle there!!! “Uhhhmm… you don’t have an address? Then you cannot open a bank account”, “uhhmm, you don’t have a bank account? Then you cannot rent a house”. It is a perverse system full of catch 22 situations, at least for foreigners.

    Ah… and sorry for this, but you healthcare system sucks… at least in Scotland.


  45. Jonh Avatar

    You can’t judge an entire country for a city.

  46. Javi (from Spain) Avatar
    Javi (from Spain)


    1. Cory Avatar

      No, Javi, read again…no bullshit (thankfully)…just dog shit everywhere 🙂

  47. luisón Avatar

    Visit Asturias, in the north of Spain!

  48. salamanquesa-pichurrina Avatar

    disliking spain for seville is like liking UK for London. Is not realistic.

    Anyway, I like your radical honesty.

  49. Raúl Avatar

    I really liked the article. I must say I am a South Spanish living in the UK.

    I do agree with almost all the cons but I must to say that I feel that when you moved to Spain, you still thought about your loving summer holiday under the sun.

    Definitely Sevilla wasn’t the right choice for you, I bet that if you moved somewhere like San Sebastian, you could have found an environment similar to what the UK could offer; non extreme weather, country side and green areas.

    I would suggest then to move to the north and then, think about this article that really well defines the southern culture in Spain.

    Best wishes

  50. Alfred Avatar

    without a doubt if you had come to the area where I live, Asturias, things would have been different since many of the cons you mention here simply do not exist.

    in fact I agree with you in many cons, such as that of cockroaches, in the south and east of Spain there are many. I have been in Asturias for 27 years and I have never seen one.


    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi Alfred I honestly think we got really really unlucky!

  51. Javier Avatar

    I read your blog entry and I got to say some of that cons and pros are maybe right but you cannot sum up this into “Living In Spain pros and cons” blog because you have lived in Seville for a certain time.

    I have been living in Bradford for a year I am totally sure of not having a whole picture of the UK because a live a northern city like that.

    Every city, every county is different but people like you who came from the UK does not understand that. You need to make a whole picture of our history, with an impressive cultural miscegenation coming from different civilizations who have habited in the peninsula and therefore have left different cultures, languages and manners. We have also cohabited for many hundreds of years with the world’s three major religions, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish.

    I am not even sure if you are able to speak a decent spanish which makes your experience a lot different.

  52. Ayanna Avatar

    I Love a laid back lifestyle,have a rottweiler, am looking for a family centered place, love music and dancing, and I thrive in the heat. I’m looking to move to portugal in 2 years but this has me considering Spain instead. Reading through this I kept saying “she hates everything good!”

    1. Cory Avatar

      Or you like everything bad 😀 it’s just perspective. Clearly we are two people with different views.

  53. Maria C Avatar
    Maria C

    I’ve been living in Madrid (3 years now) and I absolutely understand your view.
    Even though it has pros me and my husband are very excited to move from Spain next year after we finish our studies.
    I don’t think its bad luck since we have talked with other international friends and they all experienced the same, what a shame tho cause its a very beautiful place.

  54. V V Avatar
    V V

    My wife and I are looking in to Spain. This was a really nice, personal article. A lot of the cons you mentioned are things no one really talks about (children, barking dogs, neighborhood things) and I appreciated it, as these are things we look to avoid in our living situations as well, and I always worry because no one ever discusses them. I don’t know why everyone is so up in arms about your post – it’s your opinion and experience?

  55. Kevin Kissack Avatar
    Kevin Kissack

    how is it logical that in the UK, Spanish imported oranges were better tasting and cheaper?

    Because they export the best (more lucrative). Same in Colombia as local coffee is not great.

  56. Amanda Avatar

    Thank you for having the courage to write this article! I’ve been living in Madrid for over 2 years – came for an adventure and am staying for a (non-Spanish boyfriend). Spain is definitely not a place to live long-term. I came with a basic level of Spanish, committed myself to really learning through classes and friends, and now speak quite well (I’m a lawyer and even work in Spanish occasionally) – but the locals, even relatively young ones, really struggle with accents, in terms of understanding and basic kindness. Bureaucracy is a true, Kafkaesque nightmare – it takes 9 months to renew a 1 year visa, doctors and private companies will refuse to respond to you for weeks (and when they do they’re angry about it), and the locals just accept this. Racism is unimaginable once you start talking to people – even those on the left wing – and police brutality is rampant, though strangely not covered even in El Pais. There’s a law that forbids filming the police, in fact, which is widely enforced and lends itself to a constant state of anxiety, at least for me as a foreigner. Paradoxically, petty crime is a given – expect to have your purse stolen, your house broken into, etc. – but on the plus side, violent crime among strangers is low.

    In general, I would say if you’re coming from a place like the UK, the US, Australia, Sweden, or France (countries of origin of people from whom I have heard similar complaints), Spain would probably be nice for a year or so, but not much longer. There’s a constant state of quasi-chaos here, which not even the “no pasa nada” attitude can cover up.

    And Spaniards, don’t @ me with problems in the UK, US, Australia, Sweden, or France (i.e. “pero las armas en los colegios en los EEUU” “pero los terroristas en Francia” “pero los ingleses son las más racistas” o lo que sea) – probably we already know it and can reasonably discuss it without devolving into shouts of fascism/communism, depending on your preferred flavor of insult.

  57. Kelly Avatar

    It’s just not for Americans, I mean Europe. Not in general, but the Mediterranean countries definitely. We have very different and opposite lifestyles. America is beautiful but as a European I say that I probably couldn’t live more than a year in the USA. It’s all about the lifestyle

    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi Kelly, I think it really depends on people’s personalities. We are not American. We are European and British. I never lived in the US so I can’t say if it’s good or bad. But probably it’s closer to the way we are used to living.

  58. Tricia Clarke Avatar
    Tricia Clarke

    A good read. And confirmed for me, we don’t want to move to Spain. I am retired and live by the coast in Margate, UK. I’ve lived in Spain a handful of times over the last 40+ years. And thank you for highlighting the pitfalls. I’ve had my rose tinted goggles on this past month, whilst looking for properties online in Spain. I forgot about the cons! And you highlighted them very well. It’s settled my mind, and I no longer have the urge to move to Spain. Cheers.

    1. Steve Avatar

      Hello Tricia,how are you ?

    2. Marisa Avatar

      Change your mind from this review !!! These people are obviously not adaptable . The climate in Spain alone for retirement is wonderful . You just have to look at all
      the Michelin star restaurants in Spain to confirm the quality of food and the amount of produce they export . Yes, every country has areas that need improvement but after living in Canada and the USA for 45 years , Spain is where we choose to retire .

      1. Cory Avatar

        Hi Marisa, “these people” are obviously VERY adaptable. We’ve lived in 7 different countries and have multiple passports, speak different languages and have travelled to dozens of countries. In fact, we left our home countries to adapt in the UK and make a life there first and foremost. Just because you like 40C, manchego and don’t mind roaches in the summer doesn’t mean everyone has to like that.

        “These people” just have other expectations than you. Enjoy your retirement. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

  59. Florin Avatar


    Si noi (eu si sotia) ne gandim sa ne mutam in Spania:)
    Acum ca am citit articoulul tau, incep sa imi fac unele griji, in special pentru ca si noi suntem persoane mai retrase si preferam linistea.
    Pana acum am vizitat Barcelona si Valencia. Ca si turisti am fost impresionati de catre aceste orase, insa am prefera Valencia pentru ca e mai linistita.

    Si noi suntem tot pe drumuri, in incercarea de a gasi o tara buna pentru noi.

    Am locuit pentru 1 an in Londra si ne-am simtit bine acolo. Din pacate in 2017 atacurile teroriste erau in floare si am decis sa parasim Londra.

    Am locuit pentru 3 ani in Canada, in trei provincii diferite si in 4 orase diferite (St Stephen, Pickering, Etobicoke si Calgary). Pentru noi Canada a fost cea mai mare dezamagire. O tara mult prea laudata pentru ceea ce ofera!

    Acum suntem in Italia. Ne place aici dar e o tara in care nu poti evolua pe plan profesional. In mare parte au nevoie doar de muncitori necalificati (muncile pe care nu vor ei sa le faca). Birocratia si coruptia si aici sunt destul de neplacute, din pacare.

    Ne-ar fi tentat si Australia dar nu mai suntem chiar asa tineri pentru o astfel de experienta. Si dupa experienta cu, Canada, nu am vrea sa ne regasim in aceeasi situatie (locuind intr-o tara mult prea laudata)

    Acum unde ati decis sa locuiti?

    O zi mununata,
    Florin si Nadia

    1. Cory Avatar

      Draga Florin si Nadia,

      Va mulumesc pentru mesaj.
      Nu trebuie sa va ingrijorati 🙂 Spania nu a fost pe placul nostru. Nu inseamna ca nu este locul ideal pentru dvs. Noi am locuit aproape de Seville. Posibil ca alte locuri in Spania sa fie exceptionale. Seville e calda, mai desertoasa. Fara verdeata multa, fara aer de mare.

      Citesc cu dezamagire despre Canada. Acolo ne dorim noi sa ne mutam definitiv. Noi dorim Vancouver sau Nova Scotia. Suntem uimiti ca ca nu a fost ok. Se poate sa va trimitem email pentru mai multe detalii?

      Noi, dupa Spania, ne-am mutat in Dresda, Germania. A fost greu. Oras superb, frumos cu padure si drumetii pe malul raului. In acelasi timp, birocratie infernala, hartogarie si taxe de ne-am zapacit. Nu recomandam Germania pentu expats. Suntem convisi ca se poate avansa mai bine pe plan profesional, decat in Italia. Insa nu stiu daca se merita, fiindca multi Romani si straini in general, se plang de stilul de viata in Germania. O societate dura, cu oameni reci.

      Acum ne-am intors inapoi in Marea Britanie. Aici suntem cetateni, si eu si sotul meu. Ne-am mutat in nord, intr-un orasel Harrogate, in Nordul Yorkshire. Ne place mult. Este calm, frumos, plin de flori si verdeata. Suntem aproape de o gramada de parcuri nationale si nu foarte departe de aeroport in Londra sau Manchester. Noi inainte am trait in Manchester si Bristol.

      Insa asteptam viza de la Canadieni…acolo doream noi sa ajungem. Insa cine stie, cu ajutorul dvs poate ne razgandim 🙂

      Si noi ne-am gandit la Australia…insa ganganiile de acolo sunt mai rau ca cele din Spania. Noua zeelanda e o idee? Am fost acolo o perioada si ne-a placut. Insa e departe de orice. E o viata simpla, retrasa.

      O zi frumoasa va dorim si noi.

      Cory si G Varga

      1. Florin Avatar


        Sigur ca da. Ne puteti scrie pe email sau putem vorbi pe Instagram @srf.florin

        O zi minunata,
        Florin si Nadia

  60. Jack Avatar

    So, as this seems to be focused on Seville, can anyone comment on differences or similarities with Burgos? I, too, need a quiet place, and like to go to bed early (early by my standards, which would apparently be ‘before dinnertime’ in Spain). I’ve been told Burgos is much more peaceful, but would appreciate any input from others who have spent time there.

    Thank you!

    1. Beatriz Avatar

      Hi Jack, I am not from Burgos but from León, a very similar city. The North of Spain is so much different from the South. It’s quieter and colder in every sense, most suited to those who prefer calm environmets. The downside is that people tend not to be as friendly on a first impression, but this changes as they get to know you.
      Also be prepared to speak mostly in Spanish. The lack of mass foreign tourism means that people in the North don’t need to communicate in English, German or French on a regular basis.
      I hope you enjoy Burgos should you decide to give it a go. All the best!

    2. Burgales Avatar

      Agreed with Beatriz. It is definitely more calm, especially outside the city center (probably still somewhat busier than north European cities).
      Compared with Sevilla:
      Weather – Colder on all seasons. Dry summers (with cool nights), cold winters.
      Food – More typical of a colder climate. More reliant on meats, stews, legumes, but you can still find seafood etc.
      Cleanliness – I would say in general cities in the north are a bit cleaner, especially suburbs etc.
      Laid back – Much less than in the south, still probably more than in Europe on average.
      Friendliness – Same as the above point.

      In general the economy and quality of life are better on all measures in northern regions, but they are also less “fun” from the perspective of what people typically expect of Spain.

  61. John Avatar

    I don’t get how having seasonal food on the table can be seen as a con. Have you ever considered how much environmental pressure it creates moving South-American avocados and Vietnamese rice noodles and African coconuts around the five continents? And that having out-of-season food all-year-round on our table is nothing more than a first-world whim? You can enjoy Oranges and Persimmon in winter, cherries in spring, tomatoes in summer, figs in autumn, etc. If you respect times of nature, you will have tasty and sun-grown fruits and vegetables in all months, this is a luxury that Southern Europe can give you. At that point, why should you want to eat tasteless greenhouse tomatoes in winter or New-Zealand oranges in summer? Finally, you will make your part for the environment.

    1. Cory Avatar

      Hi John,

      Thank you for your message. You are right, seasonal food is incredible. I love seasonal food as our diet is mainly fruits and veg. However, the reason why I put this in the con is because of the lack of other products which we rely on to create dishes.
      Sometimes it’s nice to have those tasteless tomatoes.
      We should all buy local, seasonal produce when available, but the lack of option made it hard for us.

  62. Lisa Brown Avatar
    Lisa Brown

    how’s the public transit there?

    1. Cory Avatar

      It’s actually a pro 🙂 we had a car and didn’t use it often but it’s actually good and reliable

  63. Ian Avatar

    This article is excellent and very fair. The cons are the reasons we left Spain and moved elsewhere in the EU. The noise in particular is unbearable if you cannot tune it out (even worse in an aprtment with TV and furniture scraping), and it is hard to just keep telling yourself it is down to the culture and not end up thinking how inconsiderate everyone is, which is not healthy.

  64. David Avatar

    Really good article, even if I am reading it 4 years later. 🙂

    Albeit it is more related to Seville, most of what is said applies to the north. Except the cockroaches.

    I have been here for 20 years due to family responsibilities. If I could I would likely leave, but not for the UK. Sorry. Despite my highly critical content to follow, the UK in the last few years has disappeared from my radar.

    Bureaucracy – Awful. Digitalistaion is improving some aspects. The big issue lies in each public entity being completely separate from eachother. A change of address for updating DNI is not actioned in the health service or trafico. You must go to each one separately. Opening a business requires 8 individual steps and several visits to different departments around the city.

    Cleanliness – It depends where you go. Santiago is quite clean, Oviedo impeccable, Salamanca too. Ferrol is very dirty, and most big cities have their clean and not so clean. Like any other country I suppose. But grafitti. Wow. I have travelled and lived in 29 countries, Spain is by far the worst for grafitti. Maybe only Brazil comes close. In Spain it is a nationwide problem.

    Food – Spanish food is really incredible, and each region is different. Rule of thumb, especially for people in touristy areas, only go where the locals go. Some of my best memories come from eating great food in Bilbao, Madrid, Cadiz. There is a lack of international food. Also, having travelled through most of Asia, Chinese, Thai & Japanese restaurants in Spain are really not authentic, and the quality overall is poor. And if you like Indian cuisine, forget it. We actually buy all our international food in Portugal, or from trips to the UK.

    Supermarkets – If you are coming from a country like the UK, even Portugal, the lack of variety will shock you, especially of non- Spanish brands. Carrefour has improved and offers some European goods, basic Asian food like noodles and soy sauce, and South American food sections. The upside of this is that it has forced me to learn to cook creatively. Fruit is best bought from a proper fruit & veg shop locally, as they treat the product much better. Same with meat.

    Online shopping – Not easy. Spain is still someway behind the slick and professional websites out of Germany, UK & USA. I am a techie by profession. Customer service is a big part of this, and in Spain it is overall very poor, even online. Amazon Spain is also frustrating. The variety does not compare to Amazons bigger markets in Europe, and I have often had to buy from Amazon Germany. Also, Chinese tat, and it is tat, has taken over Amazon here. Ali Express is massively popular and reflects the Spanish way of buying on price and not quality.

    Health – Having not used the UK health service for 20 years, I cannot compare. Here, though, I find local clinic services function quite well. Hospitals are a nightmare. We opted for private health insurance a couple of years ago, best thing we ever did. I recall until 2010 the public health was fantastic. Then cutbacks from the financial crisis kicked in, and it has steadily gone downhill.

    Braindrain – The best and brightest leave as job prospects are poor and/or poorly paid. In IT you can find lots of work, but you will be lucky to earn over 30.000 euros a year. Similar jobs in the UK, USA & Canada pay two or three times these salaries. Many highly trained doctors and engineers leave, and rarely return.

    Jobs – Competition for jobs is high as unemployment is quite high. Most jobs pay little more than a thousand euros per month. Most non-natives I know are self employed, as they make more. Personally, and despite being very well qualified in IT & business, I do house repairs, as I make more money doing this as opposed to punching a keyboard.

    Working with Spaniards – The lack of professionalism is astounding in many sectors, like construction. It is better in younger and more dynamic businesses. The hospitality industry has some of the most appalling customer service imaginable. Or maybe after spending time in Japan, Korea, Thailand, I am being overly optimistic expecting a similar standard here. Also, dont expect responses to emails to happen in minutes or hours … it is often days. The one I find funny for example are plumbers. If they cannot fix it, they put it back together in its broken state and disappear. I have witnessed this several times in the last year. Another one! I was painting a house, and some guys turned up to install a new shower. Halfway through the boss takes a call, they pack up and leave. They returned two weeks later. The owners of the property had to shower down the gym.

    Civility – I found it easy to meet people over the years, but for that to develop in to a strong and trustful relationship is very difficult. Here in the north people are so closed, that even best friends dont share with you that they have gone on holiday, or been promoted at work. They take a thousand photos at the beach, but you wont see any.
    Out in public I know a lot of Europeans get upset in bars as people barge in to you, families walking six abreast on tiny pavements, loud children, loud adults. It is a cultural thing, and Spain is ike this. A conversation with 4 people, is 4 people all shouting at once. We live away from the city, and when I want a proper chat, I just meet with one friend. If you dont like the proximity of people then in Spain you will struggle to avoid it, or go and live in the mountains. It took me a while, but for the most part I am used to it. And anyway, you cant change a nation, so if you cant live with the noise and chaos it is best to leave.

    Parties – Yes, it is great for a party. And very popular with the under 40s. We are getting in to our 50s, so we are no longer interested in the night scene. We usually have friends over for a meal, drinks and a game of some sort. Even so, its normal for our friends to arrive an hour late, and stay around until 3am or 4am. Fortunately we have Sunday for recovery, hehe.

    Retirement – Most Europeans form ghettos and so nationalities stick together. Not for us, and thoroughly boring. Fortunately this is rare in the north.

    Dog poo – This brought me a smile. I think the UK is far worse.

    Politics – It is Spains achilles heel, and bordering on banana republic style. It is the one thing out of everything, that makes me want to leave. Dreadful is a polite way of describing these pirates.

    TV – Best avoided. It really is terrible. Thank you Netflix, Amazon for saving my sanity.

    Roads – Take away the toll roads paid for by the EU, and they are crap, really crap. But worse are the brainless people painting them.

    Rail – Total opposite of roads. Superb. An amazing national network of high speed trains. Some local services are shoddy, like anywhere, but overall excellent.

    Driving – My American friend jokes that the locals are lovely, until they get behind the steering wheel, and they go insane. I know what he means, I have been hospitalised from a car that crossed in front of my motorbike. Lost my mountain bike under the wheels of a car reversing at the traffic lights. Lost another mountain bike after being side swiped. Been shunted at least 3 times in my car. Oh yes, and you can expect to share the bike lane with families, old people and dog walkers. I wont even talk about trying to park.

    Speaking other languages – Generally the further away from the med, the less you will find multilingual people. They dont really need it. This is the biggest mistake made by outsiders. LEARN SPANISH.

    Comparisons to Portugal – For several years I spent 2 weeks in Spain and 2 in Portugal with my job. Overall Portugal was more my style. And the Portuguese I found easier to connect with. There are some areas which are worse than Spain – driving is even worse, big cities are a little less well kept and decadent. The coastal weather is cooler than the med amd similar to Spains north coast until you get past Lisbon. Salaries are also very low. Most essentials like food, are more expensive mostly because of sales taxes. Buying an equivalent car brand new costs about 25% more. However, food is more varied, customer service is better, it is quieter, and business is done less on emotion and more on common sense. Negotiations are done politely and respectfully. People hold doors open, happily help you if your lost, and dont get too upset very often.

    If I did leave, where would I go. I can only speak for places I have lived in. I enjoyed many aspects of Holland and its location, but it is very pricey. Morocco! The nicest people, but a fairly poorly run country. Thailand, I have family there who are very happy, but I am not convinced. Malaysia, possibly the cuisine capital of the world, but fails in many ways that are similar to Spain. I didnt live in Taiwan or Japan, but on my business trips I was very impressed. And Singapore is phenomenal, but very very expensive. Brazil, forget the crimeridden big cities! I lived ina small town and loved it. Overall I think Portugal would be my choice, or Taiwan.

    Apologies for the grammer, I wrote this on my tablet, with fat fingers. 🙂

  65. Mrs Jean Price Avatar
    Mrs Jean Price

    Suggest you look in the Moraira area of Northern Costa Blanca. We retired here 21 years ago and have not experIenced your problems apart from perhaps bureaucracy. I cannot understand why you chose to live in a big city when you do like anything about it. Here we have a good mix of a quiet life with a sea view and good live music etc in our small town by the sea. Sorry you had a bad experience.

    1. Cory Avatar

      Thank you Mrs Price. Yours was the kindest comment! Northern Costa Blanca looks and sounds fantastic

  66. Karen Avatar

    Great and informative article. Thank you!

  67. Andrew Avatar

    Great article and happy to see not much here would bother me and my plans for retirement. Except maybe the cockroaches 🙂

  68. Tracy Avatar

    Just recently in the past few months, I have been “reminiscing” about my year in Spain ages ago. I’m actually embarrassed to say how long ago. ha! Anyways, I am getting close to retirement, and always thought Seville would be a good place to retire/live prt time or such. Because it’s been so long since I have been there, I am honestly floored at the negatives, and I thank you for bring so honest.

    I feel your viewpoints are similar to mine. I have also been watching some You Tube’s and the tagging/graffiti that I have seen is truly just gross. I live in a major US city. I am tired of seeing filth and graffiti here… Is it like that all over Seville now?

    I will say, my number one eye opener is what you experienced about the cockroaches. Holy smokes. That’s the deal breaker…I do understand that this could be an isolated issue, but…I’m thinking the writing in on the wall.

    When I lived in Seville, I lived 15-20 min outside the city. Thankfully, the family I lived with never played loud music, went to bed around 11pm and had no issue w/me going to sleep at 10pm.

    They were incredibly calm, kept to themselves, never played music, (the bars downstairs provided that/lol) only one neighbor would visit, yet I was welcomed right away into the family. I’ve always wondered what my experience would have been like in the city center. Thank you for your life experiences and I will keep reading!

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