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If you lived in Spain, what would YOU miss about the UK?

If you lived in Spain, what would you miss? - Indalo Transport

I was sat enjoying a small beer and some delicious tapas in a beautiful part of Almeria over the Christmas period. The company was great, with a mixture of ex-pats who had made the move to Spain and their guests made up of family and friends from the UK. As we sat overlooking the beach, practically at the water’s edge, the conversation inevitably turned to the comparisons between the UK and Spain and the question posed was what do we miss about the UK? I couldn’t answer it so I turned it around and asked what would they miss about the UK. The answers were pretty predictable, but interesting nonetheless, .

Family and friends

I think that would always the be the first thing to miss. But the group we were sat with were proof of my answer. Family always comes first – and always visit! Time spent here with family and friends offers far more in the way of quality time than you would ever get over a Sunday dinner, and with endless ways of communication through facetime, whatsapp, skype and the like it’s very easy to keep in touch family and still share important moments.

The NHS

A great British institution – I’ll never knock it or those that work in it. But Spain also has a great health system and is considered to be a world leader in many forms of medicine. Getting access to the medical system in Spain is pretty straight forward and even if you can’t there is a comprehensive private system.. and medication is a fraction of the cost in comparison to the UK.

 

 

The Language

Life can be challenging at times without being fluent in the native tongue, but it can also be fun and you are never too old to learn. The local authorities offer free spanish classes and when I get really stuck there is always google translate, or my helpful spanish neighbours.

Food

When you cross the border into Spain you don’t suddenly forget how to cook! All the usual ingredients can be found in the local supermarkets, they are just labelled differently. Spanish food is fantastic and the fruits and salads are way fresher and tastier than anything you get in the UK. It all comes from Spain anyway! And let’s not forget that the mediterranean diet is considered to be the healthiest in the world.

 

The BBC

Seriously! You can still get your Eastenders and other British shows on various internet and satellite systems. I always manage to catch-up on Match of The Day by Monday morning and my wife still enjoys Eastenders and Strictly.

History/Heritage

I’m proud to be British and I’m equally proud to be a Bristolian, although with my accent the language barrier can be a problem even in the UK. Heritage is an important part of education and in my opinion should be taught more in school. In Spain it is, the history and heritage is all around you and proudly displayed and celebrated by numerous fiestas. If you want history and heritage then Spain is the place to explore.

Takeaway restaurants

The Spanish enjoy burgers and a decent curry as well you know, and they can do anything with chicken,pork, and seafood. But why take it away when you can simply eat outside? More to the point what about the mediterranean diet. If takeaway is your particular thing then you can still find it here, indeed most bars and restaurants will pack a meal up for you if you really want to sit at home.. In front of the BBC.

Weather

What’s to miss! The weather is simply fantastic in Spain and the changing of the seasons is just as impressive as the UK, it’s just not as cold and wet. You really have to remember that these questions were being asked on New Years day… on a beach, in the sunshine.

 

 

 

Newspapers

When I was younger I used to enjoy taking the paper to the pub on a Sunday and poring over the football reports with a pint. But that stopped when the BBC launched the BBC News/Sports App! Newspapers are available in Spain, just harder to find.

Political stability

Hmmm…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Royal Family

Well I’ll be astonished if the Queen ever sends me a birthday card! Being British, and proud of it, I suppose I must be a royalist in someway, but I can’t say that I actually miss the Royal Family. I suppose they are like a turkey. Not really relevant apart from on Christmas Day.

Here’s the interesting thing…

When I asked what would put these people off the thought of moving to Spain they couldn’t really give me an answer apart from the actual cost and hassle of actually doing it. The hassles of moving are numerous, and if you don’t want the hassle you shouldn’t even be thinking about it. But the cost of moving? When asked how much they thought it would cost to move to Spain, most of them over-estimated the true cost of moving their possessions to Spain saying they thought it would around £10,000!!

When we moved to Spain 4 years ago we bought a van and drove down ourselves here with all our belongings in the back. The cost of the van (and it’s depreciation here), insurance, fuel and overnight stops (x3) probably worked out to a little less than what our tapas guests had guessed at. However, since working at Indalo Transport I’ve learned the easy way to do things. At Indalo Transport the average cost of moving an entire 2 bedroom house would be under £3,000 – and they take care of all the hassle for you

Written by Paul Burt

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How do I choose my removal company?

 

How do I choose my Removal Company?

Considering how many times you may move in your life, it’s no real surprise that you’re not an expert at choosing a removal company. When you’re planning to undertake a major move abroad, to uproot your life and start all over again somewhere that you don’t know very well, it’s even more important that you make the right choice, by using services you can rely on and completely trust. Not choosing the correct removal company could cost you thousands of pounds and loads of heartache.

To help you in this I have  a simple two step process I’d like to share with you, to help ensure that you don’t have any problems. As you’re reading this you’re already ahead of the game, as you obviously want to make certain you do things right from the very beginning. Read on for a full explanation of what you should pay attention to, and you can relax in the knowledge that everything should go smoothly.

Relax - Indalo TransportStep 1 – Membership

Professional removers who want to ensure they give the best service will join trade groups or organisations.  This is to show you that they are answerable, trustworthy and have been vetted to reach minimum standards of service and support.

Probably the best organisation that your removal company could be linked to is the Trading Standards ‘buy with Confidence’ scheme in the UK. This is a government run scheme that helps you, as a consumer, find reputable and responsible companies that are the best of the best in their own field of expertise. The criteria for joining the scheme is very strict, with vetting, checks and then an audit visit by a qualified trading standards officer. Only if the company passes all these checks are they allowed to join the scheme and then use the Trading Standards ‘tick’ on their advertising.

Indalo Transport

 

Step 2 – Insurance

A little mentioned component of a professional Removal Companies’ service is their comprehensive insurance cover, which protects both you and them if things happen to go wrong. This insurance, taken out with specialist brokers dealing in the Removal Industry, is called Goods In Transit (GIT) insurance. It is specifically to cover your belongings whilst they are in the possession of the removal company, and it offers the same sort of cover as you would find in your home contents insurance policy. All professional removal companies will have GIT insurance, and will have no problem providing proof of this insurance for you to check.

Indalo Transport

There is also another insurance that is also important to consider when you are choosing a remover – public liability insurance. It covers a business against injury or property damage to the public in the course of their business activities.

However, not all removal companies are created equal – some have GIT and public liability insurance, and some do not. Goods in Transit Insurance can be quite expensive, especially if European moves are to be covered, so you will find that it is one of the first things to be ignored by removal companies that don’t have their customers’ best interests at heart.

You may often find that the company (or maybe ‘man with a van’) without Goods In Transit insurance is able to quote you a cheaper rate for the removal. Which is great……. until something goes wrong. You may be lucky and find that everything goes without a hitch. However, if something does go wrong, you will then find there is no insurance company to claim from, and no one to deal with your problem.Indalo Transport is Legal

 

What price peace of mind? – that is the real question here. Your removals company is going to be in charge of all of your belongings and precious memories, gathered over your lifetime, so you need it all to be in the hands of people you can completely trust.

Relax - Indalo Transport Cares!

Relax, we love your possessions too!

A  professional, fully insured removals service won’t be expensive, and I’m happy to say Indalo Transport has all of the following:-

  • Accredited member of trade group ‘Move Assured
  • Member of Trading Standards ’Buy with Confidence
  • Goods in Transit Insurance to £60,000 per vehicle
  • Goods in Storage Insurance to £100,000
  • Public Liability Insurance to 2 million pounds
  • Professionally trained packers and loaders
  • UK Heavy Goods Vehicle Registered Operator

So why not get in touch now for a free, no obligation quote


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Huge New Trailer doubles our capacity!

Say Hi to another new member of the Indalo Transport family!

 

Indalo Transport Trailer

Indalo Transport has invested in a brand new removals trailer, to make the company’s countless journeys from the UK to Spain, even more environmentally friendly. This fantastic new trailer, custom built by SBR Specialist Coachbuilders in Preston, joined the company on June 17th 2017.

The increased capacity of the new removals trailer, at a whopping 22.5m³, will ensure that Indalo Transport continues doing it’s very best to keep both costs down for the customer, and harmful emissions down for the rest of the world.

“This new vehicle completes the initial phase in the development of Indalo Transport as a world class provider of the highest quality removals service between Spain and the UK.” said Mick Cox, Founder of Indalo Transport

Along with an increased capacity (now at over 40m³ in total per trip) and a payload of over 4000kgs, customers can look forward to the very best service using the most efficient vehicles coupled with the incredible reliability that comes from using new vehicles.Indalo Transport Road Train

Indalo Transport continues to help many UK families move their precious household possessions carefully between the UK and Spain and the UK every week. Much of their business comes from personal recommendations from previous customers, such as Mike Lamb who recently commented:-

“Very reliable, just as I’d been told. Mick has an excellent reputation for a reason; that’s why we used him to transport our goods from the mountains of Andalucia to the middle of Exmoor National Park. Very professional service!”

With an aim of becoming a leader in the removals industry, Indalo Transport’s extensive knowledge of removals and becoming an expat give you the confidence you need to get the job done with the minimum fuss and stress.

TrailerBack

Thanks again to Bob Jones for the use of the Photo (of the beach looking towards the Pueblo Indalo in Mojacar) on the back, and to Harrison Walker, our wonderful grandson, who is relaxing on the beach, again in Mojacar!

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New Removal Van for Indalo Transport

New vehicle for Indalo Transport

We’re really excited to tell you that we have now bought another removal van, so we can provide you with a much better service to, from and within Spain.

The addition of this Ford Transit Luton, pictured above, marks the start of a new phase for Indalo Transport, as the new vehicle has a tail lift and professional removals ramp, meaning we can now move very heavy items with ease, like jacuzzis and pianos. And we are also offering a new service with this vehicle, so you can do your own removals, without having to worry about hiring a van or driving. More about that below.

As well as this, two vans gives us much greater capacity and flexibiltiy, which will mean we can fit in with your removal dates with ease.

Further down in this post you’ll be able to read the story of how this van was bought, and find out about some wonderful people in the removals trade in the UK, who pulled out all the stops to make sure this great van could go into service a month after purchase.

But first, here are a couple more photos of this fabulous vehicle, and then there’s a more in depth explanation of the new driver only service.

Indalo Transport Luton

First job for the new van, to move my son from Cardiff to Bristol!

Indalo Transport Luton

Aluminium 2 Piece Ramp for a professional, fast removal service

New Van, New Service – The Indalo ‘Driver Only’ Service.

This is a new concept in removals, with a few companies offering this in the UK, as a service for those who are prepared to do the ‘hard graft’ of the removal, but lack the necessary vehicle or equipment. It is a brilliant way of bringing the cost of your removal down to really manageable levels.

Unlike hiring a van, where you just have a basic vehicle (that you have to drive yourself, as well as doing the loading and unloading, and then having to return it at the end of the day), we bring a proper removal van to you.

You can then fill it with all your belongings, before we drive it to your new property so you can unload. All you pay is the hours you use the vehicle for. The driver waits for you to load the van, then drives, with the utmost care, to your new property, and waits for you to unload the van.

So, a fully fitted out removal van for you to use, supplied with loading ramp, blankets, sack truck, tool box and a professional driver, in fact everything you need to save money by doing your own removals – no licence or insurance necessary – just pay for the hours you use the van – for more info contact us here

The transformation from ‘white van’ to ‘Indalo Transport Removal Van’

With 53 minutes left, I made an offer & thought, I’ll never get it for that price! (Or, The story of how I came to buy this van)

If you want to find out how I had to jump on 2 planes in the space of 12 hours, and drive from Scotland down to Newcastle on a Sunday in April 2017, read on.

Whilst I had been looking for a second van for a while now, nothing seemed to be available at a realistic price, so I had settled into a routine of looking on eBay and Autotrader every week or so, just to see if anything new had come up for sale.

Recently, on one of my monthly trips back to the UK, I was staying in a hotel in Dieppe, prior to catching a ferry to the UK at ‘stupid o’clock’  the following morning. Because of this, I had gone to bed at 8pm, but, as I was on the hunt for another vehicle for the business, I decided to have one last look on ebay before I went to sleep.

worth a punt – oh yes

And there it was – a lovely Ford Transit Luton, with Taillift, a 2.4 model with twin rear wheels and only 153,00 miles on the clock. Just what I was looking for! The auction only had 53 minutes to go, and the price had stalled at £3100 for over 2 hours. I was intrigued, as Transit Lutons around that age had been going for well over £3500 in the last couple of weeks.  I read all the comments, questions, and blurb, and decided that I didn’t have anything to lose and should have a punt – so I put in a bid for £3205, fully believing that there’d be a late surge in the last 2 minutes and this one would go for much more in the mad rush that is normal on ebay. So, not really bothered if I got it or not, I turned off my phone, set my alarm and then went to sleep.

On waking at 3am, I had a shower and a cup of tea, then got ready to drive away to the port at 4am to catch the 5.30 ferry to Newhaven. I actually had forgot what I had done the night before – that is until I took my phone off flight mode and had the notification come through from Ebay – Congratulations, it said, “you won! Transit Luton 2.4 Twin Wheel Six Speed 115 HP”.

Wow, my goodness, I really didn’t expect that (those who know me may well smile at this, as I might have used slightly more colourful language!!) While I was a bit surprised that I’d got it so cheap, I was happy as it looked in pretty good condition, and I was excited to think I had just doubled the number of vehicles I had, with the simple click of a mouse.

Of course, buying something on ebay is only a tiny part of it – you have to then physically go and collect the thing and pay the seller for it. Easier said than done, when I was only in the UK for 6 days on this particular trip. Plus the fact that the transit was for sale in Scotland, of all places (didn’t check that when I bid for it, rather stupidly), which meant I had to do some serious organising if I was to get it without having to extend my trip time in the UK. So I got to work, checking out trains and planes, and pretty quickly decided that flying up was the only option, to Edinburgh from Southampton. Actually, it works out loads cheaper than a train, and you’re only in the air for just over an hour.

So, with the flight up to Edinburgh, I had worked out how to physically pick the thing up. Next job was to try and arrange to get the thing sprayed in the company colour, Indalo Transport Silver. And so it was that Facebook came to the rescue, in the form of one Alan Beveridge, who runs a trade removals group in the UK, has a removals and storage business in Newcastle, and has made a bit of a name for himself spraying removals trucks and vans when he isn’t so busy with moving people. After a bit of banter, as he is always busy with vehicles in to prepare and spray, he agreed to fit the Luton in, as I could give him almost a month to complete the job. To say I was grateful was an understatement, as Alan’s standard of work is absolutely top notch. He even agreed to be in his yard on the following Sunday afternoon so I could drop it off for him (he doesn’t do Sundays, he always says!)

2 of these in 12 hours – don’t want to be doing that too often!

So that was how I came to catch 2 planes in the space of 12 hours – one up to Edinburgh to collect the van, then after I’d driven it down into the UK to drop it off in Newcastle, Alan took me to Newcastle airport and I caught another plane back down to Southampton.

Stressful day? – yes you bet, as I had no idea whether the van was going to be ok or a bit of a dog. That’s the only thing with buying blind, but it turned out the van was in very good condition for it’s age, and had had some serious dosh spent on the engine.

Back to normality while the white luton was being transformed

Before you can spray, everything needs preparing – looks drastic I know!

While I went back to continuing my trip, and was back in Spain within a week , work started on the van in Newcastle, and it was then sprayed and sign written, before I flew into Newcastle and collected it on Friday 26th May, just over a month later. Alan even agreed to let me collect it at 6.30am, which he said is ‘still the middle of the night’.  I had a lovely drive across to Carlisle on a gloriously clear and warm day, and then headed South. I had 4 collections on the way down to my base in Gosport, and I decided to visit Chris Seville at SBR Coachbuilders in Preston first, to collect a two-piece removals ramp that he’d made for me, on very short notice.  This is another guy I met through a Removals Trade Facebook group, and he really is a perfectionist and brilliant at what he does. This is just a sideline to his main work of building specialised removals and motorsport vehicles.

First class ramp in double quick time from Chris at SBR

So, after doing all my collections, having a few days off, and putting the van in, to have a thorough inspection the day after May Bank holiday, and at the same time replacing some parts under my scheduled maintenance, I set off for Spain on Wednesday 31st May, delivering to 2 places on the Costa Blanca on the way down.

It’s great that the van didn’t miss a beat the whole way down, and I must say I’m really pleased with my purchase – and look forward to putting it to work in Spain, the UK and all points between!

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Your Essential – Free – Moving Checklist

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Moving to Spain … an Expat Guide,

Full List of Other Moving To … Expat Guides

Easter in Spain – Fantastic festivities in the Sun,

How to use a roundabout in Spain

7 Essential items you Must Carry when driving in Spain

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Moving to Mojacar … an Expat Guide

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How to avoid these 7 packing mistakes, for the best removal

Considering the number of times that you move in your life, it’s no real surprise that you may not be an expert at packing. With the stress of a house move, you’d be forgiven for not knowing all the ins and outs of how to, say, safely pack a crystal vase in a box so it doesn’t get damaged during your move.

Removals is an area that has tips and tricks just like any other field, so read on to find out how you can avoid the most common problems and mistakes when you next come to pack away your life and move to pastures new.

Although there a lot more tips and tricks in our trade, we have only included 7 of the most common things we see regularly – if you just do these, everything should arrive at your new home in tip top condition.

1. The wrong type of box

Did you know there is a right and wrong box that you can use for your removal?

No, didn’t think you did. Most people go for the cheapest box,  which is less money for a reason. It is because it is made of single wall cardboard, and therefore has no strength. While this might be fine when you want to put your items into a self-store, it is not good if your removal has to travel halfway across Europe.

Just to give you a heads up, we always stack boxes one on top of the other – up to 6 or more high – so it is always best to use boxes made of double wall cardboard, that have enough strength to keep their shape while they are being moved and stacked.  With these proper removal strength boxes, you can be sure that the box itself, and it’s important contents, will be as good when you receive them in your new house, as when you packed them back in your old home.

triple wall cardboard

The only cardboard to use for your removal

The type of box you’re looking for is triple wall with two layers of corrugations, sandwiched between 3 layers of straight card.  There is a picture of the cardboard below, to help you identify it when you go to buy your boxes, whether online or at a local removers or self-store.

By the way, if you are buying boxes in Spain, and are anywhere near Mojacar in Almeria, we sell a full range of the highest quality packaging materials, including triple wall boxes, from our storage facility. Just go here to see our price list.

2. Seal the bottom of your boxes with lots of tape.

boxbott - Indalo Transport

An airtight seal gives the best strength

I’ve seen this many many times, where the box has not been sealed at the bottom sufficiently strongly. In the worst case, when you lift the box, the bottom of the box opens and the contents drop onto the floor – obviously not a good result if you have valuables or china inside.

The way to get around this problem is to completely seal along all of the open edges of the bottom of the box to make it airtight, putting 2 lines where the 2 leaves join in the middle, and then for good measure put a line of tape across at right angles as well.

3. The right way to pack glass and china

It is amazing how many people don’t know how to correctly pack fragile glass and china. Not surpirsing though, considering that it is not really obvious until you really think about it.

To help you remember, you need to look for and try and work out where the strength is with glasses and plates.

With glasses it is always vertically, the way it sits on a table. So therefore that is the way it should be packed. Either upside down or right way up doesn’t really matter,  however we always pack glasses upside down, so the second layer of china or glass, in the box, has a firmer base to sit on.

With plates and dishes the most strength is when they sitting on their sides – and not when they’re sitting flat as they would be on a table – so, therefore, you should always pack plates upright.

Always remember to use lots of scrunched up wrapping paper to provide a cushion on the bottom of the box, and also add more between each set of items, and between the sides of the box and the contents. And, of course, use some to provide a cushion on the top too before you seal the box. No piece of glass or china should ever be directly touching the cardboard of the box, there should always be some sort of cushion.

While we are talking about packing china and fragile items that might get broken, it’s worth mentioning that if you do your own packing you’re not insured for the contents of the boxes you pack. Whilst this is probably written in their terms and conditions, most removal companies don’t tell you this when you ask them for a quote.

When you think about it, being insured only if your boxes are professionally packed is common sense and perfectly understandable, so use all of these tips to make sure you do things right first time to pack things correctly, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

4. Overloading

Putting too much heavy stuff in a box is an easy thing to do, and when this happens the box can bulge and lose it’s shape and therefore lose all strength. The way to make sure that this doesn’t happen is to just put heavy things in the bottom half of the box, and then fill up the top half with lighter items.

A good test is to see if you can lift the box yourself easily – if you can the weight is about right. If you try and lift it and you can’t even move it off the floor then you might have a little bit of a problem. Whilst your remover will still collect the box, they may have to use 2 men to lift it,  and too many very heavy boxes may lead to an extra charge for your removal.

Another thing to think about is that if you have lots of heavy boxes stacked up, the bottom one may crumple with all the weight above it, damaging the contents of the box.

5. Underfilling

boxoverunder

A good example of over filling a box making it bulge and lose shape, and then underfilling the top so it crushes when anything is put on top

Just like overloading, underfilling a box can be just as bad. This is because a box that is not completely full will crush when it has other boxes put on top of it. If you don’t have enough things to fill a box up, use a smaller box, or cut the box down to make it smaller. All boxes should be filled to the very top, so that when you push on the top on the middle it doesn’t go down too far, and can support a good amount of pressure. The next tip will help with this as well.

 

6. Not sealing the top of the box – make it airtight!

When you finally come to seal your box up,  do you just put a single line of tape across the top, to just seal the two sides where they meet? This is not good enough to provide the best strength to the box.

The best way to seal it is to put a line of tape along every open edge – this will make the box airtight (if you’ve done the same thing on the bottom, as in point 2 above) which increases strength and gives the contents maximum protection.

7. Not labelling as you go.

boxlabel - Indalo Transport

These panels are on all our boxes, to help us make your move easier. Make sure you label it!

The final mistake happens when people are too busy filling boxes, that they forget to mark it once sealed down. Without labelling each box, you won’t know where that box should go in the new property. This is very simple fix – just making sure you have a black marker pen and either write what is in the box, or alternatively what room the box should be put in, on the top.

We recommend writing what room the box belongs in, as this will help your removers make life as easy as they can for you.

So there you have it, 7 common mistakes you may make when packing for a removal, some probably even without even realising it. Hope you like the tips and find them useful.

As a bonus, the only other packing advice we can offer is something that is seen all the time and it’s the most difficult thing for you to fix. I think virtually everyone who moves is guilty of this – it is taking things you’re never going to use.

As you’re paying good money to get things moved there’s not much point in moving things that will stay in a box for another two years without ever being touched again – so I would say make sure you take a serious look at every single thing you want to take before you decide to pack it and take it with you.

And if all this seems like too much hassle, Indalo Transport would be very happy to professionally pack all of your belongings as part of our removal service, to make your move as easy as it can be. We’ll even unpack in your new home, and take away all of the boxes and packaging materials. Just click here to contact us or get a quote here.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may enjoy

Your Essential – Free – Moving Checklist

10 Top Tips for buying a Property in Spain

Moving to Spain … an Expat Guide,

Full List of Other Moving To … Expat Guides

Easter in Spain – Fantastic festivities in the Sun,

How to use a roundabout in Spain

7 Essential items you Must Carry when driving in Spain

Essential Tips for moving to Spain with your Children

Expat Tips and Hints

Moving to Mojacar … an Expat Guide

All you need to know about moving to Europe with your Pets

How to Save Money & Do Finance, for Expats in Spain

 

 

How to Save Money & Do Finance, for Expats in Spain

Finance blogpost - Indalo Transport

The Complete Expats Guide to Finance in Spain – save money and learn the tricks that the bankers don’t want you know!

Sterling. The Great British Pound. Whatever you want to call it, it’s quite a magical thing, really. It’s often quite hard to come by, it seems to get frittered away all too easily, and most people wish that they could always have more of it.

Earning it brings you a sense of pride and spending it can either leave you feeling almightily aggrieved or extremely elated.

However, whenever you exchange Sterling for ‘holiday money’ like the Euro, for example, which in itself is exciting because it means you’re jetting off to sun and adventure (sea and sand optional), you get transformed, as if by magic, into a carefree spender. All the stuffy spend-thrift rules of the Pound are thrown well and truly out the window as you reap the benefits of all that the brightly coloured and quirky Euro bank notes can provide.

But as soon as you get back to Britain, it’s back to the dull, drab money you’re used to and the cycle of earning, saving, and spending (whether you like it or not) starts all over again…

But what if you were thinking of becoming an expat?

What if you wanted to settle down in Spain?

How do you move money across to pay for that fabulous new property?

For day to day expenses, do you use an International account, Spanish account or an online account?

How do you open a Spanish bank account?

How do you go about transitioning yourself from using the Sterling you grew up with to the Euro you’ve only ever spent whilst on holiday?

Should you keep your British bank account open?

Can you get by quite easily with just using your UK-based debit card?

And is it really necessary to constantly work out how much the shopping would have come to in Pounds?

These and other questions are very important to ask, as all too often expats don’t consider the best way to move their money abroad, so as to save the maximum amount during a major purchase, or research how they’re going to exchange it on a day to day basis once they’ve moved to Spain.

Because maintaining your finances is so crucial, this in-depth post covers all about finances in Spain, including info on international bank accounts, how to open a Spanish bank account, and how to save money using professional money exchange services, and the revolutionary new money exchange apps now available on smartphones.

euronotescoins - Indalo Transport

Your new friends, not a bit like Sterling

So read on to learn what you need to do to adjust to earning, saving and spending Euros every day, and how to beat the bankers at their own game!

Important : Whilst we have lived in Spain many years and may use some of the services outlined in this article, we are not, and never have been, financial advisors. You must always get independant financial advice from trained experts, and discuss your personal situation with a professional, before entering into any contract involving your money.

Keep Your UK Bank Account Open

First things first, it’s always worth keeping your existing bank account open back in the UK. Obviously, this makes sense if you intend to keep assets back home (like property) or if you’ll be receiving regular payments into that account (from a pension, or from a tenant), but it also makes sense even if you won’t be keeping any links with the old country.

Keeping your UK bank account open means that if and when you ever return to Britain, you have an account already in place, and for trips back to see family you can access Sterling without needing to exchange any currency.

It’s also worth mentioning that any expat who has closed their bank account in Britain and who has lived outside the UK for more than a year will find it very difficult to open an account if they come back.

It’s always a good idea to keep a bank account open for as long as you can anyway because it makes a positive impact on your credit rating and it helps build trust with the bank itself.

Before you leave for your new home, make sure you inform them of your new address abroad, for any important correspondence.  Then set up internet banking, stop the paper statements, and use your internet to access the account easily in Spain.

Good To Know – Using Your UK-based Debit/Credit Card Abroad Incurs Fees

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Beware excessive fees when abroad

If you’re still going to be receiving income into your UK bank account, then it is possible for you to continue using your British debit or credit card whilst in Spain.

This can be quite handy because all you have to do is head to the nearest Cash Machine to get access to Euros. But remember, every time you use your UK-based debit or credit card you will be charged a fee. To see how much your bank will charge you, check out WeSwap’s list of card charges.

A Good Idea Before You Leave Is To Open An International Bank Account

As an expat settling in Spain, you will quickly realise how difficult it is to manage your money from a single currency bank account which is based about 2,000km away from you, back in Britain. So the best thing to do, before you leave, is to open an international bank account, either with your current bank, or a new one if it has great introductory offers for you to benefit from.

An international bank account will enable you to access your money, in whichever currency you need it in, whenever you need it. These Euro accounts are provided by offshore divisions of UK high street banks and typically come with the usual perks associated with a normal, British-based current account, such as a debit card and an overdraft facility. They’re also great because they allow you to withdraw Euros at local cash machines so that you avoid the high currency conversion charges when using Sterling cards.

Eurobank - Indalo Transport

A Euro Account is always a good idea

With these accounts though, it’s important to remember that you will likely have to pay a monthly or yearly fee to keep the account and its benefits open, however this is something you will have to get used to as the Spanish also charge a yearly or quarterly fee for the privilege of being able to bank with them anyway.

It’s worth noting that some international bank accounts are free if you keep a minimum amount of Sterling or Euros in the account.

If you apply for an international bank account and are accepted, then you’re going to have the peace of mind which comes from being a customer of an established British bank (usually with access to 24/7 online and telephone banking with English-speaking customer service), and your Euros are exchanged safely, all in one place (albeit at Bank rates, which aren’t too clever)

The two main banks for Euro International Current Accounts, and which allow you to apply online, are Lloyds Bank and Barclays.

A European Online Bank Account in Euros – Why Not Try Number 26

number26 - Indalo Transport

Their slogan is “Run your entire financial life from your phone” – now that’s a bold statement! Click on the picture to go to the website (opens a new tab)

Number 26 is a German-based online bank, available in Spain, and a variety of other European countries including France and Italy. Both a website and handy app, this really is banking as it should be.

You can only apply for this bank account once you’ve got a permanent address in Spain, but as soon as you have that, you can apply from your smart phone or tablet and the process is incredibly quick and easy. Honestly, it takes less than 10 minutes to do and if you apply before midnight you’ll be able to find out whether you’ve been approved or not!

After you’ve applied online, be prepared for a video call with an agent who will confirm your identity. You’ll need your passport to hand, proof of address and a smartphone with a decent camera.

The identification process is like something out of a Sci-Fi movie. You have a video call with a representative who instructs you to hold up your documents and then they take control of your phone, use it to capture a photo (as proof), which then gets uploaded to the computer they’re using.

After doing this and answering a few questions, your Number 26 MasterCard will be on its way. Unlike other international bank accounts, Number 26 offers fee-free banking and because you’ve got a European bank account, complete with IBAN, you can withdraw Euros from any Cash Machine, free of charge. Perfect!

How To Open a Spanish Bank Account

Once you’ve decided to become an expat in Spain, it’s a good idea to open a local bank account. As well as paying for regular services like water and electricity (through direct debits or ‘domiciados’), you’ll find that some companies will only deal with you if you can prove you have a bank account actually in Spain.  The Banks in Spain are no different to any other country, and must abide by Spanish and European financial regulations.

It takes a couple of weeks to get your bank account sorted and for you to receive your bank card(s). The main difference between the Spanish banks and British ones is that they’re only open in the morning, usually 8.30am – 2pm.

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The Spanish love their siestas

Step One – Book an Appointment and Check Whether You’ll Need To Bring a “Certificado De No residente”

There are many banks in Spain, the main ones are:

Banco de Sabadell

Banco Popular

Santander

BBVA

La Caixa

Cajamar

Once you have chosen which bank you’re going to visit, it’s important to remember that you’re going to need a good understanding of Spanish to be able to talk to the advisor, unless you’re lucky and find that the bank has staff members who speak English.

If you don’t know much Spanish, see if there is someone who does who can go with you. If you don’t, you may miss out on some really good deals.

Unless you are already a Spanish resident, you will have to open a Spanish bank account as a non-resident. Make sure the first question you ask when making an appointment at your chosen bank is ¿Tengo que presentar un certificado de no residente?” which means, “Do I have to present a non-resident letter?” If they say no, that will save you loads of hassle.

(This certifciate is basically a letter from the local Police Station which states that they have seen your passport, that it’s valid and that you’re not currently a resident. However, because the Spanish system is a little flawed, the responsibilities of the local police vary, seemingly at random, don’t be surprised if you’re told to go to another station to get your letter. Oh and it’ll take 10 to 12 days to receive, too. So best avoided altogether if you can.)

Step Two – Attend Your Appointment and Bring ID With You

When it’s time to go to the bank, make sure that you take the following items with you, as sometimes Spanish banks require different documents:

  • Photographic proof of identity (passport or National Identity Card from the country of origin for each of the applicants)
  • Proof of occupation or status (employment contract/payslip, letter from accountant/lawyer, pension or disability payment confirmation, student card). This is an extra requirement introduced in 2007 by the Bank of Spain as a measure to combat money-laundering
  • Residents also need to produce their Foreigner Identification Number ‘Residencia’ certificate (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros or NIE)
  • Confirmation of address (utility bill, driving licence or council tax bill; proof of address must have been issued within the last 3 months)

Step Three – Choose Your Account

There are two basic types of account:

  • Checking account aka Current account
  • Passbook aka Savings account

It’s important to remember that Spanish banks love their fees. To open an account you must make a small deposit and you should be aware that there may be commissions for deposits, withdrawals and a maintenance fee.

Some banks will also require you to maintain a minimum balance, usually of at least 500 Euros, at all times.

Most Spanish banks charge an annual or quarterly fee for administration of a current account (cuenta corriente) and is typically 15–30 Euros. There are often additional charges for credit (tarjeta de crédito) and debit cards (tarjeta de débito); additional account holders; savings accounts (cuenta de ahorros) and other items like cheque/check books.

 

Money Exchange Specialists

Euros - Indalo Transport

Professionals who exchange money day in day out

If you’re looking to make a large, one-off payment, as most will do to buy an apartment or villa, or to make regular payments from the UK, it may be worth considering using a trusted Money Exchange specialist.  These professionals deal in this sort of thing day in day out, and they can make your money go further by giving you fantastic exchange rates which are better than the banks.

Through our links with Move Assured, the professional trade association, Indalo Transport have partnered with Moneycorp, to help you save money when moving your funds abroad. As well as being the UK’s largest specialist foreign currency provider, they’ve been around for over 35 years and now exchange £22bn for 2.4m customers per year.

Moneycorp can help you to send money to Spain at much better rates than normal banks. If moving to or from Spain, Moneycorp will help make sure it’s as pain-free as possible. If you want to find out more, click here

New Wave Apps

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Good slogan – love it!

If you’re already an expat and looking for ways to really save money on your exchanges, the new apps from Transferwise or Revolut are ground breaking, in that they are fast & incredibly easy to use. Their bank-beating rates and low fees mean that when you need to exchange your Sterling for Euros, you’ll be saving money every time you make a transfer, as it’s all done online rather than through a bank. There is an in depth review of Transferwise here that you may find very useful

Revolut goes even further, as you can order a mastercard from within the app, and all the security and verification checks are also carried out using the camera on your smartphone – all you have to do is follow the instructions. Truly amazing!

Understandably, some people may find using an online exchange service a tad risky, so we’ve put together a mini-guide on how to tell whether the online money exchange you’re about to use is legitimate or not:-

1.Check the domain name – Every online store should have an SSL, a Secure Sockets Layer. This means that any information sent between you and the store becomes encrypted so hackers can’t intercept any of the data. Just look for the little padlock, and you’ll know the site is safe, secure and does what it says.

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Make sure the little green padlock is there

2. Look for spelling and grammar mistakes – Many sleek and professional looking websites can be notched up in one day, hence, why so many bogus websites have sprung up, seemingly overnight. A lot of online scamming comes from China, and if English isn’t your first language, well, the content you write never reads well to those whose native language it is. At the same time, if a site has been rushed, spelling and grammar mistakes can occur because the authors aren’t really bothered about their content, they’re hoping you just skim, read and pay.

3. Check the site for a privacy statement, blog, and in-depth information about the company and their products. This information is usually found in the website’s footer or “About Page”, “Contact Us” page, or could come under “Terms and Conditions”. Reputable sites will tell you how they protect your personal information and secure your Credit or Debit card data and whether they sell information about their customers on to other companies. This is a disclosure statement and you should consider whether you feel comfortable with a site’s policy before using their services.

4. Check the images and the logos. Are they low quality and hazy? If they are, then, consider it a possibility that the images have just been lifted from somewhere else, made bigger or smaller and therefore that’s why they’re looking a bit squiffy. It is true that to keep http requests to a minimum and to increase site performance, online services shouldn’t be filled with huge, slow loading, HD-quality images, but there are ways around this without having to impair the quality of the photographs.

5. Check to see if the money exchange site has an established date and contact details. All legitimate companies will provide contact details, in particular, a phone number and e-mail address, and will urge you to get in touch if you have any questions or queries. The calls will always be answered, never diverted, and your e-mails will never get bounced back. So you can test this if you wish, first.

6. Check for genuine customer reviews. Great online money exchanges which are trustworthy and deliver great service aren’t afraid to display reviews, or at least, like Money Corp, a FeeFo Customer Service Rating (theirs is 97 per cent, by the way!) Alternatively, type in the company name in a search engine and see if other customers have reviewed them.

Forget Your Own Currency Conversions

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Resist the urge to continuously compare prices with ‘back home’!

Many British expats can’t help themselves. When we’re shopping in Spanish supermarkets, we can’t help but stand, staring at a jar of Bolognese sauce or a packet of mince, trying to work out whether it’s cheaper or more expensive to buy here in Spain, than back in the UK.

It’s always nice to feel like you’re saving money, or are getting a good deal, but in the end, Spain is your home now and the Euro is no longer just holiday money. You don’t need to compare prices to get by, you’ve just got to look at the 8L bottle of water and say, that’s 0.79cents, nothing more, nothing less, no other currency. For bigger items, you may find the difference is huge, which is when it may pay you to use our services for UK Shopping from Spain. (opens in new tab)

We hope that you have found our suggestions and guides useful and we wish you all the best with opening the bank account of your choice, and dealing with money exchange on a day to day basis.

If, on your financial expat journey you pick up any tips, advice or guidance about how to handle your Euros and you’d like to share your thoughts with other Brits looking to emigrate, please get in touch and we’d be glad to share them for you.

Important Note – Please Read: While we may love some of the resources mentioned in this blog post, none of the information in this blog post constitutes, nor should be construed as, financial advice. You must always satisfy yourself that the products and services you use are adequate, legal and do what you want them to do. Thanks for your understanding.

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How to Use a Roundabout in Spain

Roundabout

Hang on I hear you say – I know how to use a roundabout, I use them all the time in the UK, it’s all the same all over Europe, surely. Well actually, no that’s not strictly true. Read on to find out why.

Roundabouts are a relatively recent addition to the roads in Spain, and you will find that things don’t always happen on Spanish roundabouts in the same way that you’ll be used to from the UK.

The most common comment is about cars using the outside lane to go around to the 3rd or 4th exit of a roundabout, which surprises many visitors to the country when they first see it. Whilst this is not best practice in the UK it is, however, the correct way to do it according to the Traffic Office in Spain.

Click on the picture below to get the definitive advice on how to use a Spanish roundabout, from the Spanish Traffic Office, the DGT. Then you won’t get caught out by the slightly different way the Spanish are taught to use them. The bottom picture links to an explanation of when and how to use the innermost lane, which is where all the confusion normally comes in for UK drivers when in Spain.

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How to Use a Roundabout in Spain – Click to open video in a new tab

The use of the innermost lane, treating it the same way as the outer or overtaking lane of a dual carriageway – unlike the way we use it in the UK. Click the picture below to go to the video explaining how the DGT is thinking, showing you when you would use the ‘overtaking’ lane on a roundabout.

Like everything else, you just need to exercise a bit of common sense, and keep your wits about you at all times!

Moving To Barcelona … An Expat Guide

Removal to Barcelona - Indalo Transport

Looking down onto the bustling, vibrant city of Barcelona from Parc Guell

Ah, Barcelona!*  This effervescent and intoxicating city is a world-renowned cultural hot spot, which is probably why the city’s popped up on your radar as a possible place to relocate to as a British expat.

As well as being a very popular destination for University students wanting to go study abroad on the Erasmus Programme, and with it buzzing with modern sophistication and oozing with provincial charm, it’s not for the fainthearted.

Barcelona is a city in a state of constant flux. It pushes and pulls between tradition and modernity. It’s a place where expats have to jostle for space with up to nine million tourists, and where the traditional laidback attitude and slow-paced lifestyle associated with Spain have seemingly been exiled far, far away.

That being said, moving to Barcelona can sometimes feel like falling down a Gaudi-designed rabbit hole where most people only speak Catalan: infinitesimally deep and complex, sometimes even chaotic and confusing.

But don’t let this put you off! For the adventurous expat, or ones who just can’t shake off the love for the hubbub of a bustling city, this in-depth guide will help you to navigate Barcelona, with its colourful and flamboyant modernist-style architecture sandwiched between medieval romance and Gothic treasures.

This guide aims to help you decide whether you’d like to move there or not. And if you do, don’t forget to contact us for your removal to Barcelona from the UK

* How do you pronounce it? Barthelona is how many people think it’s supposed to be pronounced. Contrary to popular belief, the Catalonians don’t actually add the lisp and they think that whoever does is foolish!

Where exactly is Barcelona?

Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city, is found on the North East Coast of Spain, in the centre of the Catalonia region. Click on the picture above for a google map guide.

How can I get there?

By air, you can fly to Barcelona-El Prat Airport, which is about a 20-minute drive away from the city centre. Most airports within the UK offer affordable, direct flights to Barcelona, and you can get there in less than three hours. Check out Sky Scanner to get more information on prices, airport locations, and great deals.

By car, you can drive onto a ferry in Portsmouth or Plymouth, arrive in Bilbao or Santander, and then drive across to Barcelona, which should take you no more than six hours. Visit Brittany Ferries to book your tickets.

If you are relocating and require a removal to Barcelona from the UK, then please don’t hesitate to contact us, as we specialise in removals from the UK to Spain.

Why Choose Barcelona?

Catalonia is one of the most economically dynamic communities of Spain, and its capital, Barcelona, is a major international cultural centre, as well as being the third most-visited city in Europe.

Here are our top three reasons why we think British expats love moving there.

Reason #1 – No One Ever Gets Bored in Barcelona

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Even expats love sightseeing and the traditional touristy haunts of Barcelona

Barcelona is popular as an expat and tourist destination for many reasons, but the thing which we think that everyone loves the most about the city is that it never fails to amaze and entertain anyone, time and time again.

Honestly, you won’t have the chance to get bored here and there is guaranteed to be something for all your family to enjoy! You might even pick up not one, but several new hobbies.

You can shop in stylish boutiques, visit museums, breathe in creativity whilst you sip on coffee in an art café, you can explore the city’s eclectic neighbourhoods and hunt for a bargain at one of its famous flea markets, and overall be a part of an amazing and pulsating social scene.

Other interesting things expats can see and do in Barcelona

  1. Arouse your curiosity at the Erotic Museum
  2. Just a stone’s throw from La Rambla, El Jardinet dels Gats is home to dozens of beautiful kittens who are waiting to be adopted. Most passers-by miss what’s going on behind the tall wire fence – cats curled up asleep in the sun, stretching to scratch a tree, and playing in the tunnels and boxes left out for their amusement. It’s like something straight out of a children’s story.
  3. Find an oasis of calm atop Park Guinardó. Take in spectacular views, spot the remnants of an old shanty town, and the gun turrets of the anti-aircraft base.
  4. Enjoy experimental theatre at the Sala Hiroshima. It’s established a reputation for itself as a place to experience some of the most interesting performances in town.
  5. Seek out the Romans – One of the best preserved relics of the Roman Empire (the columns of the Temple of Augustus) can be found at Carrer Paradis 3.
  6. Celebrate a special event (like an anniversary or birthday) with a Photo Shoot Tour of your new home city. Awarded a Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor.
  7. Try a variety of classes including Authentic Spanish cookery, mosaics or watercolour painting
  8. Take up sailing
  9. Learn about the universe and star gaze at the Fabra Observatory
  10. Visit the open air museum of El Poble Espanyol which has 117 full-scale replicas of different buildings from all around Spain.
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The nightlife in the city certainly packs a punch

The nightlife in the city certainly packs a punch as well. Even if clubbing isn’t your thing, Barcelona has a lot to interest expats: cocktail bars, restaurants, pubs, theatres, music halls, galleries, you name it, it’s probably got it.

If you’re looking for an adventure, Barcelona will certainly provide one, every night, for the rest of your life. You’ll definitely find more than enough to keep you going, long after the sun goes down… In fact, if you want to keep pace with the locals, you’d best be prepared to see the sun come back up again!

Where to go to spend an evening in Barcelona

 

Las Ramblas – A natural starting point for any new expat is, of course, Las Ramblas and – on either side of it – the narrow streets of the medieval Old Town.

Barcelona’s busiest boulevard by day, Las Ramblas is also heaving by night. Street performers still ply their trade and the pavements throng with locals and tourists heading out for drinks and dinner.

  • Best Restaurant: The Irati Taverna Basca is a gorgeous restaurant serving up traditional Basque cuisine. If you’re eager to try dishes from these proud people, then don’t look any further than here.
  • Best Cocktail Bar: Le Pop Cocktail Bar in the Lounge of Le Meridien Hotel (it boasts one of the best bartenders in town, who can mix you a signature Catalan Bellini).
  • Best Entertainment Venue: Watch a Flamenco Show in Tablao Cordobes, where some of the biggest names in the history of flamenco have performed.

Gothic Quarter – For the more authentic local venue, the labyrinthine alleyways and history-steeped backstreets of the Gothic Quarter await an adventurous expat. Here you’ll find scores of sassy little spots hidden away in dark corners.

  • Best Restaurant: Attic– A first floor restaurant with a full view of the busy street of the Ramblas, serves Mediterranean cuisine in a reasonably formal atmosphere. Wooden decking, white canopies and orange trees makes for a truly romantic and summer-like setting. The terrace is also framed by two historic buildings, creating a truly unique and regal backdrop for a delicious Spanish meal.
  • Best Cocktail Bar: Milk Bar
  • Best Entertainment Venue: El Bosc de Les Fades – its name means ‘fairy wood’, and this sangria-serving grotto just off the bottom end of Las Ramblas is decorated just like one. Fake trees, illusory mirrors, haunting music and simulated rainstorms are all part of the experience.

El Born – One of the most wanted areas to live in Barcelona, is for the trendily-attired expat who wants a more ‘hip’ and sophisticated slice of Barcelona’s nightlife. Here you’ll find history, culture and you can discover hidden hotspots and weird and wonderful surprises.

  • Best Restaurant: Petra – This is a typical Spanish restaurant for the locals. It is hidden on the corner of Carrer Banys Vells and is a little hard to find because there is no terrace or sign which tells you that it´s a restaurant. The menu is printed on wine bottles and they only serve fresh products. Prices are quite cheap compared to other restaurants.
  • Best Cocktail Bar: Miramelindo
  • Best Entertainment Venue: The Palau de la Música. This is one of the finest concert halls in the world and proud UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was designed by Lluís Domènech I Montaner, a contemporary of Gaudí. The hall is exquisitely decorated and has a very special skylight, which is an attraction itself.

Raval – Located on the other side of the Ramblas, Raval is a bohemian’s paradise, it’s Barcelona’s most colorful district. Street kids play cricket or football and generally run riot as beatniks stroke their beards and order another chupito or two.

  • Best Restaurant: El Rincón de Aragón – a restaurant characterized by traditional, home cooked Aragonese dishes. It has a familiar and welcoming atmosphere and a rustic, authentic and characterful interior.
  • Best Cocktail Bar: Marmalade
  • Best Entertainment Venue: La Boqueria – a huge public market that’s one of the city’s most famous landmarks. The grand iron entrance leads into what is one of Europe‘s largest and most famous food markets, selling fresh produce and for providing a seemingly never-ending supply of exotic fruit smoothies and fresh lemonade.
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25 things to do in Barcelona – US Video 10mins 40secs

L’Eixample – ‘The Addition’ is a grand, grid-patterned section of the Catalan capital which is largely residential… but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on! Trendy and vibrant, L’Eixample is a bustling area filled with young professionals, and the area around Casanova Street has been dubbed Gayxample, and you don’t need to be a genius to figure out why.

For those missing a quiet pint or for a wee dram of exquisite whiskey, The Lock Inn in L’Eixample is a great place to call your new local.

  • Best Restaurant: Paco Meralgo – Known to be one of the best tapas bars in Barcelona, it’s casually elegant and always busy. Their mix of delicious, high-quality food is accompanied by a large wine, cava, and champagne selection. Try their brie and asparagus dish, it’s phenomenal.
  • Best Cocktail Bar: Slow Barcelona – A suave club which creates some pretty innovative concoctions
  • Best Entertainment Venue: L’Auditori – A cutting edge, classical music venue

Gracia – Another area of Barcelona with an alternative vibe, it feels like a village-within-a-city. Here, you’ll find a very Catalan quarter oozing with charisma and an energetic vibe – with not too many tourists, except those who lost their way trying to find Parc Guell. A quieter part of Barcelona, with an older, free-spirited and more genteel crowd.

  • Best Restaurant: La Pubilla – A bright and cozy restaurant that’s well-known throughout Barcelona for serving up the best menu del dia, or fixed price lunch menu. Beautifully creative presentation, top-notch quality and generous portions make this place a must for a chic Barcelona lunch. Reservations a must!
  • Best Cocktail Bar: Belle Epoque – Stylish and comfortable, luxurious and relaxing.
  • Best Entertainment Venues: For a low-key jazzy vibe try Woody’s.

Poble Sec – Shh, keep it quiet, but these days the once unloved district of Poble Sec a.k.a. Dry Town is now considered to be a pretty hip barrio. Quirky, creative, relaxed and culturally diverse, this area has recently undergone something of a renewal and is quite enchanting.

  • Best Restaurant: Xemei – If you’re in the mood for a quick break from Spanish cuisine, this restaurant is the stand-out option. The simple yet exquisitely cooked Venetian haute cuisine means it’s normally full so it’s worth making a reservation.
  • Best Cocktail Bar: Maumau Underground
  • Best Entertainment Venue: El Molino – Barcelona’s most famous theatre in the area is located on the equally famous Parallel Avenue. Expect risqué yet largely tasteful cabaret and burlesque shows.

Reason #2 – Barcelona Has A Wonderful Culture

culture Barcelona - Indalo Transport

Catalan culture, quirky architecture, funky street art and beautiful textiles – just some of the things which make up Barcelona’s culture

Barcelona is a lively, unusual, artistic city with a heart that hasn’t changed for over 500 years. Catalans are extremely proud of their identity, rich culture and beautiful language, and this unique heritage blazed the trail for Spain’s 19th Century industrial revolution and artistic boom.

However, after Franco’s armies defeated the Republicans in 1939, the dictator banned the Catalan language, changed street names from Catalan to Castillian (Spanish), and censored their culture.

It was only after Franco’s death in 1975 that the Catalans restored their traditions, speech, and literature – thanks to the European Romantic movement – and reminded the world about its distinct culture.

The Catalan flair for beauty and their love for art and music is evident all over Barcelona. The city offers a feast of sculptures, galleries, concert halls, impressive architecture, art cafés, and fashion. It is the city of the young Picasso, of Miro and Tapies, of Modernista buildings by Gaudí, as well as the cutting edge structures by Gehry and Nouvel.

The atmosphere which coats Barcelona can only be described as open. Everyone is accessible, friendly, and always willing to chat. When moving from the UK to Spain, one of the biggest details to consider about what you’d like to experience from your new home should be the ambiance of the village, town or city you’re moving to, and Barcelona offers open views, open people, and an open mindset which inspires and entertains.

The Catalans generally have a reputation for being hard-working, ambitious and conservative, and their folklore has been strongly influenced by Roman Catholicism.

Their love of superior fashion and the traditional importance they give textiles is reflected in Barcelona’s drive to become a major fashion centre.

There have been many attempts to launch the city as a fashion capital, and The Brandery, an urban fashion show, is held in the city twice a year. The dress style in Barcelona is classed as formal for both men and women. Shorts are still vaguely catching on for ladies, but most of the time you will get a weird look when wearing shorts. Stick with skirts and dresses for the summer.

Very few European cities can compete with the cultural experiences on offer in Barcelona. The city celebrates its remarkable artistic legacy at every turn and British expats living there can while away hours exploring its numerous delights.

Reason #3 – Barcelona Has Beautiful Architecture

buildings Barcelona - Indalo Transport

An eclectic mix of design and architecture

Ornate medieval buildings appear alongside Gaudi’s unique modernist creations, ultra-contemporary, sleek high-rises stand shoulder to shoulder with ornate, ostentatious old churches, and traditional tapas bars intermingle with chic eateries and glamorous Michelin-starred restaurants.

Barcelona really is a mishmash of structures, and has a series of architectural works awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO.

Other important things to consider about Barcelona

Picturing yourself living in Barcelona is one thing, working out whether it’s feasible to actually live there is something entirely different.

The thought of spending long, warm summer days exploring the city’s maze of alleyways and narrow streets whilst immersing yourself in culture, treating yourself to a shopping trip, and smelling the intoxicating aromas of rice dishes and tapas as you go, is all well and good, but can you afford to do the shopping? Will you be able to cope with all that walking?

These are just some of the questions you’ve got to ask yourself, and below you’ll find all the other things you should consider before moving to Barcelona from the UK.

We’ve also thrown in a few tips and tricks on how to “Hack Barcelona” like a local.

1. Cost of Living

euros

You’ll need more than other places here in Barcelona

The cost of living in Barcelona is over six per cent higher than it is in Spain’s capital, Madrid. Therefore, you really need to have substantial savings to start your new life here. An average sized, two-bedroom apartment across the city can cost you around €1200 to rent, per month. Try Foto Casa, it’s a great website to view apartments to rent/buy and gives you a general idea of how much your new dream home might cost.

A cinema ticket will cost you about €8, a gym membership will be around €40, a bus ticket costs more than €2, and most essential grocery items cost upwards of €1.50. If you’re looking for a gastronomic delight, a three-course meal will set you back about €40 per person.

If you’re looking to buy or sell things once you’re in Spain, try downloading the Segundamano app. It’s the most popular secondhand service in Spain, like Gumtree, where people can sell and buy their used stuff.

2. Transport

Barcelona is a small, compact city of just under 40 square miles, making it smaller than London and similarly sized to Amsterdam. You can explore the city’s nooks and crannies, its 86 gardens and parks, plus its 3 miles of coast by foot, but this can be incredibly tiring.

So, here are a few suggestions of how to move around the city like a local.

bicing

Bicing – Bikes that you can rent and park up anywhere around the city

  • Bicing to move around – If you like riding a bike, renting a Bicing bike is the perfect way to move around Barcelona. Very efficient, quick and simple.
  • Bla Bla Car to go outside Barcelona for less – Bla Bla Car is a hitchhiking system that connects passengers with drivers who have spare seats in their car. It might not be for everyone as it is based on ridesharing but I assume it’s worth to put it out here for your consideration.
  • Free parking outside of the city center – Parking in Barcelona city center can easily give you a headache. We highly recommend leaving your car on a free parking away from the city center and getting to your destination by metro.
  • Download the TMBApp – The official Barcelona public transport app. After downloading it and creating an account you can configure it to work best for you. Choose underground and bus lines, the ones you use most frequently, and get the access to their timetables. You will also get notifications with alerts about “your lines”.

3. Meeting New People

Download the Meetup App or join their website. This application is well-known all over the world but its particular value is shown when you arrive in a new place. Barcelona is a vibrant city and it would be a sin to just stay at home all the time.

If you want to make friends or acquaintances to jog with, go to yoga with, play golf, drink wine, watch a movie, on Meetup you’ll find groups with similar interests. Many of them are expats just like you, so chances are you’ll find someone with common interests. It’s always worth trying at least once anyway!

Other useful information

Barcelona Tourism Board

Best Site to Find Jobs In Barcelona

Keep Up To Date With The Weather

girl Barcelona - Indalo Transport

Hopefully this will be you soon, jus chilling out, taking in the sites of beautiful, albeit chaotic Barcelona!

We really hope our handy guide has been helpful. Either you’ve learned something new about this wonderful place, or it’s helped you to make your decision and you’re thinking of moving to sunny Barcelona!

If that’s the case, please don’t hesitate to contact us now for help and advice on your removals from the UK to Barcelona, or anything else about becoming an expat in Spain. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we can point you in the right direction to get one!

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Moving to Spain … an Expat Guide,

Full List of Other Moving To … Expat Guides

Easter in Spain – Fantastic festivities in the Sun,

How to use a roundabout in Spain

7 Essential items you Must Carry when driving in Spain

Essential Tips for moving to Spain with your Children

Expat Tips and Hints

Moving to Mojacar … an Expat Guide

All you need to know about moving to Europe with your Pets

How to Save Money & Do Finance, for Expats in Spain

New Mojacar Paseo now completed!

mojacarpaseo

Work has recently finished on the 880m extension to the Paseo on Mojacar Playa in Almeria, Spain.

paseo02 paseo03

After being started in April last year, it has been finished slightly ahead of the scheduled time of 14 months.

paseo05

With the new addition, there is now almost 3 kilometres of paseo and cycle path for all visitors and residents to enjoy.

paseo01

As well as making the area from the Stables roundabout to The Red cross Station much easier to access and enjoy, the new paseo has cleaned up the area past the Pueblo Indalo Tourist Urbanisation, at the same time widening what was always a dangerously narrow road section too.

paseo06

This section was supposed to be undertaken immediately after the initial section of Paseo was completed in 1998, but the money somehow wasn’t available to continue the work!

However, it was definitely worth the wait, as it looks fabulous.

Here is a photo diary of the progress over the last year

paseoworkpaseo1 paseo2 paseo3 paseo4 paseo5 paseo6 Paseo 7 Paseo 8 Paseo 9 Paseo 10

Moving to Murcia … an Expat Guide

Murcia - Indalo Transport

From breathtaking shores to beautiful countryside scenery – Murcia really does have an amazing backdrop. Click for Map Guide

So, you’ve decided to become an expat (congratulations by the way!) and you’ve promised yourself that by this time next year you’re going to be living the life of Riley somewhere in sunny Spain.

To help you decide where that’s going to be, this post – part of our series of guides about the villages, towns, cities, provinces and regions of Spain – will provide you with lots of useful information about the breathtaking province of Murcia.

We’ll also explain why other British expats love it there so much.

If you’re already an expat living in Murcia and want to know why you should continue reading this article, well, we’ll be unveiling some of the truly one-of-a-kind experiences and hitherto unknown sights to see across the region. If you’re thinking of moving home to here, or anywhere else on the Iberian Peninsular, contact us now for a free, no obligation quote for your removal to the Sun!

So… Let’s crack on and find out why Murcia is one of the best areas of Spain to move to as a British expat.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

Where is the Region of Murcia?

Murcia is a typically Spanish area located in southeastern Spain – Click on the picture above for a Map Guide. It’s one of the country’s most beautiful regions, as it has escaped the coastal development of its neighbouring regions (apart from La Manga, of course).

Inland, Murcia is an arid desert vista where historic towns are surrounded by orchards, olive groves, plantations and vineyards, as well as the remains of weatherbeaten, time ravaged Moorish castles.

All are set to the backdrop of imposing pine-covered mountains which stretch all the way to the coast. Here, along the Costa Cálida – a selection of divine white sandy beaches stretching almost 170 km – is where two oceans meet one coastline. This results in Murcia’s coast having luxuriously warm, crystal clear waters and turquoise blue saltwater lagoons like Mar Menor. Absolutely heavenly.

 Why Murcia Is The Perfect Place To Call Home

murcia benefits

A perfect place for lots of reasons

A combination of outstanding air quality, the Mediterranean diet, a warm dry climate, a low crime rate and being sparsely populated, all make Murcia region one of the healthiest and safest places in Spain to call home.

People here really do live longer, healthier lives. Slow-paced and stress-free, the only times most towns and cities stay up to party ’til dawn in Murcia are around the times of their local, flamboyant and vibrant fiestas, like the Burning of the Sardine. This is a night of madness and mayhem, where a noisy, colourful procession of floats, guarded by torchbearers, travels through the streets of Murcia city, throwing toys and sweets out to children and adults alike.

Expats who move to the region of Murcia can benefit from excellent private Medical care, superfast broadband and delicious Spanish gastronomy. The cost of living in the region ranges from the extremely cheap to the reasonably affordable.

nightmurcia - Indalo Transport

Mazarron and Aguilas – incredibly enchanting places at night.

This, of course, depends entirely on where you choose to live, but much like in the UK, most villages and small towns will be cheaper to call home, compared to the cities. On the whole, though, essential grocery shopping, meals out and activities are about 16 percent cheaper than they are in the Spanish capital, Madrid, and renting property is almost 50 percent cheaper.

The weather in Murcia is consistently wonderful all year round thanks to its Mediterranean climate. In general, the region boasts around 325 sunny days a year with average temperatures getting slightly above 19 C, as well as very little rain.

destmurcia

La Manga, Lo Pagan and Cartagena, in the Murcia Region of Spain

The winters are mild, the summers are hot, and the air quality is incredibly high. So much so that the World Health Organisation has named Murcia’s regional climate as one of the best in the world, particularly for sufferers of arthritis and asthma.

The region of Murcia also has strong British expat connections, so high levels of Spanish aren’t needed. This makes the transition of moving to Spain a whole lot easier. Across the region’s cities and larger towns (which we’ll discuss in a moment!), expats will find plenty of English speaking organisations and clubs to join, so no one will ever feel like an outsider here.

Popular Cities and Towns in Murcia

Plus the unique things you can see and do there

Murcia

MurciaVid

Murcia Tourist Video (4min 14sec)

 

Murcia is a vibrant city, home to a mishmash of cultures, an assortment of architectural designs, and a plethora of colourful traditions and lively fiestas.

It has been ranked as one of the top ten cities to live in Spain for the quality of life. The city has all the large facilities, modern amenities, wonderful shops, and exciting nightlife that people expect from, say, London or Leeds, but the pace of life really is much slower.

It’s a place where nothing is ever hurried, period. It’s also a place where expats will never get bored. Culture and history just seem to ooze from every narrow street, and these streets always lead to attractive plazas and wide, tree-lined walkways. There is always an interesting museum,  bridge, garden or restaurant to visit.

Just Some Of The Amazing Things To See And Do Around Murcia City

  • Hike to La Marenica Monestary and taste the heavenly Chocolate de La Luz
  • Experience true passion and an amazing culture at the Bullfighting Museum – rated on Trip Advisor as a real hidden gem
  • Discover the city’s delightful mini Aquarium and come face-to-face with baby sharks

 

Just Some Of The Must Visit Restaurants in Murcia

  • Madre de Dios on Calle del Arzobispo Simón López – A beautiful restaurant found tucked away on a narrow street.
  • La Pequena Taberna Típica in the Plaza San Juan – An elegant restaurant which is a favourite with the locals. The fish they serve is tremendous.

Don’t miss out on the city’s remaining fiestas this year

  • The International Festival of Mediterranean Folklore – July, 11 – July 15, 2016 – A colourful event where folk groups from all over the world come to Murcia city to raise awareness of typical Mediterranean tradition and culture.
  • The Moors and Christians Festival – September 1 – September 13, 2016 – One of the most important fiestas in the city, this celebration is truly steeped in history and it really is a theatrical performance not to miss. Colourful groups of Moors and Christians parade through the city, playing music and re-enacting the Re-Conquest. Most of the acts take place in the Medieval Encampment in the San Esteban Garden.

Lorca

LorcaVid

Lorca Video (2min 45sec)

Lorca is a city which goes by many names: The City of the Sun, The City of One Hundred Shields, The Baroque City… Each name, whichever you choose, reflects how magnificent and spectacular the city actually is, and how much there is to see and do there.

It’s no wonder then that it remains an internationally acclaimed historic and artistic site, with oodles of museums, activity centres and churches to marvel at and enjoy.

In 2011, Lorca won the Europa Nostra Award for conserving its rich heritage of medieval, renaissance and Baroque architecture after an earthquake happened which claimed nine lives.

History really does just seems to ooze from every corner of Lorca and the stunning architecture gives the city an air of luxuriousness and regality. Centuries worth of craft traditions like embroidery, iron forging and pottery, are still made, by hand, by artisan craftspeople, and they, along with fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at the medieval Thursday market, which still runs to this day.

And even though Lorca will always be famously known for its legacy of archaeological sites, historic buildings, culture and rich traditions (particularly its spectacular Easter Week celebrations), it’s a city which has quickly blossomed into a modern and artistic one. With every amenity and convenience an expat could ever need, combined with a slower-paced lifestyle and rich heritage, Lorca is a wonderful place to call home. It has even been recently shortlisted for the European Destinations of Excellence program, in recognition for its sustainable tourism.

Just Some Of The Amazing Things To See And Do Around Lorca City

  • Experience an atmosphere like no other as you uncover Jewish history beneath the Parador Hotel, which once was an impressive castle.
  • Immerse yourself in the surroundings of Lorca by taking a leisurely 10 km trek through the Cejo de los Enamorados
  • Find out exactly what the artisans of the city have to offer and grab a bargain by visiting the Centro de Artesania de Lorca

Just Some Of The Must Visit Restaurants in Murcia

  • Casa Candido on Calle Santo Domingo – A rustic restaurant which makes delicious home cooked meals. What’s more, it’s found in a 16th Century building with its own underground caves. The meat is heavenly.
  • Taberna El Camino on Calle Santo Domingo – A cozy pub with a big heart. Traditional food is served generously inside its cool stone walls.
  • Restaurant Hiroshima, just outside the city – An elaborate restaurant located in a medieval castle. Elegant and sophisticated, the food is divine.

Don’t miss out on the city’s remaining fiestas this year

  • Lorca’s September Fair – Last 10 days of September – 10 intense days of non-stop entertainment all across the city. Street theater, concerts, a huge fairground with Ferris Wheel and rollercoasters, children’s activities, exhibitions and so much more.
  • The Moors and Christians Festival also known as The Feast of San Clemente – November 23, 2016 – History comes alive as Jewish and Christians parade around Lorca’s castle, its Old Town and medieval streets.

Aguilas

AguilasVid

Aguilas Tourist Video (4min 26sec)

Aguilas is a bustling, flamboyant port town, thanks to its glorious weather, wonderful carnival and beautiful beaches. For this reason, the town is a very popular tourist destination for both the Spanish and the British.

That being the case, Aguilas isn’t as quiet as the other places we’ve mentioned, but it still oozes charm. Famous for its rich seafaring traditions and Roman history, the town adores culture and architecture, which is evident from its funky concert hall, its abundance of interesting museums and magnificent churches.

Dotted around its spacious streets and large plazas, expats will find traces of Roman history, beautiful gardens, exotic rubber trees, white windmills and medieval structures.

Down on the golden, sandy beaches, expats can discover delicious seafood and can even give scuba diving, sailing and other marine activities a try. For anyone who doesn’t like to keep still and who enjoys experiencing different things every day, Aguilas is the perfect place to lay down their roots.

Just Some Of The Amazing Things To See And Do Around Aguilas

  • Try your hand at rock climbing, trek across a beautiful mountainscape, or take an epic 4 x 4 tour of the breathtaking Aguilas countryside.
  • View the curious and poignant Ermita de Cope chapel, a tiny 16th Century church found on the coast.
  • Visit the CIMAR museum, for free, and discover nautical wildlife and learn more about the town’s seafaring heritage.

Just Some Of The Must-Visit Restaurants in Aguilas

  • Zoco del Mar near Castle Esplanade – There is nowhere better in Aguilas for delicious, hearty gourmet food and breathtaking views.
  • Poli in Calle Floridablanca – A delightful restaurant that serves the best seafood in town. Has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor.
  • Meson del Willy on Calle Ciclista Julian Hernandez Zaragoza – This is the ideal restaurant to experience an authentic taste of Spanish cuisine. Great value for money and an incredibly warm and friendly service.

Mazarron

MazarronVid

Mazarron Video (3min 41sec)

Mazarron is a historic port town, set around a glorious bay which opens up into the warm Mediterranean ocean.

Surrounded by outstanding geological rock formations, breathtaking scenery and stunning beaches, this really is the place to just laze around and relax. Spacious, palm tree-lined plazas and walkways let expats meander around the town’s monuments, ancient buildings (including a Roman Salting Factory) and warm yellow, rich red or sandy coloured houses.

Not known for its nightlife, Mazarron is more famous for its Roman and Phoenician history, seafood, nudist beaches and mining.

The restaurants and handful of cocktail bars may offer English versions of their menus, but an expat will never find a pint of Fosters or pie and a pint being served. For a true slice of quiet Spanish life, Mazarron is the ideal place to call home.

Just Some Of The Amazing Things To See And Do Around Mazarron

Just Some Of The Must-Visit Restaurants in Mazarron

  • Restaurante el Pilon on Calle Librilla – A delightful establishment that’s cosy and serves excellent traditional Spanish food including tapas and churros.
  • Chez Zoe in the Paseo de Rihuete – A wonderful seafront restaurant which serves honest, bourgeois French cooking. Fantastic value for money.
  • El Palenque on Avenida del Mediterraneo – An upscale restaurant which unites the best-grilled meats from Argentina with the flavours of Italy and the Mediterranean.

Don’t miss out on the town’s remaining fiestas this year

  • The Virgen del Carmen – July 16, 2016 – A traditional and emotional religious marine procession which culminates on the beaches near the port. Expats can see the beautifully decorated Guinamon – a boat chosen to have the honour of carrying the image of the Patron Saint of Fisherman, Virgen del Carmen – and join in the Mass.
  • The Bolnuevo Sardine Festival – November 17, 2016 – Join in the bright, colourful historic celebration which came about after the Virgen de la Purisima saved the town from Berber pirates.

 

La Manga del Mar Menor

LamangaVid

La Manga Video (1min 28sec)

La Manga del Mar Menor, also known as the paradise between two seas, is an upscale beach resort on an exquisite strip of land which separates the Mediterranean sea from Europe’s largest saltwater lake, Mar Menor.

Here, expats can enjoy the finer things in life – like golfing, playing tennis, eating delicious and healthy foods, boutique shopping, relaxing and immersing themselves in culture – whilst breathing in the pure air and benefitting from bathing in Mar Menor’s salt waters (they’re incredibly good for those who suffer from rheumatism and eczema).

As a luxurious beach resort the town is clean and spacious, Every Sunday there is a bustling market, the Mercadillo de Cabo, which is rather like a car boot or flea market, but on a grander scale.

On the whole, La Manga is relatively peaceful, but it does become particularly lively during the summer thanks to tourism. From June until September, the nightlife becomes even more exciting and the beautiful beaches become packed with bathers.

This really is a wonderful place to call home if you enjoy the modernity, hustle, bustle, excitement and touches of luxury that a top resort town offers.

Just Some Of The Amazing Things To See And Do Around La Manga del Mar Menor

  • Try your hand at standup paddle boarding or kitesurfing
  • Take the kids or grandkids to Peke Park, a quaint Spanish amusement arcade
  • Take a leisurely stroll up the lighthouse at El Faro de Cabo Palos and watch the sunset over stunning vistas

Just Some Of The Must-Visit Restaurants in La Manga del Mar Menor

  • Restaurante el Mosqui on Carrer Subida al Faro – For a unique ambience and to taste some incredible rice dishes and seafood (including delicious, fresh lobster), there is nowhere better.
  • Pizzería di Mare – on Calle Embalse de Sichar – A small, decorated in a traditional Spanish style, but which serves five-star Italian cuisine at great prices. They even do take outs!
  • El Pez Rojo – on Calle Los Palangres – A restaurant that comes highly recommended by the local Spanish people. Fantastic service, affordable prices and exquisite foods. Don’t forget to try their famous caldero.
ToDoinMurcia

There are loads of things to see and do in Murcia, including river rafting on the Rio Segura River and seeing the exquisite countryside by hot air balloon

With the region of Murcia being so beautiful, healthy and such a wonderful place to relax and unwind, it’s undoubtedly the best location for any expat wanting to get away from it all and thoroughly enjoy life in their new, Spanish casa. Ahh, true bliss!

Now all you have to do is decide where exactly it is you want to call home!

If you’ve found this article useful and you’d like to find out more about moving to Murcia from the UK, or if you’d like more advice about becoming an expat in general, contact us now for help with your removal from the UK to Murcia in Spain.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may enjoy

Your Essential – Free – Moving Checklist

How to avoid these 7 packing mistakes, for the best removal

10 Top Tips for buying a Property in Spain

Moving to Spain … an Expat Guide,

Full List of Other Moving To … Expat Guides

Easter in Spain – Fantastic festivities in the Sun,

How to use a roundabout in Spain

7 Essential items you Must Carry when driving in Spain

Essential Tips for moving to Spain with your Children

Expat Tips and Hints

Moving to Mojacar … an Expat Guide

All you need to know about moving to Europe with your Pets

How to Save Money & Do Finance, for Expats in Spain

 

8 Top Tips to help sun worshippers stay healthy

Sun Tips - Indalo Transport

Ahh, nothing beats spending time in the sun

Here are our top tips on how you can save your skin from the Spanish sun this summer, including a free online skin-type quiz, what you should avoid, and how to effectively protect your children too.

Too much of a good thing can be bad for you

As a people, we Brits absolutely adore the sun, but unfortunately, our relationship with it, living in the UK and all, is like being married to Henry DeTamble from The Time Traveller’s Wife.

It randomly pops in and out of our lives, and only stays with us for a short period of time before – poof – it disappears again. When will it be back? Who knows!

But when it does arrive, and the temperature manages to creep up above 13°C, we are completely unabashed about showing our affection for our favourite star. Men whip off their shirts and put on their shorts, and women don bikinis or cami tops and skirts, just to soak up as many rays as possible.

Understandably then, spending more and more time in the sun has become a top priority for expats and holiday-makers alike, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that Spain is the sun lover’s top European destination.

That’s because there’s nowhere sunnier in the whole of Europe and, even though as a country Spain has an extremely varied climate, in the end, it doesn’t matter whereabouts within this lovely Country you visit or decide to make your home, you’re certainly going to find somewhere warmer and sunnier to stay than in Britain!

However, even though the sun can improve your health and it can put you in a better mood, there are some downsides to spending too long unprotected from the sun’s UV rays.

You will be at risk from sunburn (which can leave you with headaches; painful, red skin, chills, and nausea), and of course, skin cancer.

To help protect and educate yourself, follow these 8 tips.

(All links in the article open in a new window, so you don’t lose your place!)

1) Find out how susceptible your skin is to sun damage

ginger - Indalo Transport

Having ivory skin, lots of freckles or ginger hair means you’re more susceptible to sun damage.

Some people are more susceptible to sun damage and skin cancer than others, and that’s down to what type of skin you have.

People who have incredibly fair or ivory skin, lots of freckles, or ginger hair, are the most at risk, whereas people with very dark skin are at the lowest risk.

This is because people with a darker skin pigmentation have more natural protection against the sun.

So do you know your skin type? If you don’t, why not take this free skin type quiz?

It takes into account your genetic disposition and the way your body normally reacts to sun exposure, to tell you what your skin type is, and what precautions you’ll need to take to protect yourself from the sun in the future.

2) Avoid these sunburn boosters

skincare - Indalo Transport

Using certain skin care products increases the likelihood that you’ll get sun damage

If you can, it’s quite a good idea to avoid certain medicines, skin care products and foods when you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the sun, because there are many products which we use every day that can actually increase our sun sensitivity.

If you can, try to avoid using these prescription drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers

  • Acne or eczema treatments (anything with benzoyl peroxide or hydrocortisone in it)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Antihistamines
  • Antifungals
  • Herbal remedies such as St. John’s Wort

Try to avoid using these skin care products

  • Perfumes
  • Exfoliating facial scrubs
  • Chemical peels
  • Any skin care product that says it can be used to fight the signs of aging, and that has alpha-hydroxy or beta-hydroxy acids in it
  • Any skin care product that markets itself as a blemish buster, one that clears blackheads, soothes red skin and gets rid of clogged pores that has salicylic acid in it
  • Any skin care product that claims it regenerates the skin’s appearance and has glycolic acids in it
  • Any anti-wrinkle skin care product that has Retin-A in it

And try to avoid eating

  • Celery
  • Citrus Fruits (so watch out for those poolside margaritas and vodka tonics!)
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Parsnips
  • Artificial sweeteners

3) Use sunscreen

sunscreen - Indalo Transport

I’m sure we’d all use sunscreen more if it meant we got a free yacht thrown in!

Sunscreens are used to protect our skin from the harmful effects of the sun, and they also help to protect against premature aging too!

Using a sunscreen will help decrease the risk of sunburn and the risk of getting skin cancer. The active ingredients in sunscreen work either by absorbing the sun’s UV radiation, or by reflecting it.

A broad spectrum sunscreen helps to protect against sunburn and skin cancer, and the most effective sun protection factor (SPF) is SPF 50.

If a sunscreen manufacturer claims that their product is water-resistant, they can only put on the label that the lotion lasts for either 40 or 80 minutes before the effects of the sunscreen are deemed ineffectual.

Because of this, it’s really important to apply at least one ounce (that’s enough lotion to fill a shot glass) of sunscreen, and lip balm, at least 15minutes before going outdoors, and to reapply it every hour and a half.

Remember also, don’t use sunscreens if they have gone past their expiration date.

4) Get a good pair of gafas de sol (sunglasses)

sunglasses - Indalo Transport

Not the most useful place for a pair of shades

Not all sunglasses can protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays and high-energy visible (HEV) light, and darker lenses aren’t any better at protecting you from the sun either.

In actual fact, unless they’re fabricated to block UV, dark lenses can be more harmful than wearing no sunglasses at all! That’s because they cause the pupils to dilate, allowing more UV light into the eyes.

The lenses of a good pair of sunglasses should be dark enough that you can’t see your eyes when looking in a mirror. Most glasses claim that they block UV, or are UV-absorbent, but unless they can block a specific percentage of UV, (the best are 99 – 100% absorbent), then they’re not going to be much use.

Therefore, it’s always best to go to an optician for your sunglasses.

5) Seek shade

shade - Indalo Transport

No one minded heading for the shade when the promise of lounging in a hammock cropped up in conversation

Shade is a valuable means for protecting yourself against the sun’s direct UV rays, especially if you intend to spend a lot of time outdoors.

However, just because you’re in the shade, doesn’t mean to say that you’re completely safe from sun damage. Indirect UV light can still reach your skin when it bounces back from reflective surfaces like sand, water, snow, and concrete.

That’s why it’s still very important to wear sunscreen, even though you’re hiding from the sun under a hat, tree, or in a shaded structure.

Using umbrellas isn’t recommended as a place to shade under because they provide relatively little UV protection, in fact, you can still receive up to 84 per cent of the sun’s UV rays whilst hiding under a brolly.

Shady trees on the other hand, with large spreads of dense foliage, offer much better protection, especially during the middle of the day.

Hats are brilliant at protecting you from sunburn and skin cancer too, because the disease is disproportionately concentrated on the head. By wearing a wide brimmed hat and lots of suntan lotion on your ears, nose, cheeks and neck, you can really improve your chances of guarding yourself against sun damage.

It’s pretty safe to say that only being indoors can offer true shade protection. Which is why the Spanish have a siesta during the day, to get them off of the streets when the sun is at its most powerful.

6) Eat these foods!

peppers - Indalo Transport

Well this is going to make for an interesting lunch!

Even though there are some foods which you should try to avoid when you’re getting your tan on, here are some which have actually been shown to increase the skin’s ability to protect itself from UV rays.

  • Fish rich in Omega 3
  • Red and orange coloured fruits and veg
  • Herbs
  • Dark chocolate
  • Brassicas, like broccoli, kale, spinach and cauliflower
  • Green tea

What are these foods sun blocking secrets? Antioxidants. They travel throughout your body, protecting your healthy cells from nasty free radicals, the molecules from the sun which contribute to sun damage.

7) Teach your children the ABCs about the sun

 

children - Indalo Transprt

They really should be wearing hats!

Because children spend a lot of time outdoors, they get most of their lifetime sun exposure in their first 18 years, so teaching them the ABCs about how they can protect themselves from the sun is very important for a healthy and happy childhood.

 

  1. = Away          Advise your children to stay out of the sun as much as possible during the middle of the day (between 10am and 4pm) and if they do go outside, they should play in the shade
  2. = Block          Teach your children how to apply sun block correctly, and tell them the importance of re-applying it every hour and a half
  3. = Cover Up   Explain to your children that even though they’re unfashionable, hats are very important at protecting them from the sun, and so are long sleeved t-shirts and trousers. Even children as young as one year old should wear sunglasses with UV protection.

 

8) Keep checking your skin

sunburn - Indalo Transport

If this isn’t a case for wearing socks with sandals, we don’t know what is!

Whenever you’ve enjoyed spending time in the sun, it’s important to keep checking your skin regularly, so that you can see if you’ve sustained any sun damage.

You’ll know if you’ve got sunburn because it is very noticeable (the affected parts of your skin become red, sore, warm, and occasionally itchy) and it happens in a very short space of time after being exposed to the sun.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for skin cancer, and it’s very difficult to tell whether you may have contracted it. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any changes on your skin,  and make sure you inspect your skin regularly – and that of your partner and your children – to catch any changes early so they can be dealt with.

As a general rule, you should visit your doctor if you notice any new moles or growths, changes in your existing moles, or you have get cuts, scratches, or bruises which change, itch, bleed, or don’t heal.

For more information about the early warning signs of skin cancer, visit these pages, The Early Warning Signs of Melanoma and The Ugly Duckling Sign.

 

So there you have it, eight tips on how to enjoy the Spanish sun safely.

love Sun - Indalo Transport

We Love the Sun!

And even though the notoriously scary ‘C-word’ was used, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t overly worry about the sun, and certainly don’t let yourself become a solar-phobe. The sun is there for us to enjoy, and some exposure to it is beneficial to your health.

Spending time in the sun’s warm glow helps our minds and bodies in many ways. Some of the most important are listed below

  • It increases the levels of Vitamin D in our bodies, and high levels of Vitamin D help to boost our immune system, lower cholesterol, they help the kidneys do their job of removing waste from our bodies better, they strengthen our bones, and they help reduce anxiety.
  • It boosts our metabolism
  • It reduces stress
  • It fights Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • The sun also helps alleviate the pain caused by diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, and for those who don’t suffer from them, soaking up the sun’s rays can help prevent the risk of getting them in the first place.
  • Amazingly, studies have also shown that the Vitamin D we get from sunbathing actually aids in reducing the risk of some cancers!

Michael Holick, M.D. of the Vitamin D Research Lab at Boston University Medical Center, sums it up perfectly. “The current message that all unprotected sun exposure is bad for you is too extreme:  The original message was that people should limit their sun exposure, not that they should avoid the sun entirely… Some unprotected exposure to the sun is important for health”.

So what are you waiting for?! Get out there and get your tan on!

Photo Credits

Ivory Skin woman with Ginger hair

Sunburnt Feet

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How to Save Money & Do Finance, for Expats in Spain

 

 

All You Need to Know About Moving to Europe with your Pets

Pets - Indalo Transport

We all love our Pets – so you must take them with you when you move abroad

Did you know that in 2015, a whopping 46 percent of households within the UK registered as having pets? That’s an amazing 12 million families across the whole of Great Britain who love sharing their homes and spending their time with many a furry, feathery or scaly friend.

So it’s pretty safe to assume that if you’re currently planning on becoming an expat and are considering moving to Europe, you’ll be wanting to know how your pets can also make the move with you from the UK to Spain, France, Germany, or wherever it is that you want to put down your roots.

Fortuitously, we’ve prepared this handy guide which explains absolutely everything you’ll ever need to know about moving abroad with your pets, so read on to find out what it is you need to do to make sure that your soft, fluffy, velvety, and sometimes slimy companions will make it safe, sound, and more importantly so, legally, to your new casa/maison/haus.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

Dogs, Cats and Ferrets

Dogcatferret - Indalo Transport

The first thing to do when preparing your dogs, cats and/or ferrets for travel across Europe, is to research the country you’re moving to, so as to find out whether your animal is allowed to enter their land, as you need to make sure your pet isn’t on any banned breeds lists.

Unfortunately, many countries still consider a handful of dog breeds to be dangerous, and some countries do not like certain cats to enter their land as they deem their traits to be harmful and cause deformities in kittens. There are also some countries that think that foreign ferrets are nasty little blighters who, if able to escape, will go and bully and torment the local wildlife.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information in regards to what is and isn’t allowed admission to any particular country, the best people to contact are the Embassies and Consulates of the country/region you’re moving to.

Unfortunately, if you do own a pet that is banned in the place you’re going to call home, or if you just cannot fulfil any of the special requirements and obligations to owning a certain type of breed, then you’ll have to consider who should look after your pet instead, when it’s time for you to leave the UK

However, this is highly unlikely, so if you are lucky in that your pet is allowed into your new country, the next thing to do is to book an appointment at the vets for your dog, cat and/or ferret, as you need to ask for a rabies vaccination.

Some veterinarians will provide just one, others recommend a course of two injections. It is important to remember that animals cannot receive a rabies vaccine before being 3 months old, and you cannot leave the UK for another EU country, with your pet, until 21 days after the primary vaccination. The day after the vaccination has been done is counted as Day One.

Whilst you’re at the vets, you should also ask them to prepare a Pet Passport and, if applicable, a Fit to Fly Certificate. Which will mean having your dog, cat and/or ferret microchipped – if not chipped already. The only other requirement is for the animal to be wormed.

Once all of these requirements have been met, your furry friends are ready to travel with you, and it’s important to remember that if they can’t be with you on your journey, they must travel within five days of you leaving the UK.

Rabbits, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs and Rodents

RabHamRodent - Indalo Transport

These lovely little critters don’t have to undergo rabies vaccinations or BE microchipped like dogs, cats and ferrets, but countries in Europe do have their own rules and regulations regarding these animals, so it’s always worth contacting Embassies and Consulates to get the most up-to-date information. For example, Germany will only let you bring in three of these animals, Ireland requires you to give 24 hours notice of importation, and France requests that you get each animal a Certificate of Good Health, in both English and French to testify that your pets carry no sign of disease.

For France, this certificate should be issued between one and five days before entering the country. It’s also worth noting that if you plan to take your pet rabbits with you on a ferry ride from the UK to say, France or Spain, Brittany Ferries won’t let you take them onboard as they’re considered unlucky!

Birds

birds - Indalo Transport

Pet birds do not include farm birds such as chickens, turkeys, ducks or geese, and they also don’t include racing or homing pigeons.

Much like their fluffier counterparts, many European countries have their own special requirements when allowing pet birds onto their land, so it’s worth getting in touch with a representative from your new country to ask them to provide you with the most up-to-date information available.

Many European countries will require your birds to have a vaccination against Avian Flu, plus a Certificate of Good Health written in the local language and signed and stamped by an official vet.

Snakes, Lizards, Tortoises, Fish and Other Exotic Animals

snakesexotic - Indalo Transport

Snakes, Lizards & Tortoises

As with all the other animal friends we’ve come across, the best way to get the most accurate information about whether you can or can’t take your pet gecko, snake, or terrapin with you abroad, is to contact your new country/region’s Embassies and Consulates.

vet - Indalo Transport

A Vet can be your new best friend

 

As we’ve seen, preparing pets for European travel can be a bit of a lengthy process, and it may be the case that you’ll have to reconsider when you’re going to move, so that you can accommodate all those visits to the vet and waiting for the 21 days for a rabies vaccine to have kicked in.

It’s also worth remembering that with all the vet appointments and pieces of documentation needed to prove that you own your animals and that they’re fit, healthy and disease free, you’re going to have to incur some expenses. It might be worth calling your veterinarian now to ask how much this is all going to cost you.

And speaking of expenses, it is also highly recommended that you alter or change any pet insurance you have with a British-based company, so that it provides full European cover, or cancel it and take out new pet insurance in your new country.

cat - Indalo Transport

Don’t worry little puss, you’ll soon be in your new home!

In our next post all about moving abroad with pets, we’ll be providing you with an in-depth guide about how to make the process of moving our furry friends go as smoothly as possible, and we’ll be answering those burning questions like, “Is it worth investing in a Pet Transportaion company?”, “Is it more affordable to take our pets with us on a ferry, rather than on a plane?”, “Should I give my pets a tranquilizer to make their journey more comfortable?”, and more.

If you have any other questions that you’d like to ask about moving your pet abroad, why not get in touch and we’d be happy to help as much as we can.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to chat about a removals service from the UK to Europe, sin pets, then feel free to go here for a superfast quote about that too!

We hope to hear from you and your furry friends soon!

Frightened Cat – Photo Credit

 

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Moving to Almeria … an Expat Guide

Almeria - Indalo Transport

The wonders of Almeria – A great place for any British expat to call their new home. Click for Map view in a new tab

This essential guide,  part of our series of guides about the villages, towns, cities, provinces and regions of Spain, will give you plenty of information about the wonderful province of Almeria, in the region of Andalucia, in Spain.

If you’re window shopping because you haven’t yet decided whether you want to become an expat, or if you have and you just can’t decide where it is that you’d like to call your new home, this may well help make up your mind.

And, if you do already live in the Province of Almeria, and are looking for some interesting and unique things to do there, you won’t be disappointed!

Our guide unveils just some of the truly one-of-a-kind experiences and sights to see in Almeria.

Where is the Province of Almeria?

Almeria is located in southern Spain, in the southeast corner of the Iberian Peninsula, on the beautiful shores of the Mediterranean sea.

Inland, where it’s sparsely populated, there’s an eclectic array of fertile fields, saltwater lakes, arid deserts, and the imposing presence of the awe inspiring Sierra de Gádor mountain range for you to behold.

As you descend towards the coast, the landscape changes – Nature Reserves and rich fauna, along with volcanic cliffs which rise majestically from the warm ocean, revealing hidden coves with transparent sea beds, traditional fishing villages, premier beach resorts and 200 kilometers of blue flag beaches.

This really is an area which offers the expat something truly amazing; the magic of snow on the far flung mountains, deserts, and the bountiful sea.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

Popular Cities, Towns and Villages in Almeria

Plus things you can see and do there

 

Place Why expats love it there Amazing things to see and do
City of Almeria Almeria begs to be explored. It is steeped in Moorish history and oozes charm.

It is a haven for history buffs and art enthusiasts, as well as culture connoisseurs.

Its cramped, winding streets magnify the hustle and bustle of this busy city which offers great tapas (usually free in bars, if you’re not too afraid to ask!)

————————————

1.       Explore the Museo Refugio De La Guerra Civil

2.       Take an unforgettable eco boat tour of El Cabo a Fondo

3.       Unearth ancient secrets at the Archaelogical Museum at Los Millares

 

Town of Roquetas de Mar Modernity meets history at this large beach resort in Almeria.

Filled with every modern facility an expat and their family could ever need, it also has lots of activities and natural wonders to keep even the most easily bored person occupied.

———————————–

1.       Grab yourself a bargain at the huge Thursday Street Market

2.       Take the kids for a fun day out at Castor Park

3.       Become a Toreador at the Plaza De Toros Museum

Village of Mojácar Mojácar is a place where an expat feels like they’ve stepped back in time.

Quintessentially Spanish with hints of Moorish history, this village offers expats a much slower pace of life.

Things here are quiet and peaceful, until the Fiestas come around, & then it’s time to party.

1.       Take a dive you’ll never forget

2.       Ride quads, trek on ponies, have a go at archery, the choice is yours at Extreme Adventure

3.       Have a relaxing game of golf at the stunning Marina Golf course

Other notable places which expats like to lay down their roots in the Province of Almeria include:

  • Nijar
  • Velez Blanco
  • San Jose
  • Vera
  • Cuevas del Almanzora
  • Sorbas
  • Bedar
  • Adra
  • Palomares
  • Los Gallardos
  • Laujar de Andarax
  • El Pinar
  • Taberno
  • Macael
  • Serón
  • Chirivel
  • Lubrin
  • Pulpi
  • Alfaix
  • Oria
  • Villaricos
  • San José
  • Olula del Rio
  • Tabernas
  • Aguadulce
  • Huercal Overa
  • Albox
  • Carboneras
  • La Alfoquia
  • Velez Rubio
  • Antas
  • Cantoria
  • Olula del Campo
  • Gador
  • Los Carasoles
  • San Juan de los Terreros
  • Las Negras
  • El Ejido
Almeria_destinations - Indalo Transport

Almeria, Roquetas de Mar and Mojácar, in the Almeria Province of Andalucia, Spain

 What’s it like for a British expat to live in Almeria?

Climate

The Province of Almeria is located in the only region of Europe which has a hot, subtropical desert climate, and annual temperatures normally get above 19°C. The warmest and driest area of Europe, there’s little rainfall, so winters are warm and dry, and summers are sizzlingly scorching with no chance of rain at all.

Almeria enjoys about 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and Almeria City is unique in Europe for not having recorded any temperatures below freezing.

The coldest temperature was 0.2°C in February 1935! The warmest temperature recorded was in the summer of 2011 with daily highs reaching an astronomical 43°C, and at night the temperatures don’t ever seem to drop below 8°C.

Ease at finding an English speaking job

It’s relatively easy for a British expat to find a job in the Province of Almeria as the county is blossoming into a popular tourist destination.

As with anywhere, cities and large towns offer the best chances for gaining employment, but if you run your own business and work from home, you can live anywhere! Most English speaking jobs here are based around the retail and hospitality sectors.

Most full time working hours are 40 per week, and due to afternoon siestas, shifts are split up so that you have a three hour break between 2.00pm and 5.00pm.

Quality of life

Almeria offers expats the chance to slow down, take stock and really enjoy the here and now.

The pace of life, on the whole, is less hectic, much more so in the smaller towns and villages, but the city of Almeria and its larger neighbours still offer the exciting nightlife and cultural experiences, even more flamboyantly so when there are fiestas.

AlmeriaToDo

There are loads of things to see and do in Almeria, including Wild West Film Sets, taking a camel ride in Mojácar and visiting the Vera Water Park

There are so many shops to explore, cafés and restaurants to dine in to get an authentic taste of Spanish gastronomy, and sports to do to keep fit and healthy that expats will never be bored. The cost of things in Almeria are affordable; essential grocery shopping, meals out, activities and renting property are nearly 50 percent cheaper than they are in the Spanish capital, Madrid.

With the fantastic Spanish Health Care system, its gloriously sunny weather, having the clearest skies in Europe and having a laid-back attitude to boot, the Province of Almeria really is a great place for an expat to call their new home.

If you’ve found this article useful and you’d like to find out more about moving to Almeria from the UK, or if you’d like to book your Removal to Almeria, click here for a superfast quote.

For advice about becoming an expat in general, see the list of other helpful articles below, or contact us now for help or more info.

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Moving to the Costas … An Expat Guide

costas - Indalo Transport

Which Costa should I move to? It’s a Spanish dilemma!

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the words “Spanish Costa” I can’t help but conjure up rich imagery of impressive mountains, sleepy inland idylls, bright warm sunshine and sparkling oceans.

I find my senses become overwhelmed by a tapestry of vibrant colours, & I can hear the hustle and bustle of happy tourists enjoying a much needed holiday.

My skin tingles as I feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, as I shield my eyes away from the glare of pristine white buildings and my mouth starts to water as I smell the delightful aromas of the various gastronomic delights that fill the air all along the coast.

And that’s why the Spanish Costas are so special, even just thinking about them fills you with delight. For this reason, many a British Expat chooses a Costa to call their new home, and hundreds leave for the Costa del Sol, the Costa Blanca or the Costa Brava every day.

But did you know that there are 13 other Costas around Spain? Each promises exactly what I described earlier, but they each have their own unique appeal, so if you’re thinking about becoming an expat and want to live by the coast, you’ve got to ask yourself which Costa is the hottest Costa for me?

Let’s find out!  (This post is part of our series of guides about the villages, towns, cities, provinces and regions of Spain)

Below I’ve listed every Costa within Spain, along with extensive info on each one, and what attractions there are in nearby places This will give you a real feel for the place and help you decide if it is somewhere you’d like to spend time in. If there’s a particular Costa you’d like to find out about, they are arranged alphabetically, so you can scroll straight to the one you want.

I hope it goes without saying that if you want help with a forthcoming move to one of the wonderful Costas of Spain, we can help, as we’ve been doing just that for many years – get your free quote here

This is a big article, so make a coffee, find a comfy chair and settle down to enjoy finding out about the wonders that await you on the Costas of Spain – Oh and by the way, all clickable links and pictures open in a new tab, so you won’t lose your place in this article!

Costa de Almeria

almeria - Indalo Transport

Mojacar, Costa Almeria

Location:                                 South East – Andalucia Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Almeria City, Mojácar, Roquetas de Mar, Vera

Nearest Airport:                       Almeria (5 miles)

This Costa makes up the coastline of the Almeria Province in the picturesque Andalucia Region of Spain. It boasts eight beautiful beaches which offer an expat exciting sandy coves and rocky headlands to explore, or a place to lap up the glorious sun on soft golden sands. This Costa offers an expat a relaxed pace of life, and a place steeped in history, surrounded by National Parks and peaceful villages.

The beach at Roquetas de Mar is the best place for young families or those seeking work to call their home. This bustling coastal town provides the facilities of a city, but at a much slower pace.

The beachside villages of Mojácar and Playa de las Negras offer quaint surroundings, stunning architecture, and isolated beaches. Vera Playa isn’t for the fainthearted and isn’t a place to show to your Grandma as it’s also got a nudist beach!

Living on the Costa de Almeria is affordable, as rental prices are 54 percent cheaper than in Madrid and it’s 62 percent cheaper to buy property here.

English speaking jobs along the Costa de Almeria are easy to obtain, particularly in the hospitality industry, and you don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to get by.

There is always plenty to see and do and local cultures to experience throughout the Costa de Almeria. Expats who settle here can:

  • Explore gold mines in Rodalquilar
  • Trek across the Cabo de Gata-Nijar National Park and discover its wonders
  • Enjoy free jazz and flamenco concerts on the beaches of Mojácar during the summer
  • Play golf
  • Touch a stingray at the Roquetas de Mar aquarium
  • Try scuba diving or get drenched playing water sports
  • Take a peek inside the Alhambra, just a couple of hours inland

Costa Azahar

azahar - Indalo Transport

Calpe, in Alicante

Location:                                 East – Valencian Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Benicássim, Alicante, and Valencia

Nearest Airport:                       Valencia (55 miles)

This Costa makes up the coastline North of the beautiful Valencian Region of Spain.

Nicknamed the Orange Blossom Coast, white sandy beaches are interspersed with breathtaking coves, unspoilt rolling countrysides dotted with lemon and orange groves, and quiet Moorish towns and villages.

On the whole, this area of Spain is ideal for the expat who loves the outdoors and who enjoys soaking up history and culture. The lifestyle here is typically Spanish, so the pace of life is slower, but people know how to celebrate the arts, music and know how to keep important traditions and festivals alive.

The attractive seaside town of Benicássim mixes modernity with  Middle Eastern history and is home to the annual FIB International Music Festival.

Living along the Costa Azahar is reasonable, on the whole, as prices are 38 percent cheaper than in Madrid. Cheese and meat are more expensive here than in the Costa de Almeria. Renting property here is 38 percent cheaper than in Madrid, and purchasing property is 55 percent cheaper.

English speaking jobs are hard to come by here so a high level of Spanish is recommended, even in Valencia, and most English speaking jobs that are advertised are for English teachers.

However, if you went South towards Alicante the job search gets a lot easier. There are many English speaking jobs there, including admin, sales, restaurant or bar work and areas in the service industry, like hairdressers.

You’ll never be short of something amazing to experience where ever you make your home along the Costa Azahar. Expats who settle here can:

  • Ward off pirates at the 16th Century Tower of the King in Oropesa
  • Get soaked at a Water Park in Benicássim
  • Take a boat trip along the stunning subterranean waterways of Joseph’s Caverns at La Vall d’Uixó
  • Take a boat trip to the horseshoe-shaped Columbretes Islands and scuba dive in the warm waters and revel in the breathtaking scenery

Costa Blanca

blanca - Indalo Transport

Benidorm, Costa Blanca

Location:                                 South East – Valencian Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Benidorm and Alicante

Nearest Airports:                     Alicante  (approx.36 miles)

Like the Costa Azahar, this Costa also makes up part of the beautiful Valencian Region of Spain.

Costa Blanca translates as the White Coast, and pristine white beaches are set off against sapphire blue oceans, striking hills and mountains covered in pine trees, and fields upon fields of almond trees and olive groves.

This is one of Europe’s most visited areas and the World Health Organization has named it as having the world’s best climate, so as you can imagine, it’s a very popular tourist destination. Because of this, the Costa Blanca is ideal for young professionals and families.

This coastline has an enticing blend of lively social scenes, legendary nightlife, luxurious resorts and traditional fishing villages for active expats to discover and explore.

Choosing the Costa Blanca as your new home means that you pay, on average 18 percent less for things than you would in Madrid. Property is much cheaper to rent or buy, most apartments here are about 43 percent more affordable than in the Spanish Capital.

English speaking jobs are relatively easy to come by here and you do not need to be fluent in Spanish.

As well as the facilities and lifestyle which a bustling tourist destination brings, there are unique experiences to be had along the Costa Blanca. Expats who live here can:

  • Become closer to nature by exploring the Serra Gelada Nature Park – its mountain can be climbed in 2 hours
  • Feel an adrenaline rush at the Terra Mitica Theme Park
  • Marvel at the unspoilt beauty of the Algar Waterfalls
  • Discover the delights of the Palm Groves of Elche
  • Unearth the secrets of Denia Castle and Archaeological Museum

Costa Brava

brava - Indalo Transport

Cadaqués, Costa Brava

Location:                                 North East – Catalonia Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Lloret de Mar and Girona

Nearest Airports:                     Girona  (19 miles)

The Costa Brava makes up the romantic, picture-postcard coastline of the cultural Catalonia Region. Its backdrop is made up of beautiful mountainous hinterlands, lush green valleys, gorges and natural springs, and the towns and villages ooze traditional charm with cobbled streets.

A very popular tourist destination and a haven for artists, as each little town or resort offers something truly unique.

For young professionals, there’s Lloret de Mar, one of the Mediterranean’s most popular resorts and the liveliest of spots on this coastline.

For the family, there’s Tossa de Mar, a historic town built around a magnificent ancient castle which boasts a bustling, attractive resort.

For the retired expat, there’s the medieval town of Pals, situated on top of a hill, this historical and charming place is filled with craft shops, traditional restaurants, and bars.

On the whole, the Costa Brava is just 15 percent cheaper than living in Madrid. Renting or buying property here is pretty much the same situation as the Costa Blanca, apartments are 43 percent cheaper than in Madrid.

English speaking jobs are easiest to find in the tourist resorts of Lloret de Mar, Tossa del Mar, Sitges, and Salou and a high level of Spanish would be recommended if you chose any of the other towns and villages around the coast as your home.

An expat will never get bored around the Costa Blanca, Brits moving here will be able to:

  • Feel at one with the past at the mini Pompeii Greco-Roman Ruins at Empuries
  • Have a look around Salvidor Dali‘s wacky house – there’s even a seven foot tall stuffed bear at the entrance
  • Explore the magical terraced gardens near Palafrugell and indulge in the intoxicating scents of oleander and yellow sage
  • Take an uplifting walk and marvel in the breathtaking views of Camino de Ronda

Costa Calida

calida - Indalo Transport

Port of Mazzarón, Costa Calida

Location:                                 South East – Murcia Region

Nearby towns/cities:               San Pedro del Pinatar and Cartagena

Nearest Airports:                     Murcia-San Javier  (21 miles)

This Costa is sandwiched between the Costa Blanca to the North, and the Costa de Almeria to the South and makes up the coastline of the Murcia Region of Spain. Its fine, sandy beaches are surrounded by dunes and virgin pine forests and the area is flat with quiet roads.

This Costa is an absolutely wonderful place for families and retirees to call home as all of the towns and villages here are family friendly and they offer a relaxed, laid-back way of life.

Promenades are popular, as is good food and celebrating tradition.

The beach at Mar Menor is shallow, so warms quickly, and slopes gently into the ocean, which makes it the perfect beach for young children and anyone who prefers not to be buffeted by a wave.

For those looking for somewhere a bit livelier, the port at Mazarrón near San Pedro del Pinatar offers an array of activities to participate in, and an upbeat social scene.

Living on the Costa Calida is very affordable, expats can expect prices to be about 25 percent cheaper than in Madrid. Fruit seems to cost more, however, meat and other essential shopping items are less than €1.

Apartments can be rented for nearly half the cost of properties in Spain’s Capital, but they’re slightly more expensive to buy.

It is quite hard to find English speaking jobs along the coast, many expats tend to commute to the city of Murcia as it ranks as one of the top 10 cities in Spain for working and trading.

Employment satisfaction is much higher in Murcia than any other region and expats can find work in property, journalism, driving and the service industry. A good level of Spanish is required, much more so in the coastal towns.

The Costa Calida is a truly exciting place to live, and expats who move here can prepare to:

  • Play golf at the stunning and world famous La Manga Golf Resort
  • Get pampered with a mud bath in Lo Pagan
  • Pack a picnic and take a scenic drive to see the Cabo Tinoso Cartagena Guns, abandoned buildings and underground tunnels
  • Take a scenic train journey from Los Nietos to Cartagena
  • Discover the thousands of festivals the Murcia Region has to offer

Costa Cantabria

cantabria - Indalo Transport

San Vincente de la Barquera, Costa Cantabria

Location:                                 North – Cantabria Region

Nearby towns/cities:               San Vicente de la Barquera and Santander

Nearest Airports:                     Santander  (4 miles)

This Costa is found in the North of Spain, in the stunning verdant green region of Cantabria.

The golden white sands of the beaches along the coast sit on the edge of rolling fields, rugged crags, and towns and villages which transport expats back in time.

The whole area is charming and romantic, anywhere along the coast offers an extraordinary quality of life and access to nature. For those wanting to experience a rich Spanish lifestyle in tranquillity, the picturesque historical towns of Cóbreces and Mogro are ideal, whereas the bustling city of Santander offers luxury, lively social scenes and an amazing nightlife.

Choosing to settle along the Costa Cantabria means that expats can benefit from the best bits of living in the Capital but at 15 percent less. Essential food shopping all costs less, even the meat is reasonably priced here, but cheese can be expensive.

Both renting and buying property around the coast works out at about 40 percent cheaper than in Madrid. As most of the towns on the Costa Cantabria are quiet, most expats commute to Santander for work. Being a well-established industrial centre, this city has plenty of English speaking jobs.

This area isn’t just breathtakingly beautiful, it’s also got so much to see and do, and there are plenty of opportunities to discover authentic Spanish experiences:

  • Discover the cave paintings of Altamira or Cualventi and bond with ancient ancestors
  • Expect the Spanish Inquisition at the Museum of Inquisition in Santillana
  • Learn about traditional Spanish fashion at the Regional Museum of Costume and Textile Art in Cabezon de la Sal
  • Become a Bronze Age settler in Cantabrian Town in Cabezon de la Sal
  • Meet the inhabitants of the Santillana del Mar Zoo

Costa Dorada

dorada - Indalo Transport

Castillo Tamarit, Tarragona, Costa Dorada

Location:                                 East – Catalonia Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Salou and Barcelona

Nearest Airports:                     Barcelona  (45 miles)

This Costa is found on the East coast of Spain, in the historic region of Catalonia, where history and tradition seep into every day life.

The golden sands of this Costa’s blue flag beaches are set in front of cultivated fields and rugged mountains.

A popular tourist destination, this area sees over 3.5 million visitors per year, and it’s a favourite location for expats to move to. Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city, has all the daily hustle and bustle any socialite wants from a new hometown, and it’s a wonderful place for art lovers, cultural connoisseurs and history buffs to call home.

For those wanting to live somewhere quieter, Torredembarra is a cultural town which is excellent for shopping, or Calafell, an ideal for golfers and families.

Expats will find that living in this area can be quite expensive in comparison to other Costas. On average things cost six percent more here than in Madrid. House prices are one to two percent more costly.

This area also requires expats to have a very high level of Catalan, not Spanish, so English speaking jobs are very difficult to find.

Despite this, if an expat chooses to call the Costa Dorada their home, they can get excited by the thought of:

Costa Garraf

garraf - Indalo Transport

Sitges, Costa Garraf

Location:                                 East – Catalonia Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Sitges and Barcelona

Nearest Airports:                     Barcelona  (18 miles)

This short stretch of coast lies just to the South of Barcelona, and North of the Costa Dorada.

Four seaside towns make up this area and all are overlooked by impressive mountains. Sitges is the most popular expat destination and it’s easy to see why, it offers everyone a tremendous mix of luxury, modernity, tradition, openness, inclusivity, art, and culture. Its beaches are soft and golden, the sea is turquoise and it has its own micro-climate.

On the whole, the Costa Garraf is 28 percent cheaper than living in Madrid, however, beef is expensive. Renting properties in the Costa Garraf works out to be 40 percent cheaper than in the country’s Capital.

Like the surrounding areas in Catalonia, English speaking jobs are hard to come by, and expats need to have high levels of Catalan rather than Spanish.

Regardless of the potential language issue, the Costa Garraf has plenty to lure expats to its seaside towns:

  • Take a horseback riding tour of the beautiful, rolling countryside of Vilanova i la Geltrú
  • Enjoy a variety of water sports including jet skiing and scuba diving
  • Take a segway tour of Sitges
  • Indulge in a VIP wine tour of Penedés

Costa de la Luz

Luz - Indalo Transport

Cádiz, Costa de la Luz

Location:                                 South West – Andalucia Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Tarifa and Cádiz

Nearest Airports:                     Jerez  (27 miles)

This Costa makes up the Western part of the Andalucia coastline and faces out towards the Atlantic.

Costa de la Luz translates as Coast of Light, and its unspoiled golden beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters always glitter in the sun. The area is well known for its outstanding natural beauty, and most of the coast are protected as nature reserves.

Dotted in the rich landscape are swamps, moving dunes, sweeping beaches, pine woods, small fishing villages and pleasant low rise resorts, popular with Spanish tourists.

The seaside city of Cádiz is an ideal location for any expat as it offers modern facilities with a rich history and quirky ambience.

For the adventure seeking expat, Conil de la Frontera is a surfers paradise, and for the hipsters, Tarifa, which is the windsurfing capital of Europe, oozes with charm and a laid-back atmosphere.

Living in the Costa de la Luz is incredibly affordable, on average living costs are 21 percent lower than in Madrid, and most every day essential items cost less than €1, however, fruit does cost more.

Properties can be rented and bought at nearly half the price of those in the Capital, Madrid.

English speaking jobs seem easy to come by in this Costa, particularly in Cádiz where expats can find work as English teachers, administrators and service managers. A high level of Spanish isn’t necessary to live here, but it’s always nice, in any job in Spain.

As well as being a stunning place with jaw-dropping scenery, the Costa de la Luz also seduces expats with its experiences:

  • Walk the full length of Bolona Beach in Tarifa, find a clutch of rock pools, chip off soap-sized bars of mud from the cliffs, bash them into a paste and get coated in the mud. Lie in the sun until the minerals have dried, wash it all off in the sea and feel peachy-soft skin
  • Go on a dolphin safari in Tarifa
  • Explore the oasis that is Park Genoves in Cádiz
  • Pop over to Africa on a catamaran from Tarifa
  • See a traditional Andalusian Horse Dance in action in Jerez de la Frontera

Costa Maresme

Maresme - Indalo Transport

Calella, Costa Maresme

Location:                                 North East – Catalonia Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Calella and Mataró

Nearest Airports:                     Barcelona (30 miles)

This Costa is found south of the Costa Brava and runs for just 31 miles. Its golden beaches are set off by the dark green rolling hills and dark rugged treelined cliffs that hug the coast.

For young professionals and families, Mataró is a thriving industrial, commercial and tourist town, ideal for setting down roots in a bustling place that is proud of its history.

Calella is the perfect new home for expats who love the arts, culture, staying healthy and looking after their wellbeing. This does seem to come with a price though. Like the Costa Dorada, Costa Maresme is more expensive than Madrid in terms of essential grocery shopping. However, properties work out cheaper to rent or buy here by about 39 percent.

Like its Catalonian neighbours, language is a barrier along this Costa, unless expats have high levels of Catalan, therefore it can be awkward trying to get an English speaking job here.

Even though this may be a potential issue, Costa Maresme has much to offer the intrepid expat:

Costa de Morte

morte - Indalo Transport

A Coruña, Costa de Morte

Location:                                 North West – Galacia Region

Nearby towns/cities:               A Coruna

Nearest Airports:                     A Coruna (7 miles)

This Costa is found in the North West corner of Spain, in the Galicia region. With a name that translates to Coast of Death, the Costa de Morte is often overlooked by expats and tourists alike.

Sometimes experiencing wild and windy weather, its quaint fishing villages huddled against forested mountain slopes, what the Costa De Morte lacks in climate and infrastructure, it still boasts beautiful coves and isolated beaches.

For expats looking for a completely different taste of Spanish life, A Coruña is a lively city filled with awe-inspiring architecture and history. Affordability is good along the Costa De Morte, living here is 21 percent cheaper than it would be in the Spanish Capital. Properties are on average 40 percent cheaper to buy or rent.

A Coruna is the richest city in Galicia, and there are demands for blue and white collar jobs in finance, communication, sales and manufacturing. Spanish levels do not need to be high here which makes an expat life a lot.

They can also look forward to:

  • Peeking around Picasso’s House
  • Exploring the Castle of San Anton
  • Learning about the human body in the quirky, hands-on, visually satisfying Domus museum
  • Getting a much deserved pamper in the relaxation temple of the Casa del Agua Termaria Spa

Costa del Sol

Sol - Indalo Transport

Nerja, Costa del Sol

Location:                                 South – Andalucia Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Marbella and Malaga

Nearest Airports:                     Malaga (31 miles)

Arguably the most well known Spanish Costa, the Costa del Sol is found in Southern Spain.

Despite being associated with mass development, negative press and a soulless image, the Costa del Sol still has picturesque areas to discover that are peaceful and beautiful. The whole area sits at the bottom of rolling green foothills and the soft, white sands twinkle with the sparkling oceans under the warm sun.

The Costa del Sol has something for everyone, Puerto Banus is extravagant and luxurious, Marbella is a small, traditional, brightly coloured Spanish town dappled with history and Fuengirola combines medieval markets with modernity and art.

The Costa Del Sol is not as expensive as expats might think, it’s 22 percent cheaper to live here than in Madrid. Like the other Costas, properties are 42 percent cheaper to rent or buy. Because of the well-established expat community, very little Spanish is required to live here and jobs are very easy to come by, particularly in sales.

For expats wanting to move here, the delights of this Costa are endless. Some of the experiences that can be had include:

  • Seeing the beautiful Roman Puente Neuvo bridge in Ronda
  • Exploring the scenic El Torcal Nature Park in Antequera
  • Listening to Celia Morales play the Tradtional Flamenco Guitar in Ronda
  • Spelunking in the caves of Nerja
  • Meeting amazing creatures at the Bioparc in Fuengirola

Costa Tropical

tropical - Indalo Transport

Salobrena, Costa Tropical

Location:                                 South – Andalucia Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Almunécar and Motril

Nearest Airports:                     Malaga (63 miles)

This Costa, also known as Costa Granada, after its province, it found in the Andalucia region of Spain.

Set against the heart-stopping backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the dark blue sea contrasts against pristine white beaches.

For expats wanting to seek out a traditional Spanish home in a peaceful place, Salobrena is ideal. This quiet town is small, bedecked in classical whitewashed houses, and crowned with an imposing Moorish castle.

For those wanting to experience a livelier pace of life, the city of Motril offers a vibrant nightlife, golf courses, shopping centres and a growing commercial economy.

This is one of the cheapest Costas to settle in, as expats can rent or buy property at 50 percent less than it would cost them in the Capital.

English speaking jobs aren’t easy to come by in the Costa Tropical, and most work comes from the tourism industry or retail. Many expats living here who are fluent in Spanish choose to commute to the city of Granada where there are more job opportunities and where there is a growing community of expats from all over the world.

Whilst the Costa Tropical is quieter than its famous neighbour, the Costa del Sol, there’s still plenty for an expat to see and do:

  • Ski down the exhilarating slopes of the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort
  • Feel incredibly big at the Bonsai Garden Museum in Almunecar
  • Go Whale watching in La Herradura
  • Get a sweet taste of history at the Palma Sugar Refinery in Motril
  • Take an ATV, off-road tour and see the countryside of Almunecar

Costa de Valencia

valencia - Indalo Transport

Sagunto, Costa de Valencia

Location:                                 East – Valencian  Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Sagunto and Valencia

Nearest Airports:                     Valencia (56 miles)

This Costa is almost one continuous beach stretching from Sagunto to Oliva and is found on the East coast of Spain.

Just like Costa Azahar, this area has stunning backdrops of orange, lemon and olive groves, and the countryside is dotted with marshes, wetlands and rice plantations.

For young professionals and families, the city of Valencia is a great place to start a new life. It’s a historic city with impressive architecture and a rich, vibrant culture, and festivals play a prominent role in keeping traditions alive.

For those searching for calmer climes and who want to feel like they’ve been transported back in time, the peaceful town of Sagunto is ideal. The ancient town has been declared a Property of Cultural Interest.

Living costs are similar to the Costa Azahar, overall, they’re 38 percent cheaper than they would be in Madrid. Properties can be rented or bought for less than half the price that they would do in the Spanish Capital. English speaking jobs are difficult to come by, unless expats are qualified as Au Pairs or English teachers. For this reason, a good level of Spanish is required to have an easy life.

Expats who move to the Costa de Valencia can expect to enjoy:

Costa Vasca

vasca - Indalo Transport

Bizkaia, Costa Vasca

Location:                                 North – Basque Country

Nearby towns/cities:               Bilbao, San Sebastian

Nearest Airports:                     Bilbao (8 miles)

This Costa is found in the North of Spain and is part of the Basque Country. The enchanting white beaches are surrounded by rolling hills, natural parks, the Pyrenees mountains and the twinkling of the Guernica river lazily making it’s way to the sea.

Bilbao is the perfect city for a young professional or family to call home. It is a vibrant, bustling, cultural city, and is the financial and industrial epi-centre of the Basque Country.

For those on the quest to find somewhere more exciting and traditional, the tiny village of Mundaka is the place to call home. It is the surfing capital of Europe where the locals are warm, friendly and passionate.

Expats will find that living along the Costa Vasca is 10 percent more expensive than life in Madrid. Renting an apartment is three percent cheaper than in Madrid, but buying property costs nearly 40 percent more.

Most expats who live in the Costa Vasca work in Bilbao, as it is heavily industrialized so offers a much stronger chance of getting a job than the other surrounding towns or villages. Spanish levels need to strong, but it’s not necessary to be fluent.

Expats who call the Costa Vasca their new home can discover its wonders:

  • Admire the beautiful Miramar Palace and grounds in Donostia
  • Take in an exciting show at the Arriaga Antzokia Theatre in Bilbao
  • Hike the Acantilados de Azhorri to see breathtaking views
  • Take a Crusoe Treasure Boat Trip and taste delicious wines in Plentzia

Costa Verde

verde - Indalo Transport

Gijón, Costa Verde

Location:                                    North – Asturias Region

Nearby towns/cities:               Candás and Gijón

Nearest Airports:                     Asturias (26 miles)

This Costa is also found in Northern Spain, within the Asturias Region. Green meadows practically meet the glorious sandy beaches and the sands are overlooked by spectacular cliffs.

For expats looking to enjoy traditional Spanish laid back life in the beautiful landscapes of the Green Coast, Candás is perfect. A little town nestled on the cliffs of the Bay of Biscay, Candás offers expats charm and tranquillity.

For the young professional or family, the city of Gijón is a thriving community that considers culture important and the city oozes with historic architecture and tradition.

Living along the Costa Verde is affordable, prices for things are 21 percent lower than in Madrid. Most properties to rent and buy are 39 percent cheaper than in the capital. English speaking jobs are hard to find, and a good level of Spanish would be key to living a good life here and will help families absorb the culture better.

Any expat calling Costa Verde home has these things to look forward to:

  • Exploring the exquisite Botanical Gardens in Gijón
  • Marvelling at the largest building in Spain, the Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura in Gijón
  • Learning about the maritime history of Asturias in Luanco
  • Being inspired by the splendid views of Lake Covadonga in Congas de Onis
  • Entering the awesome caves of Cuevona that lead you directly to a wonderful restaurant in La Solana

So there you have it, an exhaustive and complete list of all the popular Costas that you can find around Spain. Did one jump out at you as a great place to live or are you still deciding between a couple of destinations? Whichever the answer, we’d love to know!

Get in touch today and we can offer you advice and guidance on how to move to your chosen Costa, help you decide between your choices if you can’t quite choose, and we can also offer guidance on becoming an expat and provide a free quote for your removal from the UK to the Spanish Costas.

Photo Credits

Port of Mazarron – Costa Calida

San Vincente de la Barquera – Costa Cantabria

Castillo Tamarit, Tarragona, Costa Dorada

Sitges – Costa Garraf

Salobrena – Costa Tropical

Bizkaia, Costa Vasca

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Your Essential Free Moving Checklist 2018

Checklist - Indalo Transport

Don’t get bogged down with your expat adventure! Indalo Transport are here to help, and not just with your removals from the UK to Spain.

Moving, it’s often deemed quite stressful. And moving abroad? Phewee, most people think that they need a long holiday after just considering moving to another country!

Many websites like to make light of the “epic fails” of a move that’s gone badly wrong, to teach families what to avoid when preparing to relocate. It’s sometimes tragic to read the ones which tug on your heart strings because nice people have gotten themselves into bother.

But we here at Indalo Transport are providing a practical solution!

As experts in the removals industry, and as a team made up of expats, we know a LOT about moving, not just from helping others relocate, but from personal experience too. People wanting to move home or become expats don’t want horror stories about moves which have gone wrong, what they need at a time like this is, drum roll, please …  a Checklist!

Now it may not come across as a glamorous solution, and we’ll admit it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles on it you’d expect from a 21st-century recommendation, but this humble list will work wonders for your move, just like Bob Geldof at a Live Aid concert.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

Indalo Transport’s Indispensable Free Moving Checklist

moving checklist - Indalo Transport

Please note: Checklist cannot sing, but it can help make your move run as smooth as silk!

Our handy checklist covers every possible angle of making your move the dream it should be, rather than the nightmare it could be.

Click on the checklist picture above to

  • open it in a new window as a  printable pdf file, and
  • save to your computer to print out whenever you want.

Or just read it directly in the window below.

move_list201604

After you’ve used our checklist and the last box is ticked, we promise that you’ll feel relieved, happy and excited about stepping onto the plane, or driving onto the ferry to start your new life abroad.

Below you’ll find that we’ve highlighted and gone into more detail about some of the things which we consider very important when planning a move.

Obviously, we believe that one of the most important things to get right is choosing the right removal company – and we are a bit biased for obvious reasons! Read on for other important things to consider.

Plan how you’re going to settle into your new home

It may sound strange thinking about this now, but it’s worth asking yourself “How am I going to bring a sense of normality back to my life in the initial days and weeks after I’ve moved?”

This step is crucial for those becoming expats because, asking this now when you’ve got the time to answer it, means you can research your new town/city, start learning or boning up on the local language and picking up tips from other expats about how to adjust to the new and exciting local culture.

You’ll know when you’ve truly started your expat adventure once you’ve joined a facebook group or expat forum, downloaded a language app to listen to whilst you’re cooking dinner, or you’ve realised that hours have gone by whilst you were perusing the internet for blog posts in the hopes that one of them will reveal a new thrilling secret of your new hometown.

This feeling can be quite contagious and it’s a great thing to do as a family, so if you have them, get the kids involved in the planning too.

There are two certainties in life …

And yes, tax is one of them! It’s very important that you notify the tax authorities, i.e. HMRC, that you’re planning to relocate abroad. If you don’t contact them, you may have to pay additional taxes which, as an expat, you’d be exempt from otherwise.

So don’t waste money, use the government’s handy online service, or alternatively pick up a P85 form from your local Post Office and complete the required information. Don’t miss out on your tax relief!

Make sure you and all members of your family have their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

health - Indalo Transport

Don’t visit any EU country without one of these – click to find out more!

European countries require their citizens to purchase health insurance, so it’s always worth applying for a free EHIC to assist you with reduced health care costs once you’ve become an expat. This is only a short-term measure, though, you will need to take out proper insurance once you’ve settled.

Driving in a European Country

carkit - Indalo Transport

Don’t leave home without these things.

If you’re planning to pack your bags into your car, hop on a ferry and drive to meet your belongings at your new home, it’s always worth finding out what the local driving laws are for each country you drive through. Most European countries require you to have the following items in your car at all times:

  •   GB Sticker on the bumper of your car (unless your car’s number plate has the GB flag on it)
  •   2 Safety Warning Triangles
  •   High Visibility Jacket (must be kept in the car, not the boot)
  •   2 Breathalyzer Kits – for France only
  •   First Aid Kit
  •   Headlamp Adjusters (some newer models of car can be adjusted so their headlamps don’t shine in the faces of European drivers, others you can buy special headlamp stickers which reflect the light away)

For more information, the AA has come up with a very handy, country by country guide.

There is also an useful Indalo Transport blogpost detailing the legal requirements for Spain

Setting up an International Bank Account

It’s always worth leaving your UK bank account open, just in case you ever need to return to the country. And you can also use it if you want to buy things in the UK and get them delivered to you in Spain with our depot delivery service.

However, using your UK account to conduct money transfers and currency exchanges in your new home abroad isn’t really a viable option, and the charges can be horrendous!

Instead, we highly recommend that, before you move, you open an International bank account either online or at your local branch. Most UK banks have these types of accounts available and can easily switch or upgrade you to the benefits of having an IBA. Stay tuned because, in the coming weeks, we’ll be rounding up a list of the top International bank accounts an expat has to choose from right now.

It can also be a good idea to consider opening a bank account in the country where you are going to live, as this is a good way to take care of any regular payments you’ll need to make in your new country.

To do this, once you move, choose a local bank in the following way :- visit a few and ask some questions, in English, about their services. Open an account with the one where you get the most helpful replies, oh and don’t pay too much attention to the bank charges – in Spain, every bank has a quarterly charge just to have an account!

So there you have it, a handy checklist which you can print off and keep in your moving binder, and some very useful information on driving abroad, how to get a health card which you’re entitled to claim for free, and some info on dealing with finances as an expat.

If you have any other questions about moving, or if you’d like to get a quote for your removals to Spain from the UK, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

Moving to Marbella … an Expat Guide

marbella - Indalo Transport

The beautiful mountains overlooking the lively coastal town of Marbella – Click for Map Guide

You may be wondering what life would be like if you took the plunge and moved to the dazzling, vibrant town of Marbella, and you’ve found this page during your quest to finding out whether Marbella is the perfect place for you to become an expat or not.

You may even already live in this exquisite coastal town and are perusing the internet to discover new and interesting things to see and do there.

Well, whichever kind of visitor you are, we’re glad you stumbled upon us, because we have great news for you!

Our handy little guide,  part of our series of guides about the villages, towns, cities, provinces and regions of Spain, will reveal a copious amount of indispensable information that any person, considering moving to Marbella, needs to know about. Also, we’ll let you in on a few, hitherto secret, hidden gems of the town, and ones which you should definitely go out and visit.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

Where is Marbella?

Marbella is an incredibly popular destination for countless British expats, and the bustling town is located in the province of Malaga, in the Andalucia region of Spain.

Marbella is just one of the amazing destinations expats can find along the world-famous Costa Del Sol.

Click on the Photo above to open up a google map guide to pinpoint Marbella (Just so you know, all links on this page open in a new tab on your browser)

How can I get there?

By air, there is the option to go to Malaga Costa Del Sol Airport, or Gibraltar International Airport, both less than an hour away from Marbella.

Most airports within the UK offer affordable, direct flights to Malaga, and you can get there in less than three hours. Check out Cheap Flights to get more information on prices, airport locations, and great deals.

By car, you can drive onto a ferry in Portsmouth or Plymouth, arrive in Bilbao, and then drive  down to Marbella, which should take you no more than about 10 hours. Visit Brittany Ferries to book your tickets.

If you are relocating and require a removal to Marbella from the UK, then please don’t hesitate to contact us, as we specialise in removals from the UK to Spain.

Why choose Marbella?

marbvid

Marbella Video – (3mins 50secs)

If you’re looking to experience sun-drenched, pristine white beaches, vivid culture, excitement and opulence every day, Marbella is the place for you.

It’s a truly irresistible town, permeated by Roman and Moorish history and it has an array of rich cultures.

Opposites attract here, as the six different districts are a rich melting pot of ethnologies, where Spanish heritage, tradition, and folklore mix with lively modernity, luxurious living and an alluring buen estar.

In Marbella, not only can you experience the delights of a traditional, laid-back Spanish lifestyle, with its charming history & delicious local meals. At the same time you can also experience sumptuous delights from prestigious boutiques, and enjoy haute cuisine in Michelin star restaurants, like Dani Garcia’s Calima where elegant and complex foods are served up in a secluded, subtropical garden.

The Eastern sector of Marbella, which stretches from Rio Real to Puerto de Cabopino, is less urbanized and is blessed with pristine white beaches, an enchanting marina, and a number of traditional Spanish bars and cafés.

Marbella Old Town has a unique, rustic and colourful charm, its ambience is truly special. This is the place to go if you want to immerse yourself in the distinctive Andalusian character.

old marbella - Indalo Transport

Beautiful, colourful, inspirational – all words to describe the charming district of Old Town

From Ricardo Soriano to the entrance of Puerto Banús, you’ll discover The Golden Mile, and as its name suggests you’ll find that luxury abounds here, with its endless upscale boutiques, and exorbitant nightclubs, like the well known Olivia Valere.

Famous families and European aristocracy built their summer homes here, and it’s not hard to see why.

The Saudi Arabian Royal Family have even built a palace here, an exact replica of the White House.

It’s even rumoured that Salvador Dali would eat out all along the Golden Mile, eating and drinking with his friends, amassing large bills. When it came to paying, Dali would sketch a beautiful drawing on the back of his cheque, knowing full well that the owners of these exquisite Spanish restaurants would never cash them in!

The Nueva Andalucia district, the most residential part of the area, is known as Valle del Golf for a reason; it’s a haven for the golfing enthusiast.

The sector of San Pedro de Alcantara has a small town charm, but it’s one of the areas of Marbella which has seen the greatest growth and changes in the past six decades.

Guadalmina, the final area of Marbella, is another haven for golfers and is dotted with amazing Roman architecture.

History

Marbella has been shaped by centuries of rich history, and countless cultures have left their mark all across this marvellous municipality.

Muslims, Romans, Christians, and modernity, have all played their part in making Marbella the place it is today.  It wasn’t until very recently, 1960 in fact, that Marbella began to transform itself into one of the top five-star tourist destinations in the whole of Europe.

Architecture

Marbella showcases an incredible mix of architecture, and it has a combination of Renaissance, Baroque, Gothic and Moorish styles.

The theme for Marbella, if it had one, would certainly be history, urbanity, simplicity and style.

When exploring the colourful Old Town quarter, the whitewashed houses sparkle in the sun, highlighting the charming Plaza de los Naranjos, The Orange Square, which is blessed to have three historic buildings around it, the Town Hall; the Church of St. Mary, and the Governor’s House.

Intrepid expats can also discover the authentic and beautiful Roman bridge, the Marbella Puente, near the elegant Roberto Hotel. There’s also the awe-inspiring architecture of the Las Bóvedas Roman baths to discover, the old castle walls, an exquisite 16th-century church, Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnación, Alcazaba, the ruins of a Moorish castle, the Bull Ring, or the Mezquita del Rey Abdul Aziz Saud Mosque.

 

Culture and Lifestyle

architecture

Plaza de los Naranjos, Marbella Puente, Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion and Alcazaba,

No-one is deemed ‘a foreigner’ in Marbella as it’s one of the most cosmopolitan and cultured places in Europe.

For art aficionados, there are many wonderful art and history museums to visit, such as the Museo Del Grabado, the engraving museum.

There’s the absolutely stunning Avenue del Mar to walk down, which is dotted with jaw-dropping Dali Statues. There are cinemas to attend, moving musical concerts to hear, and nature in all its glory to behold, like at the breathtakingly beautiful, Paseo del Alameda, an elegant 18th-century park.

Since the tourism boom in the late 20th century, Marbella has become a marriage of the old and the modern. There is a cornucopia of beautiful foods to try, delicious drinks to savour, phenomenal festivities to get involved in, and a bustling night-life to enjoy.

During the day, there is always something to do and something to see, as Marbella really is a bustling place. However, Spanish traditions are strictly adhered to, and life slows down during siesta times and at the weekend.

The local people of Marbella are relaxed, but they sure know how to have a good time. They’re down-to-earth, hard-working, honest people who are both proud and mindful of their origins and heritage.

Festivals

The are countless fiestas and celebrations to witness in Marbella, and among them, the following deserve special mention.

marbvid2

San Pedro de Alcantara Fesitavl Video – (9mins 16secs)

In May expats can witness the exciting Cruz de Juanar and in June they can celebrate the Patron Saint, San Bernabé. In July, the dramatic and vibrant tradition of the Virgen del Carmen procession takes place, and in October, expats can join in a typical Andalusian affair, the San Pedro de Alcántara festival, renowned for its colour and folklore.

Cost of Living and Quality of Life

The cost of living in the province of Malaga is 13.6 percent lower than it is in Spain’s capital, Madrid, so your money will stretch a lot further in Marbella.

Well, it’s not strictly true, as that actually depends where you live and how extravagant you are! A three bedroom apartment in the most sought-after places of Marbella, along the Golden Mile, for example, can cost you around €1200 to rent, per month.

In the more quieter areas of Marbella though, like the Eastern sector, or Old Town, you can get a lovely one or two-bed apartment for less than €500 per month.

A cinema ticket will cost you about €8, a gym membership will be around €60, a bus ticket costs less than €2, and a pint of milk; 1kg of potatoes, 1kg of rice, and a local beer will all cost you less than €1.

If you’re looking for a gastronomic delight, a three-course meal will set you back about €30 per person. But again, this is dependant on where you decide to eat, as you can easily build up a very expensive restaurant bill of over €200 in the most expensive parts of Marbella. But if you’re just grabbing a lunchtime bite to eat, check out The Menu of the Day at cafes dotted around The Old Town, & you’re bound to get something tasty for less than €5.

Public Transport

Local buses operate in Marbella on a route from La Cañada Shopping Center, to El Ángel, via the Hipercor in Puerto Banús. A timetable can be viewed here. It costs €1.16 for a single journey and tickets can be purchased directly from the bus driver. A monthly card is also available priced at €36 per month for unlimited travel on the Servicio de Transporte Urbano de Marbella buses.

Conveniences

Evеrу mоdеrn convenience can bе fоund in Marbella. There are several mеdісаl сеntrеs, an abundance of designer ѕhорѕ, traditional stores, affordable ѕuреrmаrkеts, banks, amazing restaurants, bаrѕ, clubs, ѕоlісіtоrѕ, everything is here.

And the best part? Nearly everyone in Marbella speaks some level of English, so getting directions and finding what you need won’t be a daunting task.

Finding a Job

The British expat in Marbella won’t find it difficult at all to get a job, particularly if they have experience in the tourism industry, can teach English, have worked in Security, are an au-pair, or have Sales, IT or Construction experience.

Two invaluable job sites can be found at Think Spain, or The Local.  For those who can commute, the city of Malaga is less than 50 minutes away.

The Weather

Marbella experiences hot summers and it’s possible to sunbathe almost every day from June until September with little or no rain. Daily highs can reach 35 degrees centigrade, and nights can get as low as 15 degrees. If you like to keep an eye on the weather, you can do so here.

Things to see, and things to do

In Marbella you can bathe on pristine white beaches, play golf, go sailing, shop ’til you drop, and eat gastronomic delights ’til you’re fit to burst. If you’re an adventurous person who loves nature, you should definitely take a Monte Aventura Andalucia Ecotour through the staggeringly awesome Andalucian countryside. You know you won’t miss out on anything because this tour has been given the Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor.

There’s also the Lagoland Mountain Lake Center, a brilliant place to spend the day pushing yourself to the limit and becoming one with nature.

For anyone over 18 years old with a full drivers’ licence, and who sometimes secretly pretends they’re on Top Gear, you can jump in a go kart and take a 40-kilometer scenic tour with Kart4Fun.

For those who prefer to take things a bit slower, you should take an interesting Marbella Segway tour, or visit the wonderful Marbella Food Market.

Or you can see how the other half live, and go spotting supercars down near the marina.

Food and Drink

The traditional food of Marbella is Andalucian. The types of traditional dishes you’ll find here, like Salmorejo (tomato soup usually served with a boiled egg and ham), and Pringa (a slow-cooked stew, have been passed down from generation to generation.

Being a coastal town, fish and seafood plays an essential part in the food there. However, at every corner of Marbella you’ll find some of the most amazing restaurants to eat at. You can even get a taste of history, by ordering traditional Spanish tapas at El Estrecho, which opened back in 1954. For a recent list of the greatest restaurants in Marbella today, check out The Culture Trip’s restaurant reviews.

Other useful information

For more information, please contact the Marbella Tourist Board.

T: +34 952 768 760

E: turismo@marbella.es

We really hope our handy guide has been helpful. Either you’ve learned something new about this wonderful place, or it’s helped you make your decision and you’re thinking of moving there. If that’s the case, please don’t hesitate to contact us now, for help and advice on your removals from the UK to Marbella, or anything else about becoming an expat in Spain. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we can point you in the right direction to get one!

Photo Credits

Main Title Photo – Chris Goldberg

Marbella Old Town –  Nick Kenrick

Plaza de los Naranjos, – Photosylvia

Marbella Puente – Falk Lademann

Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion – SantlMB.Photos


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Irresistible! – How could you not absolutely love Spanish food?

food - Indalo Transport

All this and more can await your taste buds in Spain

There are many reasons why you’ll love Spain as an expat. There’s the gloriously warm, sunny weather, life, in general, seems to run at a much slower pace than in the UK, and the country’s natural beauty is the most varied and awe-inspiring in the whole of Europe, maybe even the whole world!

But one gem of its crown, and one that a lot of people overlook, is its food. With so many culinary traditions, a variety of local gastronomic delicacies, and an abundance of talented chefs, it’s no surprise that Spain is a haven for foodies – the place is a food and drink paradise!

Because each region boasts its own exclusive flavours and specialities, you could say that Spanish food is as diverse and as spectacular as the landscape itself. Where ever you go in Spain, you’re rarely far from a hearty meal, and the beauty of an authentic Spanish dish lies in the use of fresh ingredients and simple cooking techniques.

The Mediterranean diet might not be the most elegant, but its colour and fusion of incredible tastes make it one of the best in the world.

If you’ve only just decided to become an expat, or if you’ve found your new home but don’t know much about the region you’re moving to, we’ve compiled a list of the types of foods you’d expect to find in each region.

So, as well as getting excited about the usual Spanish things, like the amazing festivals, glorious weather, numerous and wondrous things to do, and interesting things to see, you can now get super excited about the splendid food too.

As you read through the rest of this post, please be careful not to drool on your computer!

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

Galacia Region – A haven if you love shellfish and seafood 

Galicia Food - Indalo Transport

Octopus served with charred onions and crispy potatoes, Gambas al Ajillo, Chicken casserole, Caldo Gallego, and Goats cheese salad

Gastronomy is one of Galacia’s main attractions, and the importance of food is celebrated in more than 300 food festivals throughout the year. Local produce, especially that of the sea, are cooked in simple, traditional ways.

Because Galacia’s stunning coastline stretches for over 800 miles, it is a region that lives from the sea, therefore seafood makes up a high proportion of ingredients.

This diet, known as the Atlantic diet, makes for excellent, nutritional meals, and has excellent health-related qualities. In fact, Galacians are among the most long-lived peoples of Spain, with much lower rates of cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

One of the advantages of this type of diet lies in the variety of fish on offer, as fish are filled with Omega 3 acids, high-quality proteins, vitamins and minerals, to help keep you fit and healthy. Combined with simple culinary techniques, the Galacians enjoy some of the healthiest foods around.

But don’t worry, it’s not all fish, fish, fish! The Galacians’ favourite meat is veal, and they also enjoy capons (free range chickens), and kid (sorry to say that this is a baby goat).

The Galacians also grow a wide range of vegetables, including the potato, grelos (a type of cabbage), corn, nuts, mushrooms, beets and beans.

Typical meals that you’ll find here include octopus, Gambas al Ajillo (prawns in garlic), chicken casserole, Caldo Gallego (Galacian soup), and goats cheese.

Asturias Region – The place to go if you love rich cheese and dry cider

Asturias Food - Indalo Transport

Asturias cider, Fabada Asturiana, Valdeon blue cheese

 Asturian cuisine can be defined as ‘slow cooked over a low heat’, so imagine stews, soups and bisques. Asturians don’t use many spices or other condiments in their dishes, as they prefer the natural flavours of their ingredients.

The most famous delicacy of the region they call “Green Spain”, is cheese, and the area produces at least 30 different types, including a three-milk cheese made from cow, sheep and goats milk. Because Asturias is a coastal area, much like Galacia, seafood is also very popular too – in particular the local trout and wild salmon.

Alcohol is used a lot in much of Asturias cooking, and they especially like cider. Like its variety of cheeses, Asturias boasts being able to grow over 30 varieties of apple, and their cider is every bit as tasty as ones served in Normandy.

A typical dish is a platter of local ham, sausage, cheese, and bread, accompanied by a large cider. Another popular main course is hake or salmon in cider, the famous Fabada Asturiana bean stew, or huge slabs of Valdeon blue cheese.

Cantabria Region – A retreat when you’re in need of home cooked, comfort foods

Cantabria Food - Indalo Transport

Rabasare, Cocido Montanes, Cocido Lebaniego, and Sobao

The Cantabrians absolutely adore food, and it’s food as far removed from nouvelle cuisine as you could possibly imagine.

Hearty dishes, traditionally made, are what you’ll find in Cantabria. Dishes are rich, mouthwatering and made from comfort food that’s hearty and warming. Another way to raise your body temperature is in the form of a herbal tea the Cantabrians serve with Orujo liqueur.

Because the region has access to such bountiful rural and maritime ingredients, seafood, meat and cheeses make up the main part of the Cantabrian diet, so think high-quality game, such as deer and wild boar, anchovies, lobster, and squid.

The most favourite of traditional dishes are Cocido Montanes (a stew made from pork, beans and collared greens), Cocido Lebaniego (made from chickpeas, potatoes, cabbage and pork or beef) and Sobao (a butter sponge cake made with lemon zest and rum).

Basque Country – A foodie’s paradise for Michelin Star food

Basque Food - Indalo Transport

Sauteed Elvers, Marmitako, Piperade, and Gateau Basque

The Basques aren’t just passionate about politics and sport, they’re also zealous about food.

In the seventies, a group of young Basque chefs, inspired by French cuisine, created New Basque Cuisine, a range of truly exquisite dishes that have become famous worldwide, and are synonymous with quality.

In fact, there are nearly 40 Michelin-starred restaurants in the Basque region, and there are ever increasing numbers of popular Gastronomic Societies to join, so you can experience and learn,  first-hand, about authentic local culinary traditions.

No wonder then that the Basque region is known as the culinary capital of Spain, and the city of San Sebastián has more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else on Earth.

Seafood is a staple, as the Bay of Biscay and the mountain streams supply ample amounts of fresh ingredients, including oysters, eels, and salmon. Meat is also popular, particularly wood pigeon.

Popular dishes include Elvers (young eels), Marmitako (a fish stew), Gooseneck barnacles, Tapas, Pinchos (little snacks), Piperade (made with ham, eggs, onions, green peppers and sauteed tomatoes), and Gateau Basque.

La Rioja Region – For the vegetarian and wine connoisseur’s delectation

La Rioja Food - Indalo Transport

Patatas a la Riojana, Esparragos Blancos with Salmon, Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

The food in La Rioja is based on the Riojans’ agricultural heritage. Delicious fruits that are full of flavour and heavenly vegetables grow in abundance here.

In particular, the people of La Rioja enjoy using fresh red bell peppers, fava beans, artichokes, asparagus, chard, and lettuce in their dishes. Peaches and pears are enjoyed too, and you’ll find that grapes are turned into beautiful, full-bodied red wines, and sloe berries are turned into Patxaran, a tasty form of sloe gin.

But don’t fret if you’re not a vegetarian and you prefer your meats to greens! The Muslim presence in La Rioja has left its mark, so the Riojans have a great taste for lamb, in particular, Lechal (suckling lamb), or Chuletas Riojana (grilled lamb chops over vine cuttings).

Favourite dishes include Piquillo Peppers stuffed with lamb, dipped in batter and fried, Esparragos Blancos (white asparagus), and Patatas a la Riojana, (potatoes roasted in smoky paprika and served with chorizo).

Navarre Region – A spectacular destination for adventerous foodies who love choice

Navarre Food - Indalo Transport

Trucha a la Navarre, Cogollos de Tudela, Esofado de Toro, Menestra de Verduras

The geography of the Navarre region is so diverse that its local gastronomy has become incredibly varied too.

Dishes are always created from fresh, local produce, and food is celebrated throughout the year at gastronomic events; a multitude of themed days which pay homage to traditional dishes of the regions, and conferences and workshops which teach people all about authentic Navarre cuisine.

The people of Navarre enjoy rich dairy products, spectacular game and lamb dishes, and tasty organic vegetables. They also take pleasure in sipping on the region’s beautiful rosé wines.

Navarre’s most imaginative and exclusive creations can be found in its capital, Pamplona, and popular dishes include Menestra de Verduras (sauteed vegetables), Trucha a la Navarre (a mild fish stuffed with him and fried in breadcrumbs), Estofado de Toro (bull stew served with potatoes), Chistorra (fried sausage served with a fried egg and potatoes), and Cogollos de Tudela (a salad served with salmon).

Castile-Leon Region – Ideal for meat lovers, and anyone with a sweet tooth

Castile y Leon Food - Indalo Transport

Sopa de Ajo, Tostón Asado, Hornazo, Yemas de Santa Teresa

Enjoying food in this region has almost reached a cult-like status, as food in Castile-Leon is perpetually raved about, and visitors can witness countless food conferences or age-old rituals of home butchering, matanza.

Culinary delights are incredibly important in this region, and chefs always prepare their dishes with the utmost of care. Castile-Leon is nicknamed Land of the Roasts, and the people there adore game, including hare and rabbit, lamb, partridge, pork and trout. They also have a huge sweet tooth – there’s always room for dessert in Castile-Leon.

Typical dishes include Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup), Tostón Asado (suckling pig), Hornazo (a meat pie), Olla Podrida (a stew made from pork and beans), Yemas de Santa Teresa (pastries), and Bizcochos de San Lorenzo (sponge cakes).

Catalonia Region – The only place to be if you’re a carnivore

Catalonia Food - Indalo Transport

Fideuá, Canelons d’ánec, Fricandó and Bacallá amb Samfaina

There is so much more to this region’s food than paellas and chorizo. In fact, it has a reputation for producing some of Spain’s finest cuisine, created by incredibly passionate chefs.

The foods they produce are gastronomically distinct from anywhere else in the country, and like many other regions, all the ingredients are harvested from a diverse geographical landscape.

There’s seafood, meat, poultry, game, fruit and vegetables to enjoy, and a good way to try a cornucopia of delectable delicacies is to order a mar i muntanya, a local surf ‘n’ turf, though it literally translates to Sea and Mountain!

If you want to eat like a local in Catalonia, you should try Fideuá (much like seafood paella, but made with noodles instead of rice), Escalivada (smoky grilled vegetables), Canelons d’ánec (duck cannelloni), Faves a la Catalana (fava bean, blood pudding and sausage stew), Fricandó (veal cooked in a rich sauce made with mushrooms), and Bacallá amb Samfaina (the Catalan version of ratatouille made with salted cod).

Aragon Region – The ideal place if you’ve got a sweet tooth and you adore wholesome cooking

Aragon Food - Indalo Transport

Huevos Rotos con Jamón, Migas, Almojábanas, Churros, and Frutas de Aragon

Aragon is sometimes referred to as a region of Spain where the cooking is plain, but what you really get is honest, wholesome, hearty food, which is filling, warming, and has been inspired by French cuisine.

As it’s a region that borders France, game is very popular, as is ham, snails and mushrooms. The food is quite classical, and dishes are based on popular stews. The people of Aragon don’t just wolf down on meat though, they have a sweet tooth too, and the area is famous for its candied fruits, Frutas de Aragon.

If you’re looking for rich, hearty food with an air of France about it, you should definitely try Migas (breadcrumbs accompanied with, well, anything you want!), Huevos Rotos con Jamón (broken eggs with cured ham), Ternasco Asada (roast lamb – a protected regional variety), Churros (like donuts), and Almojábanas (ring-shaped pastries).

Valencian Community – For those who enjoy rice dishes, and like frequenting bakeries

Valencia Food - Indalo Transport

Horchata de Chufa, All i Pebre, Paella Valenciana, Arnadí, and Bunyols

Valencia is extremely proud of its gastronomic delights, and its claim to fame is paella. With access to La Huerta, the most fertile greenbelt in all of Spain, as well as the ocean, it’s no wonder that Valencia is king of making incredibly tasty and diverse rice dishes from land and sea, because there is an abundance of fresh and flavourful ingredients to harvest.

What you might not know is Valencia is a land of tasty sweet treats and bakery products too. You’ll find toasted breads, Valencian donuts, and coconut cakes, just to name a few. Another claim to fame that Valencia has are its traditional soft drinks, such as Horchata de Chufa, tiger nut milk, and organic orange juice mixed with Cava.

Local dishes well worth a try are All i Pebre (a stew made from garlic and eels), Paella Valenciana (typically made with rabbit), Olleta (pork stew), Arrós a Banda (rice and fish), Arnadí (golden cakes decorated with almonds or sugar), Mona de Pascua (a round tart), and Bunyols (fritters).

Murcia Region – Ideal for foodies seeking authentic Mediterranean cooking

Murcia Food - Indalo Transport

Ensalada Rusa, Arroz Meloso, Pulpo a la Murciana, and Paparajote

The region of Murcia serves up delicious and traditional Spanish foods, which have a taste and character all of their own.

Murcia is often referred to as Europe’s Vegetable Garden, and so, as you can imagine, vegetables and rice are the staple ingredient in any dish. Therefore it’s a wonderful place for vegetarians to visit.

Tapas are widely available across all of Spain, and they can get quite humdrum, but not in Murcia. It serves the most delectable snack foods around, including delicious Ensalada Rusa (tuna, potatoes and crispy vegetables mixed with mayonnaise), Cazo (little goujons of Arab-spiced hake), and fried quails’ egg canapes.

Traditional dishes to tuck into are Alcachofas de la Abuela (known locally as Grandmother’s Artichokes, and the recipes are well-kept secrets), Arroz Meloso (a creamy rice dish crossed between a paella and a stew), Pulpo a la Murciana (Murcian-style octopus), Hortalizas en Tempura (vegetable tempura), and Paparajote (battered and fried lemon leaves).

Andalucia Region – The best region for foodies who love to experience a melting pot of different dishes, which are just like Grandma used to make

Andalucia Food - Indalo Transport

Salmorejo, Coquinas, Berenjenas con miel de Cana, and Tortilla Espanola

Eating well is never ever an issue in Andalucia. Thanks to excellent local products, and a heritage of varied, rich and incomparable gastronomical delights, Andalucian cooking is traditional, and disparate, and dishes have been passed down from generation to generation.

The healthy Mediterranean diet and wonderful Anadalucian wines have been influenced throughout history by the Moors, Greeks, Carthaginians and the Visigoths.

Favourites of the Andalucian people, which will undoubtedly become yours too, include Gambas Pil Pil (prawns sizzling in chili oil), Salmorejo (tomato soup usually served with a boiled egg and ham), Coquinas (little clams), Berenjenas con miel de Cana (aubergines deep fried and drizzled with molasses), Tortilla Espanola (eggs, potatoes and onions), and Pringa (a slow-cooked stew).

Extremadura Region – Perfect for people seeking traditional, and simple food, with a bit of added spice

Extremadura Food - Indalo Transport

La Caldereta, El Bacalao del Convento, Torta del Casar, and Ibérico Ham

Extremadura has a long-standing tradition of producing high-quality meats and dairy products. The meticulous care taken in feeding animals has given rise to outstanding quality pork products, in particular, the famous Ibérico ham, chorizo and Morcilla (black sausage).

This region is also known for its superb cheeses, such as Torta del Casar and Ibores. Paprika is grown widely across this region, which adds a warming touch to most dishes.

Because food here is considered so important, and as something to enjoy with friends, Extremadura is one of only three areas in Spain where you can get served tapas for free virtually everywhere. It’s a great way to sample the traditional delights of this region.

Hidden culinary gems of Extremadura include Cáceres (Ibérico pork fillet marinated in Paprika), La Caldereta (a stew made from kid, peppers, mashed liver, and garlic), Cachuela (a thick soup made from sweetbreads, liver and tripe), Las Mijas (bread soaked in water, then fried with bacon and peppers), El Bacalao del Convento (Cod served with potatoes, spinach and broth), and Escaldadillas (dough soaked in orange juice, then fried).

Madrid Region – The best place to try absolutely everything, from nueva cuisine to regional Spanish dishes

Food is taken extremely seriously in the region of Madrid, and it is strongly linked to social entertainment.

Madrid accepts all types of influences when it comes to food, and whilst it does have what it calls its own authentic dishes, they do not actually originate from this area. But don’t worry, authentic food is still plentiful, it just comes from other regions!

With one bar or restaurant for every 192 residents of Madrid, it’s no wonder that this city holds a treasure trove of possibilities for trying delicious food. Every region’s tastes are represented in restaurants here, so even though it can’t really produce traditional dishes of its own, you won’t miss out on all the authentic Spanish tastes and flavours.

Castile-La Mancha Region – A splendid sanctuary for wine and cheese lovers

Castile La Mancha Food - Indalo Transport

Manchego Cheese, Atascaburras, Carcamusa, Gachas, and Gazpacho

The cuisine of this region can be classed as hearty and traditional, dishes are prepared using elementary ingredients such as bread, meat, cheese and wine, all of which, through their fabulous flavours, will transport you back to the era of Don Quixote.

Livestock in Castile-La Mancha focuses on pigs, but wild boar, stag, and rabbit are still enjoyed, as are a variety of poultry, and ewes milk is used to make the famous Manchego Cheese.

Castile-La Mancha is home to some of the world’s largest vineyards, and they produce some of the most delectable wines in Spain.

There are plenty of tasty foods you can eat, when you’re not sipping on wine or nibbling at cheese. Some great examples of local Castile-La Mancha food include Atascaburras (a cod and potato paste), Carcamusa (pork, vegetables and tomatoes stewed together), Gachas (a broth cooked with flour made from grass peas), and Gazpacho (cold vegetable soup).

The Balearic Islands – The absolute best place to experience authentic meals once considered as being poor man’s food

Baleric Islands

Frit Mallorqui, Sofrit Pagés, Tonyina a l’eivissenca, and Ray Borrida

Dishes of the day on the Balearic Islands are often made up from what people can buy from the market that day, and local people have always known how to make the most out of what they had.

But this hasn’t stopped the gastronomy from Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera from being delectable and pleasurable. The cuisine has been shaped by the many cultures which have passed through the archipelago over the years.

Most of the dishes are based on seafood – two types you can enjoy, which you can’t get anywhere else, are the Mallorquin shrimp, and the Menorquin lobster.

Almond blossoms, native to the Balearic Islands, are an essential ingredient in traditional cooking, and so is mayonnaise – after all, it was invented there!

Must try dishes across the islands include Frit Mallorqui (pig liver fried with vegetables, sherry and fennel), Sopes Mallorquines (a cabbage stew), Sofrit Pagés (a lamb, sausage, potato and herb casserole), Tonyina a l’eivissenca (a traditional tuna stew made with pine nuts, raisins, eggs, spices, lemon juice and white wine), and Ray Borrida (ray is layered between potatoes and fried bread, placed in a casserole dish, then a garlic, saffron and toasted almond sauce is poured over it, and then cooked).

The Canary Islands – Ideal for the adventorous foodie, a sea of flavours from simple cooking that combines traditional Spanish dishes with African and Latin-American influences

Canary Islands Food - Indalo Transport

Potaje de Berros, Sancocho Canario, Papas Arrugadas, and Beinmesabe

 

Gastronomy on the Canary Islands is phenomenal – the key to the great food is simplicity. Dishes are so simple that one of the main ingredients found in most of its dishes is gofio, roasted maize or wheat meal.

The Canary Islands are famous for their mojos, they’re two different types of sauces, and they’re used extensively throughout the islands’ cuisine. The first is mojo picon, made from pepper, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt and paprika, and the second, mojo verde is based on parsley and coriander.

The basis of the local delicacies are a variety of vegetables, fruits and fish. You’ll find that most meat, which comes in the form of stew or steaks, are imported from mainland Spain or South America. However, thanks to Gran Canaria’s amazing climate, local markets can offer an abundance of seasonal ingredients, such as chorizo, goat’s cheese, and honey.

Dishes to get your taste buds tingling include Papas Arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes), Sancocho Canario (salted fish in a mojo sauce), Potaje de Berros (a hot pot of chick peas), Beinmesabe (honey mixed with almond cream, eggs and rum), and Platanos Fritos (fried bananas).

empty plate - Indalo Transport

I don’t know about you, but I can’t eat another bite!

Hopefully, our guide to Spanish food has sufficiently whet your appetite, and your computer is free from drool! If our guide has also helped you decide on which region you’d like to live in, based on the cuisine, then don’t hesitate to contact us, and we can help transport your treasured belongings from the UK to Spain, quickly and efficiently, so that you can start enjoying these tasty treats in no time flat!

 

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The 1 Click Way to a Stress Free UK Spain Removal, Guaranteed.

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Moving – It’s not as stressful as we all might make it out to be!
So long as you choose a removal firm that are members of the Trading Standard’s ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme

“Change is as good as a rest”, they say, and there’s no bigger change than moving house.

But sometimes, when you’re in the middle of relocating and you find yourself awash in a sea of bubble wrap, living out of cardboard boxes and wondering where you left the box tape, the last thing that you’ll ever agree on, with anyone, is “Yep, this whole moving malarkey is definitely as good as a rest”!

Yes, moving can be stressful – in fact, it’s one of the most stressful events in modern adult life. Still, countless families do it every day, and why? Because (a) they wouldn’t go through with the move if the change wasn’t worth it (and by the way, it’s always worth it) and (b), when searching for a highly recommended and trustworthy removals company they discovered that Indalo Transport is a member of the Trading Standard’s ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme.

If at this point you’re about to combust with excitement at being able to hire a Trading Standards approved removals firm in just one simple step and wish to be whisked away to starting the process of booking your removals to Spain from the UK, then 1-click here!

If you’d like to find out more about what the Trading Standard’s ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme is, and if you’d like to learn exactly how you can Buy With Confidence through Indalo Transport, then read on!

Who are Trading Standards?

Tradingstandardop

Trading Standards are an Institute of professionals who work with our local Councils. They act on behalf of all of us, as consumers and businesses.

They advise and enforce laws that govern the way we buy, sell, rent and hire goods and services. Basically, the guys and gals at Trading Standards make sure that rogue traders and scammers can’t get away with ripping people off anymore.

Consider them the Sheriffs of the business world, these knowledgeable professionals who always keep an eye out for consumers, making sure that they get the high-quality products and services they deserve, from credible, hard-working companies.

If a customer ever has a complaint about a business, it’s the Trading Standards people they should go to for help and advice.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

What is their ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme and Where Can I Find the Website?

The Trading Standard’s ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme for Approved Businesses was created nearly two decades ago with the aim to help consumers find reputable and responsible companies in all types of trades and services.

It was designed to combat the rise in cowboy tradesmen looking to rip-off unsuspecting people, so the Scheme really is a great way to guarantee reassurance and peace of mind.

Any business that you find within the ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme, whether it’s a removals firm or accountants, will be the very best of the best.

The companies listed on the website are reliable, trustworthy and excellent value for money. Click here to go to the Buy with Confidence website (link opens a new page)

It really is the one-click, sure-fire way of taking the guesswork out of finding a great business who are dependable, who only supply high-quality goods or services, and who provide outstanding levels of customer service.

You should feel confident that any firm you find on the Trading Standard’s ‘Buy With Confidence’ website is the real deal.

How do Removals Firms Become a Member of the Scheme?

By being seriously vetted, and we mean seriously examined!

Trading Standard video

Becoming Trading Standards Approved in a nutshell – 2min 26 secs video

Any business wanting to be a part of the ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme must be prepared to be probed, appraised, scrutinized, and reviewed, and they must undergo a myriad of stringent checks which include audit visits and include criminal background checks made about them and their team.

The series of visits are undertaken, independently, by the local County Council’s Trading Standards Service, and only when a business has passed all of these rather draconian inquiries, can they join the Scheme.

Once a company is approved, Trading Standards continues to monitor their performance through the quality and quantity of customer feedback.

It’s a condition of the Scheme’s membership that these feedback forms are available to all customers, and honest reviews are the things which power the Scheme.

What Are the Risks of Using a Removals Firm Who Aren’t in the Scheme?

If you choose to go with a removals company that isn’t a part of the Trading Standard’s ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme, you could be risking, well, everything.

There are countless stories of “White Van Men” who have placed online adverts promising a high-quality removals service at incredibly affordable prices, but once everything is loaded into the van, they drive away, never to be seen again. All the family’s possessions and the money they paid for the service, gone! (here’s one example)

Another potential risk of using a company that isn’t a member of the ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme, is not being able to do something if anything goes wrong.

Many removals firms don’t have the correct type of insurance to cover the types of loads they carry, so if they happened to have an accident and all your items got broken, there’s no guarantee that you’d get your money back, nor the money to replace all your lost possessions.

We don’t mean to scare you, heck, we know that there are hazards in absolutely everything, even in our best-laid plans, but by using a removals company who are a member of the Trading Standard’s ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme will mean that you really reduce the event of undue risks happening, and cover yourself in the event that anything does.

 

Are Indalo Transport a Part of The Buy With Confidence Scheme?

Yes, we are! You can rest assured that Indalo Transport is Trading Standard’s Approved, and you can Buy With Confidence through us.

Not only are we members of this exclusive Scheme, which guarantees you’ll receive excellent value for money and customer service that is second to none, we’re also insured through Lloyds of London, so all your items are protected from Door to Door, across Europe.

Does The Buy With Confidence Scheme cover Removals From UK to Spain?

Spain Flag - Indalo Transport

Indalo Transport – The only name you’ll ever need for Removals to Spain from the UK – or even for a removal to the UK from Spain!

Yes, it does, and it’s quite serendipitous because that’s what Indalo Transport specialises in!

We are a UK based company, with a depot in both Hampshire and in Southern Spain, and we help families each and every week relocate to Spain from the UK.

Trading Standards approval backs up our commitment to exceptional customer service.

Customer Satisfaction is by far the main reason why we keep seeing new and repeat business.

 

So there you have it, several reasons as to why you really should book a removals firm that are members of the Trading Standard’s ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme.

Moving should never be as difficult and as stressful as we all tend to make it out to be, so before you start packing and getting your knickers in a twist, do yourself a favour, just relax!

Browsing the ‘Buy With Confidence’ website for a removals company will give you peace of mind and reassurance from knowing that whoever you choose will provide an excellent service, with care and respect, they’ll come highly recommended from previous customers, and they’ll offer you great value for money.

If you’d like an affordable quote from a family-run, Trading Standard’s Approved removals firm, whose new and repeat business comes from the recommendation of many a satisfied customer, then get in touch with us below.

You can Buy With Confidence through Indalo Transport!

 

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Full List of Other Moving To … Expat Guides

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Moving to Mojacar … an Expat Guide

Mojacar - Indalo Transport

You could be here, relaxing and admiring the beautiful village of Mojacar, Spain – Click for Map Guide

If you’re an expat already living in the beautiful area of Mojácar, this expat guide, part of our series of guides about the villages, towns, cities, provinces and regions of Spain, will help you settle in to your wonderful new home. And if you’ve already experienced some of its delights, then hopefully this guide will reveal new and interesting things, which you didn’t already know, and which you can go out and discover straight away.

If you’re just window shopping and haven’t made up your mind yet, this guide will provide you with information to help you make that all-important decision of whether Mojácar is the right place for you to move to in Spain.

Hopefully, if you do decide you want to move there, you’ll consider Indalo Transport to help your removal to Mojácar from the UK, run smoothly and with no stress and or fuss.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

Where is Mojácar?

Not to be confused with Majorca, one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, thе beautiful Mооrіѕh village of Mojácar іѕ located іn thе Almeria rеgіоn of Mainland Spain, on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean.

Mоjáсаr соmрrіѕеѕ of twо distinct areas, Mоjáсаr Pueblo (village) and Mоjáсаr Playa (beach), which are аррrоxіmаtеlу two kilometres араrt.

Click on the photo above for a Google Map Guide to where Mоjáсаr is.

How can I get there?

By air, the closest airport is Almeria, which is just over an hour’s drive away.

For an affordable, direct flight, the best destination to travel from is London Gatwick, where you can get to Almeria in less than 3 hours. Check out Skyscanner for information on prices, and other airport locations, notably Murcia, Alicante and even Malaga.

By car, you can hop on to an overnight ferry from Portsmouth or Plymouth, arrive in Bilbao or Santander in Northern Spain, and then drive to your new home, which should take you about 10 hours.

If you are relocating and require removals to Mojácar from the UK, then please don’t hesitate to contact us, as we specialise in removals from the UK to Spain.

Why choose Mojácar?

Mojacar Beach - Indalo Transport

Pristine, quiet beaches , mesmerizing architecture and stunning scenery. Mojácar, what a glorious place to call home.

If you’re looking for a beautiful village, steeped in history, vibrant in culture, and quieter than the Costa Del Sol, then Mojácar is the place for you. With the combination of beach and village, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds.

Mоjáсаr is a mаjеѕtіс mеltіng роt оf cultures, it’s a сluѕtеr оf bright, whіtе hоuѕеѕ that sparkle like diamonds in the sun, and the village clings tо thе vеrу еnd оf thе awe-inspiring Sіеrrа dе Cabrera Mountains.

Once you еntеr thе mаzе of narrow ѕtrееtѕ, еvеrу corner will сарtіvаtе you, revealing the village’s beauty, thе рrіvасу of its раѕt, аnd the most breath-taking hоrіzоnѕ for miles around.

Mojacar Puеblо іѕ undоubtеdlу оnе оf thе most rоmаntіс and рісturеѕԛuе villages іn the whole of Spain, and was voted by the Spanish as one of the prettiest villages in Spain in 2014.

With its whitewashed hоuѕеѕ and cobbled ѕtrееtѕ, реrсhеd оn top of a hіll оvеrlооkіng the Mеdіtеrrаnеаn, іt’ѕ easy to see whу thіѕ unѕроіlt Moorish fоrtrеѕѕ village hаѕ long bееn рорulаr with expats, tourists, аrtіѕtѕ and writers аlіkе.

History

The village of Mojácar, its architecture and culture, has been shaped by its history. At the beginning of the eighth century, its main inhabitants were Muslim.

Interestingly, the Indalo Man, an ancient symbol and good luck charm – and our logo too – was first found in the province of Almeria. The symbol’s rebirth after some 4500 years coincided with the rebirth of Mojácar.

Almeria Indalo Man - Indalo Transport

Almeria’s Indalo Man Symbol

After suffering from severe droughts in the middle of the 19th century, Mojácar became a ghost village, most of its inhabitants relocating abroad or to other areas of Spain.

By the beginning of the 20th century, modernity had swept over the sleepy seaside village, and things started to improve. Hotels, complexes, restaurants, cafés and art galleries were built, inspired by the Almerian painter Jesús de Perceval, who founded the Indaliano movement.

Its Mediterranean art helped spread the magic and charm of Mojácar, and the rest of Almeria, across the whole of Spain. At the end of the 1960s, the village was awarded a prize for its embellishment and improvement.

The Indalo Man is a good luck charm after all, so it must mean that if you book your removals from the UK to Spain with us, Indalo Transport, your possessions are going to be in safe hands, and the Indalo Man will protect you and your cargo from evil and bad luck!

Architecture

Mojacar Architecture - Indalo Transport

White buildings, archaic architecture, splendid churches and an awesome resort

To really get to know the true Mojácar, and to revel in its rich history, you’ll need to discover all of its awe-inspiring architecture. It’s not all pristine white houses setting off against the brown of the earth, and the azure blue of the sea and sky, you know?

You really have to visit the fortified Rеnаіѕѕаnсе сhurсh of Sаntа Mаrіа, Mojácar’s 15th cеnturу cаѕtlе, and thе remains оf ‘Puerta de lа Ciudad’ (Gаtеѕ оf thе City).

A lаw was passed іn the late 1980s which еnѕurеd thаt the Arab аrсhіtесturе, which creates thе feeling of bеіng on thе African соntіnеnt rather than іn Sоuthеrn Europe, іѕ always рrоtесtеd and enjoyed.

The beach area, Mоjáсаr Plауа, is just a short drive down from the village. It’s a mоdеrn day hоlіdау resort wіth 17 kіlоmеtrеѕ of bеасhеѕ, with some hidden gems, and numerous outstanding rеѕtаurаntѕ, lively bаrѕ and quaint cafés.

Thаnkfullу however, wеll оbѕеrvеd buіldіng lаwѕ hаvе prevented hіgh rіѕе, соnсrеtе developments like the Costa Del Sol, and vіllаѕ and hоtеlѕ lіnіng the ѕеаfrоnt hаvе been rеѕtrісtеd tо a mаxіmum of four ѕtоrеуѕ, wіth a style that’s іn-kееріng wіth Mojácar’s Mооrіѕh buіldіngѕ.

Culture and Lifestyle

Since ancient tіmеѕ, disparate реорlеѕ hаvе lіvеd in thіѕ wonderous municipality, and have helped turn Mojácar into a rich melting pot of beautiful foods, delicious drinks, fantastic festivities, and a relaxed way of life.

artist -Indalo Transport

Artists have been coming here for many years

If you’re the artistic type, it’s good to know that Mоjáсаr has a ‘bon vivant’ lifestyle, as it’s always bееn a haven for artists. In the 1960ѕ, the seaside village became hоmе tо many artisans, раіntеrѕ, photographers, muѕісіаns, wrіtеrѕ and craftsmen. You name it, they came, and they added beauty, diversity and culture to this amazing village.

The Mojaquera people of Mojácar are relaxed, but passionate. Whilst they enjoy mаіntаіnіng thеir ancestral trаdіtіоnѕ thrоughоut the year, by cooking simple, local delicacies, adhering to siestas, and holding inspirational fiestas, thе іntеrеѕtіng mix between trаdіtіоn and mоdеrnіtу makes Mоjáсаr and its people а very open village, wіth many cultural асtіvіties.

Festivals

Mojácar, ԛuіеt аnd relatively саlm most days, bесоmеѕ vеrу lively durіng its fеѕtіvаlѕ, it has over 10 of them to celebrate all throughout the year.

In all of the fiestas, you can witness Mojácar’s past, іtѕ сulturе, аnd thе аrt of іtѕ реорlе shine through. On a special note, eасh June, the spectacular ‘Mооrѕ and Chrіѕtіаnѕ’ Fіеѕtа hоnоurѕ the tоwn’ѕ Arаb ancestry, and is not to be missed.

Moors & Christians - Indalo Transport

Moors & Christians 2012 Video (15 minutes)

Cost of Living and Quality of Life

The cost of living in the region of Almeria is 21 percent lower than it is in Spain’s capital, Madrid, so your money will stretch a lot further in Mojácar.

A three bedroom apartment can cost you around €500 to rent, per month, a gym membership will be around €20, a bus ticket costs less than €2, and a pint of milk; 1kg of oranges, a loaf of bread and a lettuce will all cost you less than €1.

If you’re looking for a gastronomic delight, a three-course meal with drink will set you back about €20 per person, but if you’re just grabbing a lunch-time bite to eat, check out the local ‘Menu del Dia’, The Menu of the Day, which you will be able to get for around €8.

The ѕtаndаrd оf lіvіng for an expat here hаѕ bесоmе оnе оf thе Mediterranean’s bеѕt kерt ѕесrеtѕ, and is helped by Mojácar’s ѕресіаl mісrосlіmаtе.

Thе sunshine, thе Mediterranean sea аnd thе рrоtесtіvе mоuntаіnѕ guаrаntее both wіntеrѕ аnd ѕummеrѕ аrе mild and gentle, therefore Mojácar offers соuntlеѕѕ орроrtunіtіеѕ fоr you to keep fit, stay healthy and always be entertained.

Mojácar is certainly the perfect place for the British expat to slow down, unwind and enjoy life.

Public Transport

The local bus service is easy to spot, as the buses are bright yellow. They operate on a circular route of the village and both ends of the beach and have numerous stops. The journey from one end of Mojácar, which starts at the Puerto Marina hotel, takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the other end, at Marina La Torre, and the bus costs €1.20 for any length of journey.

Conveniences

Evеrу mоdеrn convenience can bе fоund аlоng Mojácar’s Plауа. At thе Parque Comercial shopping cеntrе, lосаtеd on thе ѕеа front at the bottom of the road from the village, уоu will find a mеdісаl сеntrе, designer ѕhорѕ, ѕuреrmаrkеts, banks, restaurants, bаrѕ, рrореrtу shops, ѕоlісіtоrѕ and thе lосаl Englіѕh speaking rаdіо ѕtаtіоn, Sресtrum FM.

Directly opposite thіѕ ѕhорріng area you wіll fіnd the Tоurіѕt Infоrmаtіоn Cеntrе.

Finding a Job

The British expat in Mojácar won’t find it too hard to get a job, particularly if you have experience working in restaurants, bars or hotels. A great job site can be found at Think Spain. For those who can commute, the city of Almeria is just over an hour away.

The Weather

Mоjáсаr has a very mild climate, it’s winters are cool, and its summers don’t get too hot, like other parts of Spain, in particular, the Costa Del Sol.

July is the hottest month in Mojácar, with daily temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius. The coldest month is January, with lows of 11 degrees, and the wettest month is nearly always November, where you’ll expect to get about 31 millimetres of rainfall.

The best month to go swimming in the sea is in August, where the waters reach about 26 degrees.

Things to see, and things to do

In Mоjáсаr уоu саn play as much ѕроrt as you want, all year-round, and the more adventurous expat can go hіkіng; mountain bіkіng, сусlіng and hоrѕе riding. For those who love the game, gоlf is very popular with four local golf courses.

For the water babies, there’s ѕurfіng; sailing, scuba diving and ѕwіmmіng. Speaking of swimming, Mojácar’s seventeen kіlоmеtrеѕ of pristine соаѕtlіnе mаkе this аn іdеаl рlасе to truly enjoy relaxing on beautiful bеасhеѕ and swimming in crystal clear seas. Many of Mojácar’s beaches have bееn аwаrdеd the FEE Bluе Flаg fоr quality.

Mоjáсаr’ѕ mоdеrn hotels, bоth in thе vіllаgе and оn thе beach, аrе соmрlеmеntеd bу family-run and rurаl еѕtаblіѕhmеntѕ.

Art, іn its mаnу forms hаѕ a special рrеdіlесtіоn fоr this соrnеr оf ѕоuth-еаѕtеrn Almеríа. Itѕ light, іtѕ charm, іtѕ lаndѕсаре and thе special аtmоѕрhеrе which соmеѕ frоm a multicultural society, mаkе Mоjáсаr аn ideal рlасе fоr getting creative.

Mojacar Video - Indalo Transport

Mojacar Video (3min 49sec)

Food and Drink

Thе variety аnd quality of Mоjáсаr’ѕ сuіѕіnе саn bе еnjоуеd throughout thе уеаr. Products оf thе land and sea are сооkеd simply, and trаdіtіоnаlly, and offer something to be enjoyed and savoured by even thе mоѕt dіѕсеrnіng of раlаtеѕ.

Because Mojácar has such a rich, culinary heritage, the Mojaquera people embrace authentic flavours. The “gurullos” (Spanish pasta), meatball stews, pepper soup, “migas” (a scrambled egg dish), cous-cous and paella are all part of Mojácar’s heritage. For a list of Mojácar’s restaurants and bars, click here.

food - Indalo Transport

Gurullos, pepper soup, meatball stew, paella and cous-cous – how very tasty!

Other useful information

Mojacar Official Website

Useful telephone numbers

Tourist Office

We really hope our guide has been helpful, and you’ve either learned something new about this marvellous Moorish village, or it’s helped you make your decision and you’re thinking of visiting.

Contact us now for help and advice on your removal to Mojácar, or any aspect of becoming an expat in Spain – we’re here to help. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we can point you in the right direction to get one!

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Your Essential – Free – Moving Checklist

How to avoid these 7 packing mistakes, for the best removal

10 Top Tips for buying a Property in Spain

Moving to Spain … an Expat Guide,

Full List of Other Moving To … Expat Guides

Easter in Spain – Fantastic festivities in the Sun,

How to use a roundabout in Spain

7 Essential items you Must Carry when driving in Spain

Essential Tips for moving to Spain with your Children

Expat Tips and Hints

All you need to know about moving to Europe with your Pets

How to Save Money & Do Finance, for Expats in Spain

Easter in Spain 2018 – Fantastic festivities in the Sun!

Easter - Indalo Transport

An awe-inspiring float celebrating Semana Santa in Malaga

If you’re an expat who has recently arrived in Spain, you’ve relocated at the perfect time!

You’re probably aware at how cultural and lively the Spanish are – they’re world famous for hosting countless colourful celebrations and fun festivities all throughout the year, but things are just starting to kick off now.

To get your first real taste of traditional Spanish fiestas, you should really go out and join in on your local Semana Santa celebrations.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

What is Semana Santa?

Semana Santa, which we know as Easter Week, is the annual commemoration of the Passion of Jesus Christ. A noisy and passionate Catholic religious festival, it sees brotherhoods from churches all over Spain perform processions around their villages, towns and cities, during the last week of Lent.

This year, the festivities run from Palm Sunday, on March 25, to Easter Sunday, on April 1st.

Why is it so special?

Whether you’re religious or not, there’s always something to enjoy when you join in the epic celebrations of Semana Santa, honestly, you won’t come across anything like this anywhere else in the world.

Nazarenos - Indalo Transport

The Nazarenos waiting to leave a church. Robes vary in colour around Spain.

Whilst beautiful and majestic, these celebrations aren’t meant to arouse excitement and entertain people through cheerful music, colour and sparkling lights, they’re meant to instil religious passion, and evoke a sense of wonder, and humbling devoutness.

You’ll find that the air becomes thick with the intoxicating smells of orange blossoms, beeswax and incense, and bustling crowds, dressed up in their finery, may leave you jostling for room, but you’ll watch in amazement as elaborate processions cascade through the winding streets of your new home.

Marching bands play music which will stir your soul, and images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ will touch your heart. Impressively beautiful floats, depicting scenes from the Bible, add to the splendour, and the eerie costumes of the Nazarenos will transport you back into a strange, archaic and religious world.

Where is the best place to visit to see a truly amazing Semana Santa celebration?

Although the style and mood of Easter Week varies from place to place, either because of the procession’s nature, or the location of the church, the basic components remain the same.

For a more glamorous celebration, the region of Andalucia hosts some breathtaking fiestas, whereas those in Castile-Leon are more solemn; after all, this is a religious holiday.

Here are our Top Three locations to experience a spectacular Semana Santa.

  1. Mojácar, Almeria

    SemsanMojacar - Indalo Transport

    Semana Santa Mojacar 2013 – 18m 40s Video

The Easter Week celebrations in Mojácar are exquisite, it’s a place where you can really feel the strong community spirit.

Processions of blacks, dark blues and rich purples are set against the glistening backdrop of Mojácar’s whitewashed houses, and glorious choral singing fills the air.

The celebrations here exude a mournful beauty, but things liven up in the evenings and the small village normally hosts a number of magical events for children to enjoy.

 

  1. Seville

    SemsanSeville - Indalo Transport

    Semana Santa Seville 2015 – 18m Video

Seville arguably holds some of the most elaborate processions during Easter Week, and it’s at night time when these festivities really come alive here.

Renowned for its unique wooden pasos, these lifelike painted sculptures, weighing more than a metric ton, are carried by a large group of costaleros, men wearing headdresses which resemble sacks, which makes it look like the statues are walking on their own.

The air becomes thick with smoke, and inspiring classical music is played loudly as the processions continue from dusk till dawn. For many in Seville, and across Andalucia, Semana Santa is more than just religious processions, as Easter Week marks the arrival of Spring and many bars and restaurants will host parties, to continue celebrating in their own way.

 

  1. Zamora, Castile-Leon

    SemSanZamora - Indalo Transport

    Semana Santa Zamora 2015 – 1hr 40m Video

To see an award-winning fiesta, Zamora is the place to go. It’s the oldest celebration of its kind in Spain, and the processions are dark, moody, and sombre.

Candles and incense are replaced with medieval fire torches, and male choirs are used instead of marching bands. To get a real taste of traditional Spain, or to feel like you’ve stepped back in time, you really should spend a day of Easter Week here.

 

What types of food are available to try during Semana Santa?

Treats - Indalo Transport

Manzanilla, a fine sherry which has a hint of chamomile, torrijas, and pestinos

No celebration is ever complete without indulging in some truly special foods and drinks. Rather than binging on chocolate eggs and sweets, the Spanish prefer puddings and pastries.

It’s always worth asking the locals to point out their favourite Easter Week bakeries because you may have the once-a-year chance to try things most Brits miss out on.

It’s highly recommended to try torrijas, slices of bread dipped in egg, then soaked in wine or milk, before being fried and sweetened with sugar or cinnamon.

Another delectable treat are the pestinos, honey-glazed pastries that have been fried.

A lot of sherry is drunk at this time of year in Spain, particularly in the South, and if you can, the Manzanilla is well worth a glass. It’s a variety of fino sherry that takes its name from its notes of delicate chamomile tea.

Hopefully, this post has inspired you to go out and discover more of your new home’s local heritage and culture, if not for this year, certainly for the next.

If you managed to capture some photos or video footage of your local Semana Santa celebrations, and you fancy sharing them with other expats, please post them to our Facebook page, or pop them in an email to us, and we’ll show them off so that others can enjoy them as much as you did.

If you’re a Brit who has been mulling over whether a move to Spain really is for you, we hope this glimpse into Spanish tradition has persuaded you that the relocation is well worth it.

Remember, it’s not just Semana Santa that Spain is famous for, there’s a whole other variety of festivals to see, including The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, or  La Tomatina, The Tomato Throwing Festival, in Bunol, Valencia.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on another, unique and amazingly vibrant Spanish fiesta, book your removals from the UK to Spain with us, now!

Photo Credit: Nazarenos  – Carlos

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Moving to Portugal … an Expat Guide

Portugal - Indalo Transport

So you’re thinking of moving to Portugal? – click for Map Guide

So you’ve decided to become an expat, and you’ve opted to move to Portugal. Bravo, what a brilliant choice! This beautiful and exciting country certainly won’t disappoint, particularly if you’re an expat looking to immerse themselves in a truly vibrant culture, and where adventure awaits them every single day.

Portugal has an incredibly rich heritage, and expats can experience it all through a cornucopia of festivals, delectable local cuisines, superb sherries, stunning scenery, and breath-taking architecture. Because the Portuguese are particularly proud of their artistic traditions, you’ll never be far away from seeing something amazing or experiencing something genuinely exciting.

Cascais - Indalo Transport

A beautiful panorama of Cascais, Portugal

You’ll find Portugal is a haven for museums, galleries, film and music festivals, all celebrating the vibrancy and colour of Portuguese culture. You’ll get to soak up the drama, and laugh heartily, at Portugal’s traditional Revista, a humorous political satire play. You’ll also be able to marvel at the beautiful sounds of the traditional Fado music genre, and you may find yourself getting ready to dance the passionate Corridinho.

Portugal also offers the sports-loving expat an adventurous retreat to explore. Golfing, hiking, mountain biking, hunting, rambling, horse riding, it’s all here for the fit and healthy Brit to enjoy.

The food in Portugal is simple but full of flavour, and you’ll find that spices and herbs are added to dishes to give them that distinctive Portuguese flair which always delights your taste-buds.

With so much to see and do, Portugal really is a treasure trove of possibilities for the expat looking for a life that’s thrilling.

If you choose to move here, The Douro Valley, which has been described as heaven on earth, will be right on your doorstep. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its vineyards. The Cascais is also found in Portugal, it’s famous because the James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was filmed there.

If you’re still not entirely sure of whether Portugal is right for you, then why not check out our infographic? It’ll show you what to expect from this amazing country, and we’ve also created a little list of just some of the exciting things to do once you get there.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

Portugal Infographic - Indalo Transport

 

Things to do in Portugal

Lisbon - Indalo Transport

Ponte 25 de Abril, Lisbon

  • Take a private tour of the beautiful religious cities of Fatima, or Virgin Mary.
  • Discover the village of Monsanto, its cobbled streets, stone houses, pointed castles and wandering shepherds will transport you back in time
  • Get creative in the town of Funchal, where museums, gardens and art await
  • If you’re heading to Lisbon and love clubbing, check out Music Box, it’s the most popular destination for a great night out on the town

 

Indalo Transport’s Top 3 things you need to do to prepare for your move to Portugal

luggage - Indalo Transport

Now, are you sure you’ve packed everything?

  1. Book your removals to Portugal

When you have a moving date, and you’ve gone through all your belongings and worked out what it is you’d like to take with you to Portugal, contact several removals companies for quotes.

After you’ve got your quotes, do a little background research on the firms you’ve contacted, check out their customer reviews to see if they’re really as good as they say they are.

Check to see if the company is fully insured and have a look into whether they offer a packing service or can provide you with advice and guidance on becoming an expat.

Once you’ve taken into consideration all of these things, book with your chosen removals team as soon as possible, to make sure they’re still available to help you move.

Whilst you’re here, why not have a look at the services we offer, and our glowing customer reviews. Maybe we’ll be your first choice of getting your things safely to Portugal from the UK.

  1. Make sure you and your pet have all their documents

ferret - Indalo Transport

Sorry little guy, you’re not allowed in to Portugal, ferrets are banned!

As Britain is a member of the EU, you and your family don’t have to worry about filling in copious amounts of customs paperwork or having to obtain a work permit or visa.

You can enjoy living and working in Portugal for up to three months without having to apply for residency. All you need to hand is your passport, and if you have one, your driving licence.

If you have pets, there are a few things you need to do in order to make their journey, as well as yours, as smooth as possible.

  • Get your pet microchipped.
  • After your pet has been chipped, book them in as soon as possible for a rabies vaccination. The reason why you need to do this asap is because you must wait 21 days after it has been done before moving abroad.
  • Some vets only give one course of vaccinations, but some advise to give two courses, therefore, the sooner it’s done, the sooner you can move.
  • Ask your vet for a Pet Passport. Just like our passports, this is a little book, complete with photo page to help people identify your pet. It is also a handy record of when your pet will need to get revaccinated for rabies.

Unfortunately, Portugal won’t allow ferrets into the country, they have been banned as domestic pets to avoid cross breeding with the indigenous ferret species.

  1. Research, research and do more research

research - Indalo Transport

Get online and start researching all about your new home

 

  • If you haven’t already got a place to move to, now is the time to start perusing the internet for your new home
  • If you don’t have a job to go to, now is the time to start looking for jobs. There are plenty of sites you can visit to start applying
  • If you’ve got the time, now would be a good idea to start learning a few, simple Portuguese phrases and words.

Now sit back, relax and start planning your wonderful, new life!

 

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Indalo Transport investing in the future – to bring down prices and help make the planet greener

Say Hi to the newest member of the Indalo Transport family!

Indalo Transport Iveco

 

 

Indalo Transport Iveco Back

Indalo Transport has invested in a brand new vehicle, to make the company’s countless journeys from the UK to Spain more environmentally friendly than ever before. This fantastic new Iveco Daily 50C17 joined the company on March 1st 2016.

The cleaner running and improved fuel efficiency of the new removals van will ensure that Indalo Transport continues doing it’s very best to keep both costs down for the customer, and harmful emissions down for the rest of the world.

“This new vehicle marks the start of the next phase in the development of Indalo Transport. I am committed to making the company the only name a customer will ever need if they require a removals service between Spain and the UK.” – Mick Cox, Founder of Indalo Transport

The new vehicle has an increased capacity – now up to 18m³ – which is great news for customers, as this has resulted in lower prices when they book a fully insured European removal, or a delivery from the UK to Spain.

Along with an increased capacity (now at 40m³ with our new trailer) and weight, therefore meaning no weight restrictions for customers goods, the 5-tonne van also has low CO2 emissions, and road-friendly air suspension. This means customers will experience an incredibly reliable, environmentally friendly, removals service.

Indalo Transport continues to help countless UK families move their precious possessions safely between Spain and the UK each and every week. Much of their business comes from personal recommendations from previous customers, such as Sue Harwood who recently commented;

“Great from the word go. Took the stress out of everything and worked around us. Great company who couldn’t do enough for you and it all came with a smile. Great work, I would recommend you to everyone.” – Trading Standards feedback, February 17th 2016

What sets Indalo Transport as a leader in the removals industry, are the team’s extensive knowledge about removals and becoming an expat, their passion for what they do, and an outstanding Customer Service ethos that’s second to none.

Thanks to Bob Jones for the use of the Photo (of the beach looking towards the Pueblo Indalo) on the back of the van!

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Gardening in Spain for Expats – What you need to know

Flowers in Asturias - Indalo Transport

Flowers in Asturias

Did you know that, in 2014, there were around 27 million Brits who enjoyed gardening, and that approximately one third of all UK adults in that year gardened at least once a week?

Looking at these facts then, it’s pretty safe to say then that if you’re moving to Spain from Great Britain, you’re likely to be a green-fingered gardener who wants to know more about the lie of the land in your new country.

Even if you’re not a fully-fledged flower-master, knowing what types of plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables you can grow in Spain might come in quite handy, especially if you like the sound of becoming self-sufficient so that you can live on a varied and healthy Mediterranean diet.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

What type of gardening conditions can I expect in Spain?

Clay Soil - Indalo Transport

Oh no, not the dreaded clay soil! But it’s not as bad as you think!

Now it may worry you to learn that the main soil type in Spain is clay. But whilst clay soil can be a nightmare for UK gardeners because it is so hard to work, (especially with all the wet weather our little island gets), clay soil in Spain actually works quite well!

With the amount of sun throughout the year in Spain (approximately 2700 hours compared to just 1500 hours in the UK), the ground can become quite arid. However, drought is much less damaging on clay soils than any other type, and the clay soil in Spain also doesn’t take as long to warm up as it would do back in the UK, so it’s easier for plants to germinate and grow healthily.

Also, because the rainfall in Spain is just over half of what it is per year than in Britain, (Spain sees roughly 636mm per annum, whereas Blighty gets 1220mm), you don’t have to worry about your garden getting wet, cloggy, and unmanageable.

For some, having an arid garden might not sound appealing, almost boring and drab, but whilst it can be frustrating to maintain an oasis of colour and scent in a place that doesn’t have much rainfall, having a bright, colourful, English country garden in Spain isn’t impossible.

With some hard-work and dedication, your new Spanish garden will flourish.

colourful gate - Indalo Transport

It’s always colourful in Spain

But I won’t have a garden when I get to Spain, I’ll only have a terrace or balcony…

balcony - Indalo Transport

A beautiful balcony in Albayzin

Don’t fret! Plants can still grow very happily in pots filled with a high quality compost.

So what types of plants, trees and vegetables can I grow in Spain?

 

Here’s a video slideshow, showcasing just some of the plants that you can grow easily in Spain.

There are nyoutubegardeno names with each picture, so if you want a quick quiz, see how many you can name!

A full list of all the plants is at the end of the blog post!

For other types of plants that work well in clay soil and under a lot of sun, please visit the Mediterranean Garden Society’s page on Mediterranean plants, and there’s more info on the Royal Horticultural Society’s page on clay soils.

How can I make sure my Spanish garden will grow well, and stay healthy?

barrell - Indalo Transport

An important ingredient to help your garden grow – collect your own rain water

The most important part of maintaining any Spanish garden is watering. Less frequent, deep soakings are best as this will increase the drought tolerance of your plants.

Because of the weather conditions in Spain, it’s likely that you’ll have to water, on average, twice a week. That’s why it’s a good idea to gather rainwater when you can. It will significantly reduce your water consumption (which is metered in Spain) and you can easily make your own, low-cost, rain barrel out of, well anything!

As long as it holds water and you have a way to screen out the debris and mosquitoes, then you’re all set to capture nature’s H2O. Check out this handy little, step-by-step guide which shows you how you can make your own rain barrel.

Another way to make sure that your Spanish garden flourishes is to improve its soil condition, where you can. You can repair clay soil by using compost, which is readily available in Spain, particularly in the region of Extremadura, where donkeys are still the favoured mode of transport!

Even though, in the short term, it’s a good idea to whip your clay soil into shape by mixing in organic matter regularly and deeply, it’s not a good idea to do this every month because the less you disturb your improved clay soil, the better. That’s because extensive tillage stimulates the microbes deep in the soil, and they begin to devour all the nice, organic matter that are keeping your plants healthy.

To determine whether your clay soil needs an organic boost, roll some of it between your palms into a ball about an inch in diameter. If, when you pinch the soil between your thumb and finger causes the soil to crumble into pieces, you know you can add some more compost.

Along with adding compost, you should also plant ‘cover crops’ in any areas of your garden which would otherwise be left empty. Cover crops help to smother weeds, they reduce erosion and increase infiltration.

When it comes to flower or crop rotations, or if you just fancy a re-arrange, pull out your cover crops, and bob in your new plants. Your new occupants will adore their lovely home, filled with rich, organic matter that’ll help them grow into strong plants or veggies.

poppies - Indalo Transport

Poppies in Navarre

 

Here are the answers to the quick quiz:-

Yucca, Yarrow, Oranges, Tulips, St. John’s Wort, Strawberries, Succulents, Passion Flower, Bell Peppers, Pineapples, Pistachios, Plumbago, Ornamental Onions, Bee Orchid, Melons, Geraniums, Grapes, Hibiscus, Ironweed, Lavender, Daylily,Cacti, Canna, Avocados, Aster, Black-eyed Susan, Almonds and Apples.

Photo Credits

Flowers in Asturias – Ramon Duran

It’s Always colourful in Spain – Oseillo Pictures

A beautiful balcony in Albayzin – perlaroques

Poppies in Navarre – Bernard Blanc

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Moving to Spain … Regions guide for expats

Spanish Regions - Indalo Transport

The 17 Regions of Spain

Spain is an absolutely beautiful country, so it’s a darn good job that you’ve followed your heart and have decided that you’re going to move there!

It’ll do you the world of good relocating there, and Spain certainly won’t let you down, in fact, it will exceed your expectations. It has such an array of stunning landscapes, climates, traditions, foods, and loads of things to do and things to see.

But because Spain is such a large country (you could fit two Great Britains in it!), with 15 mainland regions and 2 island regions to choose from, how do you know where’s best to move to?

Check out our handy little guide, part of our series of guides about the villages, towns, cities, provinces and regions of Spain, which tells you all you need to know about all of the different lifestyle choices and unique things to discover and experience in Spain’s zonas.

If one region jumps out at you in particular, then research it in more detail, and once you’ve chosen where you’re relocating to, and you want to arrange a removal, give us a call!

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

North West Region

Galicia

vido - Indalo Transport

Vigo, Spain

This area is known as “Green Spain” because of its lush, green landscapes. You’ll find that many of the villages, towns and cities are on the coast.

The summers in Galicia are warm, the winters are mild, and you’ll expect to get the same amount of rain per year as you would do back in the UK.

As this region is a popular tourist destination, there is already an established English-speaking community in its capital city, Pontevedra.

Pontevedra is a beautiful, busy city, renowned for its architecture, history, festivities and transport links. It has changed so dramatically in such a short space of time that it has been awarded several prizes and international prestige for its excellent urban quality.

Galicia is famous for its gastronomy, thermal baths, and history.

Asturias

Cudillero - Indalo Transport

Cudillero, Spain

This region of Spain will take your breath away. Not only does it have stunning beaches, but it has mountains, nature parks and biosphere reserves too!

Like Galacia, the weather is what you’d be used to back in the UK, and winters here can even include snow! The capital Oviedo provides a slice of authentic Spanish life without the English-oriented services.

Asturias is an area that’s renowned for its food, photography and literature. It also tops all other regions for having the highest access rates to the best high-speed cable broadband around.

Asturias is famous for its ancient rites and beliefs, its gastronomy, and its monuments.

Cantabria

Santander - Indalo Transport

Santander, Spain

On the coast of Cantabria, you’re treated to beautiful bays and romantic fishing villages, and the further inland you go, you’ll come across awe-inspiring green valleys, hills and spectacular mountain ranges.

The climate is similar to the rest of the North West Region, so it has warm summers and mild winters. The capital, Santander, is a very popular expat location as it is a well-established industrial centre, so jobs are more readily available.

In Santander there is always lots to see, lots to do, and lots of high quality things to spend your money on.

Cantabria is famous for its colourful customs, its gastronomy and local crafts.

Northern Region

Basque Country

Bilbao - Indalo Transport

Bilbao, Spain

The Basque Region has been blessed with immense natural beauty. Landscapes along the Guernica river are stunning, there are rolling hills, enchanting beaches, several nature parks and the Pyrenees mountains, always soaring high in the distance.

The climate is typically Mediterranean, so winters are warm and very wet, and the summers are hot and dry. Even though this area is popular with expats, being one of the most industrialized regions of Spain, it’s a very good idea to have learned some Spanish before you move there.

The Basque region is famous for its mountain sports, including hiking, biking and riding, and it where-ever you go, there is always scintillating modern architecture to see.

La Rioja

La Rioja - Indalo Transport

La Rioja, Spain

This region is absolutely beautiful, it has Mediterranean forests, high-mountain areas and the most amazing lunar landscapes you’ll ever see, but unfortunately, this region isn’t situated near the coast.

The climate is relatively dry, much dryer than the UK, and you get very hot summers and very cold winters. This region tends to be more of a holiday destination than an expat stronghold, as work can be quite hard to come by, and the ability to speak Spanish is a must.

However, don’t let this put you off. La Rioja is ideal for young couples seeking fun and adventure, and action junkies can ski, bike, or go white-water rafting as often as they’d like.

La Rioja is famous for its wineries, it has 500 of them, and they produce a wine made from the famous Spanish, Tempranillo grape, and it’s named Rioja, after its region.

Navarre

Navarre - Indalo Transport

Navarre, Spain

The Navarre region is steeped in ancient history and natural beauty.

Even though it’s small, the region has three different types of geography, it has mountain ranges to the north with exceptional landscapes, in the middle are impressive canyons, and to the south are lagoons, and stunningly green and fertile valleys.

On the whole, Navarre has summers that are not too hot, and winters that aren’t too cold, but the further south you go, the warmer and drier it becomes. Navarre is a popular destination for expats and ecotourists, and its capital city, Pamplona, is a quiet and pleasant city.

Before moving anywhere in Navarre, it’s suggested that you learn some simple Basque phrases. The region is famous for being eco-friendly (it’s an area almost self-sufficient in renewable energy creation), for its jaw-dropping festivals and carnivals (most notably the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona), and for its food.

Navarre is certainly a peculiar folkloristic attraction.

Castile-Leon

Castile-Leon - Indalo Transport

Castile-Leon, Spain

This area is known as “The Land of the Castles”, unsurprisingly then, most of the towns and cities are filled with extraordinary architecture.

Castile-Leon has incredibly beautiful forests and has over 30 protected natural spaces, set in spectacular scenery. The weather is warm and dry during the summer, and cold in the winter.

This region isn’t particularly popular with expats, and it’s worth a note to say that it’s said that the native people here don’t quite share the same Spanish politeness, and it’s quite a good idea to know a lot of Spanish before you relocate.

Castile-Leon also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the EU.

However, plucky Brits who go there, particularly if they opt for the funky city of Salamanca, will find a peaceful, cosmopolitan place during the day, with great nightlife.

The region of Castile-Leon is famous for its fiestas (it hosts the most throughout Spain), and the pilgrimages it hosts.

North East Region

Catalonia

Barcelona - Indalo Transport

Barcelona, Spain

Catalonia is a quintessentially Spanish region, surrounded by gorgeous coastlines, and beautiful mountain ranges. Generally, the summers are hot and dry, and the winters are cool.

Barcelona is by far the most famous city in the Catalonia region, and it’s the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid.

Barcelona is an enchanting, cosmopolitan and fashionable city, it’s a top tourist destination and incredibly popular with expats. However it is worth mentioning that finding a job is particularly difficult here as most of the business world, and the local community, speak Catalan.

Don’t let this dissuade you though, as Barcelona is a vibrant place to call home, and it is recognized as being Spain’s first city in terms of culture and art. Other areas in Catalonia are more peaceful, and the villages, towns and cities boast Roman roots, and Moorish and Jewish influences in their architecture and tradition. And don’t forget those beautiful beaches!

Catalonia is famous for its gastronomy, art (Dali and Gaudi were Catalan), traditional festivals and of course, football!

Aragon

Alquezar - Indalo Transport

Alquezar, Spain

Aragon is a region that revels in the beauty of monumental towns and medieval splendor.

This area is renowned for its outstanding mountainous landscapes, glacier lakes, treeless plateaus, and nature reserves (where you might even spot some species that have become extinct across the rest of Europe).

Aragon has some of the most extreme temperatures in the whole of Spain, so expect very hot summers, very cold winters and irregular rainfall.

Aragon is a very popular region for expats as it is a place where the people of the region rank highly among the rest of Europe for satisfaction with their quality of life. Expats can enjoy experiencing a life rich in Spanish tradition, and over 500 multinational companies means that getting an English speaking job is easier than other parts of Spain.

Aragon is famous for its Mudejar architecture, dancing (in particular the Jota, an energetic 17th century dance), and its folklore.

Eastern Region

Valencia

Valencia - Indalo Transport

Valencia, Spain

Valencia is a region that has everything; stunning mountains, lush wetlands, beautiful rolling hills, fertile lands, and magnificent beaches.

Truly a sun-lover’s paradise, the Valencia region has very hot summers, and cold winters, and it’s therefore a very popular tourist and expat destination, particularly in the warmer months.

The region’s capital, Valencia, is perfect for young professionals who would like to work within the tourism industry, or as English teachers, in a city that is a melting pot of different cultures, that also has jaw-dropping architecture, and a night-life that rivals any of Spain’s bigger cities.

Having a basic level of Spanish will get you by with no problems.

The Valencia region is famous for its festivals (in particular Las Fallas, the Fire Festival, and La Tomatina, the Great Tomato Battle in the little town of Bunol), its gastronomy, and the City of Arts and Sciences museum in the city of Valencia.

South East Region

Murcia

 Murcia - Indalo Transport

Murcia, Spain

Murcia is a region characterized by its medieval history, and it is blessed with absolutely stunning beaches, salt-water lagoons and desert-like landscapes.

The weather is very hot in the summer, and very mild in the winter, and the air quality makes Murcia one of the healthiest places in the world for people who suffer from asthma or arthritis.

Expats adore Murcia and it’s perfect for couples looking to retire somewhere immersed in culture, tradition and who want a slow-paced, stress-free life style.

The Mediterranean diet makes for better health, plus it’s extremely tasty.

Murcia, the region’s capital city, ranks as one of the top ten cities to live in for a high-quality living and working life, and the government provides free Spanish lessons for schools and colleges which have a high number of expats attending them.

Murcia is famous for its traditions, wine production, and architecture.

Southern Region

Andalucia

 Malaga - Indalo Transport

Malaga, Spain

Andalucia has beautiful golden beaches (this is the home of the Costa del Sol), awe-inspiring mountain ranges, and famous “White Villages” that are steeped in folklore and artisany.

The weather in Andalucia is incredibly hot and dry during the summer, and mild in the winter, although contrary to popular belief, this region, as a whole, does experience higher than average yearly rainfalls.

This area is heavily populated with expats, and is an incredibly popular tourist destination. The Costa del Sol is no longer considered the Blackpool of Spain, but expats and holiday makers alike can still enjoy the sun, sand and cheap sangria.

There has been a recent resurgence of organic production and farmers’ markets, and restaurants are required, by law, to offer inexpensive lunches during the working week, and the Menu Del Dia is often a real bargain.

Expats seeking to settle here should be prepared to work hard, jobs can be quite hard to come by, and English speaking jobs are typically in food, sales, tourism or health-care.

Another popular expat destination is the province of Almeria, much more relaxed and far more peaceful than the Costa del Sol.

Almeria has beautiful, arid landscapes that make you feel like you’re in a Western movie, but it also has stunning beaches, and also skiing in the Sierra Nevada.

Andalucia is famous for being the mother of all Spanish folklore,

Western Region

Extremadura

Extremadura - Indalo Transport

Extremadura, Spain

This region of Spain, also known as “The Cradle of the Conquistadors” is relatively untouched by tourism and expats, so if you choose to move here, you’ll be uncovering secrets and lifestyles that not many people know about.

The landscape is covered in vast, undulating plains, covered in grasses and herbs, which attracts a variety of birds. There are also glorious mountain ranges and beautiful rivers.

You’ll find the summers are hot and dry, and the winters are wet and cool. Expats can enjoy a peaceful, slow-paced, typical Spanish lifestyle here, and this even extends to transport.

Because many of the ancient paths in the region are impassable for vehicles, donkeys are the favoured mode of transportation!

Finding work may be difficult, and there is no international airport there, so Extremadura is not really the place for city slickers.

However, it is a brilliant destination for the adventurous retiree, who is looking for something off the beaten track and a lifestyle that is truly Spanish.
This region is famous for its customs, it’s local produce (ceramics, metal works and embroideries, as well as yummy, local foods like trout and game), and of course its stunning landscapes.

Central Region

Madrid

Madrid - Indalo Transport

Madrid, Spain

Madrid is Spain’s sprawling capital, and it’s located pretty much slap-bang in the middle of the country. It is a young, boisterous city, one that will always keep you on your toes. It is a genuine cultural destination, and it is a city of great monuments.

The weather here is hot during the summer, and cold during the winter, and it has a lot to offer expats, as it already has a well-established international community.

Jobs are easier to come by in this city, and even though the pace of life is faster than anywhere else in Spain, it’s still considered to be relaxing, compared to places like London or Birmingham.

Full of noise, colour, celebrations and politics, life in Madrid may seem quite exhausting, so it might be a location for young couples or families who are looking for an invigorating new life in a bustling metropolis, to consider.

Castile-La Mancha

Toledo - Indalo Transport

Toledo, Spain

This region of Spain is renowned for its historical importance, and it is filled with over 900 monumental and enchanting municipalities to choose from.

The area has stunning arid plains (known as La Mancha) and Castile-La Mancha is the most mountainous region in Spain, 70 percent of its terrain sits more than 600 meters above sea level.

The weather in this region is hot during the summer, and mild in the winter. Expats may be disheartened to learn that despite its central location and excellent communication networks, Castile-La Mancha has been hit hard by the economic depression.

That being said though, for the plucky entrepreneur, the future looks bright, as the regional government has implemented plans to link every municipality by motorway, and are resolving to improve the local economy by producing various incentives and aid programs to attract employment providers to the region.

Castile-La Mancha is famous for its gastronomy (particularly the desserts), shepherding, and its windmills.

The Islands

Balearic Islands

Balearic Islands - Indalo Transport

Balearic Islands, Spain

This group of four islands which include Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, make up the second-largest tourist region across the whole of Spain.

Expats and tourists are attracted to these islands because of the weather, as it’s gloriously hot during the summer, and mild during the winter, as well as their beautiful virgin beaches and natural beauty.

People wanting to move here will find plenty of English-speaking services and an established expat community.

It’s important to remember that each island has its own personality, and each has something for everyone.

Ibiza is party central, with an amazing, energetic night-life,

Mallorca is renowned for its dramatic coastlines and tourist resorts,

Menorca is known for being a place to relax in beautiful surroundings.

Formentera is the place to be to enjoy unspoiled beaches, sunbathing and windsurfing.

The Balearic Islands are famous for their night-life, opulence and carnivals.

Canary Islands

Canary Islands - Indalo Transport

Canary Islands, Spain

This volcanic archipelago (still active) is made up of seven major islands; Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro.

The weather, on the whole, is hot during the summer, and very mild during the winter. Expats and holiday-makers love the islands, because of their outstanding natural beauty.

In the Canaries you’ll find beaches of black sand, moss-cloaked and mist-shrouded forests, and razor-sharp, steep, volcanic mountains.

Across most of the islands, you’ll find that the northern areas are densely populated by the local population in funky, metropolitan towns and cities, which are generally cooler, rainier, greener and more mountainous than areas in the south.

The south is where you’ll find tourists because it’s warmer, dryer and the stunning beaches are located there.

People wanting to move here will find the pace of life invigorating, and there’s not much need to have a high level of Spanish. Work is good in the tourist industry, and health-care professionals, engineers and those in the forestry industry are in high demand.

Tenerife is the most popular tourist destination of the Canaries, La Gomera, La Palma, El Hierro and Lanzarote are known for their tranquility and beautiful walks for ramblers, Gran Canaria is known for its culture and night-life, and Fuerteventura is the place to go if you enjoy action, adventure, water sports, and sunbathing.

The Canary Islands are famous for its wildlife, epic scenery, and for tourism.
So there you have it! Hopefully our guide has helped you get more of a feel of where you’d like to move to in Spain.

Provinces spain - Indalo Transport

Provinces of Spain

Make sure you keep coming back and checking out our blog because we have an exciting series of blog posts coming up that you might find useful in picking your new, Spanish home-town.

We’re producing individual, in-depth guides of all the villages, towns and cities in Spain!

It’s a mammoth task, but Indalo Transport are up to the challenge of revealing why Spain is the perfect location for you to live and love life as an expat.

And don’t forget, we can help you with your removals to Spain from the UK, and we’ll try to answer any questions that you may have about becoming an expat, we’re just a phone call or email away.

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Moving to Spain … an Expat Guide

Spain - Indalo Transport

Becoming an expat and moving to Spain is a thrilling adventure – Click for Map Guide

There is nothing more exciting than taking the plunge and deciding to become an expat. It really is an exhilarating adventure, and there aren’t many experiences in life that effect you in quite the same, glorious way that emigrating does.

Once you commit to moving to another country, there’s no looking back. As daunting as this may sound, the reality couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Becoming an expat isn’t going to be as difficult and as scary as you think it is, and we here at Indalo Transport can say that with some authority because we’re a team of expats ourselves.

We know exactly what you’re feeling, and what you’re about to go through, so you’ll be relieved to hear that there’s only fun, opportunity, and excitement ahead.

As you start making preparations for your removal from the UK to Spain, don’t panic! We’re here to help you keep calm, so that you can carry on.

We’ll help sort out all the things you need to do to keep your epic, logistical challenge right on track.

Whether you choose to use our removals service or not, we’ll be here, always on hand to answer any of your queries about becoming an expat. And to start things off, why not check out our handy infographic?

It’ll tell you all the important things you need to know as an expat moving to Spain, plus we’ve thrown a few tips in at the end for good measure.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

So you’re thinking of moving to Spain

Spain Infographic - Indalo Transsport

What will my new life be like in Spain?

It’s going to be fantastic!

Garrucha - Indalo Transport

Garrucha – Almeria

Spain is an absolutely beautiful country. It has tranquil, old-fashioned villages which are surrounded by breathtaking scenery and panoramic views.

It has awe-inspiring coastal towns, with exquisite beaches, and it has modern cities which are bustling and trendy.

No matter where you go in Spain, you’ll find that the place just oozes with history, tradition, art and fashion, and that the country as a whole has been infused with the very best bits from a variety of exuberant peoples and lavish cultures.

Family, religion and a laid-back attitude seem to be the most important things in Spain. You’ll find that nobody likes to rush.

Most places have a siesta in the afternoon, pretty much everything is closed on a Sunday, and banks close for the day at 2pm just after lunch.

You’ll also find that everyone seems to do pretty much everything as a family, and everyone actively keeps up old traditions, not just for posterity, but for the sheer fun and enjoyment of the celebration.

And the Spanish, they love fun! They love any reason to party, and each village, town and city has their own unique way of celebrating, with their favourite, time-honoured local fiestas.

Puerto Banus - Indalo Transport

Puerto Banus

People fall in love with Spain because it has the perfect combination of warm weather, undemanding days and exciting nights.

It’s a bright, colourful country, and the Spanish are a very vibrant and passionate people.

This passion is quite infectious, and we think that you’ll fall in love with Spain in no time, and that you’ll be proud to call it your home.

Indalo Transport’s Top 4 things you need to do to prepare for your move to Spain

1. Decide on which region you’d like to live in

Spain is a huge country, it has over 15 different regions and they couldn’t be more disparate from each other. That’s why it’s a good idea to sit down and have a long, hard think about what type of an area you’d like to settle down in.

Are you looking for somewhere peaceful near the beach, or does the sound of living in a bustling, ‘big city’ appeal to you?

Do you want to be surrounded by other expats and tourists, or do you want to go off the beaten track a bit?

There are a lot of questions you can ask yourself in order to find out where your heart truly desires to live, so it’s well worth donning your deer stalker and pipe, and investigating each and every region.

We have an article all about the Spanish regions, and it may help you whittle down your choices of where you want to move to.

2. Book your removals to Spain from the UK

suitcases - Indalo Transport

And there’s lots more to go!

When you have a moving date, and you’ve gone through all your belongings and worked out what it is you’d like to take with you to Spain, contact several removals companies for quotes.

After you’ve got your quotes, do a little background research into the firms you’ve contacted and check out their customer reviews to see if they’re really as good as they say they are.

Check to see if the company is fully insured and are members of any professional associations.

Find out whether they offer a packing service or can provide you with advice and guidance on becoming an expat.

Once you’ve taken into consideration all these things, book with your chosen removals team as soon as possible, to make sure they’re still available to help you move.

Whilst you’re here, why not have a look at the services we offer, and our glowing customer reviews. Maybe we’ll be your first choice of getting your things safely to Spain from the UK.

3. Make sure you and your pet have all their documents

As Britain is a member of the EU, you and your family don’t have to worry about filling in copious amounts of customs paperwork, or having to obtain a work permit or visa. You can enjoy living and working in Spain for up to three months without having to apply for residency.

All you need to hand is your passport, and if you have one, your driving licence.

If you have pets, there are a few things you need to do in order to make their journey, as well as yours, as smooth as possible.

drivingdog - Indalo Transport

Sorry Mr Dog, a dog licence isn’t the same as a driving licence!

  • Get your pet microchipped.
  • After your pet has been chipped, book them in as soon as possible for a rabies vaccination. The reason why you need to do this asap is because you must wait 21 days after it has been done before moving abroad.
  • Some vets only give one course of vaccinations, but some advice to give two courses, therefore, the sooner it’s done, the sooner you can move.
  • Ask your vet for a Pet Passport. Just like our passports, this is a little book, complete with photo page to help people identify your pet. It is also a handy record of when your pet will need to get revaccinated for rabies.

Luckily, Spain doesn’t have a list of banned pet breeds that aren’t allowed to enter the country.

However, dog breeds which demonstrate certain ‘dangerous’ characteristics, like the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Rottweiler or Akita, or breeds which weigh over 10 kg, must be registered within three months of being in Madrid.

Vets are not permitted to administer any vaccinations to any new dog listed as a dangerous dog breed without a stamped letter of registration from the local Town Hall.

If you are travelling with more than 5 pets that are 6 months or older, your pets must meet the requirements as listed above and have endorsement from the government agency that regulates the import and export of animals. You will also need to have an Intra Trade Certificate and register the movement on the TRACES system.

4. Research.

books - Indalo Transport

You might want to start learning about Spain before you actually get there!

If you haven’t already got a place to move to, now is the time to start perusing the internet for your new home.

If you don’t have a job to go to, and you need to work, now is the time to start looking for jobs.

If you’ve got the time, now would be a good time to start learning a few simple Spanish phrases and words.

Now sit back, relax and start planning your wonderful, new life!

 

If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may enjoy

Your Essential – Free – Moving Checklist

How to avoid these 7 packing mistakes, for the best removal

10 Top Tips for buying a Property in Spain

Full List of Other Moving To … Expat Guides

Easter in Spain – Fantastic festivities in the Sun,

How to use a roundabout in Spain

7 Essential items you Must Carry when driving in Spain

Essential Tips for moving to Spain with your Children

Expat Tips and Hints

Moving to Mojacar … an Expat Guide

All you need to know about moving to Europe with your Pets

How to Save Money & Do Finance, for Expats in Spain

in the Sun, Essential Tips for moving to Spain with your Children, Gardening in Spain for Expats – What you need to know or Moving to Spain … Regions guide for expats.