Best cities to live in Spain


It's not always easy to decide in which area to settle in when moving to Spain. According to you, what are the best cites to live in?

Which regions offer most of the job opportunities, a good quality of life, an affordable cost of living?

Share with us the cities you would recommend to expats and soon-to-be expats in Spain.

Thank you in advance,


Alicante, Toledo,Madrid.

Well, if You do not have to work on the island, I would recommend Ibiza anytime.

I love Tarragona, it's much cheaper than Barcelona, cozy, it has all you need for happy life: sea, mountains, great infrastructure, cafes, university.

Hi, everyone

Well talking about job opportunities... Madrid and the mediterranean coast is the best place. If you look for a balance of weather, job, and public services, Alicante is the best option.



Larger Cities such as Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia have more career opportunties but higher cost of living (rent, transport etc)

Other areas have lower costs of living (especially inland) will suit if you have online income or from outside Spain.

Costal areas usually have higher property prices and seasonality problems. (lots of people in spring/summer, empty in winter)

It all depends on your lifestyle and objectives. I have lived in Barcelona city centre and Granada city centre and found advantages and disadvantages in both.

Arboleas, Almeria ,
first moved there from Granada province had to move away because of threats  moved to Cadiz and later Cordoba now back in Arboleas with all my Spanish friends. The ex-pats are not bad either.

Orihuela Costa ain't so bad. A bit quiet in the winter (ok...very quiet) but close to all major shops, lots of bars and restaurants and a mix of nationalities. A short drive from the sea (8km) and even shorter if you want to lose yourself in the Spanish countryside. A motorway on your doorstep AND the N332. Last but not least, Alicante airport is 45 minutes away and Murcia about half an hour! It's got it all.

Hello Julien,

I must declare my love for Valencia. Probably the best city to live in Spain. (and the worst to work)...
Here my testimonial :)



Cordoba - if you speak Spanish...
Lots of history, wonderful nature, tranquil mountains, friendly, few expats!
great bus system, motorways and trains to all parts of Spain, reasonable cost of living.
There are many jewels of Andalusia - Cordoba is definitely one of them.

To date, I love both Valencia, and Alicante. Now I shall live in Andalucia...and then decide!

I love Malaga. Wonderful seaside town. And warm enough also in winter time.Malaga is living in winter too. There is so much to see in Costa del Sol. I have been living there over 10 years but all the time i find something new and interesting . You can be on the beach in the morning and in the afternoon you can ski in Sierra Nevada!

Hi Julien,

Like Lodewijk I must say Valencia! Beautiful city, a very nice climat, however not always easy to find a job for an expat. That is why I started my own businesses. But never say never!
Not as expensive as Madrid or Barcelona. The inlands are beautiful. And last but not least..we have the famous..Agua de Valencia!

It depends on the person and what you want. No good choosing Granada or Madrid if you donn't like driving in traffic. No good choosing inland Alicante if you want to become "Spanish"

When we first came here we were looking for a house in the middle of a small town so that we could get most things without travelling. I wish we'd stuck to that. We now live 4kms from a small town and the house is smashing but the "isolation" - that's not the right word but the way that we aren't part of a communitym or within walking distance of things, is a constant irritation.

For various work related reasons we've lived in quite a few places. Ciudad Rodrigo in Salamanca was great, Burgos is nice but freezing in winter, Cartagena offered two completely different experiences when we lived dead in the town centre (brilliant) and in a central neighbourhood (good enough but with more disadvantages than advantages)

So make your choices. The weather, the countryside, Spanish or expat and then have a look around.

That is very difficult to answer, as we all chose the place where we live.  That is likely going to be our suggestion, based on our priorities.   I have much info to help you think through the process of what you want, because it really doesn't matter what the rest of us think is perfect.  You need to decide what you are looking for and then we can say if we know where that may be. 

We live in Costa Tropical and here is why we love it. 

Here is how we chose where we live.

I hope that helps.

I agree with the above. It all depends on what you are looking for. Metropolitan city, the countryside the coast? Spain has a little bit of everything which  makes it a great country to live in :)


Of course I agree too with above. I am living in a small village in the mountains 30 km to the north of Valencia, that is where we decided to live nearly 12 years ago. And fortunately we are still happy to live here. Also very important is the fact that our children (13 and 9 years) are very very happy at their schools and very happy with their friends.  :)


I would suggest Galicia, untouched and unspoilt area of Spain, pristine beaches and cheap lifestyle , the weather here is better than what its made out to be, if you want to improve your Spanish and get a true experience , then the best place for sure

Valencia is beautiful as is Seville but my favourite is Barcelona, ticks all boxes for me and is not as expensive as some people suggest.

Good luck

I lived in Madrid, now in Barcelona
Barcelona for me definitely has the best work/life balance.

I lived and work in Madrid 4 years  and after I moved to Barcelona  .. And between these two cities ... I prefer Madrid. Local People are more happy and open in Madrid ... And in Barcelona you need to learn Catalan ..

You do not have to learn Catalan if you live in Barcelona but  it is helpful to learn a few phrases and this will be appreciated.
Children are taught Catalan as the first language but in my experience the vast majority in Bracelona speak Spanish.
Great city, proud people and not too big compared with the likes of Madrid.

Almeria is one of the best, being a spacious Village-City by the sea, in a very dry area

Of course Valencia  !

And we have the Neville brothers :)

Galicia is the most affordable region hands down. Usually half of the cost elsewhere in Spain and much quieter, with a lot less tourism. Rush hour on the highways is very rare. One can rent many whole large single family homes there with sea view, steps from one of many little romantic old harbours, for 400-500 euro. Fresh bread every day and fresh fish on many week days, often home delivered. A capuccino and a double expresso coffee for two at a local cafe on its terrace with view of the rias baixa (fjord to see) or the sea cast itself will cost about 2 to 2,50  euro. You will find little about all this online since this is a rather secretive private area which only locals know well from word of mouth and personal experience and they are often rarely online.

Agree Sevilla is gorgeous however unemployment is incredibly high in that region. Makes it tough for locals.

I live in Galicia and visit Barcelona on occasion and also worked for years with a woman from Cataluna, but what I noticed is the excessive "Catalanism" and it increasingly overshadowing Spanish. Even at McDonalds! It used to be different.
The "stick in one's face" of Catalan has become disturbing. I also noticed that Barcelona is starting to impose onerous foreigner unfriendly local legislation impacting housing prices and availability after electing their crazy new maire Colau.
In Galicia,where both Spanish and Galician are spoken, and Galician is heard a lot on the street, it is much more relaxed and foreigners are greatly appreciated, especially since many Galicians have strong family ties abroad. No need to learn alican ether although it may be handy with the elderly especially. Lots of Galicians focus in school on also learning English though.

I'm moving to costa blanca south somewhere between Torrevieja and La Zenia I don't drive and want to live in a bustling area close to shops with bus to towns and beach as I'm travelling alone....any suggestions please....

We haven't moved yet but we're planning to land in Valencia. We found a great school for our kids and found the region to be very inviting and intriguing when we visited last spring. You can't beat the weather, and the city seems to have a lot to offer at a relatively reasonable cost of living. Any doubters?
We'll be visiting again this spring to try to establish some work contacts. We know this can be tough but hopefully both being CELTA certified will help us at the academies. Worst case, we look for private students and start our own academy.

Good luck with the move and the work. I'm actually looking to move to Alicante well between there and mercia hoping to arrive e this spring 😆

Good choice, large cities have more job opportunities

Galicia, Asturias or Cantabria to live and Catalunia, Valencia and Malaga to spend some winter months on vacation.

Yes i struggled teaching in Seville.Be careful of schools and it is normal to not getva job outside of teaching!Seville is beautiful but hard to get a job

Good for you. After a few years living in Madrid, Guadalajara and San Juan I can happily tell you that El Campello is my fav place to live, work and swim about in. Its got all the jollies of city bustling life especially as constant running trains and busses can be picked up in the centre from as little as €1;45 in either direction of Benidorm or the lovely city of Alicante. Enjoy soft white beachs and warm quiet nights in El Campello with its lovely parks and even a dog lovers beach and park too plus there are many famous restaurants dotted along the beach front, or head off, only 25 mins by train to uproaring Benidorm where you can take in numerous shows of all calibre and dance the nights into English breakfast outdoor restaurants. A little warning though, best to get your NIF certs sorted out in Benidorm as most of us have found that trying to get it renewed in Alicante city offices leaves us in culture shock after been treated as if we are asking for free hand outs from the lords table. Such is the attitude of those who are given a full contract and a desk to sit at.
Hopefully their uppity bad manners will change.
All the best.

we already sorted out our NIE from Toronto - hopefully renewal isn't so rough in Valencia!

I have lived on and off in Nerja in the past 4 years but I'm thinking that Malaga or west of Malaga would be more varied. I'm retired and rent places. Do you know if rented flats are easy to come by in Malaga?

You will love Valencia! My partner and I think it is a great place to enjoy all that Spain offers :) We moved there just last May of 2015 and are now in a nearby village to live in beach-front property, but we will still love the city too! Welcome and enjoy yourself!

My partner and I moved to Valencia from Denver, Colorado last May. We are so glad! The cost of living is very affordable and you still get to enjoy the arts and culture of a city. We love the beach areas too. In the fall we settled into a very small village called Xeraco because we found an amazing, furnished home to rent that is right on the beach!
It's still on the C-1 train line from the center of Valencia so we get up to the city quite often to see friends and enjoy the sites there. But we also get to enjoy the tranquility of the sea and amazingly affordable and healthy lifestyle here.

I would recommend Valencia out of the cities in Spain. And that's after visiting Madrid numerous times, for weeks at a time, and living for a summer in Barcelona. We have our own businesses and work from anywhere, so we didn't have to deal with traffic too much, but we were still working. If you feel you want something quieter and even more inexpensive, then I would recommend one of the villages close to Valencia. Ours is very small, but there are great ones like Gandia and Denia, that are just next to us and right on the gorgeous sea. They're prime locations, authentically Spanish and not over developed, and good proximity to other parts of Spain and European travel.


Moving to Valencia in 8 wks! Want to rent for a while as I'm thinking of buying but not straight away......any areas to avoid? Would like to be initially quite central but not somewhere that is a non stop party..even though my friend and I make music...I still need my sleep!  Lol was looking at Benimaclet? And saw a cheap 3 bed in Cabanyal?
Any info you can give would be great..I'm looking online and have already had found a fraudster.. you know lovely flat good pics...take your money no property...Big long email saying they are a pastor and they need an honest person to rent to and are Didn't take much detective work..didn't even exist on Google maps...  overseas doing missionary work of course! Lol
Just wondered if you knew of any good agents to contact?

Thanks in advance...