Best Places To Live In Spain As An Expat – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Spain is a country with 17 autonomous regions and many diverse cultures. It houses several states, like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Biscay. It is also home to the Prada Museum, Royal Palace, amongst other beautiful sceneries, Spain is indeed a beautiful place to behold.
Nonetheless, as an expat, you don’t know every corner of this beautiful country. Hence questions like, “which is the best place to live as an expat in Spain? Is the capital the best pick? Or are the small towns more friendly and hospitable?” then arise. In this article, however, lies your answers. Here are 10 picks to help you narrow or give you a choice, depending on your taste, where you can live as an expat in Spain.
What’s All Our Picks Share
Before starting the actual list, here is a brief list of things you should expect to find in any city you pick.
- Stunning architectural designs and several beautiful cultures.
- A splendid atmosphere. The weather is good all year round.
- The best kinds of food and wine.
- Nice and welcoming people with beautiful vibrations.
Nevertheless, five cities have these picks in even more enjoyable proportions; here are they;
“A great pick for expat retirees and families.”
It might come as no surprise to indigenes of Spain that Barcelona tops the list instead of Madrid. One of the reasons is that Barcelona has a sea and Madrid does not, that’s not all. The blockbuster is that Madrid has a lot to offer to foreigners.
Like New York and Chicago, there is a long, sustained rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona on which is better. However, there is a saying among the city’s residents that “Barcelona hooks,” referring to how the city enthralls and captures anyone who visits. If you stay in the city for just a few days, you will know why.
There is one thing that draws people to Barcelona, and that is its beauty. Situated by the Mediterranean sea, Barcelona’s coastlines dazzle with several white beaches along with cozy-looking sky blue waters. A lot of restaurants abound in the city, making it easy to grab a snack or a cocktail after work quickly.
Also, Barcelona is home to several aesthetic architectural designs. The several architects that have worked in Barcelona in the last decades have created masterpieces to capture the eyes and heart of anyone who wishes to gaze at them.
Barcelona is the second biggest city in Spain and so has garnered lots of attention. This attention has caused the inception of several expat communities that will help you as an expat. Hence, as an expat, it won’t be hard for you to fit in as there are several others like you. Plus, there are plenty of little programs and social events held to enable expats to meet locals and socialize.
More so, it has the best environment for working online and as an entrepreneur. Madrid is one of the biggest places/hubs for entrepreneurs in the whole of Europe, hence a very fertile place for startups to grow and flourish.
Plus, plenty of digital nomads settle in Madrid as their residence. To give you a glimpse of how deep they have dug, type on the Google search tab, “how many coworking spaces exist in the city?”
Just like the rest of Spain, jobs don’t come easy in these parts. As you would be at a slight disadvantage when placed side by side with locals. However, for those who know no Spanish, you can work as a teacher. There are also other English companies around. Nonetheless, for you to seem like a more viable candidate, you need to know Spanish.
Cost of Living
In Barcelona, the cost of living is a bit over the top. Barcelona is the most expensive city in Spain, though it is just barely. However, compared to other European cities like Munich and Paris, Barcelona is nowhere to be found. Eating out, rentals, and other activities are done at amped prices.
For more reasons why Barcelona is a good pick if you are a sports enthusiast, Barcelona is a place you would want to be. It is the base of sports operations in Spain. There are many sporting opportunities. There are kitesurfing, biking, hiking, and even stand-up padding.
All of these put together make it axiomatic that Barcelona is indeed one of the best places an expat would want to stay in. It has all of the best combos, and if you are ever in Spain and in search of a city to lay your bags in, Barcelona is a good choice.
“Madrid, the city of serenity and Spain’s beautiful culture.” It is also no surprise that Madrid would come next. Madrid is the country’s capital and a beautiful city. More so, it has many beautiful parks and streets you can wander on.
Putting all of Madrid’s aesthetics behind it, its entertainment sector is also constantly booming. If you are keen towards concerts, theatre, and music shows, this is the place for you. Many popular displays and everblooming nighttime.
There are also several museums and art galleries. This gives its fair share of an experience or opportunity to explore the cultural background of the country.
Madrid is the perfect place for food lovers as you can try out their numerous cuisines. There are several nice restaurants that the problem is which one to pick rather than which is good. Trust that the clock works differently in Madrid, and dinner isn’t the conventional 9:00, 9:30 pm. In fact, at the time, most restaurants aren’t even open. Be sure to note that.
Serenity and Transportation
Away from the city’s center, there are several quiet locations in Madrid. So for expat families moving to Madrid, there you have it. Plus, the transport system is very accessible. The neighborhoods like Chambery, Retiro, and even Salamanca, close to the city’s center, are tranquil and open to walking.
Job opportunities in Madrid aren’t exactly the best for expats as indigenous are given more preference over non-indigenes. However, if you do want to have a big advantage, learn Spanish. If you can speak Spanish, you are more likely going to be employed as English speaking jobs are rarer and difficult to come by.
Cost of Living
There is a downside to our first two picks, however, and that is the cost of living. Things are pretty expensive in Madrid and Barcelona. Simple life activities like boarding a bus or eating out are really expensive. Compared to other cities in Spain, it is a lot to put down. Nevertheless, if that scares you, you should also consider that compared to other big cities in Europe like Paris and London, these two cities are way cheaper.
Succinctly, the city is a mash of two sides. The highly energetic city and the calm and quiet city you go to for a nice stroll. A pinnacle of the cultural experience, and a site where many expats have found a home, Madrid is an attractive choice.
” A beautiful city, a place for solo expats.” Valencia is usually not included in the popular Barcelona vs. Madrid debate. Most people would say it is pointless. It is well known that Valencia is the best city to live in. Curious expats go-ahead to test this theory, and many of them agree.
If you still want to have a piece of the capital, but with a little less spending, Valencia is a good pick. Things and the cost of living in Valencia are a lot cheaper than you will expect.
Valencia is located on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. The city has experienced radical changes that have shot it up to becoming one of the country’s most dynamic places. The city has become a pick for several expats and digital nomads, for good reasons.
The transport within the city works perfectly, and so does the transport from the city to other surrounding cities. Most of the places are within walking distance, and there is a great transport network. Valencia has a large underground railway system, which is still being expanded to accommodate more people.
The education and health care sector of this city also does well. Plus, the food here is really nice. The local atmosphere is welcoming and allows you to see the scenery in this city. More so, the popular Las Artes y las Ciencias is also in the city. A means to explore one’s history. In short, Valencia is a vibrant city with plenty of sunshine and a low cost of living. Compared to the two cities above, it doesn’t require much from your pockets. And you get more value from your money. Though it is slightly offbeat, it is not overpopulated by tourists.
Valencia is close to several mountains, which means you can go hiking in summer, and when winter comes, go snowboarding and skiing.
Finally, Jobs are easy to come by in Valencia. Valencia is not convoluted and difficult; there are several opportunities open to expats to earn some cash. And if you decide to work on your own, Valencia is also a great pick for digital nomads and freelancers. Also, if you are an investor in real estate, this city has a fertile ground in that regard, which keeps expanding.
“Its size doesn’t limit how great a city it is. Situated in the south of Spain, it has mountains and lots of delightful pleasures.”
Moving towards the south of Spain, you would encounter this great city. It is located at the foot of Spain but still tops the list of great cities in Spain. When compared to the other cities on the list, Granada is the smallest. This city, however, is a famous one. The city has to its name notable places like the Alhambra, a UNESCO world heritage site. You can’t go to Spain without at least going. Exploring the cultural relics that the Arabs left behind has made GRANADA a destination for many people.
There is more to Granada than the world heritage site, however. You would find the city delightful if you are interested in hiking as there are several mountains in Granada. Plus, there are also beaches. Apparently, Granada combines the best of both worlds. It is quite obvious why this city is the pick of most people, including foreigners, and that is because of the vibration it gives out. It is cheerful and lively.
Lastly, it is pretty cheap to live in. So it is often the perfect lodging point when you decide to visit any place in the south.
“The unofficial capital of southern Spain, and there is a lot to show for it. A good pick for expats as it is aesthetically pleasing as it is welcoming.” If you are interested in exploring the traditional side of Spain, Seville should be your number one pick.
It is as picturesque as a place can get, all of the Moorish architecture, horse-drawn carriage, riverfront. Seville, the fourth biggest city in Spain, still takes a semblance of a town. With white horses, tapas, and colorful dressing, Seville relives Spain’s history in the evenings…Seville is bright, beautiful, and welcoming.
If you want the regular dose of flamenco shows and traditional and nontraditional music festivals, Seville is the place to be. They have numerous of these events; you would never see enough of it.
Plus, the social environment is at its peak. There are many friendly people in the environs, and you would learn just to enjoy the moment in Seville. It promises an energetic atmosphere.
Seville has one train station, a major airport, and other transport networks. Also, two bus depots help people in Seville get around and even go anywhere in the whole of Spain. Though Seville is the fourth biggest city in Spain, it has a small-town feel. This is what makes it such an amazing place.
Nonetheless, there is a downside to Seville. However, this downside is relative as some might like it and others might not. Seville is known for its high temperatures. If you aren’t a fan of heat, maybe you shouldn’t check out Seville as an expat as Seville is one of the hottest places in Europe.
Lastly, Seville might be a lot to take in for people who don’t really fancy the flashy appearance. Nonetheless, you will learn to love it. You will adapt to the several nuances of their lifestyle. As with time, you will learn to enjoy the moment and leave future planning to catch up.
Above are the best cities you, as an expat, can inhabit when you visit Spain. Moreover, you might fancy the islands more than you fancy the cities. Fortunately, we have that covered as well. Spain has a vast number of islands. And some of these islands are the most beautiful in the world. Here are the top two islands you can inhabit as an expat in Spain:
“Because it is an island doesn’t mean it is cut out from all of the ‘Spanish fun.”
If you like parties, you would like Ibiza. Ibiza is well known for its party lifestyle. But Ibiza is composed of much more. Several small villages adorn the northern side of this beautiful island, and people from the far side of Europe and Spain come to get back to nature. Ibiza also has several shopping opportunities. From flea markets to some top-grade boutiques, Ibiza is the perfect place to burn some cash.
Grand Canary Island
“Visit the villages of Grand Canary island; you would understand why the island is so loved.”
The canary islands are in the vast Atlantic ocean. It is off the west coast of Africa. Several airports in Spain and all over Europe serve this island. Las Palmas is a tourist town with several things for you to feast your eyes on. Things like water sports, hiking, and golf are all popular. If Las Palmas doesn’t exactly suit your taste, there are other fancy villages, with the same vegetation and climate, on the island you can inhabit.
Other popular picks;
- La Palma
Other Cool Places for Expats in Spain
Expats from different countries in the world account for about 13% of Spain’s population. Though a large chunk of this percentage is situated in the big cities, some are in other cool places. There are a few other good places you can stay in Spain. Here is a list of the good places;
“A coastal city for the classy. Aesthetically different, Bilbao is unique.”
Bilbao has never been the centre of the ex-pat community’s attention, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice. The focus has always been on the traditional, exotic picks rather than the urban lifestyle, fortunately, things are changing.
Bilbao is on the not-so-popular northern side overlooking the Atlantic ocean. So you can boast of a good climate and nice sunshine like the Mediterranean cities of Spain. More so, Bilbao means exploring the different faces of Spain. The different culture, an example of Spain’s prided diversity.
Bilbao has started to see an increase in the numbers of its expat community. Nonetheless, this city isn’t a cheap one. Bilbao is considered to be the fifth most expensive city to live in Spain. So if you are looking for a cheap lifestyle, maybe you shouldn’t come to Bilbao. However, it is great for professionals and families. And for people who like to retire to a city lifestyle but don’t want the well-known frantic hubs like Madrid and Barcelona.
This old town has lots of bars and restaurants. Plus, the food here is amazing. Bilbao is not the biggest city in Spain, but it does have lots of big things. Bilbao has the world’s biggest cover market with lots of products out for sale. It is also home to a lot of exotic beaches. In Bilbao, there is a lot of beauty to behold and things to see.
” It is a beautiful coastal city that has garnered lots of tourists’ attention.”
Malaga is the literal city of ports with lots of resorts and hotels. The city has garnered a lot of tourists. The amazing thing about this city is its coastline. The coastline of Malaga is large and stretches from east to west. Plus, all of the main/major resorts in Spain, Torremolinos, Marbella, Fuengirola, Benalmadena, are all located here.
The large coastline also comes with its price; Malaga is a very busy city. If you do wish to live here, you should be ready for the large inflow of tourists. Malaga also prides itself as a city with many good infrastructures, cuisines, and beautiful architecture that takes its root in Moorish and Romanian Cultures.
There are places to suit any taste you want. If you want a quiet place for your children and you, they are in their numbers.
Finally, Malaga is a cheaper city than the well-known Madrid and Barcelona. And it is not as vibrant either. However, it is a beautiful coastal city with all that is required to make a brilliant home for expats. Plus, it also has a beautiful climate.
Here are other good picks;
Spain is one of the best countries for expats. With several cities and islands accessible for a nice time and perfect accommodation. If you want to live in Spain, the above list is a good starting point for research. Pick your choice as it syncs with your pocket and taste. Moreover, it promises to give you the best time ever.