Spain Speaks

Frustrating things about living in Spain


Fair to say that there are certain things that frustrate me about living in Spain. When I recorded this video I was jet-lagged and had just come back from holidays in Australia. 

It was the middle of winter and I was cold and a little frustrated. I decided to put together a list of things that annoy me about living in this country and share my thoughts. 

I got some pretty strong feedback from some people. In fact, one person called me a c#nt and said that I have no idea what I was talking about. 

Another guy had enough free time to write a 500-word reply critiquing my points. 

It was basically Australia bashing but every one is free to have an opinion. I appreciate people’s feedback. 

Anyway, watch the video to find out all of my gripes and leave a comment if you have anything constructive to say. 


I find Spain a crowded country.  It’s most likely because I live close to the capital city but I can’t seem to find a place that is not crowded with people. 

Every one seems to have the same ideas at the same time and we all flock to the same locations. 


Is it just me or are people in Spain really loud? I can’t seem to find a place to socialise where noise levels are not extreme. 


Spain is a very complex country politically. Too many levels of government, too many bureaucrats, and way too many politicians. 

Corruption scandals at all levels of government and politicians unable or unwilling to take tough decisions are a serious problem for the country. 

Frustrating things about living in Spain


Fortunately, I have recently found the Madrid specialty coffee scene, so I no longer have to put up with the dishwater that is sold in so many establishments here. 

Lack of Variety in Supermarkets

Thinking of cooking a nice Asian or Indian dish tonight? Forget about it in Spain unless you have a specialty shop near your home, or you have stocked up on a recent trip back to the UK or Australia. 

A lot of the ingredients that have been commonplace for years in Australian supermarkets are not sold in neighbourhood supermarkets here in Spain. At least not in my barrio. 

The Job Market

The job market in Spain just doesn’t work. There is just a lack of opportunities when it comes to working in Spain. 

I talk about the problem in more detail in this post

If you are thinking of coming to Spain and finding the job of your dreams, probably better to rethink that option. 


The daily timetable in Spain takes a while to get used to. It starts off like a any other country but starts to go crazy after 12 midday. 

This is because people don’t usually have lunch until 2pm. As a result of the late start to lunch, the rest of the day gets thrown out of whack. 

The nightly news in Spain starts at 9pm primetime TV shows often don’t start til 10.30pm.

Governments have been taking about trying to change the work timetable in Spain (read more) but nothing has changed yet. 

Customer Service

Customer service in Spain is one of my main bugbears. Rarely do I come across good service in bars, restaurants or shops. 

I’m not asking for much. I just want a waiter to get my order right, not try to rip me off, give me a tapa when I order a beer, and give me a little smile when I pay my bill. 

Is that asking for too much?

Here’s a blog post from another person with the same gripe. 


I do believe that there are more pros than cons when it comes to living in Spain. 

I don’t think that there is a perfect place to live in the world and I don’t get frustrated here on a daily basis. 

Sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad. 

What’s your opinion? Is there anything about living in Spain that annoys or frustrates you?


Want to know about bureaucracy in Spain?


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