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Thinking of moving to Alpujarras region

Hello Everyone out there! I am a British expat who lives some of the time in Greece, although for my next big life shaking move I am considering a move to Spain, Andalucía. I have visited the area about 10 years ago on several occasions, and stayed in Ugijar and La Rabita. On one memorable occasion my husband and I missed the bus from Albunol and had to walk from there to our hotel in La Rabita. That's about 8km in 46*C but it was Ok, it's downhill all the way thank goodness! Anyway, we had a couple of prospective property purchases turn bad and we got tired of Spain and it's corruption at that point. Big HOWEVER, since we have now lived in Cyprus and Greece, we are somewhat less idealistic, and as we have to leave Greece we are re-considering the Alpujarras. Can I ask what it's really like there in winter? I know nearer the mountains it must get snow, but is it also very damp, or is it a crisp cold. I know it does get very hot in the summer, but would you say it is mostly dry heat, or is there a lot of humidity? Do you have any problems with water supplies to your homes i.e. does it get cut off or restricted in summer to feed the tourists? Do you have a problem with mosquitoes? What are the health services like and from a woman's point of view especially? Are the locals in the more remote villages friendly even if your Spanish is poor? Lastly, what opportunities would there be for playing live music even if one had to do it at the coast? Sorry for the bombardment of questions, but you are the best folk to ask! Hope someone out there in cyberworld can help me! Many thanks, Minxy :)

Hello Minxy - I'm not sure that I am really qualified to answer your questions as I live on  the other side of the Sierra Nevada. However, we are at around the same altitude so we probably share the same climate, give or take. The heat is dry and hot in the summer and yes, there are mosquitos! Winter only kicks in, January and February when it rains A LOT. That said, last November temperatures plummeted to minus 5 each night so it was 'muy frio' but that was only for two weeks or so. Generally speaking, you can expect much better weather here all year round than you would in Northern Europe. With regards to health care, you will need to take out private health insurance at first. You will be covered for emergencies on you EU health card but to be a part of the government health system here, you will either need to pay stamp or be working. We are still trying to address the medical system here as it's early days for us too. Good Luck with your venture, Spain is a wonderful place to live and we are very happy here :)

Hi Lottienevin, many thanks for getting back to me with your info and experiences. It's always very useful to have anecdotal tales of other people's experiences, although I know nothing beats first hand experience. From what you've said, I get the impression that you probably have slightly drier and shorter winters there than here in Greece. Sometimes we have torrential rain and wind that lasts for months although it probably doesn't get below zero often. I want to live somewhere where the climate is drier as I find that very humid conditions be it through heat or rain really set my asthma off. I don't mind cold as long as the house is able to be heated up efficiently and I do seem to remember from my visits to Spain in the winter that it was often very cold but bright which can be pleasant. Anyway, I would come and rent first before I entered the property market, but as I have to sell my house in Greece first it could be anytime! I will keep looking at the blogs to keep my pulse on all your insider comments. Thanks again, and I wish you a  great winter! Minxy :) BTW, I've just clicked onto your website and to my joy I discovered all your tales! I shall enjoy them over a glass of nasty Greek red wine and pretend that it's a decent Rioja! :)

Very happy that I've been of some help to you :) Please feel free to ask any questions and I shall do my best to answer them as I'm sure other Expat.com members will too. I'm delighted that you found my blog - hopefully it will give you some insight into what life is like for expats living in a small, rural community in Andalucia  We've been here exactly one year today! It's warm and sunny today 26c but yesterday was 31c so it's still lovely weather.

Here are a couple of posts that you might enjoy - Realistically, I only had two days to find a house in Andalucia (the other two days would be spent sorting out NIE's, Lawyers, bank accounts etc) - I flew from Indonesia with my fingers, toes, everything crossed that I would find something! The rest is history as they say!

http://lottienevin.com/2013/08/17/lotti … andalucia/

http://lottienevin.com/2013/08/18/holdi … bit-hutch/

Keep in touch Minxy and good luck with your plans! Lottie :D

Hi again Lottienevin, many thanks for your response. I haven't read your two links yet, but I'll do that next. Just wanted to wish you Congratulations on your one year anniversary! May you have many happy years in Spain in the future :)

Thank you! :D

Hi,

I live in the city of Granada (since 2006) but know the Alpujarras very well and Lecrin Valley too.

I would highly recommend arranging a mid or long term rental initially. It would be better to avoid purchasing a property until you spend at least a full year in the place you choose to move to.
At the moment it is very easy to buy a property but can be quite difficult to sell one.

If you rent you will have maximum flexibility to move villages or properties.

With regard to learning Spanish, the more you know the better your experience will become. If your Spanish is just basic at the beginning it shouldn´t be too much of a problem.

Hope these comments help.
Good luck with your decision

kind regards
Molly

piccavey.com

I wintered in Orgiva for a couple years. Well, it's not as cold as Northern Europe but you do know it's winter. Mainly the rain. First year we got 1.4 meters between December & February. It was rain at our altitude, of course. The mountains up towards Mulhacen were heavily snow covered & I'd guess the snowline was about 500 meters above us. Getting in & out of the valley wasn't too bad but there were a few hairy late night drives back from Granada through Lanjaron.that were made through thick cloud. There's some impressive drops off of that road so best not to miss a bend
I'd certainly agree with piccavey that you'd do well to rent for a while. Get to know you're way round. There's certainly some cheap places about. I rented a 3 bed cortijo with pool & about an acre of ground for 350€/month. Great in the summer but damp & hard to keep warm in the winter. It had a wood stove but wood's damned expensive up there. Compared with France, anyway. A lot of gas went through the gas heater.
Worth looking at your access, with any property. Most of the houses round there are on un-made roads. Dusty & bumpy in the summer but can be problematic in the winter. It depends who else is using it. If it's only you, you can keep it functional. The track I was on, the people at the end of it were doing building work & had trucks coming in & out. Chewed the hell out of the surface. A lot of work had to be done filling holes, shoveling stone into mud patches. Done by me because they didn't consider it their responsibility. Even so, there were times I couldn't get my front wheel drive up it because there wasn't enough weight on the front wheels on the slope.
Live music? There's usually something going on around Orgiva thanks to the amount of arty ex-pats live around there. I fact the place up the way from me was hosting gigs the time I was there. Trouble is, mostly they're hippy-dippy types with zero orginisational capacity, so nothing seems to last very long. Lot of hoping someone else will put up the money. Actually, the place could do with a good venue if you fancied creating one. There's some bars would be suitable & would certainly welcome the customers it'd bring in. Or there's some good things happen in Granada & Amunecar hosts a jazz festival in the summer. Or did when I was there.
As for buying... When i was there, 5 years ago, there were enough sellers. Story of Spain. The dream in the sun's gone sour. I'm minded the property price collapse has a lot more collapse left in it. Houses in places like the  Alpujarras are pretty well unsaleable. There's absolutely no wealth being created in the local economy. How could there be? Out of what? It's dirt poor mountain farming. No industry. So mostly it depends on State assistance & what tourism & the ex-pat community bring in. There's little work & most people are scratching for centavos.
That said, I'm actually considering moving back, myself. It is cheap to live. And you can get away from winter by going down to Motril, sitting under a palm tree, drinking cerveza & looking back at the snow from a climate of a British spring.

Hi, did you move to Spain ? We have just agreed to buy and are wanting to connect with expats and learn all about the ins and outs of Spanish life 🙂

Hi

I´ve been living in Lecrin Valley and Granada and also Barcelona. In Spain since 1998 I have lots of information  about settling into Spanish life

This post may help although on the blog there are many others that could be relevant
http://www.piccavey.com/move-to-granada-spain/

Regards from Andalusia
Molly
@piccavey

Thank you so much

Hi,

We have looked at this region a few times and really like it, we have seen a property to rent but still awaiting a reply back from the owners, does anyone have anything to rent or can reccomend a good site to look at for rentals in this area. We are looking for 11 months or a year whatever is the norm for long term rentals.

Cheers,

Maria.

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