Living in Galicia

Hi I've been in Galicia about a year. Getting a bit fed up with it now and finding it hard to integrate. Are there any British groups in the area as I've given up making any Spanish friends :(

Hello mate!

What a shame we live so far - dying for a bit of convo! I have not found it difficult one bit too integrate! Do you speak any Castellano or Galician? However little you speak, when you make an effort - the Spanish really welcome you on board. I live in Vigo but I find... if you go out for an aperitif and say Hola buenas when you enter, if there are people they will chat away to you.

Best of luck and chin up!!

Thanks. It probably doesn't help that I live in a rural area where people are suspicious of foreigners. I spent the first few months smiling at everybody and trying to make friends. The only 'friend' I made ended up trying to make money out of me. It just didn't work. I'll have to get some scaffolding for my chin :(

Nooooo do not smile at random people mate seriously - Os gallegos are very sociable but if you smile at everyone they will think you are weird - its just the culture - I smile all the time but I don't direct it at anyone purposely. Maybe you try to hard. You need to be inconspicuous ! Chat in bars go for a beer - let your hair down - but do try to speak something of Spanish ;)

Thanks I'll drop the random smiling :/ Appreciate your comments!

Also something I want to end up being like - is a bit more rugged - throw my arms about a bit more! Be a bit more Spanish! Do you know the hand gestures for tomar (drink) and shake of the hand for fuete? (strong) Good luck - these things may sound silly - but when you 'fit in' and people think you are Spanish - you end up with lots of facebook friends - friends on WhatsApp and loads of female appreciation jajajaja !

Don't give up on amigos - I prefer Spanish people to English as they are way kinder and more sociable para mi ;)

Hello Jaymobil.
The first Expat I see from Vigo.

Have you been gere long?

Hi Agnes no only 4 days - y tu?

I've been living here in Vigo for 13 years.

A slightly bit longer than you

Wow that is very admirable

Yes, there is a group of expats which meets regularly,Tlast time in Lugo. Meeting soon in Pontedeume, I think. though maybe they are a bit older than you. Let me know at if you're interested and I'll put you in touch with the person who organises the meetings. Seems worth trying.

Acceptance is very slow in Galicia, especially in the rural areas. Even of other Spaniards. Maybe especially of other Spaniards!

Hi Spangal
We are in a very rural area of Galicia, have been for over 10 years on and off but now we are here almost full time. I find that in a 'bar' situation there will generally be someone to chat to - particularly if you're a man, and I agree, saying Buenas and que tal will usually result in a similar, friendly response. I think it's more difficult for women, as it might be anywhere in rural Spain (that's another conversation!).  In general life, these are small communities and have been isolated. And people talk - and they will talk and wonder about you! We found that we were 'adopted' by an influential older lady who seemed to think we were okay, and that was good for us. She died a few years ago, and I think passed the baton to another older lady (88) in the village. We have in common that we look after the feral cats here, with that particular lady, and people appreciate that. We have renovated some ruins as well, and people like that. I suspect they would have preferred Galicians to do it but they are grateful that we have. I think it's important that we've been seen to make a contribution, and over the years people have got used to us, and seem to like us. However, they are still curious about why we're here and we still get surprised looks occasionally, and questions about why we're here, what we like about it. The thing is, it is so beautiful and so tranquil (and so undiscovered) that our enthusiasm is pretty clear. If I were from and lived in a small village in the UK and appreciative foreigners arrived I might quite like that too.  We speak reasonable castellano and throw in  some gallego words. We're making more of an effort on the latter as we want people to know that we 'get' it, that gallego was banned and there is strong pride about it.


Hi there no idea what to call you sorry! I just want to comment on an excellent piece of writing firstly and secondly how amazingly fantastic your achievements are. I have my dreams and aspirations, but don't think they would ever amount to any of the things you have managed to achieve. What an inspiration you are. I'am in shock and ore!

All the best to you.

Hi Spangal, where in Galicia are you? I'm in a rural area, between Ferrol and Coruña. I struggle with the parents at school too, although I've been here for 2 years and I'm now on two WhatsApp groups!!

Hello. Just wondering how you are getting on in Galicia nowadays ? We have been in the mountains of Malaga for over 20 years and are considering a family move to Galicia. Do you know anything about the schools in the area? We have a 4 and 7 year old both born in Spain and bilingual so not too worried about integration so much but, we would just be interested to know what the schools are like. You mentioned being rural. We would definitely be looking at rural areas. How is the internet service? I am an online English teacher so it is important to have good internet. Do you or any of the very helpful people who replied to you know anything about planning laws in the region. Here in Malaga province you cannot build on anything less than 10000m2 of land and the building regs are very strict. We would be considering a reform project so it would be really useful to know any helpful hints or tips relating to this. Any other helpful info would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Schools differ widely in Galicia, as does the availability and strength of wifi. You need to be specific about your preferred area(s).

I'm not aware of any particular restrictions such as the one you mention. There are hundreds of rural houses for restoration. Indeed entire villages . . .

You need to be sure about the weather. This too varies widely in Galicia. And is a lot wetter than Andalucia, especially in winter.

As regards planning laws and other considerations, perhaps you should contact this highly-regarded specialist property lawyer, who speaks excellent English. She operates throughout Galicia and knows all the estate agents, some of whom are more reliable than others.

Elena Lino: Galicia Property Lawyers. ***

If you get in touch with her, mention my name.

Good luck.

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Thanks very much for the helpful info. Weather is not an issue for us. Sick to death of incredibly hot summers. 45 degrees in August was the last straw for me this year. We don't mind rain at all.

Summers are almost perfect here, though hotter in the interior - say Lugo - than where I am on the coast, In Pontevedra.  Ourense can be the hottest - and most humid - place in Spain in summer. And can also get very cold in winter. There seems to be a growing community of expats up near Monforte de Lemos. Elena can tell you more about where her many  foreigner clients are.

Have you read Lisa Wright's books about reforming a house in rural Galicia? Available on Amazon.

Hi Gayle
Depends where you want to be in Galicia. It's a big place and there are lots of differences between coastal areas and inland. We're in the Ribeira Sacra - on the property side there are many ‘projects' to be had. This area has lots of abandoned stone houses and you can buy them cheaply. You'd have to find out about regulations about renovation - in our village it's very strict because it's an ancient place, but I think it's more relaxed generally.

We've been here solidly for 3 years but visited our holiday house for many years since 2007. We love it - it's very authentic, the landscape is stunning, the food is wonderful, and much sunnier than people think as there's a micro climate around the river valleys. It's good advice to think about having some altitude as you can often be in the sun above the misty valleys on the fresher mornings.

Not wanting to jinx our internet but it's excellent and we're in a very rural area. 

I had no idea Monforte was becoming known for British migrants. That's our local small city and it is a lovely place.

Happy to try to answer anything else, particularly about this area!

I haven't read that book, will have a look for it. We have reformed a finca here in rural Andalucia and my partner is a joiner and has undertaken many reform projects both in Spain and abroad. After 20+ years we are no strangers to the bureaucracy which surrounds almost every situation here in Spain. The climate in Galicia sounds positively balmy. The heat down here seems to get more unbearable each year. My partner travels a great deal to the UK via ferry and it is a very long drive each trip up and down to Malaga so we are just thinking it might be sensible to make such a move whilst the kids are still small.


I have lived in Ferrol since January 2017, struggling to make real friends, acquaintances fine

@spangal I am originally Spanish and now also British. I was born in Galicia and live now in Kent but I spend a lot of time in Nigran in the Rias Baixas. Knowing the people from here I understand the frustration. People are friendly but it is hard for them to deal with foreigners because of the language (I am guessing here, as you may speak a very good Spanish). It may help if you move to a bigger city such as Vigo, Santiago or La Coruna. Also, your work and hobbies will help a lot to meet new people. However, even for a local it is hard to break into new groups at a certain age when family lives are well established and the family routine dominates our free time. I was for many years (still am) the foreigner among locals and the only way to make friends was meeting parents of other children at my children's school or through my work. Lately also through hobbies: running club, sailing club etc.

Hola a todos!  Any English speaking foreigners in Pontevedra? I'm just here taking a look around  and it feels good. I don't necessarily prefer to live in a city, but as a single person, Iit may be best for me to start

Hello magshef,

Welcome to!

Kindly note that this thread has been inactive since last year.

Nonetheless, I hope that you will get to interact with some members soon1f609.svg


Yoginee team


Hi pall.

I live in the rural countryside  around ourense.  I find it wonderful.  Of course, being married to a Spanish Lady , does help integrating in Spanish communities..

I hope you are happy.


Hello yoserian,

I hope you are doing well.  I also live in rural countryside in the province of ourense. I love living in the countryside and much prefer the self-sufficiency style of living (including permaculture) over living as a wage-slave in the city, although this is not easy and it cannot be done fully alone. You would need at least a well-qualified small community for that.  If you are interested in chatting or getting together, feel free send me a private message.


anyone who wishes to share tips on Vigo? We're hoping to visit very soon but before we get there we'd like to get some updated info on Galicia and Vigo.  More interested in town life than villages. 

Thank you 1f64f.svg


Do you speak Spanish, gallego or trying to learn?

Have you tried Meetups or volunteering? You could start an expat meet up.

@Doncolin I have sent you an email. I am buying a house near Pontedeume and would love to make contact with other "expats".

@Lole9 hi!

I am in the process of buying a house near Pontedeume. Any advice on Meetup groups much appreciated!


I have literally just arrived. Leaving Portugal and buying a house near Pontedeume. Currently staying in Ourense.

I find my 2 large Spanish rescue dogs introduce me to everyone?! I'm not a large woman - I suppose the sight of me with a 40 kilo hound makes them curious!!


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Hi, my wife and I thinking of moving up near Vigo after many years in Torrevieja living on an urbanisation, so looking for a property in a small town with all amenities. We are in our 50s but still working. Any recommendations before we start looking around? want to be somewhere a little cooler, greener and away from british holiday makers. Thanks in advance for any tips.


i am retired but like to stay active. I will be moving to Vigo in March . I like know if there is an international/British/American women's Group. i belonged to one in Barcelona and in  London.

@philipadams34 hi. Have you found any English-speaking groups? I am close by, looking to make pals etc.

Hi, anyone near Pontedeume/Ferrol/A Coruna?

Thank you very much for the information. In my case I highly recommend miniature bull terrier kennel