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Matthew Hirtes, our resident broadsheet journalist, moved to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria back in 2004. He's travelled extensively through Spain, covering it for such publications as Telegraph Travel, Metro, and The Independent. The author of Going Local in Gran Canaria: How To Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home, Matthew truly is a resident expert. Matthew writes for two sections of Spain Buddy: Moving to Spain and Spanish Football as well as providing Reviews


  1. Nikki winter
    July 8, 2016 @ 8:51 pm

    I have lived in Moraira for 9 yrs now and love living here.
    I have to disagree with your comments on out of season residents. There are a lot of us in our 40s with younger children and teenagers who also enjoy being here and find we have a much livelier lifestyle than before we moved here with lots of live music and reasonably price places to eat our social life is far improved on the UK.
    Also with regards to schooling, my daughter went to a spanish national school and was very warmly welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed her time there, made a lot of friends from different nationalities as well as now being bilingual!


  2. C66
    July 11, 2017 @ 8:43 am

    Hi there,

    Thank you for your write up, I’m currently shopping for a retirement home (I’m 50 and live in Los Angeles) and would love some input on the different areas in the Marina Alta.

    I’ll be there from Sept 11 through Sept 22 to look at and hopefully buy my retirement home.
    I’m looking for peaceful and quiet, private yet not isolated, surrounded by nature and beauty (no high-rise, party town or douchey country club vibe please) yet with enough going on to make living for a low-key, artsy and affable single person interesting :)
    Of course I’d love an ocean view but I hear places like Moraira (which looks heavenly) get horribly swarmed by tourists in the summer which I’ve been told actually makes living close to the beach not desirable. Truth or myth??
    I like that Moraira doesn’t allow those high rise monstrosities I see in other seaside towns.
    So how are Moraira, Xabia and Denia to live year-round, how do they differ? And what about Benissa Costa or Benitachell? Note: I do NOT want a ghost town that closes down for the winter.
    Someone has suggested looking more inland, like the Orba and even Jalón valleys which also look lovely. My concern is: are they too far from the beach? I live inland in Los Angeles and never go to the the beach here because of how much of a pain in the ass it is to get there, so I already know what that’s like. Although I hear places closer to the beach like above El Portet are horrible in that regard due to summer traffic. Any thoughts?
    How are Benidoleig, Gata de Gorgos, Pedreguer, La Xara, La Sella? Sagra? What are these places like, any one of them you’d recommend or advise against?
    And seaside Pinar de L’Avocat-Cometa, Paichi, Benimeit?
    I’m 100% bilingual (Spanish is actually my first language, born in Argentina) and speak French, Italian and Portuguese as well so I get along with folks from just about everywhere (except maybe old Germans and such who I hear are a pain in the ass to have as neighbors – again, truth or myth?).
    Thanks in advance!


    • Elle Draper
      July 12, 2017 @ 2:18 pm

      Blimey! Lots of questions… so I’ll answer soem from personal experience… and leave others to answer the stuff about the specific areas.

      Okay – if you don’t want to be tripping over tourists, then inland is much better. I understand what you mean – we lived in a tourist resort for years and sometimes it could be an issue. BUT!!! With those tourists also come super restaurants, bars with regular entertainment and a decent infrastructure. That wasn’t important to us and we now live about 45 minutes from our nearest beach (which we never visit) and in a very Spanish town. It’s small (2k residents), it’s very very pretty, and it has its own castle. We do get tourists – mainly Spanish and German (no complaints about older German folk from me – never had a bad experience… and I’d rather spend time with them than old British “expats”.

      To be honest – anywhere will be what you make it. It really depends what you want from your home. From your description I think you’ll end up finding your dream place inland a bit – and to be honest, nowhere is far from the sea if you limit the drive time to an hour or less. But before you commit to anywhere… spend a little time there – and remember that most Spanish towns and villages are ghost towns during the afternoon.

      You having Spanish as your first language is a huge benefit to you. It’s my second language… but I have a long way to go.

      Have you considered further south? Mojacar in Almería also ticks most of your boxes. It’s not my bag – but it could work for you.

      E xx


  3. Villas Buigues
    July 18, 2017 @ 9:53 am

    Great Article thanks!! We are Villas Buigues, Estate Agents in Moraira and we know Moraria is perfect to live ;)


  4. Lynn Kingsley
    February 9, 2018 @ 8:16 pm

    Hi My name is Lynn
    I lived in Greece for 15 years and returned to UK where both my children grew up.
    I am approaching 60 this year, so have decided to make a new life in Spain (travelling I believe is in my blood). I speak fluent Greek, but am eager to learn Spanish.
    I am planning a trip to Moraira from February 26 for a week until 3 March with a colleague.
    I would love to sit down with some expats and get the real feel of this area.
    Also, have registered with a few forums, but not negotiated my way around them yet.
    Is there anyone out there that could point me in the right direction, or feel they would like to meet me and join me for a Latte and Cake (on me :))


  5. Nikev
    April 18, 2018 @ 1:55 pm

    Hi there

    Apologies for vagueness! My husband and I and our 5 year old are wanting to relocate to be closer to family and wondered what the job situation is like for both a bricklayer and a hairdresser/hairdressing teacher is like and where I would start enquiring. Especially about the bricklaying vacancies!


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