Last Updated on 8 months by mallorcaunderthesun
Living in Mallorca has many advantages – great weather, beautiful beaches and a great international lifestyle. However, life isn’t perfect here so here are 15 things I hate about living in Mallorca, from how expensive Mallorca has become, finding an affordable property to having a career.
Well, hate is a strong word. Let’s say, here are a few home truths to consider before moving to the island.
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1. Winter in Mallorca
Winter in Mallorca is nothing like summer in Mallorca. Admittedly there is a misconception that Mallorca enjoys year-round Summer, but that is just not the case.
The holiday season runs officially from 1 May until 31 October. You may see it extended in some cases with hotels and restaurants opening earlier or later in the season, but this six-month season is when you will find the island at its busiest.
You will see beaches are lifeguarded, hotels, restaurants and bars open and attractions and popular sites of interest open for the visiting masses. However, by the end of October, there is a mass closure of many of these places leaving many tourist resorts transformed into ghost towns.
For many moving to Mallorca, the way the island transforms itself comes as a surprise, so I would say if you are thinking of moving to the island, experience Mallorca in winter before making a permanent move here.
2. Mallorca is expensive
The cost of living has increased dramatically over the past 12 months.
And I’m talking about shopping in supermarkets, petrol and just about everything to do with the cost of living in Mallorca.
I will soon be updating this article here but this will give you an idea of what to expect.
Since the global pandemic, we have seen costs in supermarkets spiral. However, the government has introduced some cost-easing measures with discounted fuel during the summer and also a reduction in the cost of essential food items at the start of January 2023.
Stay tuned to my Youtube channel where I’ll bring you more information about this very soon.
3. Working in Mallorca
As I have mentioned in the pros and cons of living in Mallorca, many people do not move to the island to have a career. The pay in many jobs is much lower than you would find in northern European countries.
However, there are opportunities and particularly following Brexit, with Brits being unable to work in Spain, leaving many opportunities open for others with the right skills.
4. Freelancing in Mallorca
The temptation for many to be their own boss and work autónomo or freelance makes moving to Mallorca an attractive proposition.
However, the high cost of autónomo fees – so initially 60€ rising to 270€ almost feels like punishment by the authorities for wanting to work for yourself.
These fees which cover social security payments are a flat rate paid across the board regardless of how much a freelancer is able to earn.
During the global pandemic paying these autónomo fees actually sent many workers fleeing from the island as they were still subject to paying this money while unable to work.
Add to this the over-complicated tax returns that have to be completed every three months meaning paying a gestor is also a necessity, as is declaring invoices even if they haven’t been paid, which means that this is one of the top 15 things I hate about living in Mallorca.
It’s hated, but it is also a reality check.
5. Running a business in Mallorca
See everything above this point, but factor in potential premises rental and the costs of this, higher taxes and additional paperwork, make setting up a business in Mallorca is for the hardy.
You will need money behind you to start a business to account for the down times and ensure you are able to make a decent return on your investment.
In summary, running a business in Mallorca isn’t easy. If the business is seasonal, then you can only hope for custom for at least six months of the year, so think very carefully about who your customers will be and what you will be selling.
Whatever industry you are in, expect high competition.
There are many people doing the same things here, whether it is marketing, photography, design, or working in the cutthroat real estate industry where you’re as likely to sell your grandmother down the river if it means making a sale.
6. Renting in Mallorca
Property rentals have sky-rocketed in price since I moved to Mallorca in 2005. You could easily find a two-bedroom property to rent for 650€ to 750 in a popular area such as Palma Old Town or on the outskirts of the city. Today you can almost double that price.
These prices apply now to other areas of the island. There is no “cheaper” place to live anymore.
Finding a property to rent has become extremely expensive and demand is out-stripping supply. It could be blamed on the increase in overseas investors snapping up properties in up-and-coming areas and resorts and then only using these properties for holiday homes.
The hearts have been ripped out of many communities by holiday home purchases, leaving many residents without somewhere to live.
So if you are moving to Mallorca, expect to pay more than ever before for a property rental, and expect high competition since there are fewer properties available.
7. Buying a Property in Mallorca
It is looking increasingly likely in 2023 that overseas investors who do not intend to live in their property will soon be restricted from buying in Mallorca, which could potentially be good news for the property market for residents.
However, as with rentals, the price of a property in Mallorca has increased over the past six years or so making it unaffordable to most on a local salary to get a foot on the property ladder.
Also in other areas of Spain where you could possibly buy a villa on a much smaller budget, even small “holiday-style” apartments are rarely being sold for under 300,000€.
Do not also forget to include another approximately 11% on top of the property price when you are buying too, to cover expenses.
8. Bureaucracy in Mallorca
The minute you decide to move to Mallorca, the paperwork begins. Even when you receive your TIE or NIE (foreigner identity cards), when you think the paperwork may stop, think again.
It does feel like a large percentage of the island’s population is employed in administrative jobs for the perpetual form-filling that you will undergo while living in Mallorca.
Whether it is registering at the town hall, getting travel or health cards, paying taxes or moving home, the paperwork is unavoidable and relentless. So be prepared for it, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
9. Schools in Mallorca
After living in Mallorca for a few years, you will discover that there is no such thing as the perfect school for your child.
What’s more, the cost of a place in an International school in Mallorca has gone up considerably over the past few years.
They are cheaper than private school options in Northern Europe (especially the UK) but again, whether you chose a public or a private international school, your decision is sure to cause much debate with people you know on and off the island.
There is no perfect option and there are pros and cons to both. However, my theory is that if your child is happy at the school they are attending and they are doing well, then that is a great school for your child to be in.
So do your research, talk to other parents, and choose the school that’s right for your child.
10. Friendships in Mallorca
I’ve mentioned in my book Living in Mallorca Under the Sun that friendships on the island can be difficult.
That’s to say that there is a constant recycling of friendships with many people who arrive, and then choose to leave after a couple of years.
It’s not easy to break into the Mallorcan friendship circle either and you can read more about this here in my article about the pros and cons of living in Mallorca.
11. Moving to Mallorca with older children
Moving to Mallorca with young children is a lot easier than moving to Mallorca with older children. Younger children are able to pick up the language more easily than older kids so fitting will be a lot easier for them.
If you are contemplating a move with older children, and then putting them into a public school, expect them to struggle with learning Catalan and being taught in Catalan.
They will most likely struggle to make friends too, although almost all schools in Mallorca do have expatriate children.
Just be aware that their struggle to fit in is likely to be infinitely more difficult than yours will be, particularly if language is an issue.
12. Driving in Mallorca
Driving in Mallorca is not fun.
In fact, it is one of the main things I hate about living in Mallorca. Expect to experience being milliseconds away from many accidents, particularly on the Via Cintura motorway in Palma which can get very congested.
Always expect the unexpected, and understand the rules of the road. And if you are coming from the UK, read up on how roundabouts work over here.
However, if driving in Mallorca isn’t your scene, then the great news is that public transport is now FREE for residents in the Balearic Islands.
To find out how to enjoy this amazing advantage of living on the island, check out this article here.
13. Over tourism in Mallorca
Mallorca is more crowded than ever in the Summer months and over-tourism is a hot topic on the island. With that comes an impact on those who live on the island.
Whether it is from trying to get to work during the summer months but finding bus stops already packed with tourists to trying to get a table in a favourite restaurant.
The empty beaches enjoyed in the winter then become so busy in the summer, it is like finding space in a sardine can. Yes, Mallorca gets busy. Knowing the best times to go out and the best places to go to enjoy the island away from the tourist masses will become apparent over time.
In peak season, to enjoy empty beaches, I recommend going early in the morning or late in the afternoon and totally avoiding the midday sun. Everything is manageable.
14. Taking a break from Mallorca
One of the benefits of living in Mallorca – that is having a huge airport with great connections to most cities in Europe unfortunately has become something of a disadvantage in recent years.
It used to be so easy and cheap to see relatives. However, with low-cost airlines increasing their fares and routes being consolidated or cut, means that getting off the island isn’t as cheap as it used to be.
However, bargains can still be found, even during the Summer months and I really recommend getting off the island in peak season. Just really look for the least popular flights (always mid-week) and escape the heat to regain your sanity.
15. Living in Mallorca and missing the Family
Missing my family is at the top of my list of the 15 things I hate about living in Mallorca. You will see in the video playing on the page that I mention that making a move to Mallorca is your journey, so don’t expect family members to join you.
It’s not as cheap or as easy to get home as it used to be (see point 14), so moving out here is a risk particularly if you have elderly parents in another country who may not want to join you.
This is in fact often the reason so many people leave again after a few years (and it’s not just for career reasons), so think carefully before making your move, or be conscious that it may not be a move forever for just something you intend doing at that moment.
All in all, there are many more advantages to living in Mallorca than disadvantages. There is no perfect place in the world to live but living in Mallorca could be said to be as close as it gets.