We’ve lived in Spain for nearly 5 years now and whenever asked we’ll always tell people how much we love it and that they should also relocate to Spain if they can! We have a lot of blog posts on reasons to move to Spain as well as the pros and cons, but we haven’t written a post about reasons NOT to move to Spain!
Spain is an amazing country with so many benefits to families, but it’s not going to be for everyone. We see other expat families come and go, and some people have said to us that they like Spain for holidays but couldn’t live here permanently.
So, for an alternative view, we’ve listened to what people have been saying in Expat groups on Facebook, comments on Instagram, conversations we’ve heard etc, and here are some reasons why you shouldn’t move to Spain…
If you like colder weather and enjoy rainy days then Spain is not the place for you! In the height of summer here on the Costa Blanca we get days of 40°c, though I’d say the average is around 35°c. The humidity is around 80-90% in July and August. It’s hot, you will sweat a lot, and it doesn’t cool down at night. Spring and Autumn can be mid 20°c to early 30°c, and still warm enough to sunbathe, it’s very rare for it to rain in this region. So if you don’t like getting hot or sitting in the sun, maybe this isn’t the country for you.
If you have absolutely no desire to learn another language or spend most of your time speaking another language then it’s not a good idea to move to Spain. Yes there are places where there are a lot of expats and you can easily go to British/Dutch/German bars and speak your own language, but when it comes to going to the bank, doctor, school, town hall, or smaller, less touristy places you will have to speak Spanish to get by. Think about getting your car serviced or hiring an electrician, if you wouldn’t want to have to try and navigate these things in Spanish, then it’s probably not a good idea to move to Spain.
A big part of living in Spain is adapting to the Spanish culture and way of life. You’ll spend a lot of time outdoors, find yourself eating much later, and have to put up with a lot of noise especially in the summer. Some places still close at midday, others don’t open after 2pm (doctors and banks), and lots of businesses close completely in August. Children are welcome everywhere at any time of day or night, things are much more laid back, life is slower, everyone’s late, and the “mañana” attitude is definitely a thing. If you don’t think you can live like this, it might be better to stay where you are.
Of course with any country you move to, you can still cook whatever food you like. However in Spain you’ll probably struggle to find a lot of British and American brands, and ingredients unless you find an international supermarket and pay a lot more for them. Spanish supermarkets stock Spanish brands mostly and don’t often cater for foreign tastes. You’ll have to get used to different meats, only buying certain fruit & vegetables in season, as well as knowing the Spanish vocabulary for all of these things. When you go out to eat you’ll be ordering paella and tapas, rather than roast dinner or curry….unless of course you only stick to the expat areas. So, if you’re not prepared to try different foods then we wouldn’t recommend moving to Spain.
The red tape
Spain is well known for it’s bureaucracy and you’ll soon be introduced to it if you want to do anything official in Spain. Whether it’s getting your NIE, registering on the Padron, opening a bank account, or getting a SIP card for healthcare, you’re likely to get very frustrated! They love their paperwork here and you’ll be asked for copies of everything – and usually find you also need something they haven’t asked for. Processes are slow, most things need to be done in person, customer service isn’t the best, and if you’re not gifted with a lot of patience it might be better off not having to deal with it all in the first place.
For us personally we love the weather, culture, food, and slower pace of life. The language can be difficult at times but we have embraced it and get by ok! The red tape is obviously not fun for anyone, but once out of the way you can forget about that nightmare.
So…what do you think? These are obviously just a few of the main things that came to mind but there are going to be lots more pros and cons for moving to Spain permanently. Have these points put you off moving to Spain or do you think you can handle it?