Many language assistants are shocked to get placed in Galicia, Spain’s far-flung region that rests just north of Portugal. But don’t stress! Cheap rent, walkable cities and unspoiled beaches await – not to mention no issues with getting paid on time!
Laura spills about her Spanish city, El Ferrol, a prominent shipping and naval city in the Coruña province, including what she loves – and doesn’t – about the city.
Your Name: Laura Gervais
City and Comunidad: Ferrol, Galicia
School: I’m placed in an elementary school which means I teach both infantil and primaria, ages 3-12.
Living situation?: I live in a shared apartment with three Spanish roommates. It has two floors, five bedrooms (one is a game room) and two bathrooms.
What was your flat like? The flat was great…messy roommates aside 😉 It was really big, had a washer and a clothes dryer (which is rare!). Living in Galicia, mold is a problem so I had some problems with that. Another downside was that all the energy being used meant bigger bills!
Rent: I paid 15o euros per month.
Utilities: In the winter we were spending about 40 euros per month on electricity and about 5 – 10 per person for water. I paid bills every two months, and my bills were significantly higher compared to my roommates’, probably due to the dryer being used all the time. It is an energy suck!
Mobile Phone: I use Orange Mundo pre-paid. It is 15 euros for 2GB of data and calling not included. It is great because I can manage it all online!
Internet: It was included in my rent so I am not sure.
What do you spend a month on groceries? I ended up eating out a lot because of tapas! So I usually spend about 90-100 per month max. Fruits and vegetables in Spain are so cheap – I can get a kilo of oranges for about 3 euros!
Other sources of income? I teach private classes, which is good source of income. I charge an average of 12 euros per hour for my classes.
Are you able to save any money? Not really. I liked to go clothes shopping and out for drinks/coffee/tapas haha. Also since I worked in a different city the commuting costs added up with taking the bus.
Your favorite tapas bar? A place in town called Sidería had the best tapas. It was 1 euro for a caña and 1.50 for a pint. It included big plates of tapas with drinks, of which my favortite was the jámon and cheese they brought.
Your favorite coffee hangout? Blabla cafe for sure! It is a fancy little coffee place. I usually got just a regular café con leche and it was 1.20 euros.
Nightlight in Ferrol: My favorite bar to get drinks on a night out is Oasis. It is a cocktail bar and the mixed drinks are 5 euros. I usually get a mojito. None of the bars in town have entrance fees so nights out can be cheap if you want them – especially if you botellón beforehand!
How do you get around? I walked everywhere in town. The town in small, so no need for public transport. I took the bus home from the town I worked in and I just paid cash.
Your favorite part of living in Ferrol? I liked the size of the town! You can easily run into people you know and it is easy to last minute meet up with people and not have to worry about getting public transport or wait for a bus/metro/ect.
And least favorite? Well, we live on an ocean inlet but to get to any good beaches you need a car. Ferrol’s port is blocked by a military base and a naval shipyard, so there is a huge stone wall blocking the views of the port and ocean. It is not a really pretty city to look at.
How easy was it to travel around Spain and Europe from your city? In my opinion it is a hassle to travel outside of Galicia in general. You have to take an hour bus to the bus station near the airport and then the bus to the airport. There are not many cheap flights out of Galicia which means you have to travel to the bigger Spanish cities like Madrid or Barcelona to get out of the country by plane.
Any guilty pleasures? Mostly going out for coffee/drinks/tapas. I meet up with people at least three times a week and it adds up, I would say.
What are the top attractions in Ferrol? There are not many attractions in town but the surrounding areas include some great beaches. Doniños beach is close by and a great beach with a bus that goes there. In Ferrol there is a small part of the port that is accessible and has some nice outdoor cafes.
Close by there are also old tunnels that were used during the Civil War that are creepy and interesting to visit. The views of the beachs are amazing from there! You can see a lot of the surrounding cities such as Coruña from certain points.
What’s something you wish someone had told you before moving to Spain? To save more money haha! I came with a bit of money but the first month was a lot in terms of getting the apartment set up (deposit, apartment furnishing basics, ect.). The paychecks for Galicia come on time but you still don’t get the first one until the beginning of November.
I kept reading on Facebook and online that private classes were easy to get and I didn’t get any classes until around December so I would let others know that privates are not always easy to get!
Laura will be repeating the Auxiliar program in Ferrol, so keep up with her adventures on her blog, Wander the Land.
Are you going to live in Galicia? Check out our other Cost of Living Posts on Santiago de Compostela, La Coruña and Sarria, with many more to come! And bring your eating pants for all of the seafood, white wine and cheeses (speaking from personal experience, of course!)