Why Jumilla – and where is Jumilla?


John and I retired and moved to Jumilla in 2008, in the expectation that by the end of the year we would be living in our dream home on a new golf development at Santa Ana del Monte a few miles outside Jumilla.  My book, “Retiring the Olé Way”, told the story of how our dream turned into a nightmare and we faced the prospect of losing all the money we had paid as a deposit on our new home.  By December 2008 we knew that the dream was over, however we made the momentous decision to stay in Jumilla and find another property, obviously with a much smaller budget.

“Why Jumilla?“, and “Where on earth is Jumilla?“, were the most frequent questions asked by our family and friends back in the UK.

Jumilla is a town in the north-east of Murcia province that is renowned for its wine – a fact which helps to answer the first question, as John and I have been known to enjoy the occasional glass of red wine.  Having said that our original plan had been to buy a property in or near a traditional Spanish town, away from the expat developments on the coast, a town that had plenty of amenities and was accessible by public transport.  As far as we were concerned Jumilla had met all our criteria, so the number of bodegas in town was a bonus.

When we were first taken to Jumilla on a viewing trip at the end of 2005, we were impressed by all the town had to offer.  It is an attractive town with plenty of gardens and  squares to explore and many historic buildings, including the splendid Castillo which overlooks Jumilla, many imposing churches, the lovely Teatro Vico, and the Cason. 

Through this blog, I hope to give a flavour of what life is like in Spain away from the costas.  The typical picture of life for expats in Spain is of people lazing by the pool with a cold drink enjoying the sunshine during the daytime, and watching British TV (thanks to an enormous satellite dish) during the evening. The alternative picture is of a more adventurous couple living in splendid isolation in the countryside (the Campo), driving to the nearest supermarket once a week to stock up and sometimes to pop into a local bar for a drink and tapas.  It has to be said that many expats who try this lifestyle eventually become bored of it and return to the UK once the novelty has worn off.

John and I have chosen a slightly different way of life to many expats: we don’t live in the campo and we don’t live on the coast in a large development, instead we live in town within a mainly Spanish community.  In fact we once asked a group of neighbours how many “ingleses” lived in the centre of town and the answer was “dos” as they pointed to the two of us.

I hope that you will enjoy reading about the ups and downs of living in the “real” Spain as much as we are enjoying our new life here.

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  1. Jacqui’s avatar

    Hi Sue,

    At first I thought the photo was of your new place bought on a ‘reduced budget!’ Very noce, I thought.

    We are the ‘expat couple’ who started off at the coast with pool, glass of wine and large satellite dish, and now live in the Campo with weekly shopping trips, popping into bars for tapas and coffee. Except our trips to the bars are more daily then weekly.

    I look forward to reading about your lives in Jumilla and comparing with ours in Les Velezes.