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MOVING TO SPAIN

Nine things you need to know before moving to Murcia

You don’t hear a lot about Murcia. Sandwiched between Alicante and Andalusia, the region is often overlooked by those wanting to relocate to Spain. Former Murcia resident Conor Faulkner has the lowdown on what to expect before buying a home or moving there.

Nine things you need to know before moving to Murcia
Amazing views from the Batería de Castillitos on the outskirts of the Murcian city of Cartagena. Photo: Pablo Cabezos

If you’re looking for Mediterranean coastline, orchards and olive groves between the mountains, medieval castles and traditional Spanish villages, Murcia could prove to be a hidden gem.

However, there are a few other facts you should keep in mind:

Like the rest of southern Spain, Murcia is sizzling hot – Temperatures can top 40C in the summer, and it very rarely rains. During the summer months locals don’t leave the house during the afternoon, getting everything done in the morning and at night to avoid the dry heat. A cold winter in Murcia is considered 10C, with temperatures occasionally reaching the high tens or early twenties.

In Murcia the accent is as fierce as the heat –  Famous, or infamous, among other Spaniards for the accent, like in Andalucia Murcianos often drop the end of words all together –  particularly the D’s and S’s. This can be confusing when you first arrive, but after a few months you’ll be calling people ‘acho’ – a diminutive form of the Spanish ‘muchacho.’

Not just countless Mediterranean beaches – Known as the Costa Cálida, Murcia boasts over 250km of sandy beaches and although there are more touristy spots, most lack the foreign presence you get in nearby Alicante and Andalusia. But the region also offers nature lovers everything from canyons, to deserts, rivers and rock formations to explore. 

Mount Arabí cave is one of the hidden gems Murcia has to offer. Photo: Antonio López/Pixabay
Mount Arabí cave is one of the hidden gems Murcia has to offer. Photo: Antonio López/Pixabay

House prices are some of the cheapest in Spain – The city of Murcia, the region’s capital, is one of Spain’s cheapest, and in the region’s smaller towns you can rent two or three bedroom apartments for as little as €300 a month, or buy property for €600/sqm. 

The capital city aside, most Murcianos drive – If you opt for a small town, having a car will probably be essential as public transport in the region is… unpredictable, to say the least. The vast majority of towns in the region are without connections, and many don’t have train stations. Those that have bus stations often aren’t serviced by national companies, and if they are there are usually one or two departures to cities like Murcia, Alicante and Valencia a day.

Murcia Cathedral and Puente Viejo in the Murcian capital. Photo: Ricardo Arevalo/Flickr
Murcia Cathedral and Puente Viejo in the Murcian capital. Photo: Ricardo Arevalo/Flickr

Murcianos are very friendly and welcoming – If you move inland from the Costa Calida into one of Murcia’s many mountain towns, you will be helped and hosted in a way you rarely see in cities, nor in the twenty-first century much at all. In town for a day trip? You’ll probably be shown around by a local. Moving in next door? You’ll be invited for lunch and given baskets of oranges and lemons, and bottles of olive oil. Murcianos are some of the friendliest people in Spain, provided you can understand them.

Murcia can be outdated – That being said, for all the old world charm and hospitality, some may find life in small town Murcia somewhat old-fashioned or conservative – Whether it be the lack of public transport infrastructure, international chains and brands we’ve become accustomed to, or perhaps even a political opinion not heard in bigger cities for a couple of decades, in small Murcian towns life seems to be a few decades behind, for better or worse. If you want to experience traditional, small town Spain, consider one of Murcia’s northern towns or villages.

Playa Lunar is one of countless amazing beaches and coves Murcia has to offer. Photo: Dr Zito/Flickr
Playa Lunar is one of countless amazing beaches and coves Murcia has to offer. Photo: Dr Zito/Flickr

Murcia no existe – Murcia, and Murcianos, are often the butt of Spanish jokes. ‘Murcia doesn’t exist’ or ‘Murcia is Africa’ are common jibes to hear directed at Murcianos, as well as gags about lemons and olive oil and farmland. Due to their kind-hearted nature, many Murcianos couldn’t care less and take it in their stride, laughing off the ‘city-types.’

Jobs – Although falling recently, Murcia is historically one of Spain’s regions with the highest levels of unemployment, and is still above the national average. This is particularly true among young people (where it hovers between 15 percent and 20 percent) and there aren’t a great deal of jobs around outside of the capital. If you are considering moving to Murcia, it might be best to make the move with savings ready, or to consider teaching English as locals are keen to learn. Average annual gross salaries in Murcia are €16,828 in 2021, one of the lowest in Spain. 

By Conor Faulkner

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PADRON

Can I get my padrón online in Spain?

The padrón certificate is a handy multipurpose document you receive when you register with your local town hall in Spain. It can often be frustrating having to apply for it in person, so are you able to apply online instead?

Can I get my padrón online in Spain?

Empadronamiento is a registration process which adds you to the census of your local area. The associated certificate – el padrón – provides you with official proof of your address.  

For your local town hall, or ayuntamiento in Spanish, it serves the purpose of knowing exactly how many people are living in the area, which in turn helps them receive adequate funding for public services.  

But your padrón certificate is very useful for you too, as many official processes in Spain require you to prove your address.

For example, you may need it to get your driving licence or to register as an autónomo (self-employed). 

READ ALSO: 16 things you should know about Spain’s padrón town hall registration. 

Technically, you should apply for your padrón within the first three months of moving to Spain, or if you move home to a different area within Spain.

You may also need to reapply for it if you need it for another official process and it is older than three months.

If you’ve already been living in Spain, you’ll know that getting documents such as your padrón can take longer than you probably hoped for. This can be very frustrating, particularly having to first get a prior appointment (cita previa) from your town hall, as this ends up stringing out the process.

Being able to apply online instead of in person could save you a lot of time and should make the whole process easier, but is it possible?

Can you apply for the padrón online in Spain?

The short answer is yes, it is often possible to apply for your padrón certificate online. However, it may depend on the area you live in.

For example, if you live in Barcelona or Madrid, you are able to apply for your certificate for the first time online or renew it online too.

Those in Barcelona should visit the relevant page of the Ajuntament website here where you can fill out and submit the online form.

Those in Madrid can fill out and apply for the form here, while in Valencia, you can apply via the following link here.

You will simply need to follow all the steps, filling out all your personal details as you go and then submitting it at the end. 

Remember, you will also need to have digital copies of your ID documents such as passport, TIE or other residency cards, the deeds if you own the property where you live or your rental contract if you are renting.

You may need a digital certificate or [email protected] to be able to officially identify yourself during online processes, but this may not be necessary for all town halls, it will depend on what type of system they have set up.

For example, if you live in Granada and have your digital certificate, you can apply online, but if you don’t, then you will need to apply for it in person.

In Madrid, those who don’t have a digital certificate can apply for the padrón via e-mail.

In some other areas, you may be able to apply to renew your certificate online, but if you’re applying for the first time then you will still need to go in person.

As is so often the case with official matters in Spain, there is no standard procedure which applies across the board for getting a padrón online.

You may ask one civil servant who tells you it is possible, then turn round and quiz another funcionario, who completely rules it out. Perhaps you’re better off first Googling “solicitar padrón a través de internet” (apply for padron online), plus the name of your town to see if it is an option.

‘Spain is different’, Spaniards often say in English when being critical about their country. When it comes to applying for a padrón online, Spain and its 8,131 town halls most certainly are different.

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