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 Matthew Hirtes

Moving to Spain | Go expat in… moving to Marinaleda

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Matthew’s article this week concentrates on moving to Marinaleda, Andalucia’s power of the people

Moving to Marinaleda

Moving to Marinaleda: Andalucia’s socialist utopia

Imagine a Spain in which the Republicans rather than Franco’s Nationalists won the country’s Civil War. That’s pretty much what living in Marinaleda feels like. A town free from the commercialization of 21st century life, where Starbucks can’t open a branch let alone implement their clustering strategy which sees one of their coffee shops crowd corners of high streets elsewhere.

Marinaleda’s low on investment opportunity. If you live in Marinaleda for two years, they furnish you with materials to build your own house. That property can only be passed on to your relatives or friends, rather than sold for profit.

Ins and outs
Lying almost due east from Seville, the road trip from the Andalucian capital’s airport to Marinaleda is rather more circuitious. Allow just over an hour to reach it, travelling along the A-4.

Although Marinaleda shares the philosophy subscribed to by the International Brigades, those freedom fighters who battled against fascism, the town’s two schools are resolutely Spanish. And very much state-run ones. For private schools following a British Curriculum, you need to commute to Andalucia’s coastline.

Shop until you drop…
Don’t expect to pick up plenty of bling in Marinaleda. For a start, it houses a mere 2,600 residents. And high-street brands are the antithesis of the cooperative set up by mayor Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo. Shops here are smaller scale, like San José’s Francisco Prada Martin bakery.

Property types
Marinaleda is one of Andalucia’s pueblos blancos. The new builds, which you’re also expected to help construct, are just as white and bright.

Market watch
Estate agents have discovered a loophole in Marinaleda’s free housing scheme. And so you can purchase townhouses from around €50,000.

Click to view…

In Praise Of
“I have lived in Marinaleda for 8 years and every day I realize why this place is special. With mass unemployment and people sleeping on the streets throughout the world, here we have none. Employment is provided in El Humoso, a large canning factory and in the countryside cultivating vegetables.” Vicky Shovelton

Photo courtesy of Vicky Shovelton

About your questions…

Sorry – but we do not offer relocation advice on an individual basis through Spain Buddy. There are a number of relocation experts who are better placed to advise you on your new life in sunny Spain.

48 Responses to Moving to Spain | Go expat in… moving to Marinaleda

  1. Bojan April 20, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Hi, how can I move to Marinaleda, what are need me to imigration?

  2. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper April 20, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Without knowing what country you asre from, we can’t advise. You may wish the speak to the Spanish consulate in your coountry if you’re not from the EU. E x

  3. Christian Hadberg July 4, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Hello. I was wandering what it would require become a part of Marinaleda, i am a EU citizen (denmark) but i have for long been dreamed of moving to some sort of eco village, or atleast something on those lines were i can show up with nothing but myself, and then work for some food and perhaps a a spot for a tent and by time hope to be granted permission to build a little shag/mudhouse something ^^

  4. Marko July 6, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Hi, how can I move to Marinaleda? I am from Croatia. What I need? Thanks

  5. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper July 6, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Hello Marko. Because Croatia is part of the EU (since 2013), you benefit from the “right to reside” in any other EU country.
    So all you will need are your passport, your possessions and some money.
    Good luck!

  6. Nikola July 7, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Hi everybody at Spain Buddy,

    I am thinking for a longer period of time ago, to proceed living and working out of the Republic of Macedonia (Former Yugoslav) and move somewhere in EU.

    The Marinaleda and it’s socialist type of governning and living seams very atractive to me.

    So, what are the conditions and easiest procedure/s for my movement there and start living in Marinaleda/Spain, legaly. I mean what should I do to start the procedure and to obtain legal stay, working licence and citizenship of Marinaleda/Spain.

    Thank you in advance.

  7. Marko July 8, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Thank you!

  8. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper July 8, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Hi Nikola.

    Because Macedonia isn’t part of the EU, you will have some extra hoops to jump through. However, conditions can change at a moment’s notice. Our recommendation is to speak to the Spanish Embassy who will be able to advise on the specifics for Macedonia for you.

    Good luck!

    Elle x

  9. AMy July 12, 2016 at 4:23 am

    How about US citizens? Is it possible to immigrate from US to Marnileda? What are the requirements?

  10. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper July 12, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Hello. You need to spoeak to the Spanish Embassy in the United States as early as you can. They will be able to help you apply for a visa and any other paperwork you may need. But yes, of course it is possible.
    Good luck!
    E x

  11. AMy July 12, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Thank you!

  12. Rajesh July 28, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    I’m from India and please tell me about the job opportunities and residing possibilities for me.

  13. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper July 29, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Hello Rajesh. You will need to speak to your Embassy about the residential aspects – they will be able to advise what paperwork you need.

    With regard to job opportunities, we can’t advise with complete accuracy becase theese things change so quickly – just as they do anywhere else in the world. You would need to approach the town directly. You do speak fluent Spanish yes?

  14. Stella August 4, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    How does a US citizen moves to Marinaleda?

  15. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper August 4, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    You need to first speak to the Spanish Embassy closest to where you live – they will tell you what visas you need. Then pack your bags and jump on a plane.

    Good luck!

  16. Asan August 18, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Hello I’m from Macedonia and we are two friends.
    We want move together in spain marilaneda but we are not in eu
    Can someone help what to do

  17. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper August 18, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Please speak to the Spanish Embassy for accurate information about Macedonia, as has been recommended in the comments above.
    Good luck!

  18. Robert August 18, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    fala Marko. Bas sam htio isto pitati

  19. Makos September 1, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    How is life there for someone who speaks only english (until to learn some spanish there). Do they all speak any english at all?

  20. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper September 2, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Not in Marinaleda no. This is a rural town in Spain and as such, Spanish is the spoken language. You would need to speak it well before moving there.

  21. Hannah Davis September 22, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Hello- I’m an English student looking to visit Marinaleda for one night next weekend- I was wondering if there are any places to stay that you can recommend? I am doing a research project related to alternative politics in Spain. If you are around at all next weekend it would be great to meet you in person.

  22. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper September 23, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Hi Hannah.
    We don’t have personal experience of temporary accommodation in Marinaleda, so can’t make any specific recommendations I’m afraid. However, a Google search should bring up a few options for you. Perhaps Booking.com or AirBnB
    Yes it would have been lovely to meet up – but we live quite a few hours drive away unfortunately.
    Enjoy your visit!
    E xxx

  23. snezhana October 2, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Hello,i am from Bulgaria And looking for a job in Spain. I speak good english and basic Spanish and continua study from online program. Is there any possibilityto get a job offer and accomodation in Marinaleda?

  24. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper October 2, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Hello Snezhana.
    You would need to look at specific Marinaleda websites – we don’t offer accommodation or employemnt via this website. Also – your Spanish would need to be better than basic.
    Good luck!

  25. Peter March 8, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Hi Elle, we are Dutch and live now for 5years in Spain near Barcelona, we did try to contact the marinaleda office 5 years ago but never got a response from them, can you send me on email a working phone number and email from them, we are a familie with 5 children between 5 and 18, thank you for your time and effort!
    Love, Peter Daisy and kids!

  26. Pat Aigno March 13, 2017 at 12:58 am

    I am interested to live and retire in Marinaleda, Spain. Is there a big chance to achieve it? I am an American citizen.

  27. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper March 15, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Yes – as long as your personal visa allows you to live in Spain.

    E x

  28. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper March 15, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Sorry but we don’t have an email address for them but this form should get through – remember to email them in Spanish: http://www.marinaleda.es/opencms/opencms/marinaleda/contacto.html
    Telephone number is +34 669 30 02 91
    Good luck!
    E x

  29. Kristi March 22, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Hello. I am from Albania.
    I would love to apply for job and to settle down in Marinaleda.
    I only speak English.
    Is it possible? And where can I check?

  30. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper March 23, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Hello Kristi.

    Currently Albania is not part of the EU, so you are not automatically entitled to live in Spain. You would need to speak to your Embassy for the criteria and apllication information. With regards to only speaking English – I would urge you to learn Spanish as soon as possible because it will be vital in order to live there and be able to communicate.

    Good luck!

  31. Milan April 18, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Hello, I’m Milan from Serbia. How are you Elle?

    My girlfriend and me saw on local Serbia newspaper article about this wonderful place. She is an English teacher and my job is Environmental Safety. We are looking and we want to move to Marinaleda, so what we need to do first? Serbia is not in EU (you know that for sure). Is there on the web some link that we can sign in..

    Thank you

  32. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper April 18, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Hello Milan.

    You will need to speak to the Spanish Embassy in Serbia or the Serbian Embassy in Spain – they will be able to give you up to date information and tell you what paperwork you need. Once you have all the paperwork that enables you to live and work in Spain, you’ll be able to find somewhere to live in Marinaleda.

    Good luck!

    E xx

    PS: I don’t suppose you have a link to the Serbian article I could look at, do you? Thanks in advance.

  33. Milan April 18, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Yes I do, but it is on serbian

    It says about how good life in Marinaleda is, month salary and costs, culture, that kind of stuff..

    I will send e-mail to Spanish embassy in Belgrade


  34. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper April 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Brilliant thank you! I’ve run it through Google Translate. The article implies it’s quite easy to get the cheaper rent… but of course it’s not that easy (nothing is).

    Good luck with the Belgrade Embassy.

    E xx

  35. Calin April 23, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Hello Elle!
    We are from Romania and we think about relocate in Marinaleda. Me and my wife we wish that for our two children’s future. I have 48 years old and I’m an engineer and my wife is 37 and she’s an legal advisor.
    Please tell me what I have to do, as soon as possible.
    Thank you very much!

  36. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper April 24, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Hi Calin. You need to speak to your Embassy as soon as possible. They will be able to give you the paperwork you need to fill out.

    Good luck! xx

  37. Tanja August 11, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Hi Elle,
    I’m Croatian girl ( and we are in EU) at the moment I’m living in Ireland,but I would like to move to live and work in Marinaleda. What do I have to do? And can I know how is the industry of beauty there? As I’m a spa manager (beautician as profesion)…
    Thank You for your help!

  38. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper August 16, 2017 at 11:39 am

    As you are an EU citizen then you have an automatic right to live and work wherever you like withint the other EU member states.

    So, make sure you are learning Spanish… and save money so that you can live while you sweek work. With regard to the beauty industry – Marinaleda isn’t very big… so although it almost definitely exists, I would be surprised if it were really thriving.

    Good luck! x

  39. IOANNA TSAKIRI August 22, 2017 at 2:22 pm


  40. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper August 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Ioanna. As Greece is part of the EU, yes you can move there (as long as both you and your boyfriend are Greek citizens).

    You will need to speak to the Ayuntamiento (town hall) in Marinaleda to see what skills they are seeking at the moment.

    Good luck! x

  41. Carmen September 3, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Yo soy española y mi marido es de Kosovo
    Hemos estado viviendo en Inglaterra
    Pero yo me quiero volver a España
    Yo soy profesora de inglés y de español
    Mi marido se dedica a la construcción
    Y también ha trabajado en talleres
    Mi pregunta básicamente como estaría para encontrar trabajo
    Él no habla nada de español puesto que nos conocimos en Inglaterra y siempre hemos hablado en inglés

  42. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper September 4, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Hola Carmen. Puedes contactar el Ayuntamiento de Marinaleda. Ellos sabrán si hay trabajos para tu esposo.

  43. kim October 29, 2017 at 1:05 am

    I have been looking to rent or buy property in Marinaleda but there is never much available, I am wondering if it’s possible to buy a repossession but don’t know where to start looking for this type of property could you advise on this.


  44. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper November 3, 2017 at 11:37 am

    You’re unlikely to find repossessions in Marinaleda because very few (if any) of the properties have mortgages on them.
    Yes – you’re right that there isn’t much available. We’ve only got half a dozen Marinaleda houses in our own property section. Have you seen this one? It’s currently owned by our friend Vicky – 4 bed townhouse for sale in Marinaleda
    Elle x

  45. Gineta November 18, 2017 at 12:26 am

    Hi, how we are can move to Marinaleda?
    I’m Lithuanian woman ( and we are in EU) at the moment I’m living in England and working a dental nurse. My boyfriend (Lithuanian) live in spain and he is resident of Spain ( he is open water diver and sport instructor). I and him would like to move to live and work in Marinaleda. What do we have to do? Can you send me on email a working phone number and email from them.

  46. Mirjana December 9, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Hello I’m from Macedonia(Former Yugoslav) and I want to move to Marinaleda how should I get in touch with the Spanish Embassy to legally live there happily and peacefully.
    Thank you.

  47. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper December 10, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Speak to the Spanish Embassy in your own country first – they should be able to help. E xx

  48. Nata December 22, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    We are a couple from Romania 35 and 31 years old. We live in Greece but we will like to move in Marinaleda.
    Can you give some advises please how we can realise that?

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