Village Life

We decided to buy a home in the white villages rather than in the campo (the countryside). There are pros and cons to this. You have more privacy in the campo and therefore more freedom of action. There’s usually more space if you want to farm, garden or create and develop a pool area. The houses of the white villages on the other hand, tumble over eachother and are lockedc together like a 3D jigsaw puzzle. You are very overlooked! However, there are advantages to the village. You are not isolated, and lonliness is a distinct feature of being an immigrant. You live with, meet and develop relationships with Spanish people who are by and large warm and generous. No doubt there are as many curtain twitching gossips in Spanish villages as there are in English, but since we couldn’t speak much Spanish we couldn’t understand what, if anything, they were saying about us. You get known in the shops and the bars and older people especially who are your neighbours take some responsibility for helping you to get used to village life and the “customs of the pueblo”. Living in the countryside its easy to meet only very few Spaniards and to become an isolated little ghetto. The architecture of the white villages is particular and bears directly on your life style. Traditionally these are mud and stone houses with mud and cobbled streets. However, the post Franco prosperity ushered in the age of concrete and today almost every building is faced with or is solid concrete. Sound now bounces off and rattles around the walls so that two people having a conversation in a bar sounds like a riot. The streets too have largely lost their cobbled steps (built for donkeys) and have, where practical, been flattened and concreted to admit cars. In the hill villages where we live, this is only possible for a small proportion of the streets, and access to your house by car is a first consideration when buying a property. The flatter, river valley villages are favoured by older expats but because they can spread easily over the flat ground are often a shapeless and ugly unplanned sprawl. There are rarely gardens in the pueblos though terraces abound and builders realised very quickly that foreign buyers appreciate views (local people use their terraces to hang out the washing). You have to like nodding and waving at passers by. People are friendly and unlike many communities in the UK, everybody, from young children to the elderly, look to aknowledge aquaintance with a wave or a passing comment. There are invariably, though by no means always always, patios outside the front doors. Although you may use these, they are usually the property of the village and on fiesta days when strangers come and look the village over, parties of visitors may well walk over your patio and look into your window. If you live in the village you pick up on the fairly full on social life that consists of singing dancing drinking and eating – much of it paid from the town hall and free to anyone who turns up. . .
living in Spain


  1. We also live in Andalucia (5 + years), in a small village near the Sierra de las Nieves called Yunquera. We live in the campo!

    How’s the rental thing working out for you? Would be interested in comparing notes!


    • Hello Ann
      Nice to hear from you. What sort of notes would you like to compare?


      • Extremely helpful aritlce, please write more.


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