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The 20 Best Places to Live in Spain


When thinking of moving abroad, Spain is often a country that tops the list of potential locations. There are many reasons for this, including the year-round warm climate, the relaxed lifestyle, the wonderful cuisine, and the many cultural and historic features of the country. It also has large ex-pat communities in many of the major towns and cities, which is an appealing feature for many people considering moving abroad. Furthermore, there are many exciting attractions for both tourists and residents to enjoy throughout the country. If you are considering living in Spain, it is important to find the best location to suit your needs and offer you the lifestyle you desire. As a guide to help you make this decision, the following are the 20 best places to live in Spain.

20. Pamplona

The cost of living in Pamplona is about average for cities in Spain, says Nomad List. Healthcare is excellent in this city, and there are plenty of job opportunities for those who want to work after their move. Another factor that makes this an appealing place to live is that it has low crime rates, so it is one of the safest cities to live in Spain. Residents of this city feel that they have a good standard of living, which means that people living in Pamplona are generally happy.

19. Marbella

Marbella has a reputation for being a luxurious part of Spain, but it is also known for its party vibe. It combines a relaxed coastal lifestyle with a vibrant social life. Therefore, it suits people who want to laze away their days and then come to life at night. If you are planning to work after you relocate, then this is a good option as Marbella offers many employment opportunities. The downside is the cost of living as both the house prices and the cost of living are high in this city.

18. Gijon

Gijon is along the coast in the center of the Asturias region. It is not a tourist destination and most people outside of Spain are unaware of its existence. Many factors make this a very liveable place. These include the friendly residents, the fantastic beach, the historic Old Town, and the amazing culinary scene. The city also has a mild climate and it is surrounded by natural parks.

17. Gandia

If city life is not for you and you would rather live in a town, then Gandia is an option worth considering. Despite being much smaller than the cities, it still has plenty to offer. There is a lively nightlife and fantastic beaches without the hustle and bustle of the tourist hotspots. It is a surprisingly affordable place to live, and the house prices are also reasonable. Another reason to consider this location is its proximity to Valencia and Alicante, with the former being just 45 minutes by car and it takes an hour to arrive in Alicante. It is also worth noting that the architecture in this town is amazing, and the Borgia family is responsible for most of the structures.

16. Vigo

Located on the northwest coast of Spain in Galicia is the city of Vigo. This city is best known for its lush green landscape, the fjords, and its cuisine. It has a cooler climate than the southern cities, so it is ideally suited to those who want to enjoy the Spanish lifestyle but have difficulty coping with the hot climate. There is a relaxed pace of life in Vigo, and many say it is a great base for exploring Asturias and Galicia.

15. Cordoba

This Andalucian city benefits from the warm climate for which Spain is famous. Visitors flock to this city to enjoy the flamenco dancers and picture-postcard architecture. It is the sense of Spanish tradition that also makes this an appealing place in which to live, says The Culture Trip.

14. Bilbao

Sitting on the green north coast of Spain is Bilbao, which has been voted as one of the most liveable cities in not only Spain but also in Europe. Over the last two decades, this city has undergone a significant transformation to make this once industrial port city into a modern and inviting place to live. The Old Town has been preserved, and there are some amazing green spaces right in the heart of the city. Although prices have gone up since the city underwent its transformation, it remains an affordable place to live.

13. Oviedo

Many people have not heard of Oviedo as it is off the beaten tourist track, yet this is a hidden gem of Spain. It offers a fantastic lifestyle and a reasonable cost of living. Many students live in this city, so there is an element of a party vibe in the center of the city. However, it is surrounded by lush green countryside, so you can enjoy a quieter lifestyle if you live on the outskirts of the city.

12. Segovia

According to The Culture Trip, Segovia is a picturesque city just north of Madrid that is not overcrowded with tourists. This means it is traditionally Spanish and will suit those who want to absorb themselves in the Spanish culture. It is famous for its food and its unique architecture. It is not overly urbanized and it is surrounded by stunning Spanish countryside and mountains, which provide the perfect landscape for a range of outdoor activities and winter sports.

11. Tarifa

Both the house prices and the cost of living in Tarifa are high. However, this is the price that you will pay to live in such a desirable area that has so many appealing features. Tarifa is a Spanish municipality located in the province of Cadiz, Andalusia. It lies on the Costa de la Luz, which is known for its beautiful beaches and for being a hotspot for wind and water sports. The healthcare in this city is outstanding, and the crime rates are exceptionally low. Another appealing feature is the walkability of this city. It is a relatively peaceful place to live and residents feel that they have a good lifestyle.

10. Javea

There are plenty of things to love about Javea, not least that it is one of the safest cities in Spain, says Nomad List. Other appealing features include the many employment opportunities, the English-speaking communities, the excellent healthcare, and the general standard of living. The main downside to living in Javea is that it is a pricey place to live in terms of both house prices and the overall cost of living.

9. Ibiza

Ibiza has earned a reputation for being a party island, and this is what attracts many tourists. While it is true that there is a lively nightlife in Ibiza, the island has a lot more to offer to those that live there. Away from the strips of bars and clubs, Ibiza is a beautiful island filled with peaceful nature, history, and culture. It has a laid-back vibe that is perfect for those who want to lead a relaxed lifestyle with plenty of socializing options. The downside to living in Ibiza is the cost of living, which is higher than in many other parts of Spain.

8. Palma, Mallorca

It is not only mainland Spain that has locations that offer a high standard of living. Spain’s islands also have many great locations worthy of consideration. One of the best options away from the mainland is Palma, the capital city of Mallorca which is the largest of the Balearic Islands. Residents enjoy mild winters and hot summers, which you will appreciate when spending time on the stunning beaches. This city has a sense of style and luxury, and it offers residents and visitors plenty of activities to enjoy.

7. Seville

If you are moving to Spain for the year-round warm climate, then one of the best cities to appreciate this is Seville. This city will also appeal to people who love history and culture, as many of the attractions focus on these interests. Seville is one of the more traditional cities with many Spanish traditions still enjoyed by the residents. This small Spanish city has a vibrant nightlife and an outstanding culinary scene, which will appeal to those who enjoy an active social life.

6. Valencia

Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain, and it is nestled on the banks of the Turia River along the eastern coast of Spain. In recent years, the city has been transformed so that it is now one of the most desirable locations in Spain. There is a strong North African influence in this city, which is clear from the architecture and the cuisine. Education is outstanding in this city, with many English-speaking schools.

5. Malaga

This city combines ancient Spain with modern life, and this is evident in both the architecture and the attractions. It is located along the Costa del Sol, so residents benefit from the proximity to the beaches and the Mediterranean Sea. It has a thriving, eclectic culture and there are events and festivals held throughout the year. Therefore, this city is best suited to those who want an active lifestyle when they move to Spain. English is widely spoken in this city, so language barriers are not a concern.

4. San Sebastian

If the Spanish heat is too much for you but you want to live the Spanish lifestyle, then one location to consider is San Sebastian. This city is in the Basque country in Northern Spain, and it is a lot cooler than the southern cities. It is also a great place to live if you want to absorb yourself in the Spanish culture rather than live in an area that is targeted at tourists and the ex-pat community. It is a sophisticated city with great restaurants, plenty of shops, and stunning architecture.

3. Alicante

Located on the Costa Blanca, this is one of the most touristy areas of Spain. While this may put off some people who want a quieter lifestyle, it appeals to many ex-pats as there is a large English-speaking community in the city and there are many attractions to enjoy. The coast itself is also an appealing feature, particularly for people who desire a coastal lifestyle. Despite the vibrant atmosphere, Alicante has a laid-back vibe. Compared to many of the big Spanish cities, Alicante is a very affordable place to live.

2. Barcelona

The bohemian vibe and the stunning architecture are just two of the appealing features of this city. It is a historic city on the coast, so those who live there can spend time on the beach or stroll around museums and galleries in their free time. The outdoor spaces are also noteworthy, as there are lots of pretty parks in Barcelona that give residents additional recreational options. The city is considered to have good walkability, which is great if you do not drive or if you are environmentally aware.It is a fantastic place to live for people who enjoy the outdoors, and popular outdoor activities in this city are hiking, biking, and kitesurfing. The city lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees Mountains, so there are stunning views.If you plan to work in this city following your move, you will find plenty of job opportunities.

1. Madrid

According to British Expat Guide, the best place to live in Spain is Madrid, the country’s capital. There is a multicultural vibe in this city, and ex-pats are made to feel truly welcome regardless of their country of origin. This city will appeal to a wide range of people as it has an excellent culinary scene, an extensive art scene, and a vibrant nightlife. Madrid is known to have excellent healthcare, education, and transport infrastructures. Despite being the capital of Spain, this city is a surprisingly affordable place to live.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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