Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/lisasadl/public_html/familylifeinspain.com/wp-content/themes/Divi/functions.php on line 5837

25 Years Living in Spain: Loving Our Family Life In Spain

Can you believe we’ve been living in Spain for 25 years?

Family Life in Spain is a whirlwind of excitement, adventure and learning experiences touched with the odd dash of frustration. It can easily be compared to a fairground ride … the enormous roller coaster that is life!

What you have to decide is whether you will be shrieking with laughter or screaming in fear.

Fasten your seat belts and let’s make this the ride of your life!

family life in spain

Spain is a wonderful place to live, and an amazing country to visit, particularly for children. Whatever you are looking for, you are sure to find it.

We have been living in Spain for 25 years and we are still learning, discovering and are totally excited by our findings about this colourful world of:

  • beautiful blue skies,
  • endless sunshine,
  • miles of sandy beaches,
  • rolling green hills,
  • snow topped mountains,
  • noisy and vibrant ferias and festivals
  • and not forgetting, the deliciously fresh and healthy food.

Spain is bursting with experiences to tempt and tantalise each of your senses. Click To Tweet

camping in granada

Use your EYES to marvel at the stunning scenery

school holidays in spain

Use your EARS to listen to non-stop noise and chatter of the Spanish people

quiz about spain

Use your NOSE to breathe in the clean air of the crisp mountains or salty seas

family holidays in cadiz

Use your MOUTH and your tastebuds will be bursting with all the gastronomic experiences


Family Life in Spain

Use your sense of TOUCH to feel the warm embrace of the welcoming locals

Take your time to have a good read through our website for an idea of the amazing range of activities and options Spain offers individuals, couples and families with children of all ages. No matter what the weather (yes, believe it or not, we do get have bad weather days and sometimes even weeks!),  you will find plenty to keep you busy.

Enjoying Family Life In Spain may appear to be a dream for many people. Make it a reality! Click To Tweet

If you are thinking about moving to Southern Spain, have a look at our website www.MoveToMalaga.com for lots of practical advice and tips that will save you hours, days and even months of time and frustration.

living in spain

We share our experiences of the good, the bad and the sometimes down right ugly experiences of life in Spain. Blissful beach holidays, stunning day trips to Malaga’s not so well known lake district, experiences and frustrations of Spanish schools and the infamously frustrating and hair-pulling “burro” system that is Spanish bureaucracy … you have been warned!

When people ask about where we live and what we do, they often refer to us as “lucky”.

When people ask about where we live and what we do, they often refer to us as “lucky”. Click To Tweet

I hear myself saying “we’re really lucky because…” when talking about our children, our life and what we do. Yet, in all honesty, “luck” is only a very tiny part of the big truth. We never take what we have for granted.

Enjoying family life in Spain may appear to be a dream for many people, but the reality is often very different. However, if you are prepared to put the effort in the results can be better than you could ever have imagined.

In Spain, family comes first. Children are not only seen but also heard and welcomed with loving, open arms. Children stay children for longer.  When we chose to have children, we chose to change our lives. Living here allows us to do this.  Would we call that “luck”? Well, maybe!

So, whether you are also lucky to be living in Spain, are thinking about moving over or are simply visiting, we hope you love it as much as we do.

moving abroad with children

Photo by Sheila Roberts Photography

¡Hasta pronto, amigos!

11 Things You Mustn’t Do When Moving to Spain From UK

If you are Moving to Spain from UK, avoid these mistakes and save yourself stress and even unnecessary embarrassment …

Congratulations on deciding to move to Spain. You’ve chosen a fabulous country for the next stage of your life. Spain has so much to offer in the way of culture, cuisine, beach resorts, cities, art and sports. However, there are a few things you need to bear in mind as you adapt to living in Spain.

moving to Spain from UK

moving to spainFirstly, you have to lose the great British reserve. Spain is a friendly country and people will think you odd if you don’t join in the fun. Make an attempt to join in the conversation at the bar or bus stop, dance at the fiestas and shout for your team at the football. Just relax and be spontaneous. Embrace the culture, try new foods and open your mind to new adventures.

Embrace the culture, try new foods and open your mind to new adventures. Click To Tweet

Learn Spanish with Arthur Applemoving to spainYou seriously mustn’t speak English all the time. Don’t just mix with the other expats but make an effort to learn Spanish. You don’t need to be word perfect but learn enough to talk to your Spanish neighbours, read the newspapers or watch Spanish television. Many towns arrange exchange groups and will put you in touch with a Spanish person so you can practise speaking and make a new friend.

You seriously mustn’t speak English all the time. Learn the language! Click To Tweet

moving to spainDon’t expect people to form an orderly queue at the bank or bus stop. There is some kind of system going on here. Often you need to get a ticket so you know when it is your turn in the bank or post office. Otherwise, people ask who is the last person in the queue –  ¿Quien es el ultimo? – so they know when their turn arrives. 

Don’t expect people to form an orderly queue at the bank or bus stop #spainfacts Click To Tweet

moving to spain with childrenNever underestimate Spanish bureaucracy. The paperless society doesn’t exist here and you need photocopies of so many documents when you get your NIE number, register on the Padron or deal with any kind of officialdom. And, you can almost guarantee, that you will always have one vital photocopy missing. Although the Spanish are notoriously unpunctual, you really need to turn up to these appointments on the dot.

You just have to accept that you will always have one vital photocopy missing #spainfacts Click To Tweet

Holidays in Spain

moving to spain with childrenDon’t expect to get anything done in August. It’s too hot to work and many people are on holiday. Anyone still at work has to do the work of two or three people while dealing with local residents and the massive influx of tourists. If you can, leave all appointments until September.

Don’t expect to get anything done in August. #justsaying Click To Tweet

moving to spainBe well prepared if you decide to spark up a conversation in the bar or with Spanish neighbours about football. The Spanish are very passionate about the sport and you will never escape once you’ve opened the debate. Real Madrid and Barcelona are definite no-go areas. Talking about politics and politicians is also best avoided.

Politics and football are not to be taken lightly 😉 #spainfacts Click To Tweet

moving to spainWatch what you wear and where you wear it. Speaking of football, you should never wear the wrong football shirt in the wrong city. A Real Madrid shirt in Barcelona is asking for trouble. Also, you should never wear the wrong clothes. Beachwear should be kept on the beach not the streets and topless men in a restaurant is a real no-no. Never wear socks with sandals. Never ever!

Watch what you wear and where you wear it #spainfacts Click To Tweet

school holidays in spain

Fiesta fin de curso 2015

moving to spainYou mustn’t think you are going to get a quiet night’s peace unless you live in the campo or anywhere else in the middle of nowhere. While the Brits are going home at midnight after a night out, in Spain the fun is just getting started. Often live music doesn’t start until midnight, fiestas can go on all night and firework displays are often held at about midnight. If you can’t beat them, join them, that’s what we feel. After all, you can always embrace the Spanish tradition of taking a siesta the following day.

If you can’t beat them, join them. ¡Vive la fiesta! #spainfacts Click To Tweet

moving to spainYou mustn’t get married or travel on Tuesday 13th, according to an old Spanish saying. For the superstitious, it’s no longer unlucky Friday 13th but Tuesday 13th is a day for staying in bed. Also, from now on, April Fool’s Day (or the equivalent) is held on December 28, which is the Day of the Innocents. This is when you can play pranks or practical jokes on your friends and work colleagues.

Watch your back on December 28th #spainfacts Click To Tweet

camping in granada

Kayaking …

moving to spainYou mustn’t ignore rural inland Spain and the mountains. There’s so much more to see in Spain than the beaches and the “costas”. Make time to explore small inland towns such as Alhama de Granada, Jaen, Ronda, or Arcos de la Frontera, and the spectacular mountain ranges such as the Sierra Nevada in the south or the Picos de Europa in the north.

Don't just stick to the Costas. Make the effort and enjoy all that Spain has to offer. Click To Tweet

1And last but by no means least, you mustn’t forget to grab a copy of our book, Moving to Spain with children. It will save you a lot of time, money and headaches when preparing your move to Spain, with or without children! Don’t just take our word for it, read the Reviews here Let’s have a look …

moving abroad with children

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you read:

Signs you’ve been living in Spain: Eating out

Signs you’re adapting to life as a mum in Spain

Spain isn’t Cheap … Or, is it?

Let us start before the beginning …

The original title for this post was “ Spain isn’t cheap … Stop advertising it like that!” I planned to talk about the importance of branding. The fact that successful branding establishes a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

The fact that … “A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. It’s important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It’s a foundational piece in your marketing communication …” (source )

I intended to look at what Spain was doing wrong with its marketing and promotion. I was going to question why the promotional campaign “I need Spain”, launched back in In June 2011, a new digital media campaign aimed at international tourism , a new bid to strengthen the tourism brand España in the international market, was targeting people looking for a cheap destination.

I wanted to scream at the marketers. Ask them how they can use the word “need” in a campaign and then promote cheap. We all know that necessary goods have a way of inflating their own prices, and brands that successfully create a perceived “need” for their products soon build up a captivated (and almost blinkered in the “particular fruit” case, (attempt at being cryptic here to avoid libel … msg me if unsure who I am talking about … I still think the logo is very clever … like the Adam and Eve taking a bite!)) and loyal following.

Sorry, back to the point …

I planned to show how the cost of living in Spain isn’t that much cheaper than in the UK. I searched comparative websites and posts such as Marianne’s on East Of Malaga.net who publishes a really useful price comparison post every few months.

So. What happened?

Basically, I was wrong!

I was getting my back up. I let the UK press penetrate my usual barriers and I was reacting to a situation that  existed only in my creative, defensive and often over protective imagination.

I was simply fed up of UK tabloids, holiday websites, other internet portals and basically anyone else wanting to jump on this bandwagon to sell their products and services,  using headlines and advertising slogans such as “Counting on the Costas: Survey reveals Spain is cheapest holiday spot in Europe” and “Spain is the cheapest holiday destination”.

Fed up of articles in tabloids both in print and online about Spain being poor, having no money and targeting expats as a way to line the country’s empty pockets. I’m not referring to factual, national publications discussing the ongoing debt issues. I’m talking about the so called “expat expert” companies, targeting their own country men, distorting the facts, scaremongering as a way of generating business.

If you are unsure what I am referring to, have a look at the comments made in response to this very poor excuse for an article: Read Here

In a nutshell, I don’t see Spain as cheap. I don’t see Spain as poor. I see Spain as rich, as luxurious, as a land of opportunities … of course I do, otherwise why else would I be living here?  Why would I believe it was the best place for my children to grow up? I’m a mother, I have defensive instincts. I also do a lot of research. I see challenges as positives and opportunities.  And, I’m a bit of a dreamer.

Thanks to my years spent in Spain and my work, I have seen the reality. I am not usually affected by the negative tabloids and press. I have witnessed a shift in the demographics of people moving to Spain. I now see people who could live anywhere in the world, as they are financially independent or their work is not location dependent, who chose Spain for the quality of life it offers. Like me, these people see the luxury and the value of this great country. A country that offers some of us, many things that money cannot buy.

Admittedly, Spain is not as cheap as it used to be (for day to day material items and utilities). Tax evasion, on a local and international level, is not as easy and acceptable as it was in the past (A personal gripe of mine! If you chose to live in a country then you should play by its rules. Simple!). Spanish salaries continue to be very low, in comparison to the UK. Many expats have left Spain, although usually due to ill health, for family reasons or because the cash rich expat work environment along with their expat client base has shrunk or even dried up. Yes, some people are in the unfortunate position that they wish to return to their home country, but are unable to do so until they sell their Spanish home, in a saturated market of property for sale.

The expat generation who’ve lived in Spain for some years can often be heard complaining about the continued rise of living costs in Spain.  The problem tends to be that they’re comparing the prices of Spain today with the prices they remember paying in UK some time back and have not kept up to date with the recent inflationary spate in UK.

Please, don’t let those who shout louder be the only ones you listen to. Do your own research. Ignore the majority of what is published in the press and the disgruntled attacks of unhappy expats who are very quick to share their unhappiness on online forums (Aaargh! I do not like to use the F word!)

I’ve been tempted to publish emails of “reporters” that have contacted me via this website, and many of my colleagues, looking for negative stories about Spain, but I won’t. I will just ask you to think about what you are looking for and what you see.

If you are thinking about moving to Spain, what I’m trying to say is:

If this is your motto …

… don’t bother coming!

If this is what you are looking for …

… the lifestyle, a safe place for your kids to grow up, great weather, beautiful scenery, strong family values, an open and generally honest society that continues to respect eachother, good food that doesn’t cost the earth … what are you waiting for?

Maybe, this comes down to perception … I look forward to your thoughts.

PS. If you enjoyed this post you may like to read: Do what you love. Love what you do.

By Lisa Sadleir.

Moving Abroad With Children. Our Story. Is It Luck?

Many people think about moving abroad with children, but not everyone fulfills their relocation dream. There are so many uncontrollable outside factors. There are, however, many other factors that you can control.

I have received so many beautiful comments, reviews and emails from my recently published book Moving to Spain with Children, that I am planning a second book.

Book one was written to assist people in the decision-making process when thinking about moving to Spain with children. It was not written to sell the dream. It includes essential information and personal anecdotes.

moving abroad with children

My second book will share our love of this wonderful country, where we have chosen to enjoy our family life. Spain is such a wonderful place for children to live and grow up.  It will include more practical and essential information and a few more personal stories.

Today, I would like to share the opening chapter with you.

moving abroad with children

Photo by Sheila Roberts Photography

This is the moment I decided that I would be moving abroad with children. I didn’t know which country it would be. I left that to destiny …

I remember the moment well. I was stretched out on the rocks, soaking up the Mediterranean sunshine, on the island of Malta. I was enjoying a week of sun worshiping with mum and a close family friend.

It was early afternoon, the rays were beating down, the only sounds were the occasional splashes as the waves gently lapped against the rocks on which we lay.

And then they arrived. The same group as yesterday. Shrieks of laughter and excited chatter, at a rather loud volume, broke our relaxed silence. A group of young children hurtled onto the beach, discarding any excess clothing as they ran and launched themselves into the crystal clear waters.

School was over for the day and this was their way of spending the summer afternoons.

That was the moment.

Although only twenty years old, that was the moment I realised that that was the kind of life I wanted for my own children.

The actual thought of one day getting married or even having children had never actually entered my mind. But the seed was planted. I’m known for planting seeds.

That day in Malta was back in 1990.

working from home in spain

Skype chats with clients from here.

As I write this, November 2014, I am sitting in the midday sunshine in my garden in southern Spain. I am anxious to get finished as my two amazing children will soon be home from school. My work will be put aside and we will sit down at the table to enjoy our main meal of the day, as a family.

As in many Spanish households, our main meal is enjoyed at lunchtime. On weekdays, my husband collects the children from the school bus at around 2.20pm, they walk the 5 minute stroll back to our house (funnily enough we are the only ones who walk, this is commented on by all the elderly neighbours), and we all sit down to together to eat, discuss the day at school, homework and make plans for the afternoon.

The seed that was planted 24 years ago developed incredibly strong roots and is now producing a bumper harvest. A harvest big enough to be enjoyed and shared by many. A harvest full or experiences, knowledge and roller coaster rides.

When people ask about where we live and what we do, they often refer to us as “lucky”. 

I hear myself saying “we’re really lucky because…” when talking about our children, our life and what we do.

Yet, in all honesty, “luck” is only a very tiny part of the big truth. We never take what we have for granted. Most days I hear the children chiming “Yes mum. You always say that mum”, giggling, as I point out how blue the sky is, how amazing the sunset is and how big and blue the sea looks. 

Enjoying family life in Spain may appear to be a dream for many people, but the reality is often very different. However, if you are prepared to put the effort in the results can be better than you could ever have imagined.

In Spain, family comes first. Children are not only seen but also heard and welcomed with loving, open arms. Children stay children for longer. 

When we chose to have children, we chose to change our lives. Living here allows us to do this. 

Would we call that “luck”?

Well, maybe.

moving abroad with children

Photo by Sheila Roberts Photography

Do you remember the moment when you knew you would be moving abroad with children? When you decided you wanted to offer your children a better life, by moving to another country? We’d love to hear your story.

If you are moving to Spain and are considering the Malaga, Costa del Sol region, Contact Us now.

If you are thinking about moving to any part of Spain, Look Inside our Book and send us your questions. We are here to help you get it right first time.

18 Signs You’ve Been Living in Spain: Eating Out

18 Signs You’ve Been Living in Spain When You Go Out To Eat in the UK and …

  1. You sit down and expect waiter service … wherever you go.
  2. When you do go to the bar to order, you get into trouble for walking away without paying for your order.
  3. You get funny looks for smiling at the strangers on the table next to you.

    Signs You’ve Been Living in Spain

    Paella Valenciana

  4. You find yourselves entering restaurants for your evening meal … as they are closing.
  5. You annoy the staff by re-arranging the tables to accommodate your large group.
  6. You get frowned upon for not saying “please” as often is considered polite.
  7. You upset your friends, not least to say the waiter, when you reply honestly when asked if everything is okay with your meal.

    Signs You’ve Been Living in Spain


  8. You tuck into somebody else’s plate of food, forgetting that everybody orders their own.
  9. You are sent daggers as you shout “Jesus” across the table when somebody sneezes.
  10. You expect all omelettes to contain potatoes
  11. You send back thickly-sliced Parma ham and ask for some real jamón.

    family holidays in cadiz

    Jamon bellota

  12. You order your water, with or without gas.
  13. You cannot help yourself correcting all the incorrect pronunciations of “chorizo”.
  14. You avoid ordering a coffee … anywhere! 
  15. You don’t even look at the kid’s menu when ordering for your children. 

    family holidays in alicante

    Josh was not impressed!

  16. Your jaw hits the floor when the barman produces a double measure that only just covers the bottom of the glass.
  17. You expect the waiter to ask you to remind him what you’ve eaten and drank, when you ask for the bill.

    Signs You’ve Been Living in Spain

    The wonderful invention of “sobremesa”

  18. You are totally oblivious to the desperation of the staff as you spend hours after the meal, simply chatting and enjoying yourself with your companions. You are in no hurry to vacate your table … (sobremesa 😉 )

Love this post? Read this one next …

Sending Money To Spain and From Spain: Why it is so important to use a currency broker

Using A Good Currency Broker For Sending Money To Spain And From Spain Can Save You A Lot Of Money!

With the current volatility of the currency markets it is more important than ever to make sure you maximise your money.

Exchange rates are moving around a lot more than normal so it is key to have not only a currency broker on your side that can get you a great rate of exchange, but also one that is proactive and will make you aware of any opportunities that arise.

I recently had to exchange some Euros into Pounds to make a purchase in the U.K and for many years I have been using and recommending Daniel Wright from www.currencies.co.uk to all of my friends and clients.

By using Daniel, on this particular transaction, I saved over £1000 on the exchange and also saved roughly another £800 by timing my transfer and buying at a good time.

currency transfer infographicThose of you that still use banks should seriously consider getting in touch with Daniel to see how he may be able to help you too and those who are already using a currency broker should also get in touch to see how much he can save you. I have dealt with many currency brokerages over the years and he has been head and shoulders above the rest in terms of his price and efficiency.

The Pound has had an awful run of late and Sterling exchange rates are down against all major currencies and with the referendum on the ‘Brexit’ causing major uncertainty out there for the U.K economy it is likely that investors and speculators alike will steer clear from the Pound in the coming months.

If you are in the position that you need to carry out an exchange in the near future then feel free to contact Daniel for a no obligation chat or a free quote on djw@currencies.co.uk or by calling him on 01494 725353 quoting Family Life In Spain and he will put you down for the preferential exchange rates I have negotiated for our readers.

Contact Daniel and Start Saving Money Now!

Sure Signs You’re Adapting to Life As A Mum in Spain

spain is great for kids

Having fun with amigos

We love our family life in Spain.  We believe we have chosen a great place for our children to grow up. Right now, we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

By adapting to the Spanish way of living, you are able to integrate easier and reap the rewards of their relaxed and sociable way of life. Family first and happy children are just some of their priorities.

However, it isn’t always easy. You often have to change your chip. For starters, banish any thought that starts with the words “But in the UK … “

We will take a more detailed look at obstacles that need to be dealt with and overcome in another post. However, for today, we’d like to share some humorous observations about life as a mum in Spain.

So, here are our suggestions of signs that you’re adapting to life as a mum in Spain… 

  1. You introduce yourself as “la madre de  …”, (the mother of…), more often than your real name.
  2. You know your “barra” from your “bocadillo”, from your “pitufo”, from your “sandwich” …
  3. When the children ask for “jamón” (ham) you need to check whether they want “Serrano” or “Cocido” (Spanish cured or boiled).
  4. You no longer flinch when Spanish radio and TV play the explicit lyrics of UK / US songs and videos.
  5. You’re not upset by people saying “Adios” (goodbye) when they meet you in the street.
  6. Your phone contacts are :  Barbara Madre; Barbara Padre; Roberto Madre; Roberto Padre; Violeta Madre …(you get the gist 😉 )
  7. You buy clothes instead of toys as birthday presents for children.
  8. You stop dreading the arrival of the 12 weeks school summer holidays.
  9. You no longer feel guilty helping the children to finish their homework … especially when it’s colouring!
  10. You can throw together a full fancy dress outfit for a school dance with less than 24 hours notice.
  11. You need a trolley (or a hubby!) to carry all your stuff to the beach.
  12. You are totally unflustered when you receive a note on Friday evening telling you that it’s a one week school holiday … starting on Monday!


Here are a few more suggested by friends, who have adapted to life as a mum in Spain on Twitter:

From @carolmarybyrne

  • You can throw together dinner at 10pm for 16 kids, without even blinking.
  • You can make up an extra 6 beds because it’s fiesta (this weekend) luckily breakfast just involves throwing packets of pan de leche at them.
  • You can be summoned to a reunion or Ampa (parent’s) meeting 5 minutes before it starts – no notice – and relax, you know it’ll actually be 2 hours late actually starting.

From @soc1albutterfly   

  • You don’t bat an eyelid at keeping your children out in bars and restaurants until well after midnight.
  • You go outside to find a pool full of children…and most of them aren’t yours!

From @Louise_Brace

  • When I started to call my daughter ‘la niña’ instead of Nuria !

From @Casslar

  • You are sad for your friends and relatives in the UK who love your pics of school shows and events, and are not allowed to take photos of their own kids’ big moments
  • To their English grandparents’ horror, your children do not possess any wellies


I’m sure there are many more to add to this list. Please add your comments below or Tweet them to us via @FamilyInSpain.

BTW I still can’t manage one of the signs listed from 1 to 12. Can you guess which one it is?

If you are thinking about Moving to Spain, our book will answer a lot of your questions …

To BUY on Amazon.es Click Here!

To Buy on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk Click the corresponding image below



[wysija_form id=”4″]

A to Z Spain: Things we think you should know about Spain…

a to z spain

A to Z Spain: (Part One)

Welcome to our very first A to Z Spain. In future posts we will focus on more specific topics but for this first A to Z Spain we would like to share some general insights into the country we have chosen to make our home.

We hope to provide you with some interesting facts, dispel a few myths and touch on a few delicate issues.

Here we go with A to M

A is for Architecture:  Despite what we may lead you to believe, Spain is not all about beaches! It boast some amazing architecture, in places such as Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba, La Coruña, Seville, Valencia to name just a few …  Because of their artistic relevance, many architectural sites in Spain, and even portions of cities, have been designated World Heritage sites by UNESCO. Did you know that Spain has the second highest number of World Heritage Sites in the world?  See the full list here   A friend of ours , Molly,  has visited quite a few of them …Read her comments here: UNESCO Sites I´ve seen in Spain – 8 and a half?

B is for Bullfighting: At the time of writing this, bullfighting continues to be a controversial subject and a matter which divides many people. Once considered an honored and patriotic, Spanish tradition, bullfighting is becoming a bone of contention in many areas of Spain.  Bullfighting was banned in the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia by a vote of the Catalan Parliament in July 2010. The ban came into effect on 1 January 2012. The last bullfight in the region took place in Barcelona in September 2011. The ban, which ended a centuries-old tradition in the region, was supported by animal rights activists but opposed by some, who saw it as motivated by political nationalism rather than animal welfare. There is a movement to revoke the ban in the Spanish congress, citing the value of bullfighting as “cultural heritage.” The proposal is backed by the majority of parlamentarians. Read more via Wikipedia HERE

C is for Coffee: We love Spanish coffee. Spanish coffees should never be served in a paper cup nor from a filter pot. Ordering coffee incoffee in spain Spain is an art. Each area has its own interpretations of the mixture. Read more about How to Order Coffee in Spain HERE.

D is for Driving: Be warned that, in Spain, indicators are optional extras. Double parking is the norm, especially if you need a quick chat with a passing friend. Whenever possible avoid taking the middle lane around a roundabout, even if taking the 3rd exit. You may be there for a long time … On a more serious note, the Spanish traffic police are quick to issue fines and non payment of fines can become a very expensive experience, for residents and tourists alike. Read more about driving in Spain HERE.

E is for Education: When you come into Spain you are faced with an option about what sort of education you are going to give your child. There are primarily four options: homeschooling (which is currently illegal in Spain), state school, private and concertado. We often hear people criticise the Spanish style of “rote learning”. However, we have been very happy with our own experience so far. Read more about education in Spain here.

F is for Festivos: More commonly known as bank holidays in English. Be warned that there are loads of them and no matter how many calendars you check, you will get caught out one day! Not only do we enjoy national holidays, every city, town and village have their own excuses for a festivo. ¡Vive la Feria!

G is for Guiri: The term “guiri” is street slang used to describe the what is considered to be the stereotypical tourist or foreigner from Northern Europe. Although generally considered a friendly term, even a term of endearment, it can be a slight mocking that you’ll hear from anyone who’s picked up on something particularly un-Spanish about you.  Some people are offended by this name, and go out of their way to avoid being called a guiri by their Spanish friends. If you are one of these people, you may want to read this amusing article on The Local “How not to blow your cover as a guiri”

Strolling around the Mijas feria ...

Strolling around the Mijas feria …

H is for Horses: Horses, of all breeds and backgrounds, are a prominent feature in Spanish daily life in many parts of Spain. For us, there is still something magical about seeing a horse trotting through our local village, Mijas pueblo, or down the main road towards Fuengirola and of course, dressed up to the nines when it’s feria time. The sight of Spanish horses and their riders, (usually beautifully dressed in traditional costume), stood at a bar, having a drink, always puts a smile on our face. For some more information about the PRE Horses (purebreed spanish horses) read this great guest post by Manni from Toma Tours :  An article about Spanish Horses.

I is for Islands:  Aside form the Spanish mainland, Ceuta and Melia (in Africa!), Spain is also made up of the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) and the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, La Graciosa and Isla de Lobos). We will not venture in to the debate about Gibraltar at this point!

Some great websites and blogs about the Spanish islands can be found here: Sunshine Guide to Gran Canaria , MatthewHirtes.com , Lanzarote Information , La Palma Island .

J is for Jamon: Jamon Serrano, Jamon Iberico … Spanish cured ham. Whatever you want to call it, it is simply delicious!  A local delicacy and a common starter or tapa in most parts of Spain.  (By the way, can you spot which of the ones in this picture is not a Spanish Jamon?)

jamon odd one out

K is for King Juan Carlos: Juan Carlos I is the current King of Spain. General Francisco Franco named Juan Carlos as the next head of state in 1969. He became King on 22 November 1975, two days after General Francisco Franco’s death, the first reigning monarch since 1931. Despite most members of the Spanish Royal family enjoying favorable popularity, King Juan Carlos has received an unusual amount of publicity over the last couple of years and not without reason. If you’d like to read more, have a look at this tongue in cheek article in The Guardian “King Juan Carlos of Spain: a man of sacrifice

(Please note this post was published in 2013, as of 19 June 2014, following the abdication on Juan Carlos I, Felipe VI was crowned king)

L is for Language : Not everyone speaks Spanish in Spain. Although Spanish (Castilian) is the official language of the whole country, there are several regional languages: Aranese, Basque, Catalan and Galician, which have co-official status in their respective communities (except Aranes) and are widespread enough to have daily newspapers and significant book publishing and media presence

In the cases of Catalan and Galician, they are the main languages used by the Catalan and Galician regional governments and local administrations. A number of citizens in these areas consider their regional language as their primary language and Spanish as secondary. The use of Catalan is a hot topic as we write this, partly due to the ongoing fight for independence. For an insight into this subject, read Simon Harris’s post HERE.

M is for Menu del Día: Simply the best value for money food you will find anywhere in Spain! A Menu del Día normally includes; a choice of starters such as soup, pasta or salad; plus a choice of main courses such as fish, meat, chicken; plus a selection of desserts or coffee. In some establishments a drink is also included, all for one fixed price. It’s a great way to taste what the locals are eating and it will probably include dishes that you would not have ordered if left on your own. For a great article about Menu del Dia, read Gabriella’s post HERE.

So, there you have Part One of our A to Z Spain: Things we think you should know about Spain… We hope you found it interesting and would love to read your comments and insights.

To read N to Z: Part Two, Click Here.

The slideshow below shows the main points in pictures, go and make yourself a cup (or a glass 😉 ) of something nice, sit back and enjoy …

[wysija_form id=”4″]

If you are thinking about Moving to Spain, our book will answer a lot of your questions …

To BUY on Amazon.es Click Here!

To Buy on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk Click the corresponding image below


quiz about spain

CLICK HERE to take our fun Quiz about Spain

By Lisa Sadleir


New Residency in Spain Application Procedure : Rants & A Confession!

A few months ago we informed you about the changes in the Residency in Spain application procedure, in our post entitled ¿Qué pasa España?

Our closing phrase was “Let´s see what happens next …”

So, guess what happened next?

At this point, please remember that I earn my living by helping people sort through the maze of Spanish red tape and bureaucracy via our business www.ccbspain.com. Many an hour is spent battling with authorities on behalf of my wonderful clients. To people’s utter astonishment, I openly admit to loving the challenge and am greatly rewarded by my client´s satisfaction.

Last week,  I visited the police station in Fuengirola, with two people who had just moved over to Spain and were due to start work ,and my husband (Yes… my own husband!) who needed to renew his old style residency card.

We followed the application procedure for the new residencia as detailed in our CCB Spain post Spanish Residency Update and within an hour and a half, which included paying the taxes at the bank (and that involved having to try 3 banks in the vecinity!) and having a coffee,  we walked out with two shiny new Spanish Residency Cards.

However, much to our frustration, we had not been able to renew my husband´s residency! Why?  Probably because the immigration officer on the desk was having a bad day!!! That is how I felt as we walked out of the police station having had to make a new appointment for a completely separate residency application … for somebody who has been a legal resident in Spain for almost 20 years, who owns a house here, whose children are in state school here and who pays a lot of tax here … rant over!

Our new appointment was for Monday 24th September, I say “was” because we were unable to get an appointment at Social Security, for another copy of a piddley piece of paper to show that his health insurance is covered by my social security payments, until Tuesday 25th!!!

Despite my ranting, we have to admit to have just not got round to renewing my husband’s residency card as we did not need it (That´s the confession, by the way.)  As a result, we have to start the application procedure all over again as detailed in our article Residency in Spain Renewal Update , we want others to learn from our mistakes and hopefully save them headaches too!

Wait! It´s not over yet …

To top it all, his passport runs out in October and we are going back to the UK for Christmas this year so we will now have to renew his passport and then delay the residency renewal until we have the new passport … and how blumin’ expensive are passport renewals these days!

So, the passport renewal applications are ready to be sent off. We will go to the social security office next week and then one day , maybe, in the not too distant future we will make another application to renew the residency … let´s hope the piddley paper from the Social Security office hasn’t expired by then … and people wonder why Spanish paperwork is such a nightmare!

Can you be bothered???  I´m sure many expats can not!

If you would like more details about the new requirements for applying for residency in Spain, please read our CCB Spain post  HERE.

By Lisa Sadleir

Quiz About Spain: Test Your General Knowledge.

Due to popular demand, we are starting our @FamilyinSpain ‘s Quiz About Spain series. We are going to help you learn more about this wonderful country where we have chosen to make our family home.

In future @FamilyinSpain ‘s Quiz About Spain series quizzes, we’ll cover topics such as:

This is a fun way to test your knowledge about Spain and to learn more.

If you have any topics you’d like us to cover, just Contact Us and we’ll be happy to oblige.

Do you have a quiz about Spain that you’d like to share with our readers, please send it in and we’ll post it for you.

quiz about spain

Ok, let’s get this quiz on the road …  Scroll down and click the “Get Started” button below! 

Good luck! ¡Suerte amigos!

Don’t forget to share your results on our Facebook Page or Tweet us @FamilyInSpain

 [ctt title=”If you got “Spain Expert” why not shout about it on Twitter” tweet=”I took @familyinspain ‘s Spain General Knowledge Quiz and got Spain Expert. Take the quiz here: http://ctt.ec/ItE93+” coverup=”ItE93″]

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

Pin It on Pinterest