16 Best Places to Live in Spain

16 Best Places to Live in Spain

Are you in search of the best places to live in Spain?

Spain is a top destination for many British expats.

Hundreds of thousands of eager UK residents are drawn to the country by the promise of almost year-round sunshine.

But it is not just the sunshine that makes Spain so appealing.

Factors such as the lower cost of living, cheaper housing, rentals, groceries, and fuel prices, along with a relaxed lifestyle, all contribute to the popularity of the country.

Spanish people are generally very hospitable and if you make the effort to speak a little Spanish, you will make friends for life when moving here.

Plus, with so many other UK ex-pats already enjoying life in the sun, you are sure to feel right at home in no time at all.

Coastal locations are always in demand, but Spain is packed with a huge number of equally attractive cities and towns further inland.

From majestic mountains to sprawling plains and picturesque valleys, the country offers a rich and diverse geographical tapestry.

Not to mention its renowned islands, the Balearic and the Canary Islands, which add even more variety to the mix.

With all these different locations to choose from it might be hard to narrow your search for a new home.

We have created a list of the 16 Best Places to Live in Spain to make your property journey that much easier!

So, what are considered to be the best places to live in Spain?

The answer is ultimately all relative to your needs.

However, we have hand-picked some of the stand-out areas to get your search started!

Read on to find out more about some of the best places to live in Spain.

Lifestyle Preferences

One of the things everyone needs to consider before moving abroad is the kind of lifestyle you are hoping to achieve.

Your choices will differ whether you are going it alone, moving with young children or simply retiring.

Budget is going to be the most important aspect to bear in mind. What you can afford will govern where best to settle.

If you are moving your family with you, education will be a priority.

For younger people, being near a city or larger town with plenty of action and job opportunities makes sense.

For older people, something a little quieter, perhaps in a flat area would suit.

No matter what your lifestyle preferences may be, Spain will rise to the occasion.

1. Seville

Plaza de España, Sevilla

Plaza de España, Sevilla. Image credit: Unsplash

This incredible city sits within the province of Andalusia. Located in the south of the Iberian Peninsula.

It is the ideal place for those seeking a new start or to study for a few years.

Perfect for younger people because it is home to three public universities.

The University of Seville (US), the Pablo de Olavide University (UPO), and the International University of Andalusia (UNIA).

Additionally, compared to other major Spanish cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, Seville typically offers a more affordable cost of living (always a bonus for city living).

Expenses related to housing, dining, and entertainment tend to be lower, enabling expatriates to maintain a comfortable lifestyle without exceeding their budget.

If you enjoy culture, Seville is bursting with plenty of cultural activities all year round, keeping you busy in your spare time.

Nightlife is also fantastic in Seville for those who love to party and eat out.

A vast number of places to dine are available, where you can partake in the city’s delicious tapas, (a must-do in Seville).

Some of the best neighbourhoods include Santa Cruz, boasting cobbled streets and historic charm.

Los Bermejales. Outside the city limits, it offers a more relaxing lifestyle but with good connections.

El Porvenir. Close to the Parque de Maria Luisa and well within an easy walk to the University of Seville.

2. Pego

Though this little urbanisation is not directly on the coast, it is close. Just under 6 miles or 12 minutes by car to the popular Playa Santa Ana beach.

Situated in the Alicante region, it lies a little bit inland from the northern Costa Blanca resort of Dénia and several other designated Blue Flag Beaches. 

Pego has everything you need by way of amenities.

Schools, supermarkets, a fresh produce market, a local health care centre, banks, chemists and an assortment of bars, cafes, and restaurants.

Not far away are several larger urban areas where there is more choice with regard to shopping and restaurants.

The town has a variety of property choices, modern apartments, old townhouses and on the outskirts plenty of villas available in all sizes.

Sitting around an hour from Alicante airport, you will have plenty of UK visitors eager to share your experience of living in this part of sunny Spain.

3. La Zenia

This pretty village is located right on the coast in the south of Alicante, on the Costa Blanca South, just south of the major town of Torrevieja.

Being small, it is often in demand by those who want to get away from the many commercialised locations that get overly busy during the summer holiday season.

With many small, low cost and low-maintenance apartments, La Zenia is a cheap place to retire to and has an active expatriate population.

Everything is within walking distance including two sandy beaches, La Zenia and Cabo Roig. Both are equally as stunning

To the west of the village are the Sierra de Orihuela mountains, much loved by hikers and climbers alike.

You can rest assured that when you live in La Zenia it is impossible not to relax and enjoy the slow leisurely pace of life living here offers.

4. San Sebastián

San Sebastián, Spain

San Sebastián offers a unique lifestyle compared to many other Spanish locations. Image credit: Pixabay

Nestled in the Basque Country in Northern Spain, San Sebastián is renowned for its stunning beaches, world-class cuisine, and picturesque surroundings.

San Sebastián offers a unique blend of culture, a mix of old and new, making it a desirable place to live.

Its location near the border with France adds another dimension to its appeal, providing easy access for trips to a different country.

The nickname “Pearl of the North” speaks to the city’s architectural charm, which includes elegant Belle Époque buildings alongside modern structures like the Kursaal Congress Centre and Auditorium.

The blend of Basque and Spanish cultures in San Sebastián contributes to its vibrant atmosphere and diverse community.

Residents can immerse themselves in both cultures, enjoying Basque traditions like pintxos (small bar snacks) and Spanish customs such as flamenco dancing.

The city’s strong sense of community extends to welcoming new residents, whether they are Spanish or expatriates.

This tight-knit community often comes together to celebrate cultural events, festivals, and culinary traditions, further enriching the living experience in San Sebastián.

While the city experiences an increase in visitors during the holiday season, particularly due to its popular beaches and surfing spots, residents can still enjoy a high standard of living year-round.

The cooler weather, especially in comparison to inland areas, offers relief from the summer heat commonly found in other parts of Spain.

5. Madrid

Madrid Spain

Spain’s capital is certainly one of the top locations in the country. Image credit: Pexels

Spain’s capital city offers a bustling metropolitan lifestyle, with a vibrant arts scene, excellent cuisine, and world-class museums.

It is well-connected, culturally rich, and has a strong economy.

Many choose to relocate to this city to work as it is not only the political capital but also a major financial and business centre.

Buying a home in Madrid will of course be more expensive, just like most cities. But it means you have access to a vibrant lifestyle with numerous cultural attractions and entertainment options.

Whilst many families choose city life, the majority of people populating Madrid are young professionals or students.

Madrid is home to eight universities, arguably the most well-known is Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). One of the oldest universities in the world, UCM is known for its strong emphasis on research.

6. Valencia

Valencia, Spain

Valencia’s coastal location is sure to appeal to many. Image credit: Unsplash

If it is a relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle mixed with abundant sunshine almost the whole year round, head to Valencia.

Valencia lies along Spain’s east coast.

The 2,000-year-old city boasts wide sandy beaches, striking architecture, a buzzing food scene and oodles of culture.

A beach lovers paradise.

Valencia boasts a 12-mile-long stretch of golden sand. 

The city’s promenade is where you will find dozens of buzzing bars and restaurants where you can dine al fresco and watch the sunset over the sea.

Make sure you try the local Paella. The dish originated in this city, it would be rude not to!

The Old Town with its narrow-cobbled alleys is ideal for a slow walk and, unlike the UK, the shops open until late.

The cost of living in Valencia is generally lower than in other major Spanish cities like Madrid or Barcelona.

Housing, groceries, and dining out are more affordable, making it an attractive option for expatriates and locals alike.

7. Frigiliana  

A veritable rural escape, Frigiliana, is tucked away on the mountainous slopes of Sierra Almijara.

It is a small town roughly 44 miles from Malaga on Spain’s southern coast.

The town provides residents with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the Mediterranean Sea.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the abundant hiking trails and opportunities for outdoor activities in the nearby natural parks.

Traditional Andalusian architecture is everywhere and just adds to its allure.

Walking through the town feels like stepping back in time, with historical landmarks and hidden corners waiting to be discovered.

Frigiliana is one of those traditional towns where the men gather in groups to play dominoes, drink wine and chat at the end of the day.

The pace of life is relaxed, and residents often participate in community events and festivals throughout the year.

While Frigiliana offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, it is still conveniently located within reach of larger towns and cities.

Malaga, with its international airport, shopping centres, and cultural attractions, is just a short drive away, providing residents with access to amenities and services.

8. Tenerife


Tenerife is a popular expat destination for people from across the globe. Image credit: Pexels

Tenerife is the largest of Spain’s seven Canary Islands and has been a hot spot for holidaymakers for many years.

Sitting southwest of Spain, the island is dominated by Mt. Teide, the highest peak in Spain. 

This volcanic island has a rugged terrain and dramatic landscapes.

Despite the distinct and exotic terrain, you can still travel from one side of the island to the other in less than an hour.

The volcano divides the island in two, the Cultural North and the Bustling South.

With 3000 hours of sunshine annually, it is not at all surprising that it is home to hordes of expats, not just from the UK, but all over the world.

Tenerife boasts 43 miles of beach, a modern efficient transport system a plethora of beautiful places to live.

Depending on which airport you fly from, you can get here in as little as two to three hours. Perfect for trips home and for visitors.

Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, Tenerife maintains a strong sense of community among its residents.

Local festivals, fiestas, and neighbourhood gatherings provide opportunities for socializing and making new friends.

9. Ibiza


Ibiza might be one of the liveliest places to live on our list. Image credit: Unsplash

Not called the “holiday Island” for no reason, Ibiza is known for being popular with the rich and famous and with party animals.

One of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, many see Ibiza as the most beautiful of the Spanish islands.

Golden sands and crystal-clear waters offer a wide variety of coastal landscapes for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports.

Globally famous for its vibrant nightlife, with world-renowned clubs and parties that attract partygoers and electronic music lovers.

The island’s clubs, such as Pacha, Amnesia, and Ushuaïa, host top DJs and artists, creating an electrifying atmosphere that continues until the early hours.

Cultural offerings include Ibiza Town’s historic centre, Dalt Vila (Ibiza Town’s old quarter) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This ancient walled city features narrow streets, ancient fortifications, and historic landmarks such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria.

Aside from being such a popular tourist destination, the island is home to a mix of nationalities creating a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds.

The cost of living in Ibiza can vary depending on factors such as location, housing, and lifestyle choices.

While some areas, particularly in the tourist hotspots, can be more expensive, residents can find affordable options in quieter neighbourhoods and inland villages

Ibiza is an attractive destination for those seeking a relaxed island lifestyle with a touch of excitement and adventure when you feel the need.

10. Marbella

Marbella, Spain

Marbella is known for its excellent standard of living. Image credit: Pexels

Not the first Spanish destination that might spring to mind for those relocating with children, however, Marbella also has a family-friendly side to it.

Some very sought-after international schools are in the town including The International School Estepona, The British International School of Marbella, Swans International School Marbella, and The English International College.

Located in the Costa del Sol, there are 300 days of sunshine per year.

Residents can expect mild winters and hot summers, making outdoor activities possible throughout the year.

Unfortunately, it is important to mention that living in Marbella can be extremely expensive.

The town’s upscale amenities, luxury villas, high-end boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and exclusive beach clubs have attracted stars such as Sean Connery, Simon Cowell, David Beckham, and Antonio Banderas.

Here, residents can indulge in a luxurious lifestyle with access to world-class golf courses, spas, and marinas.

In short, living in Marbella offers a unique blend of glamour, luxury, culture, and natural beauty (if you can afford it)!

11. Toledo

This little city gem sits in central Iberia, surrounded on three sides by the Tagus River.

Perched on a hill Toledo offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the distant mountains.

It is known internationally as the “City of the Three Cultures” for the cultural influences of Christians, Muslims, and Jews throughout its history.

Toledo is considered most representative of Spanish culture, and its historic centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. 

Its well-preserved historic centre, imposing alcázar (fortress) and its Roman, Medieval, Sephardic and Mudéjar monuments draw the crowds.

The compact centre is perfect for those who appreciate the joys of walking and exploring on foot.

Though an incredibly popular tourist destination, don’t be put off by the thought of thronging visitors.

Absolutely oozing with history and culture, Toledo is also a stunning place to call home.

Plus, the real estate market in Toledo is relatively affordable compared to other Spanish cities

Its small size makes it an ideal place for those seeking a peaceful and laid-back lifestyle.

Residents can commute to nearby Madrid for work or leisure, while still enjoying the tranquillity and charm of Toledo’s historic surroundings.

12. Pamplona

Pamplona, Spain

Pamplona is one of the safest places to live in Spain. Image credit: Unsplash

Pamplona is the capital city of the Navarre region in northern Spain.

It sits within a beautiful region surrounded by scenic landscapes, including rolling hills, forests, and rivers.

Close to the Pyrenees Mountain range, it provides outdoor enthusiasts plenty of opportunities for skiing, hiking, and other recreational activities throughout the year.

The city is most famous for its Running of the Bulls event held annually from July 6th through the 14th during the San Fermin Festival.

Consistently ranking as one of the safest cities in Spain, its low crime rates contribute to a sense of security and peace of mind for residents.

Pamplona provides affordability that can be attractive for individuals and families looking for a comfortable lifestyle without the high expenses associated with major metropolitan areas

While there are some very affluent neighbourhoods in the city, contrastingly, there are also plenty of much more affordable options.

Ample job opportunities are available across various sectors, including healthcare, education, technology, and industry.

The city’s strong economy and business-friendly environment make it an attractive destination for job seekers looking to start or advance their careers.

Overall, Pamplona offers expatriates a combination of good value property, safety, and quality of life that makes it an appealing place to live for individuals and families alike.

13. Bilbao

Bilbao, Spain

Bilbao is a location with a great mix of historic culture and modern amenities. Image credit: Pixabay

Bilbao is a pretty city with a unique charm and another of Spain’s cosmopolitan cities with a rich cultural heritage and a diverse population.

Significant transformation in recent decades has created a modern and vibrant metropolis with a blend of historic architecture, stunning landscapes, and contemporary urban design.

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.

The Old Town has been lovingly 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 a comparatively affordable place to emigrate to.

Bilbao provides access to quality education at all levels, including public and private schools, as well as universities and vocational training institutions.

A school of note is St. George’s International School, offering education from 2 years to 18 years.

An excellent transportation infrastructure, including an extensive metro system, buses, trams, and commuter trains, makes it easy to navigate the city and its surrounding areas.

Additionally, there are numerous ways for family and friends to visit via sea, air, rail, and road.

14. Malaga


Malaga is a top pick thanks to its wonderful climate. Image credit: Pixabay

Malaga’s appeal for relocation is undeniable, with its blend of cultural abundance, and favourable climate.

The city offers a diverse range of attractions and amenities, from museums to beaches, catering to various interests and lifestyles.

However, the hot summers in Malaga (and southern Spain in particular) can be challenging for some, especially those who are not accustomed to such high temperatures.

The tradition of taking a siesta during the hottest part of the day and having extended lunch breaks is a testament to the city’s adaptation to the climate.

This practice allows residents to rest and recuperate during the peak heat, ensuring they can comfortably resume their daily activities later in the day.

Despite the adjustment period required for newcomers to acclimate to the heat, many find that the benefits of living in Malaga far outweigh this challenge.

The city’s vibrant culture, welcoming community, and an array of leisure options make it a desirable destination for those seeking a fulfilling lifestyle in southern Spain.

15. Estepona

A town and municipality in the Costa del Sol, in southern Spain.

Estepona’s white-walled town centre has many shops and picturesque squares and is quintessentially Spanish.

Due to its natural environment, surrounded by the sea and the mountains, Estepona has its own micro-climate with over 325 days of sunshine per year.

The weather combined with a 13-mile coast it draws thousands during the holiday season.

If you are considering moving to Estepona you are in for a treat.

Once a small fishing village, Estepona is now one of the largest seaside towns on the Costa Del Sol.

It is also conveniently located not too far from Marbella, Sotogrande, Gibraltar and Malaga, ideal for exploring some of Spain’s other popular destinations.

As much as 25% of local people are from other countries.

The presence of supermarkets such as Mercadona and Carrefour provides convenient access to groceries and household essentials for residents.

Popular with retirees, Estepona boasts a well-developed healthcare infrastructure, excellent dental and hospital facilities, and a variety of private clinics to cater to different medical needs.

Families will find that there are some highly rated schools in and close to the town, private and state.

Estepona would make a lovely home for most expats looking to enjoy a sunny climate with plenty to do and see nearby.

16. Barcelona

View of Barcelona

Barcelona is an eclectic city that thousands of expats call home. Image credit: Unsplash

Barcelona is perfect for expat life and offers so much.

Spain’s second-largest city, it is full of people from other countries forging an enviable lifestyle among like-minded people.

Working here is ideal for anyone interested in starting their own business or for those who can work from home.

When you live in Barcelona, you will never be bored.

With culture, nature, beach, and mountains, it is a near-perfect location that provides a myriad of entertainment and activity options.

What is great about Barcelona is its steady weather conditions.

Unlike southern Spain locations, the temperature is much more even and mostly avoids the excruciating heat.

Rain is rare, only falling for a few days here and there throughout the year.

As many as 300,000 ex-pats from around the globe live in Barcelona.

You will be sure to make long-lasting friendships with people from all walks of life.

Cuisine in Spain is renowned for its delicious flavours, fresh ingredients, and healthy cooking methods, which may contribute to the country’s high life expectancy.

Eating out in Barcelona is a huge deal and all the family turn out together to enjoy it.

Though living in a city undoubtedly costs more, prices in Barcelona are much lower than in other cities such as London.

Renting or purchasing a home is also going to be cheaper, particularly if you settle on the outskirts of Barcelona.

Plus, the real estate market is full of homes of all shapes and sizes.

There is sure to be one that you love!

Moving to Spain

WACO Truck

Move to Spain with White & Company 

There is so much to look forward to when you move to Spain.

However, taking the step to relocate there is not to be taken lightly.

Though it is an exciting prospect, much has to be done before you realise your dream.

Good planning well before you leave will ensure you get it right; this is even more imperative if you are on the move with children.

For help with planning your overseas move, check out these 15 things to consider when moving abroad.

As well as following these tips, you will also need the assistance of a good European removal company.

White & Company offers comprehensive European removal services, including packing and preparing valuable, fragile, and bulky furniture for export.

Our experienced teams located across the UK will ensure your belongings are managed with care and expertise throughout the relocation process.

During our over 150 years of trading, our commitment to excellence, extensive experience, and customer-focused approach make us a preferred choice for individuals and families planning European relocations.

Whether it is through a phone call, our online quick quote form, or chat with our interactive Bot, contact us today.

We can arrange for one of our surveyors to visit or undertake a virtual survey so that we can provide you with our competitive no-obligation quotation.

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