10 Lessons we have learnt in our first four months on Ibiza

Ibiza is magical. Moving to another country, changing jobs and schools and setting up a new home is an exciting adventure, but can also throw up unexpected challenges and stresses, even in such a magical place as Ibiza. Below are 10 lessons that we have learnt already, in less than 4 months, and no doubt there will be more to come, as we strive towards the elusive Ibiza dream

1.Crime exists

Even though you may be on your Ibiza holiday here, or have moved to the sunshine permanently, and all seems perfect and relaxed, never leave any bags, or valuable possessions unattended, even for one minute, or your house unlocked, or windows open when you are out or away. Ibiza is just like anywhere else in the world, in that crime exists (proof of this being that as I write this blog on a plane from Ibiza to Barcelona, sitting next to me are two handcuffed prisoners flanked by 4 armed guards!)

Spain - Guardia Civil (Ibiza) - Renault Ibiza

2. It does get cold

If you are looking for a house or apartment here to move permanently to Ibiza, just because it is fantastically hot in the summer, this does not mean that it does not get cold and damp in the winter. Therefore, remember, central heating is essential – Don’t buy a home without it!

Ibiza can be cold in the winter

cold water Ibiza

3. No fire without smoke

On the above subject, if you are lucky enough to have a proper wood burning stove in your house/finca, check first that the chimney is not blocked, or that the extractor fan in the kitchen isn’t linked to it, or else you will find that the fan will blow all of the smoke and soot back into your room!

Ibiza Flower in pot

4. Time delay

Just because your appointment for anything (such as bank, car check-up, meeting etc.) is at say, midday, does not mean that it will be at midday. Always allow at least an hour for the other person to roll up with a smile.

5. Hands free

Even though everyone else seems to be on their phones whilst driving, it doesn’t mean it is legal. and if you get stopped by the local police, and you do not have a NIE number ( – i.e. Spanish ID), you will be frog marched shamefully to a cash machine and asked to pay a fine of €100-€200 (depending on what mood they are in) directly to them. And if the Guardia Civil pull you over, they will probably just shoot you. For fun.


6. Drinks free

Despite what you believe about Ibiza, driving whilst under the influence of anything is illegal, and the Guardia Civil take great pleasure in springing up roadblocks late at night, mainly on roundabouts, to catch unsuspecting victims, and to pass the time.


7. Car fun and games

When buying a car on Ibiza, there is also a transfer tax to pay to the Government, which can be hefty depending on the size of the car (particularly 4x4s of which there are many here). Make sure therefore that you negotiate with the Seller to try and split this 50/50 as part of the negotiations. Also, you should go to a local ‘Gestoria’ who will see the transaction through of your behalf and pay the fees etc. (at a cost of course). Ensure that you ask them to check whether or not the car has any outstanding loans or fines registered against it (as they do not do this unless you specifically ask), or otherwise two months down the line, you may find the police trying to impound your car, with the car still not in your name!

Ibiza hippy car

8. Applications for NIE and/or Residency on Ibiza

When going to the police station in Ibiza Town for the above, if you do not speak fluent Spanish and/or Catalan, you will get nowhere, as they will be unable or unwilling to speak your language (including English) Therefore, take someone with you who does, and be prepared to go back at least 2 to 3 times until you finally have the right set of acceptable documents (the requirements appear to change on a weekly, of not daily, basis).

Spain Ibiza Nie

9. Location, location, location

If you are planning to rent or buy a home on Ibiza, ignore the locals, or ‘townies’ who will tell you that anything north of Ibiza Town is too far away. The North of the island (in my opinion) has the most beautiful scenery, the best beaches, more space, friendlier locals, and is rapidly becoming THE place to be. And after all, a 20-minute or so car journey to the airport is still not too bad is it?!

10. Hablas Espanol?

If you are planning to learn Spanish when you arrive (and you should be), getting a tutor is not enough. You somehow have to immerse yourself into the Spanish way of life, although this is not as easy as it sounds on Ibiza, due to its heady mix of internationals, Spanish, Catalans and Ibizencan – so be patient. And one final bonus lesson we have learnt: Despite all of the above, Ibiza has the ability to create magical jaw-dropping moments when you least expect them, maybe on the school run, or on an evening out, and we wouldn’t change it, or our decision to move here, for the world. Mind you, ask me again in a year’s time.

Are you going to move to Ibiza soon ? And you are in need of some help… Join our Ibiza Inside Coaching membership right here.

Jason was a commercial property partner in a niche London law firm, but after almost 20 years of being decided it was time to do something different. Although he remains as a consultant to his law firm he is now Head of International Business Development at Barcelona based Real Estate Company Lucas Fox working out of the Ibiza office.

Leave a Reply


  1. Lisa

    Fabulous… but one quibble…. there’s nothing wrong with the south side of the Island. We live in Es Canar (all year round) and it’s gorgeous….. Regarding the central heating usage in winter, beware of huuuuge electric bills caused by using aircon (on hot obviously!) or central heating of any description!!!

    Otherwise, brilliant, and a good summing up of Ibicencan ways!

  2. Jason

    Hey Lisa, trust me, I love the South too. And the East and the West. And all the bits in between! 🙂

  3. Kelly

    Having made the move from London to Madrid a couple of years ago, I could relate to a lot of that! Only I don’t have the gorgeousness of island life to make up for the hassles…Hmmm, might need to move further East and join you… Find us a nice house there Jason!

  4. Sue Buckland

    Sounds about right Jason!

  5. Roberta

    Great suggestions! What about opening a b&b in Ibiza?

  6. Thank you for using our “Spain Spanish Resources” image as your grand finale! Looks awesome!

  7. Hi Diana,

    You are more then welcome looking forward having a chat with you soon …:) x

    Marrisa & Virgil

  8. You should do it Roberta… We can use people whi have passion for the island and hospitality.. When you have some questions you know were to find us …x

    Marisa & Virgil

  9. Sam

    Jason, great posting with very helpful advice. I moved to Spain six years ago and have found that despite living in an international neighbourhood, you still won’t get very far without Spanish, nor will you truly have the inside track on life without speaking the lingua franca. Living here can be frustrating, but incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. I’m here to stay 🙂

  10. victor

    Can you imagine a spanish person going to live to manchester, would you expect to be attended in spanish alt the police office? If you come to live here, learn the language. Lesson number 1.


  11. Anonymous

    This blog is comma city and you are the sheriff.

  12. Me

    This blog is comma city and you are the sheriff.

  13. Jason

    Muchas gracias Victor. Indeed, yes you must learn the language and we have been trying very hard from the day we landed, but in 4months?! The clue is in the title of this blog. 😉

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  15. I loved the above read! Thanks
    I am looking to get a property & then move me & my son there this April/may I am sure it will not be all sunshine & run smoothly so any or more helpful tips will be helpful. Firstly do I need to make appointments with the police & council? I have 3 days out in Ibiza & need to use my time wisely, I am out 2, 3 & 4th April.
    Thanks Lisa

  16. HI Lisa,

    Great that you are coming to Ibiza to live your live. Well if you read through the blog you will find a lot of helpful tips and off course when you have some questions, please sent us a message..x

    Marisa & Virgil

  17. Marisa & Virgil, thanks for your reply.

    Do you know where I register my business company name in Ibiza? do you have a website link or address please?

    My Best.
    Lisa 🙂

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  19. schwimmbrille arena

    I am really thankful to the owner of this web page who
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  20. Eva Genin

    Whaouh !!!
    When I read that article I thought ! is it gonna be worst then living in India/Goa ! Inside the very truly mess, I never saw !!! ???
    Shooting by police for fun ? At least here they don’t have guns ! Just sticks 😉 LOL

    I am moving in Ibiza at the end of this year, mean dec.
    Please be my guest, and your help is precious.

    Regards Eva Genin social media editor in Goa No Limits Blog.
    Ready for Ibiza No Limits ;o)

  21. Nathalie

    Wouaw… Want to move there begining april from Goa to.. Earning rupee is become crazy.. But need to find affordable place for me and my.son, try to bring my 2 persian cats to.. Hope so my work will start fast .. Imm a, masage therapist fully book, working all year here.. But it takes time to get know in a new place.. My friend told me I can get 2 bedroom.flat fit 500

  22. Helpful info. Fortunate me I found your site by chance, and I’m surprised why this accident
    did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

  23. Delores

    Great post with very useful information. I noticed the North and thought about visitng Portinatx on one of my visits. The problem is, the North is getting discovered and soon to become very populated like other areas in Ibiza

    Thanks again! xx


  24. Anthony wilder

    Hi , after visiting Ibiza for many years and getting married in San Rafael in 2005 were thinking of moving to the island along with our two kids. Have friends on the island but keep hearing the worst things about moving , negative at the best, any pointers would be appreciated

  25. 2youlovemoi

    excellent information. im am currently 99% successful on talking my husband into moving to ibiza.. i will subscribe as need to know about costs of things and schools etc before selling the house. Id rather work my fingers to the bone In Ibiza than in the uk.
    kindest regards A xx