The Best Places to Live in Spain for Expats -

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The Best Places to Live in Spain for Expats

Spain has always been a favourite destination for tourists. Its Mediterranean climate, its food and its culture all staking a claim to make it the most desirable country in Europe.

A short while ago we gave you the pros and cons of expat life in Spain. Should you have now made your decision, you may be wanting to find where in Southern Europe’s largest country you should live.

Spain has a population of just under 50 million, of which close to 13% is made up of a variety of expat nationalities.

Boasting a host of benefits in our expat mental wellbeing study, Madrid and Barcelona are often seen as the popular choices. Read on to see if they join the others in our selection of best places to live in Spain for expats.


We couldn’t not include Madrid. Officially the third sunniest capital city in Europe and one full of opportunity, it boasts extravagant carnivals, a vibrant nightlife and a huge variety of culture and hospitality to indulge in.

The colourful social scene that Madrid offers shouldn’t be seen as a potential hindrance to families though. Many areas of the city offer fantastic schools, tranquil parks and a degree of silence you may not get the closer you venture to the city centre.

There are a variety of neighbourhoods to consider. Salamanca, Chambery and Retiro all offer a great base for families but tend to be furnished with smaller accommodation. El Viso is an option for those not afraid to spend a little more and end up with a villa as opposed to the apartments other neighbourhoods tend to possess.

Transport is easily accessible and very reliable in Madrid and allows plenty of opportunity to explore the rest of the country.


A surprise entry on our list is this quaint slice of Spain that offers a much quieter life than the louder cities many tend to emigrate to. Proudly warming residents with 325 days’ worth of sunshine a year, the 8 golf courses, fantastic beaches and links to Gibraltar make it a haven for those perhaps looking to retire and live in the sun.

Furnished with a variety of restaurants and shops and surrounded by mountains and water, Estepona is gradually becoming more of a top tier option for those considering moving to Spain.

Families are also looking to Estepona thanks to its mixture of International and state schools as well as bilingual nurseries.


Bilbao has become a grower on the expat community. It’s one of the quirkier locations within Spain and tends to offer something a little different to other key Spanish cities.

Capital of the Basque country, Bilbao gives both families and professionals something to enjoy. Medieval towns, pretty beaches and varied restaurants allow for a mixture of experiences. With it being the capital of the Basque part of Spain, it allows you the opportunity to see the country from a different perspective.

Bilbao tends to be the place for expats with a little more money put aside for relocation. However, once accommodation and utilities are covered, daily living isn’t too expensive.

With a mix of job opportunities and good schools it is popular with families, and with its museums and architecture it is also loved by those who have chosen to retire and immerse themselves in the culture.


Valencia is a fantastic option for city life when operating with a smaller budget. Residents tend to be friendly and the weather is good. Mountains give you the option of stunning walks whilst beaches to the north and south of the city give you the chance to enjoy the ocean from a new hometown.

With a reliable transport network, links to other towns and cities are easily accessible. But varied entertainment, a calendar of cultural events and fantastic facilities make staying in the city a great option too.

Home to one of the best universities in the country and host to a selection of good schools, Valencia is a perfect opportunity for families.

Jobs are also plentiful in Valencia, especially for those interested in hospitality.


We had to include Barcelona, in part due to its great showing in our mental wellbeing survey. It was rated one of the best cities in the world for healthcare, fitness facilities, friendliness and hours of sunshine.

These factors alone are quite often key ones in deciding where to live when moving abroad.

Factor in the stunning culture, the relatively low crime rate and the bustling city life and you have a city very easy to fall in love with.

Rental properties tend to be much cheaper than in the UK, but job prospects in Barcelona and the wages on average are less.



Moving to Spain is the start of a new adventure. We hope our pick of the best places to live has given you some inspiration. It can be stressful starting a new life and as a result, things can be forgotten. Let us take care of some of the tricky issues with our health insurance for expats in Spain. With over 20 years of experience, our comprehensive cover protects you from costly expenses that could hinder the enjoyment of your new life in Spain. Not only can we help with medical cover but our single trip travel insurance ensures your journey into a new life is protected too. Contact us today for more information or get a free quote today!


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