top of page

The Top 10 Best Places to Live as an Expat in Spain: A Comprehensive Guide


Madrid - Expat living in Spain

We invite you on a virtual journey through Spain as we explore the top 10 best places to live as an expat. Spain, known for its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and warm climate, offers a delightful experience for expatriates. In this article, we will provide detailed information about each location, including the cost of living, things to do, and a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Spain. So, let's dive into our list!


Madrid: As the third-sunniest European capital after Valetta and Lisbon, Madrid is a top choice for sun-starved northern Europeans seeking a sunny destination. Aside from its appealing climate, Madrid is a bustling metropolis that offers excellent job opportunities for expats. The city's large and growing expat community contributes to its vibrant lifestyle. Madrid's cultural diversity, lively carnivals, vibrant nightlife, and a plethora of great restaurants add to its allure. Art lovers will be delighted to explore two of Madrid's most famous art museums, the Reina Sofia and the Prado, which offer free admission every night and boast extensive collections of masterworks.


Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Madrid:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $1,100-$1,900

  • Basic utilities (including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage): $120-$180

  • Internet: $35-$50

  • Public transportation pass: $60

  • Dining out for two: $50-$90

  • Fitness club membership: $40-$70

Barcelona: Often compared to Madrid as eternal rivals, Barcelona presents a different kind of charm. The city is renowned for its unmatched architecture, particularly the works of the renowned architect Antoni Gaudi. Barcelona also offers a vibrant seaside experience with its beautiful beaches and the nearby coastal town of Sitges, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers. The Mediterranean climate in Barcelona ensures milder winters and cooler summers compared to Madrid.


Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Barcelona:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $1,100-$2,000

  • Basic utilities: $100-$160

  • Internet: $35-$50

  • Public transportation pass: $60

  • Dining out for two: $50-$90

  • Fitness club membership: $40-$70

Valencia: Often overlooked in the Madrid-Barcelona debate, Valencia is considered by many as Spain's best city to live in. It offers excellent infrastructure, facilities, cultural events, entertainment, and a thriving nightlife. Valencia's sunny and safe environment, affordability, and unique blend of quirkiness and authenticity attract expats and digital nomads. The city's proximity to beautiful Mediterranean beaches and mountains allows residents to enjoy outdoor activities year-round. Additionally, Valencia offers solid job prospects, particularly in industries and tourism.


Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Valencia:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $800-$1,300

  • Basic utilities: $100-$160

  • Internet: $35-$50

  • Public transportation pass: $50

  • Dining out for two: $30-$60

  • Fitness club membership: $30-$50

Seville: Seville, with its Moorish architecture, waterfront charm, and iconic horse-drawn carriages, is a delightful city to live in. Despite being Spain's fourth-largest city, Seville manages to retain a small-town feel. Its strategic location near both beaches and mountains makes it an ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts. The city is well-connected through its significant airports, train stations, and bus depots, providing easy access to other parts of Spain. Seville is also renowned for its vibrant flamenco, music, and food events that take place year-round. Expats will find diverse communities thriving in Seville, and the city offers a range of international schools for families considering relocation.


Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Seville:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $800-$1,300

  • Basic utilities: $100-$160

  • Internet: $35-$50

  • Public transportation pass: $40

  • Dining out for two: $30-$60

  • Fitness club membership: $30-$50

Bilbao: Bilbao offers a unique metropolitan lifestyle that diverges from the traditional Spanish expat experience. While it may not have been a prominent destination for expats in the past, Bilbao is now attracting those seeking less familiar and unconventional locations. Situated on the less popular northern coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, Bilbao provides a different climate compared to Spain's Mediterranean cities. However, this also means fewer tourists and expats, offering a more authentic experience. As the capital of the Basque Country, Bilbao is known for its modern architecture, including the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The city has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, revitalizing its waterfront and becoming a hub for art, culture, and gastronomy. Expats in Bilbao can enjoy a thriving arts scene, Michelin-starred restaurants, and a range of outdoor activities amidst the beautiful Basque landscapes.


Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Bilbao:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $900-$1,600

  • Basic utilities: $100-$160

  • Internet: $35-$50

  • Public transportation pass: $50

  • Dining out for two: $40-$70

  • Fitness club membership: $35-$60

Malaga: Located on the stunning Costa del Sol in southern Spain, Malaga is a popular destination for expats seeking a relaxed lifestyle and pleasant climate. With over 300 days of sunshine each year, it's no wonder that Malaga is often referred to as the "Sun Coast." The city boasts beautiful beaches, a vibrant port, and a historic city center that showcases its rich Moorish heritage. Malaga is also renowned for being the birthplace of the famous artist Pablo Picasso, and visitors can explore the Picasso Museum to admire his works. The city offers a variety of amenities, including international schools, modern healthcare facilities, and a thriving expat community. Expats can enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle, indulge in delicious seafood, and easily access nearby attractions such as Marbella and Gibraltar.


Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Malaga:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $800-$1,400

  • Basic utilities: $90-$140

  • Internet: $35-$50

  • Public transportation pass: $40

  • Dining out for two: $30-$60

  • Fitness club membership: $30-$50

Granada: Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalusia, Granada offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. The city is famous for the Alhambra, a stunning Moorish palace complex that attracts millions of visitors each year. Living in Granada allows expats to immerse themselves in the enchanting atmosphere of the Albaicín neighborhood, with its narrow streets, white-washed houses, and vibrant flamenco scene. The city's university, one of the oldest in Spain, contributes to a lively student population and a dynamic cultural scene. Expats can enjoy the affordability of Granada, indulge in the local cuisine, and take advantage of the nearby Sierra Nevada ski resort for outdoor adventures.


Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Granada:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $700-$1,200

  • Basic utilities: $90-$140

  • Internet: $35-$50

  • Public transportation pass: $30

  • Dining out for two: $25-$50

  • Fitness club membership: $30-$50

Palma de Mallorca: For those seeking an island paradise, Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the Balearic Islands, is an excellent choice. This vibrant city offers a laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle, beautiful sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters. Palma's historic center features charming narrow streets, Gothic architecture, and a stunning cathedral overlooking the sea. Expats can explore the local markets, indulge in delicious seafood, and enjoy the island's vibrant nightlife. Palma also provides a range of international schools, making it an attractive option for families. The island's airport offers excellent connectivity to the rest of Europe, making travel convenient for expats.


Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Palma de Mallorca:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $1,000-$1,800

  • Basic utilities: $100-$160

  • Internet: $35-$50

  • Public transportation pass: $50

  • Dining out for two: $40-$70

  • Fitness club membership: $35-$60

San Sebastian: Nestled in the Basque Country on Spain's northern coast, San Sebastian is renowned for its stunning beaches, world-class cuisine, and lively cultural scene. The city's picturesque bay, La Concha, is often considered one of the most beautiful urban beaches in the world. San Sebastian is a culinary paradise, boasting numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and pintxo bars serving delicious Basque cuisine. The city hosts several international events, including the renowned San Sebastian International Film Festival. Expats can enjoy outdoor activities such as surfing, hiking in the nearby mountains, and exploring the charming Old Town.


Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in San Sebastian:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $1,100-$2,000

  • Basic utilities: $100-$160

  • Internet: $35-$50

  • Public transportation pass: $60

  • Dining out for two: $50-$90

  • Fitness club membership: $40-$70

Valencia: Valencia, Spain's third-largest city, offers a perfect balance between a vibrant urban lifestyle and a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere. The city combines modern architecture with a rich history, with highlights including the City of Arts and Sciences and the historic Valencia Cathedral. Expats can explore the lively Central Market, indulge in the famous dish paella, and enjoy the city's many festivals, such as Las Fallas. Valencia's location on the Mediterranean coast provides easy access to beautiful beaches, and the nearby Albufera Natural Park offers opportunities for nature enthusiasts. With its affordable cost of living and excellent infrastructure, Valencia is an attractive destination for expats seeking a high quality of life in Spain.


Estimated Monthly Cost of Living in Valencia:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $800-$1,400

  • Basic utilities: $100-$160

  • Internet: $35-$50

  • Public transportation pass: $50

  • Dining out for two: $30-$60

  • Fitness club membership: $30-$50

These ten cities in Spain offer a diverse range of experiences for expats, from vibrant metropolitan areas to tranquil coastal retreats. Whether you're drawn to the cultural offerings of Barcelona, the charm of Seville, or the relaxed island lifestyle of Palma de Mallorca, Spain has something to suit every taste. With its affordable cost of living, excellent healthcare, and welcoming atmosphere, Spain remains a top choice for expats looking to create a new home away from home. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a memorable expat adventure in one of these remarkable Spanish cities!

Fact Section:

  1. Spain's Cost of Living: Spain generally offers a lower cost of living compared to many other Western European countries. While the cost of living can vary depending on the city and lifestyle, expats in Spain can often enjoy affordable housing options, reasonably priced groceries, and accessible public transportation.

  2. Healthcare System: Spain has a renowned healthcare system that provides universal coverage for residents, including expats. The system is funded through taxes and social security contributions, ensuring that individuals have access to quality medical care. Expats are also eligible to join the public healthcare system, either through employment or by paying into the system independently.

  3. Visa and Residency: For expats planning to live in Spain, it's important to be aware of the visa and residency requirements. EU citizens have the right to live and work in Spain without a visa, while non-EU citizens need to obtain the appropriate visa and residency permit. It's advisable to consult with the Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date information on visa requirements.

  4. Language: The official language of Spain is Spanish, also known as Castilian. While Spanish is widely spoken throughout the country, there are also regional languages such as Catalan, Basque, and Galician. Learning some basic Spanish phrases can greatly enhance the expat experience and facilitate integration into the local community.

  5. Climate: Spain enjoys a diverse climate due to its geographical location. The coastal regions, particularly in the south, benefit from a Mediterranean climate characterized by hot summers and mild winters. In contrast, the northern regions experience a more temperate climate with cooler summers and milder winters. The central areas, including Madrid, have a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters.

  6. Transportation: Spain offers a well-developed transportation network, making it easy for expats to travel within the country and explore its diverse regions. Major cities are connected by an extensive train and bus network, and domestic flights are available for longer distances. Many cities also have efficient public transportation systems, including metros and buses, for convenient daily commuting.

  7. Cultural Diversity: Spain is known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse traditions. Each region has its own unique customs, festivals, and cuisines, providing expats with a wealth of cultural experiences. From flamenco dancing in Andalusia to the Basque Country's distinct culinary scene, expats can immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of Spanish culture.

  8. Safety: Spain is generally considered a safe country for residents and expats. Like any other destination, it's advisable to take common-sense precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings and securing personal belongings. Spain's low crime rates and efficient law enforcement contribute to a safe and secure living environment.

  9. Education: Spain offers a range of educational opportunities for expat families. From public schools to private international schools, parents can choose the educational system that best suits their children's needs. Many international schools follow international curricula and offer instruction in multiple languages.

  10. Rich History and Landmarks: Spain is renowned for its rich history and architectural landmarks. From ancient Roman ruins to stunning medieval cathedrals and Moorish palaces, the country is a treasure trove of historical sites. Expats can explore iconic attractions such as the Alhambra in Granada, the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, and the Royal Palace in Madrid, gaining a deeper appreciation for Spain's cultural heritage.

These facts highlight some key aspects of living in Spain as an expat. It's important to research and consider these factors when planning a move to ensure a smooth transition and a fulfilling expat experience in this captivating country.


Commenti


bottom of page