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Countries Living Abroad Spain

Top 10 Places to Live in Spain for Expats in 2023

It’s not hard to find many amazing places to live in Spain. In fact, with Spain being so diverse in terms of the lifestyle it offers, the choices are almost unlimited. You could opt for a cosmopolitan city, a peaceful coastal town, a fun party island, or a historic village in the countryside.

Expats of various nationalities make up around 13% of the whole Spanish population. If you’re thinking about moving to Spain and joining the thousands of expats currently retired, working or studying in the country, then take a look at our list of some of the best places to live in Spain right now.


The best places for expats to live in Spain

1. Barcelona

  • Best for experiencing culture 
  • Population: 1.6 million
  • Average home price: 4,800 € per square meter  
  • Average rent1,000 € for a 1-bedroom apartment


Barcelona Spain

Barcelona is Spain’s second-biggest city and one of the safest and best places to live in the world. If you’re thinking about moving to Spain, Barcelona is an excellent option. It offers amazing weather, plenty of art museums, delicious cuisine, and a buzzing nightlife. Its main appeal, however, is its unrivalled architecture. Most of Antoni Gaudí’s buildings are in Barcelona, including the magnetic Sagrada Família and the extraordinary Park Guell. The city is also one of the top spots for digital nomads and entrepreneurs. 

It’s important to keep in mind that Barcelona is the most expensive city in Spain. Property prices and the general cost of living are high. However, the living standard in the city is excellent, with clean streets and safe public areas. 


2. Madrid 

  • Best for finding exciting career opportunities
  • Population3.4 million
  • Average home price: 5,300 € per square meter  
  • Average rent1,000 € for a 1-bedroom apartment 

Madrid, Spain

Located in the heart of Spain, Madrid is the country’s capital. It’s also a bustling, cultural, social and economic hub. Madrid has a lot to offer expats, whether you’re looking for a new setting, new job opportunities or to make new friends. It is an incredibly dynamic city, meaning it has something for everyone. Each neighborhood brings something different, like the vibrant, bustling area of La Latina and Lavapíes, the trendy district of Malasaña, the artsy streets of Las Letras and the high-end area of Salamanca. 

Madrid is Spain’s second most expensive city. Daily expenses, however, are, more or less, the same as in most other Spanish cities. The cost of property is also largely cheaper outside of the city centre, so, many expats living in Spain decide to settle further from the centre.


3. Valencia

  • Best for experiencing food 
  • Population: 790,000
  • Average home: 3,200 € per square meter  
  • Average rent770 € for a 1-bedroom apartment 

Valencia, Spain

For food lovers, Valencia is one of the best cities in Spain. As the original creators of paella, the citizens of Valencia set the bar very high with their amazing culinary talents. It’s a large city but not so large that it feels overwhelming, and it offers a noticeably more relaxed lifestyle for residents. 

Valencia is located in the Mediterranean and enjoys a lower cost of living compared to other cities. It also offers a good quality lifestyle and great healthcare facilities.


4. Malaga 

  • Best for seeing old-city charm 
  • Population580,000
  • Average home price: 3,500 € per square meter  
  • Average rent700 € for a 1-bedroom apartment 

Malaga, Spain

With its great weather all year round and relaxed lifestyle, everyone from families, couples, students and pensioners are attracted to this city in the south. It’s an old city, founded in 770 BC, but she wears her age well, with urban landscapes that embrace millennia of history and culture. Living in Malaga is also relatively cheap in comparison to other Spanish cities.


5. Granada

  • Best for socializing 
  • Population230,000
  • Average home price: 3,400 € per square meter  
  • Average rent560 € for a 1-bedroom apartment 

Granada, Spain

Granada is Spain’s hidden gem and one of the best places to live in. It is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Granada is less cosmopolitan than other destinations in Spain but has its own special charms. Its stunning cobbled streets and beautiful open areas are all walkable and there’s plenty to explore.

Granada is an affordable and sociable city. Any day of the week, you’ll find people socializing in the bars and restaurants of the city. There is also a well-connected expat community in the city, so you’re likely to meet like-minded people from your home country.


6. Seville 

  • Best for a relaxed lifestyle
  • Population690,000
  • Average home price: 3,200 € per square meter  
  • Average rent640 € for a 1-bedroom apartment 

Seville, Spain

If you’re thinking about living in the Andalucia region, Seville is a great option. It’s the region’s capital city. From its Moorish architecture to the riverfront, Seville is seen as the most romanticized city in Spain. Even though it’s the fourth major city in Spain, Seville maintains its small-town feel. In fact, living in Seville means you get the perks of both worlds: the fast pace of a metropolis and the charm of a small town. The city also has reliable transportation, a relaxed lifestyle, and a very reasonable cost of living.


7. Bilbao

  • Best for quiet living
  • Population: 350,000
  • Average home price: 3,780 € per square meter  
  • Average rent900 € for a 1-bedroom apartment 

Bilbao, Spain

Northern Spain is often overlooked by expats, but there are some real gems along the Atlantic Coast, including Bilbao. Bilbao may be one of the more expensive cities in Spain, and its industrial past is still apparent, but it features some beautiful architecture, delicious cuisine, including local pintxos, a lovely coffee shop scene and exciting Basque culture. It’s a city built against a beautiful backdrop of lush green mountains and featuring world-class beaches often swamped with surfers.


8. Fuengirola

  • Best for coastal living
  • Population75,000
  • Average home price: 4,000 € per square meter  
  • Average rent1,300 € for a 1-bedroom apartment 

Fuengirola, Spain

Fuengirola is a great Spanish town to live in as an expat. It’s located on the seafront and connected via train with the Malaga airport. Fuengirola has a handful of lovely beaches where you can relax over the weekend or after a long day of work. It also offers everything an expat is typically looking for, including safe communal areas, gorgeous weather, plenty of large supermarkets, and a few big shopping centers. It’s an affordable and lively town with an unassuming reputation that belies its undeniable charm. 


9. Marbella

  • Best for families
  • Population: 140,000 
  • Average home price: 4,700 € per square meter  
  • Average rent900 € for a 1-bedroom apartment 

Marbella, Spain

Marbella is a stunning old town with lots of culture, great cuisine, and lovely year-round weather. Perhaps the biggest draw of this town is its vast expanses of stunning beaches: the area proudly features some of the best beaches in the country. Many of these beaches are lined with lively restaurants and beach bars, and spending time at the seafront is an essential part of the everyday culture here. Marbella is often called the playground of the rich and famous, but for its inhabitants, it is a much more diverse location and a great place to live.


10. Cadiz

  • Best for retirement
  • Population: 120,000
  • Average home price: 2,860 €  per square meter  
  • Average rent693 € for a 1-bedroom apartment 

Cadiz, Spain

Several factors, including ease of accessibility and the presence of a large expat community, make Cadiz a great spot to live in Spain. It also offers a reasonable cost of living and an authentic, laidback charming lifestyle without the tourist crowds of the Mediterranean. The people from Cádiz are very friendly and always excited that foreigners want to live in their town. 


Find your new home in Spain 

If you’re thinking about moving to Spain from the US, one of the first things to consider is where you want to settle. Where you live can make a huge difference in all aspects of your life. This is why it’s important to choose the best place for you. Be sure to consider the options on our list and see which city or town best suits your needs. 


  • Source for population data:  Wikipedia
  • Source for home and rent prices: Numbeo
  • Numbers may be rounded

Elsa Lacock

Elsa is a content writer and expat living in Portugal. She works remotely from the beautiful Castelo Branco District. When she's not writing, she enjoys exploring the magical Portuguese countryside with her family.