Living in Spain



Purchase costs

Transfer Tax Payable by the buyer for the purchase of any property provided the seller is not a developer or trading business of resale properties.

Up to 400,000€ – 8% =
On 300,000€ (400,000€ to 700,000€) – 9% =
Above 300,000€ 10%

VAT at 10% and STAMP DUTY at 1.5% – For any property where the vendor is a developer or promoter for NEW PROPERTIES. VAT at 21% and STAMP DUTY at 1.5% – for land and commercial premises.

Notary fees and property registry inscription fees

Notary fees can cost up to between 300 for example an apartment with no Mortgage to €1500 for a complex title deed.


Plus Valía Tax

This is an “added value” tax based upon the increase of the Town Hall index value of the land only, from the sellers purchase price to the present sale. It is usually not a significant amount with respect to apartments or townhouses – less than €1000.for the most part for an apartment or townhouse which last changed hands five or six years ago – but can be more in the case of villas with a large plot of land.


Total Costs

The total official costs involved in purchasing a constructed residential property should be around 9-10% for resale properties or around 12% for new properties if VAT is paid on the purchase price, plus lawyer’s fees.

Ongoing costs involved in owning Spanish property


Local Rates (IBI)

Local rates are payable annually, and are calculated from the cadastral or rateable value of the land. The cadastral value takes into account the value of the land plus the value of the building. Upon this value, each municipal Town Hall decides on the percentage to be charged in respect of local rates. In the case of Marbella for example, the formula applied is 0,9644% (for 2007) of the rateable value of the property, which is almost always far less than its true market value.

Rubbish collection & water rates (Basura) (Agua)

The rubbish collection rate is applied by the Town Hall according to the property and payable every 6 months. For an apartment rubbish collection is approximately €180 and a villa approximately €300 per year. Water consumption is calculated by the water meter consumption in cubic meters and is payable every 3 months. Payment can be made directly at the Town Hall or by bank with direct debit instructions.

Community fees

Generally speaking, the Community Homeowners’ Association is a legal entity comprised exclusively of the owners of the apartments in a building, or villas on an estate. The purpose of the Community or Urbanisation is to own and maintain the common elements of the building or estate in question, and each homeowner is obliged to participate in the expenses of the upkeep of the community areas and services on a proportional basis with the other owners. Usually, a homeowner’s percentage of the costs is fixed by the size of the apartment, or plot, divided by the total area of all the apartments or plots. A budget for the annual community expenses is presented at the annual general meeting of the homeowners, and they or their authorized representatives must approve the budget by majority vote of those present at the meeting. Expenses can vary substantially according to the services provided, and normally include salary of the reception and garden workers, lift maintenance, repairs to common elements, rubbish collection, water for community gardens, electricity for lighting communal areas, insurance, security, and administration fees A typical 2 bedroom apartment in a building or area with a hall porter, swimming pool, and a small garden, could cost between €120 to €300 per month in community fees. In the case of an individual villa in an estate of villas, community fees are often less since the private gardens and exteriors of such properties are generally not maintained by the community, and the community fees are limited to road and roadside garden maintenance, basic common service maintenance, and security.


Electricity is very expensive in Spain and is billed monthly or bimonthly, depending on the area. Minimum rates are applicable whether you are in residence or not, and the minimum varies according to the amount of electricity your house could potentially use with all power and lights turned on. The minimum charge for an apartment might be between €75 and €150 per month. Charges for a villa are from about €200 to €700 per month, depending largely on the extent of the electrical installation and the use of heating of water and air conditioning/heating.




Contributions to Social Security are compulsory for all foreign workers in Spain, whether employed or self-employed. The Social Security system in Spain is designed to provide the working population with a range of medical and financial coverage against a variety of accidents and contingencies. By contributing to this you will be entitled to the same level of protection as a Spanish National. It is mainly paid for by worker’s contributions (currently around 6.4% of the monthly wage), but the state also contributes around 20%. Cover under Spanish Social Security legislation generally means you are exempt from making contributions to your home country; however, agreements between Spain and other EU countries allow EU Nationals resident in Spain to remain a part of their home Social Security scheme for a limited period. EU Nationals who are transferred to Spain by their employer can continue to make Social Security contributions in their home country for a period of one year on provision of Form E-101 and can extend this by a further year on provision of Form E-102 (available from a UK post office). After two years in Spain you must legally begin making Social Security contributions. Usually, your employer in Spain will complete the necessary process to register you with Spanish Social Security. If not, you must do so yourself. Fortunately, the procedure is not as complex as some others you may have to go through! Go to your local Social Security office (see ‘Seguridad Social’ in the yellow classified section) and present the following:

  • Proof that you are employed in Spain.
  • Passport, plus marriage certificate and the birth certificates of any dependents if relevant.
  • Proof of residence (title deeds to a property or a rental agreement).

You may also be required to provide copies of some or all of the above, or translations; check if this is so with the Social Security office in your area. After one or two months you will receive a registration card (cartilla de la seguridad social or tarjeta sanitaria) in the post. Note that one card will provide cover for both partners in a marriage if only one partner is working and for all dependents (children under 16 years) who are registered on the card. If you are a pensioner, you will qualify for social security benefits if you receive a state pension from another EU country, or a country that has an agreement with Spain. You and your spouse will be entitled to benefits, but must prove your entitlement to a pension by obtaining form E-121 from your home country. If you retire to Spain before reaching Spanish retirement age, you must get private health insurance cover.



A NIE number (Foreign Identification Number, Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is a necessity in all fiscal or legal matters in Spain. These identification numbers are used to track an individual’s financial and official activities in Spain. Spanish citizens have a NIF number (Fiscal Identification Number / Número de Identificación Fiscal) which is their DNI (National Identity Document / Documento Nacional de Identitidad). The NIE number always starts with “X” and is followed by seven numbers and a letter. Your number is personal to you; it is not transferable nor does it expire. Obtaining a NIE number is quite easy and should be a priority upon arrival. If you do not feel up to the paperwork, you can pay a local gestor and for approximately 100 euros, they will get it done for you. If you choose this option, you must sign a power of attorney if you will not be present at the time of application.


The application process is straight forward. Go to your local National Police Station, to the Departmento de Extranjeros (Foreigners Department) and ask for the NIE application form or call directory enquiries in English on 807 422 422 to request the forms to be emailed or posted to you with instructions in English. The following documents must be submitted to the police station to obtain a NIE number:

  • Completed and signed original application and a photocopy (original returned)
  • Passport and photocopy
  • Address in Spain (you can use a friend’s)
  • Written justification of why you need the NIE (issued by an accountant, a notary, a bank manager, an insurance agent or a future employer, etc.)

Directory enquiries 807 422 422 or When you turn in the documentation, a stamped photocopy of the application is returned to you along with your passport. Ask them when you should come back to pick up the document. The turnaround time fluctuates and your NIE can take one to six weeks. You are not notified when it is ready; start asking two weeks after you have dropped off the application. You must present the stamped copy along with your passport to pick up your NIE number The NIE document is received as an officially stamped, A4 size document which bears your name, address, date of birth and your NIE number. Keep track of this NIE document, as different bureaucratic processes require the original. Always turn in photocopies – keep the original in a safe place.


These are fiscal and commercial numbers respectively. CIF numbers are issued to identify businesses and commercial entities such as SL and SA (Limited Liability and Public) companies. ASIDE: YOUR NIE NUMBER IS NEEDED TO:

  • Apply for a business permit
  • Apply for a mortgage/loan
  • Buy/sell property in Spain
  • Buy a vehicle
  • Employment
  • Inheritance of assets in Spain
  • Insure property
  • Pay taxes
  • Sign onto the national Social Security health plan



Some of the main taxes for residents and non-residents in Spain include the following:

  • Wealth Tax
  • Income Tax
  • Capital Gains Tax



In 2008, the Spanish Government had abolished this Tax. The last fiscal year that this Tax was due on was the year 2007 and in 2008 it had, to all effects, been annulled.

Wealth Tax has now been reinstated in Spain. In September 2011-2013 this tax was brought into force once again. Those who are liable to pay Wealth Tax are individuals who are fiscal residents in Spain as well as some non-residents who have assets in Spain

The re-introduction of the Wealth Tax was initially to be applicable only for the fiscal years 2011, 2012 and has now been extended to the fiscal year 2013. Further changes have also been introduced to this reform affecting mostly those in the higher wealth brackets.

Spanish Wealth Tax is based on the total net assets held on December 31 of each year and the tax rates range from 0.2% to 2.5%. Fiscal residents are liable for wealth tax on their net worldwide assets, while non-residents are taxed only on their net assets located on Spanish territory or taxable in Spain.

Each resident may deduct from the Wealth Tax the value of their main residence in Spain up to a maximum of €300.000. For Wealth Tax for the year 2012 following table:
TAXABLE TAX DUE REST OF TAXABLE BASE UP TO % APPLICABLE RATE BASE 0 0 167,129.45 0.24 167,129.45 401.11 167,123.43 0.36 334,252.88 1,002.75 334,246.87 0.61 668,499.75 3,041.66 668,449.76 1.09 1,336,999.51 10,328.31 1,336,999.50 1.57 2,673,999.01 31,319.20 2,673,999.02 2.06 5,347,998.03 86,403.58 5,347,998.03 2.54 10,695,996.06 222,242.73 and above 3.03

Wealth Tax is levied on an individual basis. When a property or other asset belongs to two or more individuals, each person will pay tax according to the percentage of the property held in their name and the corresponding loans. In the case of married couples, if assets are shared by both spouses, 50% shall be assigned to each unless proof to the contrary is presented.



Residents (IRPF)

FISCAL RESIDENTS in Spain must file Income Tax and declare the income they receive regardless of their source.
For tax purposes, one is considered a FISCAL RESIDENT if one resides in Spain over 183 days per calendar year, regardless of whether one is officially resident.

Non-Residents (IRNR)

NON-RESIDENTS must also pay Income Tax (IRNR) on income received through the ownership of property in Spain. There are two forms of taxation applicable depending on the source:

    1. Income gained on property rentals: 24.75% on returns.
    2. Derived benefit on own use of property: 24.75% of 1,1% of the rateable value of the property (if the rateable value has been revised after 01.01.1994, otherwise, the applicable rates will be: 24.75% of 2% of the rateable value of the property).



Capital Gains tax on the sale of properties for non-residents is set at 21% for 2012, 2013 and 2014 payable on profits earned on the difference of the property value between the year of purchase (purchase price plus costs) and the year of sale (sales price minus costs), based on the approved annual percentage increase on the base value approved by law. Capital Gains Tax for residents for 2012 and 2013 is set at 21% for the first 6.000€ profit, at 25%, for profit between 6.001€ up to 24.000€ and at 27% for profit of over 24.001€. Law 16/2012 of December 27 is an amendment to capital gain for residents obtained as a result of the sale of a property that has been less than a year in the taxpayer’s assets. In this case, the Capital Gains is taxed based on the general Capital Gains tax scale mentioned above. The sale of an individually owned property acquired prior to December 31, 1994, special transitory taxation conditions apply. All non-resident sellers, regardless of when they acquired the property, are subject to 3% retention of the sales price, paid to the Tax Office by the purchaser on account of the seller. If the amount withheld exceeds the tax liability, you may obtain a refund of the excess in the future table border=”2px”> Taxable base rate on savings Applicable rate% Up to 6,000 € 21% Between 6,000€ and 24,000€ 25 % From 24,000€ 27 %

The tax on Capital Gains generated from the sale of urban properties located in Spanish territory acquired between May 12th and December 31st 2012 will be exempted by 50%, with some exceptions.

Building your own home in Spain

Providing that a building plot is situated within urbanization, or an area zoned within the Municipal Plan for such use, outline planning permission will already have been granted for the construction of a detached home. However, building regulations, which vary considerably, dictate the permissible size of the villa according to the size of the plot. Care should therefore be taken before proceeding with the land purchase that one will be allowed to construct one’s chosen home on it. Panorama will be pleased to provide a list of bilingual architects, and to arrange viewings of some of their previous work. House surveys A building survey, as it is understood in the U.K., is not necessary in Spain for mortgage purposes. It is nonetheless advisable when purchasing an older property. Common things to check for are the condition of the plumbing and electrical installations, waterproofing, roofing, and so on. These checks, as well as a full structural survey, can be carried out by a Spanish technical architect or indeed by a qualified British Chartered Surveyor. Any fees involved would be to the account of the prospective purchaser.


Since the beginning of the banking crisis in 2008, Spanish banks have gradually started to lend money again to purchasers, and loans during 2010 have become easier to obtain, and more frequent. However, their criteria are much more stringent than before. A qualified foreign applicant can reasonably expect a mortgage loan to be approved for between 50% and 70% of the official valuation price of the property. However, the purchaser must prove that between 30% and 35% of his net disposable income after taxes and after other mortgage commitments, is free to service the new loan. Additionally, please note that valuations from some bank valuers can be as low as 20% to 25% below real, proven market values. This is not always the case, but the banks are apparently encouraging low valuations. The easiest loan to obtain is that for 50% of the property’s value. However, the banks are equally concerned about the ability of the applicant to service the mortgage loan, and still require a lot of documentationç A foreign applicant should not be discouraged, however, and it is important to meticulously prepare the documentation needed by the bank. Current conditions dictate the need to have at least two or three banks to apply to. Your agent and lawyer can be very useful in this procedure, which can take anywhere from three weeks to almost two months from the time all the documentation is submitted. A sample documentation required by the Spanish banks does not vary substantially from that required by banks in other countries, and includes:

  • Two years’ tax returns.
  • If you are receiving a salary, the last 6 months payslips, as well as proof of any other regular income. If you are a company owner, the proof of your various means of income.
  • A list of your current monthly mortgage payments (if you have any).
  • A statement of one’s total assets and liabilities, confirmed by a professional accountant.
  • Copies of one year’s bank account statements
  • Copies of your passport
  • In all cases, there will be a mortgage application form to fill in, and sometimes additional documentation is required, depending on the case.

Purchasers or sellers of property should always consult qualified Lawyers and Tax Advisors.



Starting April 2007 residency cards are no longer issued to EU nationals. EU nationals may live and work in Spain using their EU passport, but if planning to stay more than three months, they must register in person at the Foreigners’ Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or at designated police stations. They will be issued a certificate stating their name, address, nationality, identity number (a NIE), beginning residency date and date of registration. This certificate will not serve as identification. If you do not have a NIE, one will be issued to you automatically upon registration. All EU nationals are now legally required to carry either a national identity card or a passport at all times. Periodic updates will be required to reflect changes of residence, marital status or to discontinue residence. Non-EU dependents will still be required to file for residency. EU citizens who already have residence cards need to re-register in the central registry. Information about the new requirements is available on Spanish Ministry of the Interior’s website or call them 955 569 537 or 900 150 000 extension 5. The recent changes in the residency laws have created more chaos in what was already an awkward system. At present you must go to the National Police office which opens at 9, but some arrive as early as 7 in the morning. Further changes are inevitable, so it is advisable to check before you go. In Marbella, for example, there is a two colour ticket system in place; one colour is for dropping off documents and the other is for picking them up! Although tickets are distributed at 8.30, your slot corresponds to how deep in the queue you are. Seems like a drag? It is! Take a book… and wrap up warm in the winter months!


Residency confers a series of advantages of the holders, many of them are fiscal. Non-residents when selling a property have 5% of the declared selling price of their property retained by the tax office (Hacienda) against the payment of capital gains tax while residents declare their capital gain in their annual tax return. All foreigners, residents and non-residents alike, interested in opening a bank account, owning a car or a home need a NIE number. Applications for residencia must be made to your local National Police Station. Residency laws are in flux, you may be required to have a visa from your country of origin and it is best to confirm the latest exact paperwork requirements for your nationality. Typically you are required to submit:

  • Original & copy of completed and signed application
  • 3 Colour passport photos with white background
  • Passport & copy (with a validity of at least six months)
  • Original town hall registration & copy, certificado de empadronamiento

Requirements vary depending upon nationality but they may ask you for originals and copies of:

  • Proof of address – title deeds to your property or rental
  • Work contract (must be for a minimum of 6 months)
  • Spanish social security card or private health insurance policy
  • A certified copy of your criminal record, penales, with translation & copies. This you must get from the local police in your country of origin
  • Certified documents attesting to your marital status
  • Fees, which must be paid via a bank (you will be given a paying-in slip)

Applying for residency can be a headache, Local gestores can greatly expedite the process, as they know the ins and outs of the law. As officials, they are allowed to skip queues and tend to shorten this lengthy process. Take a book because the queues are long!


UK registered voters may vote in general and European Union elections for up to fifteen years after moving abroad, but you can’t vote in UK local government elections. If you are a registered voter in the UK, to vote overseas you must:

  • contact your local electoral registration office at your former council and ask that the forms be sent to you – this also applies if you are only abroad temporarily on polling day.

If you are an unregistered voter, you can’t vote from abroad, unless you left the UK before you were 18 and your parents/legal guardians were registered to vote in the UK. If you have lived abroad for less than 15 years, you can register with the local council where your parents/legal guardians were last registered. All overseas voters can vote by post or by proxy. A proxy vote is where you authorise someone to place your vote. Postal votes are sent out around one week before polling day.


According to INE in 2006, the numbers of British nationals registered as resident in Spain increased by 21%. There are an estimated 1.1 million British Nationals resident here. British Nationals make about 17 million visits to Spain each year. So far in 2013 the Consulates in Spain have issued 4,672 Emergency Passports and over 22,000 passports. Spain have issued 4,672 Emergency Passports and over 22,000 passports.




The biometric passport design employs state of the art technology (iris, facial and fingerprint recognition) with security features, including a biometric chip containing the facial image and biographical data of the holder, making the document more difficult to forge and quick to introduce in computer systems. The facial biometric is derived from the applicant’s passport photo. Logically, this requires good quality passport photos so they can capture a facial recognition biometric that meets international standards. lMachine-readable passports will still be valid until their date of expiry. There is no need to change a valid machine readable passport for a biometric passport. Passports that are currently issued by Madrid are valid for the next 10 years. The British Consulate-General in Madrid also issues full 10 year passports. Appications should be made on the relevant C1 form for adults, or C2 form for under 16s. You should enclose two passport size photographs, taken with a white background, one of which must be countersigned, and the fee. If your application is for a passport renewal, you should also include your old passport.

Call  915 249 700 Processing time for passport application is usually ten days upon receipt of a fully completed application and the correct fee. Be careful to sign the application well in bold ink because this signature is scanned to be included in the passport. Please note children are no longer included on their parent/guardian’s passport. Each child now requires a separate passport. Children who are already included on passports may continue to travel with the bearer until that passport expires or the child reaches 16 years of age.


They accept payment in cash and by Mastercard and Visa credit or debit cards. If applying by post: You must pay using Mastercard or Visa credit or debit cards by printing a Card Payment Authorisation Form (included in the Fresh Directory passport pack), filling in your card details as instructed on the form, and enclosing this with your application by post. DO NOT send your actual credit card. Please state exactly what you are applying for (A family of two adults and two children would therefore write 2 x C1 + 2 x C2 + post . Payment in cash cannot be accepted unless your application is made in person. Any cash received through the post will be returned to the sender, delaying the application.


WANT TO BECOME A SPANIARD? Once you’re a resident in Spain, depending upon your nationality and personal circumstances, you have the right to apply for the Spanish nationality. The general requirement is a legal and continuous residency for 10 years. Exceptions are 1 year for those married to, or children of Spaniards, 5 years for persons granted asylum and 2 years for citizens of Latin America, Andorra, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal and Sephardi. Citizenship is granted by the Ministerio de Justicia and one applies at the Registro Civil. You must, in theory, renounce the nationality of your country of origin, however in practice few do this. Some countries in Latin America, Portugal, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Andorra recognise double nationality. In order to apply for Spanish nationality, you need to bring the following documentation and photocopies:

  • Birth certificate (along with official certified translation into Spanish)
  • Criminal records from your country of origin with certified translation.
  • A certificate of Spanish criminal records.
  • A police certificate stating the time of your residency in Spain.
  • Your registry certificate.
  • Your registration at the Spanish town council and cohabitation document if applicable.
  • Your work history from the social security department.
  • If you are a dependent or married to a Spaniard, they must be present with full documentation in original and a copy (DNI, birth certificate, family book, validation of marriage certificate, as applicable in each case).

EU residents already have the right to live, work and vote in Spain or any other European Union country. Those of other nationalities reap more benefits by obtaining the Spanish nationality. The process is slow moving and takes 2-3 years. ASIDE: Biometric passports were launched in Madrid in May 2006. Passport fees are 185€ for an adult passport and 118€ for a child’s passport. Emergency passports cost 86€ and are valid for one journey.


Having a Spanish bank account is very convenient as many of your household bills can be paid by direct debit from the account and most banks offer debit cards which allow you to shop and pay directly from your account. Generally, most Spanish banks supply internet banking, allowing clients 24 hour a day access to their accounts.


While some banks offer extended opening hours, in the main you will find that they operate between the hours of 8:00 and 14:00 and do not re-open until the next day.


Saving accounts are available, but you must specifically ask to open one. Interest is at an all time low and some savings banks are offering only 1% interest. Banks are required to ask non-resident account holders to sign a document biannually affirming their non-resident status.


There are two types of banks in Spain: savings banks and regular banks. Savings banks do not have shareholders and invest in social and cultural projects. There is a nationwide network of savings banks recognisable by the sign saying Caja de Ahorros. To open an account as a non-resident you must present a current passport. To open an account as a resident you must present your registry certificate. The bank staff will do the paperwork for you and the process is speedy.


While cheques come with the basic account, the cuenta corriente, they are very infrequently used in Spain, as most people prefer cash or plastic. If you decide that you feel more comfortable using cheques, use the same precautions you would at home: Treat the cheques like cash. After filling in figures include a horizontal line filling up the blank space; if you make a cheque out to cash, al portador, add two parallel lines horizontally across the cheque and between these parallel lines write “y cia”. When you do this, it means the cheque will have to be deposited into an account and will be traceable. When you open the account, you will be given a temporary chequebook and within about ten days, your personalised chequebook will arrive at the branch. When you see you are running low on cheques, contact the bank, as they will not offer you new cheques unless you ask. Note: Spaniards do not use cheques and many shopkeepers will be reluctant to accept them.


Your debit card will take about ten days to arrive at your branch. When you pick it up you will be given your PIN number. Ask at the branch what you must do to access your account over the internet. You may use non-Spanish credit and debit cards as long as you have proper ID.


To cancel a direct debit you need to visit your branch and tell them you wish to remove the company from your list of direct debits. Normally they charge you a small fee for this service. Also directly contact the business and cancel their service. Many bills can be paid by direct debit: utilities such as electricity, water and telephone, amenities including satellite television, insurance, as well as all town hall bills, circulation and property tax.


Your debit card gives you access at all connected ATM machines that dispense cash twenty-four hours a day. Using your bank’s cash point will incur no fees. Fees vary when using cajeros automáticos from a bank that did not issue the card.


Ask your bank manager to give you a print out of all your direct debits and give this list to your new bank of choice. You simply open a new account and add your direct debits, then close your old account.


Most banks and savings banks now offer internet access. You must sign up for this in the office and they will give you your user name and PIN number. Generally there is a second PIN number or a code card used to authorise transactions. Many of the websites are at least partially available in English.









WHAT IS THE PADRÓN? The Padron is officially called the Empadronamiento and refers to the process of registering with your community’s padrón (city roll), also called the Padrón Municipal de Habitantes. The municipal padrón is the official record of all the people who live in a particular community and is the official way to verify or accredit your stay in Spain. By law, everyone who resides in Spain should be registered in the community where they live
In practice, the empadronmiento is your key to becoming a member of your Spanish community and you can apply as an individual or as a family. Whether you are here in Spain legally or not, you should consider registering with your local padrón, as it provides innumerable benefits if you intend to live in Spain for any extended period of time.


First, getting empadronado means that you’re considered an official resident of your community. Consider this your first step to integration into Spanish life. Second, the empadronamiento is the way that your stay or residence in Spain is verified or accredited – a necessity for a variety of administrative procedures.
For example, you will generally need a volante or certificado de empadronamiento to do the following things in your Spanish community:
Enroll your children in local schools.
Get married.
Apply for a local health card (el carnét para la asistencia sanitaria).
Apply for certain visas.
Apply for residency by way of a general amnesty.
For those who don’t have their papers in order, you have nothing to fear from registering. The information you provide is considered confidential. In fact, it’s in the city’s best interest to have an accurate count of the number of people within their jurisdiction and you can rest assured that they will NOT use this list to go after illegal immigrants or those who overstay their visas.


Based on the number of inhabitants, a city or town receives money from the government to provide services to those who live within its juridiction, which means that if you’re registered or empadronado, then the city receives money to provide services on your behalf, regardless of your legal status. It’s therefore in the city’s best interest (and yours really, for optimum service levels) to have an accurate count of who is really living in the community and using (or potentially using) the public services in question. It is for this reason that registration with the padrón is confidential.


Getting empadronado is largely a question of filling out a form and gathering together the required documents. Considering the staggering amount of bureaucracy required for certain other official procedures.


Being registered is a two step process and has no complications whatsoever. Children, in order to study in Spain, must be “empadronado”, registered at the local town hall.
To become registered all you have to do is go to your local town hall and ask to empadronarse, fill out the form with your name, place of birth, parents’ names, your age, address, marital status and studies then hand in the form along with a copy of your passport (the original must be presented). You may also need a copy of a utility bill in your own name, either gas, electricity or water; a telephone bill is not usually acceptable.
By registering with the town hall, a more accurate estimate of the local population is given which is reflected in the services that the government funds in each area. It is a good idea to keep this document in a special folder, as you will need to present the original on occasion.


The British Embassy has overall responsibility for the representation and promotion of the UK in Spain. Consult the embassy for legal procedures, travel advice, visas, passports and consular information.
Madrid (embassy)
C/Fernando el Santo 16
(mon-fri – 09:00-17:00)
tel_ 917 008 200
Many forms are downloadable on the website:
(Passport renewals take between 10-21 days, the cost is 185€ for a 10 year adult passport and 118€ for a 5 year children passport)


Privately run schools are tailored to suit the needs of foreign born students while simultaneously accommodating Spanish nationals interested in immersing their children in a multicultural environment.
Depending upon the curriculum and cultural orientation of the learning centre, classes are taught in a variety of languages: English, German, French, Swedish, etc. Many of the private schools are bilingual and offer a curriculum parallel to that offered in the UK.
The wide variety of options reflects the popularity of international and private schooling. GCSEs can be undertaken at most of the schools, while the Spanish LOGSE system (Ley de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo/standardised education made law in 1990) is also an attractive alternative.
International and private schools allow children to be in the company of peers while exposing them to children of other cultures. These schools tend to have a higher teacher to student ratio and this allows for a more personalised experience.


On the other hand, total immersion into the Spanish culture has its benefits. Children develop friendships with other children in their community and integrate into the Spanish culture quickly. More and more ex-pats are exploring the option of state schools and the quality education they provide.
The state run schools do not offer the bells and whistles of privately run schools, however they provide quality education. Where you live determines which state school(s) your children may attend.
Education in Spain begins with “pre-school” which incorporates play school, nursery school, kindergarten and infant school. Divided into two stages by ages 1 to 3 and 4 to 6, attendance is voluntary and provided free.
Compulsory education begins with primary school at age 6 and covers subjects such as social sciences, Spanish, reading and maths.
Secondary school education provides more specialised education for pupils aged 12 to 16 and upon completion, pupils who have achieved the right grades are awarded a graduation certificate allowing them to continue with further education.


Ideally, one would travel to Spain prior to moving, to investigate the different educational possibilities. If your child will be going to a state school you will need to be registered at the local town hall. You will need a copy of this registration, a copy of your child’s proof of immunisation, their previous school transcripts, as well as photocopies of both the parents’ and child(ren)’s passports.
As in British state schools, the catchment area is all-important, so having decided on your chosen school it is essential to ensure that your house (whether purchased or rented) is located in the correct area. Most schools prefer to interview prospective pupils, with exams being set in some cases to ascertain the level of Spanish attained.


Keep in mind that if your child will be attending a non-English speaking school, that their knowledge and learning of the English language should not be taken for granted. All students in Spanish state school are obliged to learn English and your child can take advantage of this class time to refine their spelling and grammar skills.
While the other students are learning rudimentary English, yours can be studying from texts bought in England or purchased over the internet at There is a fine series of texts published by Letts Educational that complement the English curriculum.
Scholastic also has a wide range of interesting texts that can be used for home schooling or to complement the Spanish curriculum.
If you want your child to follow the British curriculum, the British Council can give you advice regarding British schools in Spain:
If you are considering Spanish state run schools, contact the town hall in the area where you are planning to move. Public education is free, but books and materials are not supplied.


Pre-school (educación infantil) is for children aged 1-3 and 3-5 and is not obligatory. Emphasis is placed on the development of personal identity and autonomy, the development of social and physical skills and communication. In other words the children play and do group and individual activities.
Primary Education (educación primaria) is for ages 6 to 12 and consists of three two-year cycles. This compulsory educational program is designed to develop the child’s personality and prepare them for social and cultural life.
The children study the following courses:

    • Environmental, social & cultural studies: biology, geology, etc. (conocimiento del medio natural, social y cultural)
    • Art (educación artística)
    • PE (educación física)
    • Spanish language/literature (lengua castellana y literatura)Foreign languages (lenguas extranjeras)
    • Maths (matemáticas)
    • Religion (religión) is optional. (There is separation of church and state as established in the Spanish constitution, however in 1954, Franco made an agreement with the Holy See that the Catholic religion is the official Spanish religion; the Church pays no taxes and in fact is subsidised and taught in schools from pre-school to bacillerato).



Obligatory Secondary Education, ESO, (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria) is from 12 to 16. The Junta states that these years of study are to help students recognise and develop their aptitudes and interests and to teach them the values and skills of a modern pluralistic democratic society.

  • Natural sciences: biology/geology & physics/chemistry (ciencias de olas naturalezas)
  • Social sciences: geography, history, morality & ethics (ciencias sociales conocimiento de medío)
  • Virtual and art and design, DT, (educación plástica y virtual)
  • PE (educación física)
  • Spanish language/literature (lengua castellana y literatura)
  • Foreign languages: English, French, German (lenguas extranjeras)
  • Music (música)
  • Technology (tecnologías)
  • Religion (Catholicism) (religión)

Fourteen is the pivotal age when a child’s progress in school shapes their future academic possibilities. They enter into the last cycle of compulsory education and depending upon their academic success, they will either undertake vocational training or carry on with their studies for a further two or three years in university preparation, students with appropriate qualifications must take exams to enter into Spanish university.
Bachillerato (the Spanish version of the A level course) is from sixteen to eighteen. This last stage of secondary education focuses on formation, career decisions and college preparation. Subjects include art, natural sciences and health, humanities and social sciences and technology. At the end of Bachillerato, the university applicants must complete “selectividad”, an entrance exam.
There are specialised schools for music, dance and art. For children living in rural areas there are state run residential schools as well as private boarding schools. Generally, children with special needs are integrated into mainstream schools wherever possible.
Concertados are private schools, run by individuals, collectives or businesses and are profit making educational institutions; however they are subsidised by the State.


In order to study in Spain, children must be registered at the town hall, see “Getting Registered” or call 807 422 422 to find out how. We can also answer your questions about school registration and enrolment.
In most Spanish schools you will be required to obtain your child’s course/text books and materials prior to the commencement of the new term. Materials include pens, pencils, crayons, plastercine, rubbers and rulers etc. In some cases you will be asked to provide a toy. Your child’s school will provide you with a full list and advise you on where to obtain all the items you need.
In some stores up to 25% discount is offered on school textbooks if purchased before the end of July. State schools are run by the Junta de Andalucía, their website outlines course objectives & resources.


Both parties are usually required to each submit the following documents:

  • An application form to be obtained from the Civil Registry or Court in whose jurisdiction the marriage is to take place.
  • An original non-abridged birth certificate, legalised and translated into Spanish.
  • A certificate of bachelorship or non-impediment to marriage. A declaration of bachelorship may be obtained at the local Civil Registry. Where this is not possible, a “Statement in lieu of an Embassy issued certificate of non-impediment to marriage” is usually accepted.
  • Divorced/widowed: Original marriage and death or divorce certificates, as the case may be, which must be legalised and translated into Spanish. Divorces obtained outside of Spain must be convalidated, the Exequatur must be obtained from the Sala 1a del Tribunal Supremo, through a lawyer.
  • Posting of banns: The Embassy or Consulates may issue a letter saying that this is not required in your country of origin.
  • Certificate of residence: Residents of Spain my obtain this document from the Tenencia de Alcaldía in their district of residence. For non-residents, a sworn statement declaring the addresses of the last few years may be signed before a consul.
  • A certificate of consular registration: Issued by the Embassy or Consulates upon presentation of a valid passport and completion of a registration card, this certificate must include an address in Spain.

All required documents must be submitted at least 8 days before the desired date of marriage although the average delay is 35-40 days.
Legalisation of required documents: Contact your consulate or embassy. Translations should be done by an official translator.


    • The most money spent for a wedding singer was the wedding of multimillionaire Peter Shalson and wife Pauline who paid £2 million to get Elton John to sing a song at their wedding.
    • The most expensive wedding was the one held in a purpose-built stadium in Dubai for a Sheik’s son. The wedding cost over £22 million.
    • The largest wedding attendance was a Jewish wedding in Jerusalem in 1993 where 30,000 people attended
    • The longest marriage in Britain was between James Burgess and his wife Sara Ann, their marriage lasted 82 years. Percy and Florence Arro Smith from Hereford have just made it into the Guinness Book of Records for being married for 80 years.
    • The oldest bride ever to get married was Minnie Munro from Australia who married at 102 years of age; she married a man aged 82 years.
    • February 10th is World Marriage Day.
    • The longest ever recorded marriage was Sit Temulji Nariman and his wife Lady Nariman, who were married at the age of five. The marriage lasted for 86 years.



  • Tuck a sugar cube into your glove – according to Greek culture, the sugar will sweeten your union.
  • The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck.
  • Rain on your wedding day is actually considered good luck, according to Hindu tradition!
  • For good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day.
  • Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eye.
  • Peas are thrown at Czech newlyweds instead of rice.
  • A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she’ll never do without.
  • A Finnish bride traditionally went door-to-door collecting gifts in a pillowcase, accompanied by an older married man who represented long marriage.
  • Moroccan women take a milk bath to purify themselves before their wedding ceremony.
  • In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds’ home as a symbol of fertility and luck.

ASIDE: Application for a civil marriage must be made, depending on the city, either to the Civil Registry or to the District Court (Juzgado). Note that in order to be married in Spain at least one of the two applicants must be a resident of Spain.

English divorce from Spain

Many English expats living in Spain are entitled to divorce either in Spain, under Spanish law, or in England (or Wales) under English law. In Spain the process of divorce is relatively straight-forward compared to some parts of the world. However, the proceedings are conducted in Spanish and through the notoriously bureaucratic Spanish court system. If you need legal advice on any aspect of the process you would need to appoint a Spanish lawyer and may need to have paperwork translated.   There are some notable differences in process and procedure between the Spanish system and the English one, especially around the division of the assets of a marriage which could mean that there is a significant advantage to using one country’s system over the other.   An English divorce is a fairly simple process if the divorce is uncontested (that is you both agree to get a divorce and are agreed on the reasons why).  The divorce itself is a paper exercise, with the obvious advantage that all paperwork is in English. Most divorces in England take between 6 – 9 months to complete. This time-frame may increase if the other party to the divorce disputes the grounds for divorce, delays returning paperwork or there are difficulties tracing them. But most divorce cases are fairly straight-forward and proceed without delays.   Divorce and family law specialists Woolley & Co, Solicitors provide advice on whether you can divorce in England and can help you complete a divorce through the English courts as well as deal with financial agreements and the arrangements for your children after you separate. For a free telephone appointment call (+34) 9511 20555 or visit


When an Ex-pat dies in Spain, the next of kin or a legal representative must decide whether to repatriate the deceased to their native country or hold a local burial or cremation. Some travel insurance covers repatriation and the insurance company must be immediately made aware of the situation.
Once you have obtained a death certificate from the Civil Registry, Registro Civil at the Court Building, Juzgado or at the Justice of the Peace, Juzgado de Paz, you can then register the death with your local Consular office.
Under normal circumstances, the registration process and release forms are obtained within a few hours. In the case of foreign nationals, the authorities extend the period of time for funeral services to accommodate the arrival of family members.
When a loved one passes away, there is great consolation in knowing where to turn. Hospitals have funeral directors that make recommendations for local companies. It is wise not to sign any finalised documents when under stress, but rather contact a local English funeral service which will facilitate the process in English – it will simplify an already trying period and you can avoid hidden expenses. You call the service of your choice and within an hour they are with you to help determine what services will be required.

Avalon Funeral Plans

For nearly 25 years Avalon has been committed to informing people in Spain about how the complex funeral system here works. If you are a British, Irish or European citizen that lives, or spends more than four weeks a year in Spain then the information is essential to you. We offer expert advice to you which will allow everybody to make an informed choice to fully protect you and your assets.  Avalon is Europe’s leading supplier of pre-paid funeral plans. They will be able to offer a tailor made funeral plan to suit every client which is fixed at today’s cost. All their members are covered in Spain and the UK. You will automatically be covered immediately regardless of health issues or age.

Central Office:
PO Box 800, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1RG
administration_ +44 (0) 20 8939 9530
fax_ +44 (0) 20 8940 1671

Northern Ireland Regional Office
Piney Ridge, Knockbracken Healthcare Park, Saintfield Road, Belfast BT8 8BH.
tel_ 028 9079 2419

Cruse Bereavement Care Cymru
Ty Energlyn, Heol Las, Caerphilly/Caerffili CF83 2TT
tel_ +44 (0) 29 2088 6913

Phoenix Counselling Service
Administrative Office, 591 Heathway, Dagenham, Essex RM9 5AZ
tel_ +44 (0) 208 595 9633

Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service
8/10 Forty Avenue, Wembley HA9 8JW
tel_ +44 (0) 20 8385 1874


To have full free access to the Spanish Health System you have to have a social security number. To get one, you generally have to either work for a company or become self employed (in which case you’ll pay to be part of the system).
If your country of origin has universal health care, then you may be able to get your country to pay Spain to cover you. For the UK, this is the case for those over 60 and for some people who qualify for the invalidity benefit. You will need the appropriate form (E121 or E106).
In some cases, you may want to keep your universal health care provided by your home country if you intend to be back and forth between Spain and home. In this case it would be recommended to purchase additional health or travel insurance from a home-country insurance provider that supplements your universal health care for the duration of your stay in Spain.
If you have a Certificado de Empadronamiento, you have the right to emergency care in any public hospital. Once any temporary health care from your country runs out, look into contracting Spanish health insurance. Also see Doctors in Spain for more about your empadronamiento, getting your health care card and finding a doctor.


Doctors in Spain are welll educated, practical and prescribe good drugs (that are often so much cheaper than the UK). For almost every ailment you can think of, you’ll be treated with every respect, and to some of the best care in Europe.
In any case, the procedure for getting a doctor within the public health care system is as follows (also see health care and insurance in Spain):
Once you get your empadronamiento, you take your form to the local clinic (they’ll tell you where your clinic is at the registration centre for your empadronamiento). You present the form along with your work permit and work contract (if you have those, better that you do, although you won’t be refused) to the desk after waiting the obligatory hour or more; where they’ll present you with a shiny new card good for free public health care at your local doctor’s office.
This doctor will usually be provided or assigned to you, although I believe you can try to specify any that you might know in the area. The next time you need to go to the doctor you’ll call the number for your doctor (which you’ll get along with the card) and thus you set up an appointment with them.
In case of emergencies, you can take your card with you to the hospital and should receive free medical attention.


There are a number of private health insurance companies in Spain:
Prices for private insurance start at about 30 €/month for a 30 year-old male, plus an initial fee of 30 euros.
You might try one of the following international insurers: Bupa International, Aviva of PPP.


Today, the biggest drug threat to Spain is cocaine. Most of the cocaine coming into Europe from South America enters via Spain. Shipments leave Colombia or Venezuela and arrive in impoverished Western Africa countries with corrupt law enforcement agencies.
From Africa to Spain, smugglers often use fishing boats or go-fast boats that can exploit Spain’s long coastlines. The Spanish Navy makes frequent seizures on the high seas between Africa and Spain, finding cocaine loads of 800 to 1800 kg that were intended to keep Spanish citizens enslaved to this drug.
Of those in treatment for drug addiction, 45 percent are being treated for cocaine, more than any other drug. It is the most likely drug to send people to the emergency room as well, being involved in two-third of ER visits. About a third report cannabis use and less than a quarter report heroin use. On the other hand, alcohol is commonly abused by nearly all people abusing illicit drugs.
Spain has suffered from the highest cocaine prevalence rates in Europe for the last decade, even exceeding U.S. figures in recent years. But because cocaine addiction is a more recent problem than heroin addiction, fewer drug rehabilitation centers exist to treat it.
Much of the cannabis found in Spain is in the form of cannabis resin. In 2008, nearly 700 tons of the resin was seized in Spain, the highest amount in Europe. Much of the cannabis resin enters Spain from its Mediterranean neighbor, Morocco and more is produced domestically as evidenced by the seizure of 25 tons of cannabis plants in 2007.
Cannabis abuse figures have stabilized recently. In 2008, one in ten people in Spain used the drug, which was slightly lower than the prior year. In the most susceptible age group, 15 – 24, almost one quarter reported using cannabis in the prior year.
There are many sources of help for substance or alcohol dependency. If you or one of your friendsor family please dont hestitate to seek help.
Cocaine Anonomys Spain


A 12-step program for recovering drug addicts. NA meetings in English are available on the Costa del Sol.

  • Narcotics Anonymous Spain (Narcoticos Anonimos España)
    tel_ 902 114 147
  • To obtain information on English-language Narcotics Anonymous meetings in Spain,


A 12-step program for recovering alcoholics. There are English-language AA meetings held on the Costa del Sol.


A 12-step program for adult children of alcoholics. Online support meetings are available.

  • For ACA support on the Costa del Sol,
    tel_ 607 461 748




The British Embassy has overall responsibility for the representation and promotion of the UK in Spain. Consult the embassy for legal procedures, travel advice, visas, passports and consular information.
MADRID (embassy)
C/ Fernando el Santo 16
(mon-fri: 09:00-17:00)
tel_ 917 008 200

MALAGA (consulate general)
Paseo de Recoletos 7-9
(open 08:30-13:30 and visa applications accepted from 09:00-12:00)
tel: 915 249 700
Many forms are downloadable on the website:
(Passport renewals take between 10-21 days, the cost is 185€‚ for a 10 year adult passport and 118€ for a 5 year children passport)


If you believe that you have been the victim of a crime in Spain or you believe that you have witnessed a crime, you are required to make a Denuncia (or ‘denouncement’ in English), which is basically a formal statement made to the police. you are able to do this at any office of the Policia Local or Guardia Civil. It is better to make this statement in person, but if your level of spoken Spanish is not competent then you should take somebody with you to translate on your behalf. You should also take with you your NIE and passport, and any other documentation or evidence that may support your statement.
There is provision to make a denuncia by telephone if needs be – in English – and one can be made by calling 902-102-112 before you make the call you should have your NIE (or passport number) available, together with your address, for identification purposes.
It is likely that the first person to answer the phone may not speak or understand English so you should at the very least be able to ask to be transferred to an English speaking operator in Spanish.
The operator will then take you through a series of questions to determine the nature of the crime and take down a few basic questions to try and arrive at an understanding at what has occurred. It is recommended that you go through the sequence of events in your mind beforehand so you can be clear on this, making notes if necessary. Once all the information has been taken down you should be given a reference number you have now made a denuncia. The operator will then enter the details of your statement into the system and the denuncia report will be despatched to your nearest police station. You should confirm where exactly this is, as you will be required to report there with your documents, and quoting the reference number that you have been given, within 48 hours.
If you believe that you have been the victim of a theft or crime that is likely to result in a claim with your insurance provider, you will be required to present a copy of this, similar to a crime report in the uk, so it is always a good idea to take multiple copies of this.
Once your statement has been filed, the police force in question is obliged to investigate to find out if a crime has actually taken place, and if so the nature of the crime, together with the identity of the person(s) committing the crime and their guilt. Once this investigation has been completed the details may be passed over to a public prosecutor who will decide whether to proceed with any legal case or not, and if so, in what manner.



In the Mediterranean bull raising, worship and sacrifice date back to before the Bible. Many of the older bullrings in Spain are located near Roman temples in sites where sacred bulls were once sacrificed. In the middle ages the nobility practiced bullfighting, hunting and jousting to learn the art of warfare. The aristocracy entertained themselves fighting bulls on horseback in suerle de casa, and as this pastime began to fade in the 18th century, peasants took to bullfighting on foot. Viewed by many as an art form, bullfighting is linked to the Spanish national identity and is increasing in popularity, in spite of international animal rights protests.

THE DYNAMICS OF A CORRIDA (not for the weak of heart)

A bullfight is a highly ritualised and structured event. It begins with the paseillo where all the human participants enter the ring presenting themselves to the public. Symbolic keys to the bull pen, the puerta de los toriles, are presented to the mounted alguacilillo. The spectacle itself consists of three parts, called tercios, which are announced by trumpet blasts. There are three toreros in each corrida, and each must fight two toros bravos that are at least four years old and weigh 460-600 kilos a piece. The matador wears a traje de luces, a suit of light inspired by 18th century Andalusian clothing.


The Running of the Bulls in the San Fermín festival in Pamplona was made famous in the Anglo-Saxon world with Hemmingways novel. The Sun Also Rises. Nowadays San Fermín attracts many tourists who choose to run with the bulls. Running with the bulls is dangerous and the town hall offers multi-lingual brochures with tips on how to survive the experience. Tip#1 watch it from the sidelines!
At noon on July 6th a fireworks display kicks off the festivities which last an entire week, ending at midnight on July 14th. On July 7th, thousands of people accompany the effigy of Saint Fermín along the streets of Pamplona. There are dancers and street entertainers and giant carnival figures.
The main event the encierro, the Running of the Bulls, is what draws the crowds. The encierro involves running in front of bulls down 825 metres (0.51 mile) of cobbled streets in old town Pamplona. Each morning the events start at 20:00. The competitors, mostly men, are clad in white, with a red handkerchief, tied about their necks, and a red sash tied around their waist. The runners gather together and sing an ode to San Fermín asking for his blessing before making the mad dash. After the run, the participants hit the bars… Its fun, its invigorating but please remember its also highly dangerous.



A parents’ support group for couples with mentally disabled children. Aspandem has a secondhand shop in San Pedro de Alcantara; proceeds are channelled to needy children.
Avenida Principe de Asturias, San Pedro de Alcantara
tel: 952 787 650
open: 10:00 – 13:00 Monday-Saturday and 16:00-18:00 every Wednesday Ciudad de los Niños:
Residential centre for disadvantaged children and young people; run by monks from the Catholic religious order Hermanos Obreros de Maria it is approved and monitored by the Andalusian Regional Government.
Finca los Asperos, Malaga
tel: 952 179 150



Cancerhelp UK is a free information service about cancer and cancer care for people with cancer and their families. It is brought to you by Cancer Research UK.
CancerHelpUK believes that information about cancer should be freely available to all and written in a way that people can easily understand. You can find further information about the following topics at:

  • About Cancer
  • Specific Cancers
  • Living with Cancer
  • Worried about Cancer?
  • Your Stories
  • Books and Links
  • Cancer Treatments
  • Symptoms and Side Effects
  • Questions and Answers
  • Cancer Research
  • Healthy Eating
  • Help and Support



      Cancer Research UK relies on people like you to help them fund their vital work. You can donate online through their secure online service using your credit or debit card. If you prefer, you can set up a direct debit online.


      Cancer Research UK is the largest volunteer-supported, cancer research organisation in the world and supports the work of 3,000 scientists working across the UK.


      tel_ +44 (0) 207 009 8820




      Located on the Ojon Road going up from Marbella on your right at the Caseron de la Mina.


      Triple A is affiliated with the R.S.P.C.A. and is a legally registered charity dedicated to helping and caring for abandoned and maltreated animals; increasing general awareness of good animal care and actively supporting other animal protection groups.


      The society survives solely on the monies raised through donations, membership subscriptions and fund raising events. Triple A organises different events throughout the year and welcome volunteers to walk the animals as well as monetary contributions.


      tel: 952 771 586



      The Blue Horses Association is a registered charity founded to help horses that have been badly treated, neglected or abandoned. Helping horses recover from ill treatment is only part of the job; the main focus is to raise awareness about animal abuse and neglect, while prosecuting offenders under the newly established Andalusian animal rights laws. Make an appointment to visit the rescue centre:


      Milly Cramer: 647 0101 009


Refugio del Burrito
Donkey sanctuary, Fuente de Piedra (A-92 north of Antequera, from Fuente de Piedra just follow the blue signs).
Founded in 2002 by the English Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, this registered Spanish charitable trust rescues and provides long term care for donkeys. You can sponsor a donkey or provide a foster home for a pair of donkeys.
Visitors are welcome, in fact there are even picnic tables set up… open to the public 11:00-18:00 (19:00 summer)
Paul Svendsen: 952 735 513

Apdo. de Correos 32, 29680 Estepona
The National Association of Andaluz Donkey Breeders (Asociación Nacional de Criadores de la Raza Asnal Andaluza) was formed so that, with the help of like-minded people, this almost extinct breed of pure breed donkey can be saved and slowly increased to form a heritage for future generations. The Andalusian Giant Donkey is an ancient breed of European donkeys, not a mule. The Jacks can reach 16hh (1.60m) to the wither (shoulder)  the same size as a large horse!
tel/fax: 952 790 511

Spanish Society for the Protection of Horses (la Sociedad Española para la Protección de los Equinos, SEPE) is a non-profit charitable organisation devoted to the welfare of horses. They promote public awareness in Spain about animal rights and welfare. They run a sanctuary for horses, donkeys and mules in the Malaga area. It is heart breaking to read the case histories of the horses that have found shelter with them. If you would like to make a donation or sponsor a horse contact SEPE:
tel: 626 677 719
fax: 952 450 096

PAD is an animal charity dedicated to saving abandoned dogs and cats with the hope of finding them new homes. If interested in assisting you can provide foster or permanent care for a needy animal. PAD is a registered charity and holds many fund-raising events throughout the year. If you are looking for a pet or would like to help with the cause:
Barbara: 952 486 084


Hunting is permitted from mid-September to mid-February. Only the lynx is a protected species and there are restrictions on certain types of bear. That leaves the deer, mountain goat (including ibex), roebuck, boar, wolf and mountain sheep. Small game hunting is permitted all year. You must have a licence and comply with the laws regarding firearms.


King Juan Carlos was born in Rome on January 5, 1938. At the time of his birth, in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, few thought that the Spanish monarchy would ever be restored. King Alfonso XIII, Juan Carlos´ grandfather had gone into exile in 1931 after two decades of social and political unrest. After Alfonso XIII died in 1941, the Spanish royal family relocated to the Iberian Peninsula, to Lisbon, capital of Portugal.
The future King, Juan Carlos arrived in Franco´s Spain as a nine year old child. He completed primary and secondary education, followed by military academies, and graduated as a naval, army and air force officer complete with pilots wings. At the Complutense University of Madrid, he studied Political and International Law, Economics and Public Spending. During the Franco dictatorship the Spanish royal family did not participate in the political decisions, however as General Franco aged, it became clear that Juan Carlos was being groomed as his successor. In 1962 Prince Juan Carlos married Princess Sofia of Greece in Athens. Their union produced three children: Elena in 1963, Cristina in 1965 and Felipe in 1968. On November 20, 1975 General Franco died and two days later the 37-year-old prince was proclaimed King. In his first speech before the Spanish parliament, Juan Carlos declared his goal to re-establish democracy and be King of all Spaniards, without exception.
In the unstable early years of democracy, Spain still suffered the divisions that had brought on the Civil War and many were sceptical of the monarchy. This all changed on February 23, 1981 when a group of pro-Franco military officers attempted a military coup. National television captured the image of Colonel Tejero waving a pistol as he burst into parliament announcing the military take over. The country froze fearful of a return of dictatorship. Juan Carlos calmly appeared on television, asked the military officers to retreat and restored calm. The Spanish people feel a gratitude to Juan Carlos that goes beyond words. He ushered in the era of modern democracy. Known as a hard working man with a sense of duty and family, in his youth his debonair appearance made him quite a hit with the ladies but he has always been a family man with a great love for the outdoors.
Prince Felipe, next in line for the throne, has two daughters and there is speculation that his first born, Leonor may well become a Queen of all Spaniards.