Why you might not be receiving packages from the UK to Spain

Britain’s Royal Mail is still feeling the after-effects of a cyber attack that left it unable to deliver parcels to Spain, Europe, and other international destinations.

Why you might not be receiving packages from the UK to Spain
There have been delays at Royal Mail for post between UK and Spain. Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP

The UK’s universal postal service said on January 11th that international delivery services had been “severely disrupted” by what it described at the time as a “cyber incident”.

A week later, CEO Simon Thompson confirmed the business had been hit by a cyber attack. He told a UK parliamentary committee that the mail service believed no customer data was compromised in the attack, but it had notified the country’s Information Commissioner’s Office, as a precaution, and said that a “workaround” would be in place soon. 

Ongoing strike action in Britain, however, has compounded the issue, meaning that Royal Mail has been unable to publicly confirm when disruption, caused by last month’s online attack, would be fully resolved and delivery services would run as normal. The backlog is mounting.

As recently as Friday, February 3rd, Royal Mail warned that “Delivery of International items may take slightly longer than usual and customers using Tracked services may notice different tracking information as items leave the UK”. 

It said in a statement: “We have made further progress in exporting an increasing number of items to a growing number of international destinations. We are using alternative solutions and systems, which are not affected by the recent cyber incident.”

Royal Mail said that the following services have now resumed:

  • International Tracked, International Tracked & Signed and International Signed;
  • All international untracked services are now available for purchase online for Consumer and On Account customers;
  • Untracked personal correspondence letter services and non-personal correspondence International Untracked core services have resumed for Business Contract customers.

But, it still cannot process new parcels purchased through Post Office branches. Customers can still access the following export services through Post Office branches: 

  • Sending export parcels through Parcelforce Worldwide;
  • Dropping off items they have labelled online;
  • International standard and economy letter format service.

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Spain named country where Brits most want to retire in the world

Analysis of search engine data has revealed that Spain is officially the country where most Britons want to retire.

Spain named country where Brits most want to retire in the world

Though it’s long felt anecdotally true to say that Spain is the favourite retirement destination among Brits, there is now data to back up the claim.

After a new study revealed the top 10 countries in the world where Brits want to spend their retirement, Spain has come out on top.

Experts at Retirement Solutions have dug into the data and studied the average monthly Google search volume for different search phrases relating to retiring abroad.

READ ALSO: MAP: Where do Spain’s British residents live in 2023

They combined different Google search terms with each country to calculate the total search volume and ranked them according to the results. The following searches were analysed:

  • ‘retire in X’ 
  • ‘best place to retire in X’ 
  • ‘best places in X to retire’ 
  • ‘can I retire in X’ 
  • ‘how to retire in X’ 
  • ‘retire in X from UK’ 

Spain – a retirement paradise?

In news that might not surprise many, the country with the highest average monthly search volume was Spain, with 1,050. Spain has long been a popular retirement destination for Britons, and remains so despite the bureaucratic complications of Brexit. In fact, even after Brexit Spain’s British population continues to grow.

That’s according to new data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), which shows that the number of Brits residing in Spain has actually increased by 11,047 over the past year.


The reasons why Britons might want to retire in Spain seem limitless, but the main draws are the pleasant climate, affordability, proximity to friends and family in Britain, and the gentle pace of life. With the rising cost of living across Europe, particularly skyrocketing utilities bills in the UK, many retirees from across Europe have decided Spain is the best place to live off their savings and pension while avoiding rising prices.

Where do British retirees live in Spain?

According to the latest figures from Spain’s Ministry of Migrations, there are a total of 409,763 Brits living in Spain. This is over 115,000 more than the figure stated by Spain’s official stats body INE, who gauge the number by those with TIE cards, which not all Brits have.

The sociological profile of British residents in Spain may be unsurprising to many. The average age is 54 years old, considerably higher than other non-Europeans migrant groups, most notably Pakistanis and Moroccans, both groups with median ages of 33 years.

READ MORE: The places in Spain where Brits outnumber locals

Most popular Spanish regions for Brits to live in

It might not come as a surprise to discover that in early 2023 the biggest number of Brits in Spain lived in the southern region of Andalusia, home of the famous Costa del Sol, with a total of 92,180.

This was followed closely by the Valencia region, which includes Alicante province, with a total of 87,699, and then the Canary Islands with 29,631. 

Other autonomous communities with a sizeable British population are Catalonia with 24,689, the Balearic Islands with 19,569, Murcia with 17,562 and the Spanish capital of Madrid with 11,831.

READ ALSO: How much money do Britons need to move to Spain in 2023?

Most popular provinces

Meanwhile, the latest data from the padrón register also shows where the majority of Brits live on a provincial level. And unsurprisingly the provinces housing the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol are the most popular.

Of Spain’s 50 provinces, Alicante in the Valencia region comes top once again with 76,739 Brits. This coastal province is of course home to popular spots among Brits such as Benidorm, Torrevieja and Jávea, where those from Blighty represent anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the total population and sometimes even run in municipal elections.

READ ALSO: What makes Spain a great place to retire to?

The Spanish province with the second biggest British population in 2023 is Málaga province with 56,019. Similarly, places like Benahavís, Marbella or Estepona have a sizeable British representation. 

In third place are the Balearic Islands, which isn’t classified as a province but rather a region made up of four main islands, with Mallorca housing the bulk of the 20,000 Brits who live in the archipelago. 

Murcia, which is also not a province but a region, has its British population living mainly along the coast and in particular in the municipality of Mazarrón, where a 8,000-strong British population make up a third of residents.

The Retirement Solutions Rankings

Spain came out on top in the rankings, and the rest of the top 10 was made up of familiar retirement destinations, including Australia (2nd), Iberian neighbour Portugal (3rd), Thailand (4th),  Canada (5th), France (6th), India (7th), New Zealand (8th), Italy (9th), and Greece (10th).

A spokesperson from Retirement Solutions said of the study’s findings: “There are many ways to spend your retirement, whether that be picking up new hobbies or becoming more active – but one thing that many people may not get to experience as well as they’d like to is visiting different countries and exploring new cultures. For this reason, retiring abroad is very appealing to many Brits.”