Living In Spain

Here are some  of the topics being covered in Living in Spain, and it´s linking pages -

Where to live?

When you´ve finally made the decision that living in Spain is what you want for yourself and family, you then have to go through the process of deciding on where to live. John and I knew that we wanted to live in Andalucia, but where? It´s a huge region. 

When we first planned to move across we had all sorts of great and idyllic ideas of what we wanted. We decided we wanted to live in a village away from the coast, so we could experience the ´real Spain´, and planned to work for ourselves by relocating the business we´d already established in the UK.

View from Casarabonela down towards Malaga

We trawled the internet, looked at maps, and made a few trips across to the area to find the perfect location. We finally decided that our home in Spain was going to be a village about 1 hour inland from Malaga, called Casarabonela.

We found the house we planned to rent, and set about selling the belongings we didn´t plan on taking with us, and packing those we did. We arranged for a Spanish lawyer to sort out the legal requirements for our business so everything would run smoothly when we moved. 

Living in Spain - the reality is quite different

Living in Spain wasn´t quite what we´d imagined when we first moved over here. If we can offer any words of wisdom to those of you considering doing the same thing then we´d say "Be prepared to be flexible with your plans, and do whatever it takes to make a life and a living for you and your family".

The Spanish lawyers charged us a lot of money and didn´t actually achieve what we had asked them to do. This meant that we couldn´t start working our business as soon as we arrived, which in turn caused us to eat into the tiny saving we´d brought with us. 

Being so far inland, in a non-English speaking town turned out to be a mistake. Neither of us spoke much Spanish and we didn´t know anyone there that we could turn to. That feeling of helplessness prompted us to start this website for people living in Spain, as well as those here on holiday. We hope that the lessons we´ve learned will  help you through your tough times

Luckily we´d only rented the house we were living in and not bought it, because we found ourselves having to find work on the coast where the English speaking jobs were and moving house within a few short months of arriving here. It was tough, but we were determined we didn´t want to go back to the UK.

Moving to Mijas

Whilst living in Spain we´ve moved to three different places since our first choice. Renting to begin with has turned out to be perfect for us. It´s given us a huge amount of flexibility and may be worth considering for yourselves to start with until you´re sure you are where you want to be.

We moved up to Mijas Pueblo in November 2010 and we don´t plan on moving anywhere else! It gives us the best of everything that we now know we want. It´s a very Spanish village with residents who have been here their whole lives, so although we get a large number of holiday visitors, it doesn´t have the holiday feel - it feels like a home.

There are plenty of residents who only speak Spanish, making us learn more of the language, but still many who speak English as a second language so we don´t feel isolated. There´s a good mix of other nationalities living here too, so if you´re not from the UK don´t worry, it really is a multi-cultural village.

We´ve got a huge choice of amenities here. Lots of bars and restaurants, shops, banks, doctors, dentists, schools, and yet we´re only about 15 minutes away from the beaches. And with views like this - It´s perfect!

View from our terrace of the sun rising above the Mediterranean

It has taken us a while to finally settle, but those early years have given us the chance to decide what was truly important to us in reality, rather than what we thought we wanted to begin with. Circumstances change, and we´ve learned to change with them.

Living in Spain and appreciating the lifestyle we´ve achieved has been worth the stress and worry we had to go through. We hope we can help reduce the stress and worry you´ll go through, we can´t promise it´ll be stress free just at a reduced level.

Getting into the system

One of the very first things we struggled with was understanding and registering with the government departments, such as Social Security and the Spanish medical system. So we´ve put together a useful bit of information on how it  works here in Spain, and how you go about getting the medical help you need. We´ve also put together a list of telephone numbers that you may need, along with addresses of consulates, local doctors and pharmacies etc. If you are moving to the area and have any questions we will do our best to provide an answer, just ask us here.

Mijas has a fabulous foreigners department, the first department of it´s kind in Spain, that can help you with almost everything. So don´t despair, whatever the issue there´s always someone to help! In 2013 the department saw over 20,000 foreign residents and decided to relocate to a larger office in the town hall of La Cala de Mijas, however they can be contacted by telephone or by email if preferred.

They even have a local television programme specifically for English speaking residents. It´s on RTV 340 every Friday afternoon called Costa del Sol Community, which covers a wide range of topics including health and beauty, food and wine and social topics.

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