The Best Places to Live in Spain

The famously balmy beaches of the Costa del Sol attract tourists and expatriates alike.
The famously balmy beaches of the Costa del Sol attract tourists and expatriates alike. (Image: Fotomicar/iStock/Getty Images)

Spain offers many reasons to relocate -- the mild weather and the relatively low cost of living among them. Many Spanish citizens speak English, at least in the larger cities. Some people choose to settle in Spain for their retirement years, but younger people -- including those raising a family -- may well find the country just as alluring.

Costa Del Sol

The Costa del Sol, or Sun Coast, lies along the Mediterranean sea in southern Spain, in the region of Andalusia. It's famously sunny, warm and dry, with beautiful beaches galore. Due to its prominence as a tourist destination, the cost of living is not as low as in other regions of Spain; on the other hand, you're more likely to be able to get around using English and you'll meet plenty of tourists, retirees and expatriates, mostly from Britain. Look outside Malaga and toward some of the smaller coastal villages for more reasonably priced properties and long-term rentals.


The region of Murcia, in the southeast corner of the Iberian peninsula, is the agricultural heart of Spain, filled with orange and lemon orchards and wineries. Rain is scant and the temperatures are balmy. Murcia entertains fewer tourists than other regions of Spain; the pace of life here is a bit more sedate. Nevertheless, Murcia is both easy to get to and easy to move around in, with well-connected roads and three major airports serving the region.


Valencia is a region on the eastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, between Murcia and Barcelona; its capital, also called Valencia, is the third-largest city in the country and its port area is one of the busiest in Europe. Valencia is home to paella, the famous rice dish flavored with saffron and studded with seafood. It's also home to the eponymous Valencia orange. Like the rest of Spain's Mediterranean coast, rain is scant, the winters are mild and the summers are as sunny as you could wish for. Although not as well-known as an expatriate destination as other areas, Valencia still has a substantial population of resident English-speaking foreigners.


Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and one of the cultural centers of Europe. Plenty of foreigners live and work here, not to mention the steady flow of tourists from all over the world. Expat communities flourish and newcomers will find it easy to find their place. The cost of living is higher here than in other regions of Spain but still lower than you might expect for such a cosmopolitan region. Located on the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona's weather is mild. Barcelona is particularly noted for its artistic offerings, from the Sagrada Familia cathedral, designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi and still unfinished after his death, to the Picasso Museum. This is the city to choose if you desire all the cultural offerings a world-class urban center has to offer.


Madrid is the national capital of Spain and is located practically in the center of the country. It's a major financial center and, like most European capitals, plays host to several major expatriate communities. It won't be too difficult to find fellow English-speakers here. Madrid is third only to London and Berlin in terms of sheer size among cities in the European Union. Madrid is colder in the winter compared to locations along the Mediterranean coast, and it can rain steadily during the autumn months. Madrid's sheer size and importance could keep the average expatriate happily occupied exploring its various offerings for years.

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