Katie moved to the Costa del Sol with her baby son and her parents in 2015. Now firmly settled in, we asked Katie what it is like to move your life to Spain, and her experience of family life in the sunshine.
Nearly three years ago Katie – a member of our resource team here at Property Guides – and her family decided the time had come to leave Ireland for sunnier climes. If you want the sun, you may as well dream big, so they chose the Costa del Sol. Their new home town is San Pedro de Alcántara, just 10 kilometres from Marbella. Katie was keen to tell us about her Spanish adventure and gave some tips for those planning a similar move.
Why did you choose San Pedro de Alcántara?
Katie: We knew the area from holidays spent in Spain and my parents wanted to live in a warmer climate.
Did you buy a property?
K: No, we were lucky and were able to rent an apartment on a long term lease. In fact it is in the block where we stayed on holiday! Renting was a straightforward process for us but San Pedro is an up-and-coming town these days and long term rentals are not always available.
Does your son go to a play school in the town?
K: Yes. There are four in San Pedro and three are bilingual English/Spanish. Alex goes to a private nursery school but will start school this September when he is four.
Was it easy to integrate?
K: Yes very easy. San Pedro is a bilingual and multicultural town. Meeting parents at Alex’s play school helped a lot. My parents take regular Spanish lessons and have found friends easily. I have been studying for an online degree in psychology at Dublin City University which hasn’t left time for me to learn Spanish but I will do so this summer.
Also, I have lived in Australia and Abu Dhabi so I can easily adapt to other cultures. My parents love the way of life here and intend staying.
We spend most of our free time on the beach or at a playground. For children it is wonderful to be able to learn another language.
What is the best thing about your move to the Costa del Sol?
K: Without a doubt the outdoor lifestyle. It’s perfect for young families and older people. We spend most of our free time on the beach or at a playground. For children it is wonderful to be able to learn another language. I’m not at all homesick for Ireland and neither are my parents. They love the Mediterranean diet, as do I. Eating tapas is a wonderful way to socialise and to spend an evening with friends.
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Are there any disadvantages?
K: Well, unless you speak Spanish you have to find an English speaking job. If you work, you may not find time to learn Spanish.
Where do you go shopping?
K: The nearest place is Marbella but I find that it’s better for restaurants and bars than shopping. We go to Málaga every couple of months to shop. It is cheaper than Marbella and has a larger selection of stores.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of moving to the Costa del Sol?
K: Yes. Try to learn Spanish before you come to Spain. You can take evening classes or go to an adult college. It’s really worthwhile.
Check out the area you are thinking about carefully before you buy or rent. Research is invaluable. Look at schools – you may want a bilingual one for your children. How far are you from the beach? Can you walk to the shops? What facilities are there nearby?
Try to learn Spanish before you come to Spain. You can take evening classes or go to an adult college. It’s really worthwhile.
So you are going to stay in San Pedro?
K. Yes, definitely. I’m 28 and the way of life here suits me perfectly. My parents are happy too and help me with Alex when I’m working. For us, the move has turned out to be excellent.