The best cities to live in Spain for expats

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Spain has thousands of reasons why you should move there. Its quality of life concerning expatriates is outstanding when it comes to family and customs. However, before diving into Spanish culture, first you should know which one is the best city to live in Spain for expats.

Choosing among the best cities to live in Spain is not easy. There is a great variety of traditions and lifestyles in each region. Moreover, each of them has a different cost of living, so it also will depend on what kind of person you are.

Keep reading to find the best city to live in Spain for expats.

The best cities to live in Spain for expats

Which cities are the best places to live in Spain?

What are you looking for? Big cities filled of skyscrapers, a house close to the beach or the tranquillity of the countryside? Depending on what kind of life you are expecting to live, one city will be better than the other. Enjoy the wonderful quality of life in Spain!

These are some things you should consider when moving to Spain:

  • Having a good home insurance to cover you from any external damage.
  • A health insurance. Spain has a public health care system, but we also recommend you getting an expat health insurance to have a wider coverage.
  • Do you want to take your car to Spain or buying a new one there?
  • Get informed about the residence and the possible work permit.
  • Learn Spanish. Even in the big cities sometimes people will not get along with English very well, so speaking a little bit of Spanish will be very helpful.
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And the last thing is to find which one is the best city to live in Spain.

Barcelona: one of the best places to live in Spain for expats


Barcelona is usually one’s favourite for all tourists. It has the benefits of living in a capital city and also the perks of the beach and the sea. If you cannot yet decide whether you prefer a coast city or a big metropolis, Barcelona is an option that should be taking into consideration.

One of the best things of Barcelona is the great amount of expats living there. There are lots of different communities that organize hang outs and meetings that it will almost feel like home.

There is always something to do there. Barcelona has always the lasts trends on lifestyle and there are places for almost any activity you can think of. Also, their public transportation system is perfect for you to get around without having a car.

Madrid, the capital city of Spain and one of the best places for expats to live in Spain


Madrid and Barcelona are eternal rivals. The only thing that Barcelona has that Madrid has not is the beach. However, there is a higher chance of finding a job in Madrid and it is said to be better paid, but it depends on many other things like the type of work and the field.

Madrid has the greatest public transport system in Spain, so you will be able to move around from almost any part of the city or even, of the region. They also have implemented new restrictions on the centre of the city to reduce their carbon footprint.

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Madrid has such a big cultural tradition that there is always something to do. One of the reasons it is considered to be the best city to live in Spain for expats is because of the many theatres, cultural activities, bars and concerts that are taking place there.

Valencia: city life meets the sea


If you are not sure whether you want to live in the big city or you prefer a quitter lifestyle, then maybe you should consider moving out to Valencia, one of the best cities to live in Spain for expats.

You will find many of the benefits of living in a big city, but also the cost of living will be cheaper than in Madrid and Barcelona. If you are worried about not having enough things to do there, it is also known as the prefect destination for families and couples because of its immense activities offer.

Also, do you know Las Fallas? Valencia has beautiful historical and cultural traditions that will leave you breathless. They are also the creators of the famous Paella, among other dishes that will dance on your taste buds.

Malaga: enjoy the sun at Costa del Sol


It was about time that we talked about Andalusia, one of the best places in Spain to live for expats. And also, one of their favourites. There are so many things that you cannot miss from Malaga.

One of the main reasons why expats move to Malaga is because of the beach and good weather. They have very soft temperatures in winter and it has about 2901 sun hours per year. Sounds like paradise, right?

Malaga it is said to be the centre of the cultural and commercial of the region. They mainly rely on their touristic offer, so you will find lots of things to do and cultural activities every week.

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Bilbao: where nature and modernity meet


Have you heard about Bilbao? This city is situated at the north of Spain, in the Basque Country province. It does not have as many sun hours as Barcelona or Malaga, but it is also one of the best cities to live in for expats.

The Basque culture is unique and one of the most antique in the world. You will love their gastronomy based on the typical and well-know Pintxos. They are able to put any kind of food on top of a slice of bread so you can try all kinds of flavours and textures.

One more thing you will love about Bilbao is their beautiful nature. It has great mountains, green forests and also incredible beaches where you will be able to practice infinitude of water sports, surf being the most popular one.

Vigo: beautiful landscapes and great quality of life


Galicia has something special. Maybe it is their people, their culture of the food. We consider it one of the best cities to live for expats in Spain because of their tranquillity and their unique culture.

Just like Catalonia, Valencia and Basque-Country, Galicia has also its own language. However, almost everyone in Vigo speaks Castilian and you will not have any problem if you talk to them in Spanish. Galician people are very familiar and welcoming, they will take you into their familiar traditions and will not let go so easily.

Vigo has also a cheaper cost of living than the other cities on this list. It also has its own beach and everyone that has been there at least once has fallen in love with their nature and landscapes. If you love to get lost in the nature once a week, Galicia is your place.

If you are moving to Spain or you are planning to, do not hesitate on counting with us, BMI Brokers. We will work as intermediates to offer you a safer and more confortable stay. You can count on us to find the best health care quote or to start your own pension plan. Get in contact with us or give us your information through this form and we will contact you.