Are you happy in Spain?

Hello everyone!

According to the 2016 UN World Happiness Survey, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland are the happiest countries on earth.

How about you? Are you happy in Spain? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?

In your opinion, are locals in Spain happy? How can you tell?

Please share your experience!

We now live permanently in Menorca and have done so for two and a half years.  Many years ago we lived in France close to the Spanish border at Frontarabia, northern Spain.  The contrast between the way the French and the Spanish engaged with life was remarkable.  In our part of France, the locals  were formal and inflexible.  Apart from weddings and festivals, everyone was tucked up in bed by 10.30.

We would often drive over the border to San Sebastian just to escape for a few hours and the contrast was palpable.  In San Sebastian life is lived on the street.  Every evening, summer and winter, the lanes throng with people.  At 2.00 in the morning the buses are still running, bars and restaurants serve drinks and taxis rush too and fro.  Leaving to return home, we would cross the border into France and plunge back into gloom.   Lights were out and the streets deserted.

Although the French invented the phrase 'joi de vivre' it is the definitely the Spanish that exemplify it.  We are yet to find a European country that enjoys life more than Spain or is more welcoming to us ancient pensioners  who can't afford the cost of living in Britain any more. The economy may be in tatters, the politicians corrupt and unable to form a government, but it's fiesta time, so let's party!

I echo the thoughts of DhBahiya as we too lived in France for several years but the xenophobia, inflexibility of attitudes and systems driven by what can only be called institutionalised madness finally drove us out. France has changed!
In Spain we have been welcomed everywhere and the style of life is just so much better. The French appear to be dead in so many ways whereas the Spanish are alive and it shows.
We would not return to the U.K. partly because the motivators behind the Brexit vote were simply astounding. While I believe the right decision was reached it was for entirely the wrong reasons. The xenophobia that became so apparent during the debate was, is, appalling. That single factor alone is enough for us to turn our backs on England. (Scotland and Ireland are an entirely different kettle of fish.)
In Spain we have found administrative systems to be fast and smooth but I accept that others have had different experiences, which is true of processes in other countries.  There is now an obvious delay being built into some of these processes because of the Brexit vote. However, on the positive side the Spanish are a flexible, sensible people and I am sure common sense will come back into play.
I wake each morning with a feeling of being alive. Something that drained from us in the nanny state called the U.K and more so in France. That feeling, as I stand on my beautiful terrace, makes the feeling of life so much nicer. Government or no government, corruption up to the gills and beyond or not, we’re staying.

Quite a contrast with Spanish Galicia where people are also tucked in bed at 10.30 and buses stop at 10 unless on Friday night.c :)

Paperdetective, you have my sympathies. We lived in France like this for 8 years, except they were in bed by 9.30 and the town was deader than charity in a tax collector's heart by 7pm.  Never again!
Each area in Spain is different so find a place that suits you. There is plenty of variety.

Funny you say so, Writerman. We live just across th4 border in Galicia and just cross the bridge to get in livelier Portugal, where the stores are open on Sundays as opposed to Galicia. :-)

Hi, I'm happy to reply
... and Happy to have moved to Spain. In fact one should come to my area to understand why i say that.
I live in a triangle of 3 National/Natural Parks in the Center North of the country.  I would like to include a picture here of my house but don't know how. I prefer not to add through URL.
As to the question if the Spanish are happy in their own country... I have mixed feelings about it... Spain is a bit less expensive than the other European countries,... try drinking a coffee on a terrace in France or Belgium... and compare that with drinking a coffee on a terrace in Span... You will definitely want to have your coffee in Span... But what I want to say... is that life is difficult for many of my Spanish friends. Although rents for houses / pisos are low, also salaries are still low here and cost of living (except for food and beverages) is as high as in other countries of Europe. Yes, my Spanish friends are positive and relatively happy but at the same time many are struggling to live a good life.... compared to my Flemish friends over in Belgium who can spend more money but are not necessarily more happy.
The message is: Live simple and be happy with what you have... most important a good health, many friends and a bit more money than you need to pay all your bills.
Wish EVERYONE happiness!

We are retired Americans.  Have lived in Barcelona for a year, after 3 years in Istanbul, Turkey.  We love Spain...that life is lived on the street, that the cost of living compared to Silicon Valley is reasonable, that the food is great and the local culture even more so.  Our daily life here is very enjoyable.

Generally, yes. But there are negatives, too. I am a single guy, still in good shape but notwithstanding the "social" type clubs here, meeting someone is well nigh impossible. Maybe it is the area I chose. Who knows. Whatever, life can be quite lonely.
Also, despite our wonderful EU and its alleged unified rules, consumer protection here is shambolic at best. Try (as i am doing) to get some justice/refund from a car dealer for selling lethal motors! In the UK, the law would be on your side, but of the 3 abogados I have spoken with, only one is optimistic about my claim! ONE! FFS!!!!!
Add to this the wee niggles, such as the brain-dead town planners who put pedestrian crossings immediately after a roundabout exit or a handful of yards /before/after a junction. In other words....just where your attention would NOT be focused at that time!
Then there's the copious dog poo on the pavements and the shops closing 2 - 4 pm which drives me and my friends/neighbours *many are South American) bonkers. Can you imagine a country with massive unemployment and empty coffers....yet it still finds time to put its feet up for 2 hours every day?? Honestly, you couldn't make it up.
So.......there are annoyances and difficulties here ain't all bad.
That said, I often wish I had chosen Asia.

Hi Tenerifediver,

I can understand your frustrations well!!... I have many similar experiences which I will spare everyone but maybe only this: Many times the discussion between my Spanish friends and myself end up in negative mood when the discussion goes into the direction of the Spanish economy.  I'm from Belgium, where workers start at 8 and have 30 mins break at 12  to eat the sandwich that they brought from home to start again working till 5. Now compare that to the average Spanish worker who arrives at your place at 9 (if at all he arrives! cause he may have met friends in the bar for a few "carajillos") stops at 11 to eat his "bocadillo" for 30 mins. Goes to town at 1 pm (20 mins drive!) to enjoy a full 3 course meal and drinks half a bottle of wine; comes back at 3:30 to 4 and calls it at day around 6 pm. That makes that he worked not a complete 6 hours while in the north people work their 8 hours round. Now, it is debatable what is the better lifestyle. But personally I like working a bit harder and have a few more euros in my pocket which buys me in turn a bit more freedom.
I agree with you about the working hours. Going to the capital of my province to deal with the admin mill is equally frustrating. I drive 2 hours going ... stand in line for 1 hour... be sent walking cause something is missing... but can't get it cause at 1 pm they pull the plug... I drive back 2 hours and return the  next morning... and the story repeats itself!
I leave it here...I'm still staying though!

But Tenerifediver... if you're into diving and you are still single and you regret that you're not in Asia...why not trying out some other country... or have one foot in both!?...Have you been to Thailand?... Philippines... great diving places!!!

Good luck in accepting a few things... not bothering with others... and enjoy life your way in this beautiful interesting and exciting country.

Kind greetings

Amusing stuff, Peter. Actually I am very familiar with the Asian countries you mentioned.  In fact it was a coin-toss.........a condo in Thailand or a house here.  I often wish.........well, you can imagine.

Take care


I can imagine well... but don't stay alone... Asia and Spain go well together!

Think of it.


Indeed. I just need a job so I can afford the luxury of travelling!

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