Do you have any Spain questions for me?
Often you write to ask me questions about Spain covering everything and anything under the Spanish Sun.
Some come via email or in the comments on my blog. Or even on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
To make it a little easier I´m opening up this blog post specifically for your questions.
Some of the more popular questions I have already answered in previous blog posts:
- How to become Fluent in Spanish?
- Questions on Moving to Granada
- What is the difference between Raciones, Tapas and Pintxos?
- What is a Carmen in Spain?
So maybe you want to know:
- Where to buy a specific item or product in Spain?
- When one of the festivals is on?
- Something about Spanish food or a recipe?
- Something related to a book you have read
- Maybe there is some bugging you about learning Spanish.
- How to find a job in Spain?
- How to deal with the hot summer days in Andalusia?
- Getting Spanish guitar classes in Spain?
Whatever it is put your Spain questions in the comments below and I will answer you as soon as I can.
Also remember that there are lots of online resources out there too.
Facebook groups and Expat community sites with like minded people
Hello. I can’t seem to get a sense of the real characteristics and color of the five or six major neighbors in Granada. For example, Albaicin. I understand it’s picturesque and hilly and a World Heritage site. But is it noisy, quiet, upscale, downscale, more or less expensive, inhabited by young singles, families, older people, or al! of these? Which are the fancy and less fancy neighborhoods? Which places would you consider living? Thanks for any insight at all on any of these topics, or anything else they bring to mind.
Hi Anders, I wrote this guide that should help https://www.piccavey.com/granada-city-neighbourhoods/ best wishes
We live in the UK. I have had a bank account in Spain since purchasing an apartment in 2016.This was sold last December after deciding against moving to Spain. I cannot close the account until the end of the year as we still have to pay a final year of non-resident tax. I also do not know if my utility bills were cancelled / transferred on completion of the sale, as I cannot see my debits/ credits and received no formal notification from the companies.
……………………………….. Can you help?
Of course, I will send you an email with some details
Hello Molly, we are staying in Torremolinos in July for two weeks and we are planning to visit Seville, Cadiz, Cordoba, Ronda, Olvera, Caminito del Rey and Malaga. Would you recommend us some other little villages at about 50 km around Torremolinos? We would like to see something more simple and less touristic.
Thank you very much in advance. We would really appreciate your help.
there are so many great places to visit around Andalucia.
Some ideas are:
Antequera in Malaga province: https://www.piccavey.com/antequera/
Costa Tropical https://www.piccavey.com/motril-costa-tropical-granada/
Frigiliana & Nerja to see Caves of Nerja, Cueva del Tesoro and the towns
Hope this helps
If you are retired (with pensions and generous retirement savings and not having a job how long can you live there past the 90 day rule?
I was impressed with Granada when I was there.
Hello Linda, From your comment I understand that you are a Non EU Citizen
The main topics that you need to cover are Private Healthcare and the legal documents with immigration in the local area
This page is useful for VISA information http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/MIAMI/en/InformacionParaExtranjeros/Pages/Visa%20Requirements/Residence-Visa-for-Retirees.aspx
and there are many more resources online such as this one https://transferwise.com/gb/blog/guide-to-retiring-in-spain
I hope this gives you a little more insight
Hi Molly, we are coming over to granada at Easter with 6 friends for my 50th, where can i find more information about semana santa in English about the parades etc.
Easter is a fabulous time to be in Granada
Last year I wrote this in depth guide about the different days of the Easter week
Hope you find it useful
Hello Molly, my family are considering moving to Granada. We have a toddler, two cats and a dog. I was wondering if you would recommend a neighbourhood of Granada where we could find countryside for cats used to the countryside but also a reasonable place close to a nursery and a social life for everyone.
The main thing is trying to fit the new location with your lifestyle. (do you work, do you drive? Speak Spanish?)
I will respond as best I can
I would strongly suggest looking to stay in Granada itself rather than choosing somewhere outside of the city.
However if you insist on being in a location outside the city you will need a car.
Here are my thoughts on the different locations you mention:
Armilla is a good option. Slightly Cheaper housing than other locations.
I would be my first choice as it is close to the New Hospital
There is a Good community feel to the town and plenty of things for families. Also spacious areas and nice views.
To go to Granada in the evening will be more difficult for you to socialise maybe.
However there is a bus service run by CTA Granada
Cenes de la Vega
Although this location is well located to get to the Sierra Nevada as it is at the foothills of the National Park.
And it has the Rober red buses connecting it to the city.
It is quite a residential place,
In this area if you really have to be close to the mountains.
For all three locations I would insist on having a car available for practical things like doing the weekly shop
and making daytrips to wherever,
There are walkiing routes that leave the city and go into countryside almost straight away (alhambra woods, sacromonte, along the river, )
Really the best option would be to come to Granada and stay in an Air Bnb for several weeks while you actually go and spend time in each location to get a feel for them yourself.
What one person loves another person may hate.
Also I would strongly recommended renting somewhere when you are here, never online ahead of time.
You need to physically see the place yourself.
I have written about the neighbourhoods in Granada here https://www.piccavey.com/granada-city-neighbourhoods/
I hope this helps
Hi ya, i’m working on a persuasion speech about napping. Now I read that Spain has what I believe to be called a “Siesta”. One of the issues I have found I don’t have much information on is “Crime”. During this country wide nap time would it not be the perfect time for crime, or is my understanding of a siesta incorrect?
I find this a rather strange question, however I am unsure that it would be the perfect time.
As things are very quiet, any noises would be heard.
Shops tend to close and shutters are down too.
As no one in the street then people can see from their air conditioned homes if anything is going on.
On an extremely hot day then anyone outside could certainly draw attention to themselves.
Also siesta time is not for everyone, some people stay at home and rest but dont actually sleep.
Hope this insight helps
I am thinking about moving from Ireland to someplace in Spain to rent an apartment for a year or more (There is a good chance that I might never leave! lol). I haven’t decided where exactly I want to move to, however it would have to be someplace that is cheap, safe, and located in a built-up urban area. I am a 22 year old male student, I have never done anything like this before, and I do not want to fall to far out of my comfort zone (i.e. someplace that has no other expats, or situated out in a peripheral area). Firstly, could you please recommend a location? For example, I have found single bedroom apartment rental accommodation in Valencia listed on the internet for about €400 per month or less, this is within my budget. Secondly, could you also please tell me what I could generally expect in overhead charges? Bills, and so on. I am completely unfamiliar with how the Spanish housing market operates, and would be horrified to discover any major surprises. I only require the bare essentials and do not intend to live lavishly. I would be forever grateful for some first hand insight. Thank you! :)
Generally Spain is a very safe place as it´s family orientated
Large cities like Madrid and Barcelona are like any other big European city but outside in Mid size places like Malaga Granada Tarragona things are much quietar, cheaper and safer.
The largest Expat communities in Spain are Costa del Sol (Torremolinos, Malaga) and Levante area (Valencia, Denia, etc)
The down side to living in a busy expat area is the lack of immersion.
If you move to one of these areas the tendency to stay in the same lifestyle as before is high and learning of Spanish low.
So it all depends on what your priorities are.
Regarding bills and costs. If you are happy to share then 300-450 euros in a Mid size city will be OK for rent in most places.
To rent somewhere alone a small apartment or studio expect to pay 500-600 euros depending on the place.
Monthly bills of water electricity internet tend to cost around 150 euros depending on the type of housing
This site has lots of information too https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/country/spain
The main thing you need to decide is what you are looking for.
Places with good beaches tend to be very busy (and more expensive) from Easter to End August
Inland places will be stable all through the year.
If you are looking to work, some places are much easier to find jobs (BCN, Madrid, Valencia) than others
Hope this information helps
My husband and I will be traveling to Spain in April and plan to stay about three weeks. I am busy mapping out the trip but I have a question about food. I love to eat but have several limitations – no fruit (no olive oil, wine, etc.), no onions or garlic. I know, not fun. Since there’s not much I can do about it, I have learned to ask for simple preparations. I can eat any meat or fish as long as it can be done in butter or another oil. This has been very difficult, but the issues with IBS have made this necessary. So, my question: Can I request my meal to be served without olive oil? Can I find food without onions or garlic? What is the best way to make my requests? We have done a lot of traveling and are primarily in English-speaking countries. I am refreshing my college Spanish with CD’s as I drive, my biggest concern is not starving! I would appreciate any advice or suggestions. Many thanks.
Thanks for your question, I have to confess this is one of the most difficult queries I´ve had since I´ve been in Granada.
I would advise two things.
1) Get an Aparthotel or Apartment Rental so that you may prepare at least some of your own meals, some of the time.
2) Prepare a little card with visual guidance for local chefs.
With visuals and this text.
No Fruit, No Olive Oil, No Garlic, No Onion – I´m Allergic
No Fruta, No Aceite de Olive, No Ajo, No Cebolla – Soy Alergica
I would look out for bars and restaurants that are happy to help Allegric customers such as El Bar de Fede which is close to the Market below Gran Via
and Casa Lopez Correa which is run by a lovely English lady.
I hope this helps with your planning
Thanks very much for your posts and your invitation to pose questions. Very helpful!
I plan to buy a house in Spain and live there “most of the time”. (Most often, I’m able to work from home; when I need to be on-site with contracting organizations, I’ll have to leave for a few weeks or months.) For reasons of affordability, good access to the mountains and the sea (both of which I love, which make me “feel good”), and a desire to avoid large expat communities (I prefer Spanish living to expat living), I’ve got my eyes on the Costa Tropical, and Salobreña in particular.
Salobreña seems like a great match for me in terms of its small size, coastal location, and proximity to Granada and Malaga. However, I’ve noticed that the public transport in the Costa Tropical (and the Granada province generally) are fairly weak. This is my main concern.
You’ve lived in the area for a while now. What’s your take on the “accessibility” of the Costa Tropical (Salobreña in particular)? I know there are several daily ALSA buses between Granada and Salobreña, but I’m curious to hear your “impression” of the matter: Would you say: “It’s not a big deal, there are enough buses, and they’re reliable, and etc etc and it’s easy enough to get between Granada and Salobreña”, or would you say: “Don’t even think about it! Too much of a hassle”. On a related note: how are the “services” on the Costa Tropical? For example, will I have easy enough access to, say, a Computer Repair Man in the case that my computer breaks? Or would I have to go to Granada to take care of it?
Anyway, just looking to get your impression as I try to decide whether the Costa Tropical is the right “target location” for me … thank you very much for your insights!
I can happily confirm that Granada and the province isn´t a typical expat area.
However there are slightly more expats in Almunecar and along the Costa Tropical than in Granada city.
This is because the climate is milder than inland.
If you live in Salobreña or Costa Tropical then you will only visit Granada for day trips (on public transport)
You won´t be attending concerts or any of the local nightlife in the city (unless you drive a car)
Public transport does work well but there is not a lot of frequency of the buses.
Practically I could see you going up to Granada once a week or once a fortnight rather than visiting more regularly.
There are small business for Computer repair in Salobreña and Almunecar, although Mortril is a larger town. You wouldn´t need to visit Granada for everyday things such as that.
I would highly recommend trying out one month or two living in these places before making you decision.
High season is July until Mid September. So those months are busy with Spanish and international tourists to the coast.
Did you think about living closer to Granada perhaps.
Then you have 30 min drive to the coast rather than the other way around.
Wherever you are, there is countryside pretty much all over the Granada province
I hope these comments help somewhat
Hi, what is the name of the board game all the Spanish women play in the street? And where can I buy one please
One of the most popular board games in Spain is Parchis. Its origins are actually from India ´Parchisi´
This game is similar to Ludo and has four colours on the board. Red, Green, Yellow and Blue.
Sometimes on the back of the board is another game, ´El Juego de La Oca´ meaning Game of the Goose (similar to Snakes and ladders)
You can buy this in all toy shops in Spain will have this on sale. Department stores like El Corte Ingles will also have it.
To buy online some companies do a personalised Parchis board with family photos. (fotoprix, mybestpresent etc.)
Kind regards from Granada
Hi Molly follow your site and tweets living half the year near Padul. Can you explain how the Spanish sales work it seems there seems to be a first rebajas in early July then a second one a bit later. What are your tips for getting the best out of them?
Nice to hear from you, I know the Lecrin Valley & Padul well and visit every once in a while.
The Sales, yes, they officially begin on 1st July (although from when children end school there are promotions and offers, like Pre-sales deals)
In Andalusia dates for Sales are from 1st July until 31st of August
Shops open on the first Sunday of sales 5/7/2015 and the last Sunday of Summer sales 30/8/2015
For the first rebajas I tend to go to look at shops 1 week before to try things on and look at what is in store.
Then when the sales begin I head directly to those items which I have previously selected. (No pondering or trying on)
As it is very hot in Summer, at 2.30pm-4pmm the shops which don´t close at midday are very quiet. If you can bear to be out at midday this is another good trick too.
Segundas rebajas, these sales are like the final discounts to move the stock quickly before the winter stock arrives instore. These are higher discounts 40% or 50% in some cases.
There isn´t an exact date for this as each brand decides (and some years it varies) but Zara/inditex did theirs on 10th July last year. It is around 1 week or 10 days after the first sales have begun.
It is also worth checking out online stores, some Spanish now have great online offers and websites.
You can purchase from midnight on Tuesday 30th June 2015 to make sure you get the exact size/colour and don´t have to bustle amongst the crowds.
You make like to look at Money Saver Spain´s website, that has lots of tips and information on deals in English.
The newsletter is a great source of information
Kind regards from Granada
Thank you that is genuinely useful. When do the big stores tend to announce their upcoming sales deals I’m thinking mediamkt and corte ingles in particular.
Lots of updated information can be found on their websites https://www.elcorteingles.es/ and http://www.mediamarkt.es/
Media Markt have a newsletter so you can receive offers to your email inbox http://www.mediamarkt.es/mcs/shop/newsletterregister.html
Media Markt also has information on their facebook page too: https://www.facebook.com/MediaMarkt.ES
Can you tell me the origin of the name of the town of Villoria, Spain?
Is there a way to ascertain if I might still have relatives there?
I understand that Villoria is located in Salamanca, Central Spain.
The name of Villoria originates from Villa Aurea (Latin) which meant Golden Village.
Also some say it comes from the name of a notable local person called Oria (also meaning Golden)
Villoria was previously known as Villoria La Mayor, it´s believed it was an important town years ago.
Now the population is around 1500 people.
I an not sure how you could go about finding relatives there without actually travelling.
Possibly contacting the town hall they may give you some information about which department may help.
The website is: http://www.villoria.es/
Kind regards from Andalusia
Hi Molly. My wife and I (both in our mid-70s) are thinking of semi-retiring to one of the Spanish islands – Canaries or Balearics – beginning either this winter or the next. We would just turn up somewhere and rent a place for two or three months until we found a place we really liked. We did a whole lot of travelling in our youth, so we can adapt to short-term stays. And our son and his children live in Norway, which would take care of the summers. We speak only a smattering of Spanish, but have always gotten by well enough with goodwill, in Latin America.
Is there anything different about the Islands that we should know about?
Gordon Barlow in the Caribbean
The temperatures between Canary Islands and Balerics vary significantly due to the different geographical location of the islands.
I always recommend renting for 6 months to year before actually making a commit to purchase a property.
If you dont experience a place all year round it´s hard to make a good judgement. Places vary greatly in winter/summertime. Consider heating/air condition bills, busy streets in popular areas in Summertime, local festivals etc.
Both islands have good transport connections but depending on which Island or location you choose it can be more expensive or limited to get to. (high winds? bad weather)
It is worth considering a location with good access to a large city (i would suggest 45 min drive or less) as there are always errands that will need doing.
As you know from living abroad, living and being on holiday isn´t quite the same.
Look out for a blogger in your specific area as they are bound to be a few.
They will have information about specific villages and towns that could be invaluable
Kind regards from Sunny Andalusia