13 Best Places to Live in Spain in 2024

by Flora
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Spain is more than just a country; it’s a lifestyle unto itself. From its sun-drenched Costa del Sol to its world-renowned vineyards in La Rioja, and from its vibrant cities like Madrid and Barcelona to the tranquil beaches of the Balearic Islands, Spain offers an unparalleled diversity of experiences. Choosing the ideal place to call home in this captivating country can be overwhelming, given its rich tapestry of landscapes and lifestyles.

Over the years, I’ve journeyed through Spain, soaking in its diverse beauty—from the rugged landscapes of the Pyrenees to the olive groves of Andalusia. From the artistic streets of Barcelona to the historic charm of Seville. I’ve also spent 6 months living in Barcelona and Valencia. Spain’s diversity is truly incomparable. Whether you’re enticed by the flamenco rhythms of Andalusia, the culinary delights of the Basque Country, or the bustling energy of cities like Madrid and Valencia, there’s a slice of Spain that feels tailor-made for you.

So, where should you begin your search? The perfect spot varies from person to person. Some may prioritize proximity to the sea, others may seek out areas with top-notch education, and for many, the cost of living will be the ultimate deciding factor.

Join me as I delve into the best cities and regions to live in Spain, based on what matters most to you. I’ve pored over articles, analyzed statistics, and engaged with locals to curate a list that accommodates every lifestyle and budget. Let’s get started!

The best places to live in Spain right now

The Best Places to Live in Spain   

Eager to explore the most enchanting places to call home in Spain? Situated in southwestern Europe, Spain offers a myriad of options for every lifestyle. Continue reading to uncover the top locations to live in this captivating country.

In search of the perfect place to reside in Spain? No matter what you’re looking for, Spain has a locale that can meet your desires.

  • Best for beach life: Alicante
  • Best for art and culture: Barcelona
  • Best for small-town charm: Frigiliana
  • Best for history and outdoor activities: Granada
  • Best for vibrant city life: Madrid
  • Best for sunshine and culture: Málaga
  • Best for luxury and glamor: Marbella
  • Best for food and beaches: San Sebastián
  • Best for traditional Andalusian life: Seville
  • Best for island life: The Canary Islands
  • Best for historical exploration: Toledo
  • Best for modern meets historic: Valencia

Here are the must-know spots to consider when choosing where to live in Spain:

1. Alicante

Imagine stepping out of your front door and being greeted by the Mediterranean Sea’s azure waves. Alicante, a port city on Spain’s southwestern Costa Blanca, offers just that—a life where the ocean is your neighbor. With a climate that boasts over 300 sunny days a year, it’s no wonder this city is a magnet for expats and locals alike. It’s especially popular to visit during Spanish summers, when the temperatures are ideal for the beach!

The city’s charm extends beyond its beaches. The historic old town, Barrio de la Santa Cruz, is a labyrinth of narrow streets, colorful houses, and a nightlife that keeps the city awake until dawn. From the hilltop Castle of Santa Bárbara, you can catch panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking.

The quality of life in Alicante is further enhanced by its affordable cost of living compared to many other Spanish cities.
The quality of life in Alicante is further enhanced by its affordable cost of living compared to many other Spanish cities.

Foodies will revel in Alicante’s culinary scene. From traditional tapas bars to Michelin-starred restaurants, your taste buds are in for a treat. And let’s not forget the city’s famous festivals, like Las Hogueras. It is where gigantic sculptures are set ablaze in a spectacle of fire and celebration.

When it comes to the best towns to live in Spain, Alicante stands out for its blend of natural beauty, historical richness, and modern amenities. Whether you’re a beach bum, a history buff, or a social butterfly, Alicante offers a lifestyle that’s hard to resist.

2. Barcelona

Ah, the allure of Barcelona! This Catalonian gem is a feast for the senses, from the intricate designs of Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia to the mouthwatering aromas wafting from La Boqueria Market. A city where art, culture, and history collide, Barcelona is a haven for anyone with a zest for life.

Stroll down the famous La Rambla and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of street performers, flower stalls, and outdoor cafes. Venture a bit further and the Gothic Quarter awaits. It offers a maze of narrow medieval streets full of tapas bars and boutiques. Don’t forget to visit the beach—yes, this city has beaches too!—where you can relax after a day of urban exploration.

Barcelona's coastal location provides access to beaches such as Barceloneta, where residents and tourists can enjoy the sun and sea.
Barcelona’s coastal location provides access to beaches such as Barceloneta, where residents and tourists can enjoy the sun and sea.

Barcelona is also a city of festivals, from the colorful La Mercè to the quirky Gràcia Festival. Each event is a celebration of life, filling the streets with music, dance, and, of course, delicious food.

When talking about coolest places to live in Spain, Barcelona effortlessly makes the list. Its unique blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication offers an unparalleled lifestyle, making it a dream destination for many.

3. Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca offers vibrant city life and serene island charm, making it an ideal living destination in Europe. This sun-kissed city, with its stunning La Seu Cathedral, stands as a testament to Mallorca’s rich history and cultural diversity. Wander through its streets, and you’ll discover a world of Gothic architecture, lively markets, and secret courtyards, each with a story to tell.

The culinary scene in Palma is a delight, boasting an array of fresh seafood and traditional Mallorquin dishes that tantalize the taste buds. But the real allure of Palma lies in its strategic location. This serves as the perfect base to explore the wider wonders of Mallorca. The island itself is a treasure trove of experiences, from hiking the rugged Serra de Tramuntana to uncovering hidden beaches with turquoise waters.

Palma boasts a vibrant cultural scene, offering residents and visitors a rich array of museums, galleries, and annual events.
Palma boasts a vibrant cultural scene, offering residents and visitors a rich array of museums, galleries, and annual events.

Life in Palma is an endless adventure, offering a daily exploration of ancient villages, sun-drenched beaches, and natural wonders. It’s a place where the joys of island living meet the pulse of city life, all wrapped up in a warm, community-focused atmosphere. For those seeking a Spanish lifestyle that harmoniously blends excitement with tranquility, Palma de Mallorca is not just a home but a slice of paradise.

4. Frigiliana

Step back in time as you wander through the cobblestone streets of Frigiliana, a picturesque village perched high in the mountains of Andalusia. With its whitewashed buildings adorned with vibrant flower pots, this place is a photographer’s dream come true.

The village is a labyrinth of narrow alleys, hidden courtyards, and unexpected vistas. Every turn reveals a new surprise, whether it’s a local artisan shop, a tiny chapel, or a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea. The Moorish influence is palpable, from the architecture to the local cuisine. This offers a unique blend of Spanish and North African cultures.

Frigiliana's inviting atmosphere and stunning landscapes make it a hidden gem in Spain.
Frigiliana’s inviting atmosphere and stunning landscapes make it a hidden gem in Spain.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do here as well. The surrounding Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Natural Park offers hiking trails that range from leisurely walks to challenging climbs. And after a day of adventure, what could be better than enjoying a glass of local wine as you watch the sunset?

Frigiliana isn’t just a destination; it’s a great place to live in Spain. Its blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and small-town charm makes it an ideal choice for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

5. Granada

Ah, the magic of Granada! Nestled at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, this Andalusian city is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty. The Alhambra, a sprawling palace complex, stands as a testament to the city’s Moorish past. Its intricate architecture and lush gardens are a must-see for any visitor.

But Granada offers more than just historical sites. The city is also a hub for outdoor activities, from skiing in the Sierra Nevada to hiking in the nearby Alpujarras mountains. This makes it one of the most instragrammable places in Spain. And let’s not forget the food—Granada is one of the few cities in Spain where tapas are still served free with your drink!

Granada is often considered one of the best places to live in Spain for its enchanting blend of historical significance
Granada is often considered one of the best places to live in Spain for its enchanting blend of historical significance

The local culture is a blend of traditional Andalusian and modern Spanish influences. This creates a vibrant community that’s welcoming to newcomers. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or simply enjoying good food and wine, Granada offers something for everyone.

In the realm of best places in Spain to live, Granada effortlessly claims a spot. Its unique mix of cultural richness, outdoor activities, and culinary delights make it a dream destination for many.

6. Madrid

Feel the pulse of Spain’s heartbeat in Madrid, the country’s vibrant capital. From the world-renowned art collections in the Prado Museum to the bustling atmosphere of Plaza Mayor, Madrid is a city that never sleeps. It’s a place where history and modernity coexist in a beautiful, chaotic harmony.

Take a leisurely stroll through the historic district and you’ll encounter grand architecture, quaint cafes, and street performers that bring the city to life. Venture into the trendy neighborhoods like Malasaña or Chueca and you’ll discover a different side of Madrid, filled with boutique shops, rooftop bars, and a young, energetic vibe.

Madrid invites a culinary journey from traditional tapas bars to Michelin-starred restaurants.
Madrid invites a culinary journey from traditional tapas bars to Michelin-starred restaurants.

Food lovers will be in heaven here. Madrid offers a culinary journey from traditional tapas bars to avant-garde Michelin-starred restaurants. And for those who love the nightlife, the city offers an array of options, from flamenco shows to techno clubs.

Among the best places to live in Spain, Madrid stands out for its dynamic culture, diverse neighborhoods, and endless opportunities for entertainment and career growth. It’s a city that offers something for everyone, making it an ideal place to call home.

7. Málaga

Uncover the essence of Andalusian charm in Málaga, a coastal city that’s as rich in culture as it is in sunshine. With over 300 days of sun a year, it’s a paradise for beach lovers. Yet, the city offers much more than just golden sands and azure waters.

Málaga is a city of contrasts. The modern port area, Muelle Uno, is a hub of contemporary art and dining, while the historic center is a maze of narrow streets, filled with traditional tapas bars and flamenco venues. The Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress, offers panoramic views of the city and is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Discover the charm of Andalusia in coastal Málaga, a city rich in culture and sunshine.
Discover the charm of Andalusia in coastal Málaga, a city rich in culture and sunshine.

Art aficionados will appreciate the city’s rich cultural scene. This includes the Picasso Museum, dedicated to the city’s most famous son. And for those who love to shop, the city’s markets and boutiques offer everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.

When considering good places to live in Spain, Málaga is a standout choice. Its blend of beach life, cultural richness, and modern amenities make it a highly livable city. Making it perfect for those looking to experience the best of Andalusian life.

8. Marbella

Welcome to the playground of the rich and famous—Marbella. It is a city that epitomizes luxury and glamor on Spain’s Costa del Sol. With its pristine beaches, upscale boutiques, and exclusive nightclubs, Marbella is where the high life meets the beach life.

Yet, there’s more to Marbella than just glitz and glamor. The city’s Old Town, with its narrow winding streets and traditional Andalusian architecture, offers a tranquil escape from the bustling beachfront. Here, you can explore charming shops, dine in intimate restaurants, and discover hidden squares where locals gather.

Marbella seamlessly blends both worlds, making it ideal for those desiring the best.
Marbella seamlessly blends both worlds, making it ideal for those desiring the best.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do as well. The nearby Sierra Blanca mountains offer hiking trails with stunning views, while the Mediterranean Sea provides ample opportunities for water sports like jet skiing and paddleboarding.

Marbella is not just a holiday destination; it’s one of the best areas to live in Spain. Whether you’re drawn to the luxury lifestyle or the city’s quieter, more traditional side, Marbella offers a unique blend of both worlds. This makes it an ideal place for those who want the best of everything.

9. San Sebastián

Picture this: You’re sipping on a glass of txakoli, a local white wine, as you gaze out at La Concha Bay’s shimmering waters. Welcome to San Sebastián, a culinary and cultural gem in Spain’s Basque Country. Known for its world-class restaurants and stunning beaches, this city is a haven for foodies and beachgoers alike.

San Sebastián is a city that celebrates life’s finer things. Its culinary scene is legendary, boasting more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than almost any other city in the world. From pintxos bars to fine dining establishments, your taste buds will be in heaven here.

San Sebastian's culinary excellence, natural beauty, and cultural richness make it an ideal choice for high-quality living.
San Sebastian’s culinary excellence, natural beauty, and cultural richness make it an ideal choice for high-quality living.

But it’s not all about food and beaches. The city is also rich in history and culture, evident in its elegant Belle Époque architecture and vibrant festivals like Semana Grande, where the city comes alive with music, fireworks, and traditional Basque sports.

In the conversation about Spain’s best places to live, San Sebastián is often at the forefront. Its blend of culinary excellence, natural beauty, and cultural richness make it an irresistible choice for those seeking a high-quality life.

10. Seville

Unearth the soul of Andalusia in Seville, a city where flamenco rhythms fill the air and the scent of orange blossoms lingers. With its grand cathedrals, historic palaces, and vibrant plazas, Seville is a feast for the senses and a playground for the culturally curious.

The city’s architectural wonders, like the Alcázar and the Giralda Tower, offer a glimpse into its rich history, which spans Moorish rule to the height of the Spanish Empire. Yet, Seville is not stuck in the past. The Metropol Parasol, a modern wooden structure, adds a contemporary flair to the city’s skyline.

Seville's mix of historical grandeur, modern amenities, and vibrant culture makes it ideal for immersing in Spanish life.
Seville’s mix of historical grandeur, modern amenities, and vibrant culture makes it ideal for immersing in Spanish life.

Seville is also a gastronomic delight. From traditional tapas bars to modern fusion restaurants, the city offers a culinary experience that’s as diverse as its history. And when the sun sets, the city comes alive with flamenco shows, rooftop bars, and lively street performances.

When it comes to the best cities to live in Spain, Seville is a top contender. Its mix of historical grandeur, modern amenities, and vibrant culture makes it an ideal place for those looking to immerse themselves in the Spanish way of life.

11. The Canary Islands

Imagine waking up to the sound of waves crashing against volcanic shores, with a backdrop of lush forests and towering peaks. This is daily life in the Canary Islands, an archipelago that offers a unique blend of natural wonders and cultural richness.

Here, you can surf in Fuerteventura’s golden beaches in the morning and hike through La Palma’s lush forests in the afternoon. The islands are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering everything from scuba diving to paragliding. And let’s not forget the unique Canarian cuisine, a delicious mix of Spanish and African influences.

The Canary Islands stand out in the realm of the best towns to live in Spain, offering a unique proposition.
The Canary Islands stand out in the realm of the best towns to live in Spain, offering a unique proposition.

The islands are also a hub for digital nomads and remote workers, thanks to their excellent infrastructure and quality of life. With a mild climate year-round, it’s no wonder many choose to make this their permanent home.

In the realm of best Spain towns to live, the Canary Islands offer a unique proposition. With their diverse landscapes, outdoor activities, and high quality of life, they’re a perfect choice for those looking to escape the mainland’s hustle and bustle.

12. Toledo

Step back in time as you wander through the cobbled streets of Toledo. It is a city that’s often referred to as the “Second Rome” for its rich history and stunning architecture. Perched on a hill overlooking the Tagus River, Toledo offers panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking.

The city is a melting pot of cultures, where Christian, Muslim, and Jewish influences have coexisted for centuries. This is evident in its diverse architectural styles, from the Gothic Cathedral to the Moorish Alcázar. Art lovers will be thrilled to explore the El Greco Museum, dedicated to the city’s most famous resident.

Toledo's blend of history, culture, and gastronomy makes it a compelling choice for a rich and fulfilling lifestyle.
Toledo’s blend of history, culture, and gastronomy makes it a compelling choice for a rich and fulfilling lifestyle.

Toledo is not just about history and culture; it’s also a food lover’s paradise. The city is famous for its marzipan, a sweet almond paste that’s a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. And for those who prefer savory, the local Manchego cheese and Serrano ham are not to be missed.

In discussions about top cities in Spain to live, Toledo often comes up as a strong contender. Its blend of history, culture, and gastronomy makes it a compelling choice for those looking for a rich and fulfilling lifestyle.

13. Valencia

Discover a city where the future meets the past, where cutting-edge architecture like the City of Arts and Sciences coexists with historic gems like the Valencia Cathedral. Welcome to Valencia, a city that effortlessly blends tradition and innovation.

Valencia is renowned for its culinary scene, most notably for being the birthplace of paella. From bustling food markets like Mercado Central to trendy tapas bars, the city offers a gastronomic experience that’s second to none. And if you’re a fan of oranges, you’re in luck—Valencia is famous for its sweet, juicy citrus.

Valencia frequently leads the list when considering the best city to live in Spain.
Valencia frequently leads the list when considering the best city to live in Spain.

The city also boasts some of Spain’s best beaches, like Malvarrosa and El Saler, where you can soak up the sun or try your hand at windsurfing. And for those who prefer green spaces, the Turia Gardens offer a serene escape right in the heart of the city.

When pondering the best city to live in Spain, Valencia often tops the list. With its mix of modern amenities, rich history, and vibrant culture, it’s a city that offers something for everyone, making it an ideal place to call home.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Spain     

Looking to expand your knowledge about Spain’s best cities to live? Here are some common questions I get a lot about the best Spain places to live in.

Where is the nicest place to live in Spain?

The concept of “nicest” is subjective and varies from person to person, depending on what you’re looking for. However, many people point to San Sebastián as one of the most livable cities in Spain. With its stunning beaches, world-class culinary scene, and rich cultural offerings, it’s a place that ticks a lot of boxes for those seeking a high quality of life. Whether you’re a foodie, a beach lover, or a culture vulture, San Sebastián offers a little bit of everything, making it a strong contender for the title of the nicest place to live in Spain.

Where do most foreigners live in Spain?

These locations are often highlighted as places to move in Spain for foreigners, offering a mix of local culture and international familiarity.

  • Barcelona: Known for its cosmopolitan vibe and rich history.
  • Madrid: The capital city, popular for its job opportunities and vibrant culture.
  • Alicante: A coastal city that attracts retirees and beach lovers.
  • Marbella: Famous for its luxurious lifestyle and expat community.
  • Málaga: Offers a blend of traditional Spanish culture and modern amenities.
  • The Canary Islands: Popular among digital nomads and those looking for a unique lifestyle.

What is the safest place to live in Spain?

Spain is generally a safe country, but if you’re particularly concerned about safety, smaller cities and towns often rank higher in this regard. For instance, places like Toledo and Frigiliana are not only rich in culture and natural beauty but are also considered very safe. These locations are frequently mentioned when discussing where is the best place to live in Spain in terms of safety. Low crime rates and a strong sense of community contribute to their reputation as secure places to call home.

Spain is widely regarded as an excellent place for foreigners to live, offering a variety of compelling reasons.
Spain is widely regarded as an excellent place for foreigners to live, offering a variety of compelling reasons.

Where in Spain is it affordable to live?

These cities are often cited as what are the best places to live in Spain for those on a budget. They offer a variety of lifestyle options without breaking the bank.

  • Granada: This is a nice city to live in Spain, known for its low cost of living and rich history.
  • Alicante: Offers affordable beachside living.
  • Valencia: Provides a balance of affordability and amenities.
  • Málaga: One of the best Spanish cities with reasonable living costs, especially compared to other coastal cities.
  • Toledo: Offers a more affordable lifestyle while still being rich in culture and history.

Where is the healthiest place in Spain to live?

These locations are often highlighted when talking about best areas to live in Spain for those who prioritize a healthy lifestyle. They offer clean air, opportunities for physical activity, and access to fresh, local produce.

  • San Sebastián: Known for its clean air and abundance of outdoor activities.
  • The Canary Islands: Offers a unique climate and is rich in natural beauty.
  • Valencia: Provides plenty of green spaces and beaches for an active lifestyle.
  • Granada: Located near the Sierra Nevada mountains, offering plenty of outdoor activities.
  • Frigiliana: A small town with clean air, less pollution, and a slower pace of life.

Is Spain a good place to live for foreigners?

Absolutely, Spain is often considered a great place to live in Spain for foreigners for a variety of reasons:

  • Cultural Richness: Spain offers a deep cultural experience, from its festivals to its historical landmarks.
  • Quality of Life: With its excellent healthcare and education systems, Spain ranks high in terms of quality of life.
  • Diverse Locations: Whether you prefer bustling cities, tranquil beaches, or mountainous regions, Spain has it all.
  • Friendly Locals: The Spanish people are generally warm and welcoming to foreigners.
  • Language: While knowing Spanish is beneficial, many areas have a high level of English proficiency, especially in cities and tourist areas.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Spain

Spain is a country that captivates everyone who visits, and living here is no different. From the sun-soaked beaches of Alicante to the bustling streets of Madrid, each city and town offers its own unique slice of Spanish life. Whether you’re looking for the culinary delights of San Sebastián or the historic charm of Toledo, you’ll find a place that not only meets but exceeds your expectations.

For those who prioritize safety, affordability, or a healthy lifestyle, Spain offers a range of options that cater to every need and desire. The country is not just a tourist destination; it’s a place that welcomes foreigners with open arms, making it an ideal place to call home.

So, if you’ve ever wondered where to live in Spain, this guide aims to provide you with insights and options that cater to a variety of lifestyles and budgets. Here’s to finding your perfect Spanish haven!

The best places to live in Spain for all types of travelers
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