6 best places to live in Spain #6 might surprise you

Get ready to start thinking about moving abroad, because today you will learn about the best places to live in Spain.

Spain is especially known for its quality of life. Who can deny the sunshine and siesta? Not many.

Known as an expat hotspot with vitamin D, Spain offers more affordable costs in comparison to other European countries such as Switzerland and Sweden.

Whether you are committed to moving to Spain whole heartedly, or are curious about where to consider a new life in Spain, these are the best options on where to move to and why.

madrid best places to live in spain

Below you will find the following information on these places:

  • living expenses
  • job opportunities
  • community life and culture

I’m confident that on this list, you will find somewhere new to find home.

Stick around because option #7 might shock you!

Best places to live in Spain

Maybe you want to live by the mountains, or city, or coast in Spain.

As we are all wired differently, it’s ideal to find what place works for you and your specific needs.

Whatever you are looking for, Spain probably has something to offer you. It has a ton of different landscape options as you move around the peninsula.

Undoubtedly, you’ll see familiar places on this list, however, it’s important to note the smaller guys because they offer something that bigger cities don’t – tranquility and smaller crowds.

These are the best places to live in Spain overall.

Madrid

madrid places to live

The capital of Spain, Madrid is a thriving city that has a lot to offer.

In Madrid you’ll find tons of history, culture through their arts and galleries, nightlife, and a diverse community.

It is a quick city tempo of life, Madrilenos are busy.

In and around the city center are tons of communities that are family and solo expatriate friendly. For solo expats, communities such as La Latina, Malasana, and Lavapies are great to be in the motion of things.

For families or others looking for quieter space, you can consider communities such as Retiro, Salamanca, and Chamberi. These are quieter, cleaner, and safer.

If city life isn’t for you though, it’s important to note that Madrid is a region, not just a city.

Within the Madrid region is the city capital but if that is not ideal, you can move outside of the city.

The perk of this is you would be located in the center of Madrid, Spain making travel to and from the capital super easy and well connected for public transportation.

It’s a win/win for people who like the proximity of city life but not neccessarily living in the motion of things.

Living Expenses

Regardless of what people may think, rent in Madrid isn’t as high as other parts of Spain. Barcelona and parts of San Sebastian are more expensive than Madrid.

Though Madrid isn’t super cheap, the price isn’t too bad. The average monthly expense of a solo expat is about 1,000- 1,500 euros.

Eating out ranges from 10-50 euros per person. 10-20 euros is more for fast food, cafe food, or take away.

I’ve personally found 40-50+ euros more accurate for one person dining out at a nice restaurant.

To get a cost estimation of a small family, just multiply single costs by family size and you’ll get a good ball park on costs.

If you are looking to spend less, move outside of the city. The farther you go from the city, the more space and more affordable it will be.

To save on dining out you can cook or do the menu of the day. The menu is a big meal that’s supposed to hold you down until dinner.

This ranges from about 10-25 euros, depending the restaurant.

You don’t have to worry too much about Madrid’s transportation. The metro and train system are spot on and super affordable. It costs 1.50-2 euros for one train ticket, or 12 euros for 10 trips, or 55 euros for the monthly pass.

Options for work

If you are a native English Speaker, that puts you a step ahead to find a job sooner.

As most foreigners would expect, teaching English is a solid work option in Madrid. It’s an easy way to get a visa and cash flow.

If teaching isn’t in your plan, consider a career in hotel & tourism, marketing, admin, or IT & Logistics.

The median salary in Madrid ranges from 1000 -3,500 euros. You can always do something remote or look into other working abroad options.

Community life and culture

As mentioned before, Madrid is known for some of the best museums in the world. You can find the Prado, Thyssen, and the Reina Sofia to name a few. Theaters are also a hit in the Spanish city too.

There are also a ton of markets, both on the street like El Rastro, or indoors, like Mercado de San Fernando as well as famous restaurants and bars.

Seville

seville best places to live in spain

Next up, we have Seville. Located in the Southern part of Spain, Seville is known for its hot climate, more relaxed vibe, and lower costs of living.

Though there is no beach in the city, Seville is super close to other beachy regions. Just over an hour away, you can find yourself at one of the beaches in Huelva.

Furthermore, Seville has spectacular architecture and infamous history that expats and tourists alike learn to love.

Living expenses

Seville is one of the cheapest places to live in Spain. That is why it comes in at number 2 on the best places to live in Spain.

The average rent in Seville ranges from 600-1000 euros. In the city center you can find 1 bedroom apartments for 600 euros and potentially even cheaper if you aren’t so center.

If you want more space, a 3 bedroom will cost you around 1,000 euros. Going out to eat will cost you on average 12 euros and 8 euros for quicker food.

Seville can appeal to you if you are looking for something affordable but still in a moderate sized city.

Options for work

Like Madrid, Seville offers similar job opportunities like teaching english, bartender, waitress, or something related in tourism. The average salary is around 2,000 euros.

Community life and culture

Seville is part of the rich Flamenco history in Andalusia. There you will find places to watch flamenco.

Outside of Flamenco, Seville is one of the best places to live in Spain due to its location and calm pace of lifestyle. You are in prime location with Portugal being super close, and in between mountain and beaches.

It’s the best of both worlds for any expat who is a fan of mountain and beaches, good weather, and a fair price.

Barcelona #3 of the best places to live in Spain

barcelona

One of the most visited cities in the world, Barcelona is no stranger to foreigners.

Expats love to give Barcelona a try and its commonly known for being one of the best places to live in Spain due to its offerings and way of life.

It is very fast paced and is just as diverse with expats and tourism as Madrid.

Expats who love beach and city combined can find themselves enjoying the coastal life in Barcelona.

Barcelona is a beautiful city and is known as the city in Spain with the most modern architecture.

The city has been able to capture world wide attention due to architect, Anton Gaudi and his works.

If that doesn’t impress you, feel free to go to Sagrada Familia and see the views of the most epic church!

Living Expenses

Living expenses in Barcelona mirrors Madrid in certain instances. Rent is very similar and ranges from 1000-1,500 euros for a 1 bedroom apartment.

Eating out is also around the same with a meal for one adult ranges from 10-40 euros. Barcelona is a tinyyy bit more expensive that Madrid, but not by much.

Do keep in mind that since Barcelona is such a hot tourist spot, local day to day prices might have a relfection of this. If this is not ideal, move outside of the city to cutdown unneccesary costs.

Even though Barcelona is an expensive Spanish city, you can still save on rent in regards to other European cities such as Paris or London.

Options for work

In Barcelona they speak Catalan and Spanish. If you are going to be looking for work in Barcelona, it could be a good idea to consider learning the local languages.

The average salary for work in Barcelona varies from 1,200 euros to 4,000 euros.

Since it is a big touristy city, you can try to find work in the tourism sector. Being billingual will be a huge plus. Bars, hotels, and restaurants, are some of the places that can use the help.

Outside of that, other sectors to find work in that is popular in Barcelona is aupair, translation and transcription, marketing, and IT.

Community life and Culture

Moving to Barcelona means you are located in Costa Brava heaven. It’s a nice place to be if you like the beach and the mountains.

A few hours away you can go to the mountains in the north of Spain, loads of different beaches, or even France. The border is super close.

Going to attractions regularly such as Park Guell, Sagrada familia, or seeing Gaudi’s architecture can be a short trip away.

Malaga

malaga best places to live in spain

Malaga is another part of Andalusia and is a well known port city. Here you’ll find beaches, city, and lots of sea food.

With this scenery, comes a lot of tourism though, so that is something to keep in mind if you don’t like lots of people and hectic crowds.

Living Expenses

The prices are impressingly low in Malaga. Rents outside of the city center can go for 400 euros for a one bedroom, 600 euros for a 2 bedroom, and 1000 euros for a 3 bedroom in the city center.

Clearly a significant drop in rent compared to Barcelona and Madrid.

Food and transporation is also cheaper in Malaga. A meal for 2 adults can start from 40 euros and up and a transporation card is about 40 euros for monthly transportation.

Options for work

Malaga thrives off of tourism so that is something to keep in mind for finding work there.

If you don’t speak Spanish though, expect the traditional tourism jobs like teaching English or working in hospitality. On the contrary, if you do speak Spanish, you can possibly become an expat realtor.

This is something expats look for so there is not a language barrier and they feel more comfortable. Its a good thing to keep in mind to give yourself other opportunities as an expat.

Community life and culture

Beach and seafood are two things that go hand and hand in Malaga. Malaga isn’t a big as the other places in this list, but it still has a solid list of restaurants and bars.

Malaga is known a popular cruise stop and has been known to getting floods of tourists, days at a time. This is something to note if crowds turn you off.

The weather in Malaga is also warmer than a lot of Spain in the winter.

Valencia

valencia

Home to the Paella! Ole! Valencia is one of the best places to live in Spain because it also combines the city and beach, but not as hectic of crowds like Barcelona.

It is quickly gaining popularity, Valencia is a great choice for anyone looking to move to Spain.

Living Expenses

Valencia is cheaper than Barcelona and Madrid. The rent for a one bedroom on average is about 700-1000 euros. If you search you can potentially find something lower.

The average monthly costs outside of rent is about 600 euros. Restaurant prices are similar to other big cities and range as low as 10 to 40 euros.

Options for work

Valencia has a good work economy because it doesn’t only rely on tourism like other cities. After the reccesion, Valencia was able to fight off dead economic weight through their booming economy.

Here you can find jobs in cars, construction, textile, and engineering. Textile industry is really big in Valencia. The average salary is around 5,000 euros.

Community life and culture

Valencia has the convenience of being able to walk to attractions with in the city. Moving around by foot is common and convenient.

It is a good location for new expats who want to live in a city that is relatively quiet and isn’t completely ruined by tourism.

Bilbao

Bilbao is a region in the north and its absolutely beautiful. They know how to eat exceptionally well in the north, so expect next level gastronomy. It is the largest city in the north of Spain.

The weather isn’t that great as the north is very grey and rainy all year round. Bilbao offers a different side of Spain with its Atlantic side of the beach and European aesthetic city architecture.

The reason why this shocks most foreigners is because Bilbao is estimated to be very expensive. Interestingly enough, it’s not.

Living Expenses

Even though Bilbao is such a beautiful city, it surprisingly doens’t break the bank. The price of a 1 bedroom city center apartment can start around 800 euros and go up from there.

Interestingly enough, this is cheaper than places like Madrid.

Options for work

Like Barcelona, Bilbao also speaks their own language, Basque. It could be of interest to learn the language if you are going to be working. The salary on average is around 5,000 euros.

Some of the work options in Bilbao involve fishing, farming/agriculture, and construction. You can’t forget the regular tourist sector jobs like teaching, hospitality and tourism too.

Community life and culture

In the north of Spain it’s a little rainy but even though Bilbao doesn’t have the best weather, it is a beautiful charming city.

There are tons of different options in the city to go to restaurants or bars. When the weather is right you can feel free to go to the beach or for a hike.

The safest places to live in Spain

Spain overall is a safe country, especially in comparison to other places like the United States. Global Index listed Spain as #38 on their list for 2020.

The safest places to live in Spain are Madrid and Barcelona.

They were listed as number 12 and 13 on the safe cities index crimes in Spain are usually petty and minor and look like pickpocketing, tourist traps, or travel scams.

The big cities aren’t neccesarily unsafe but with more people you will obviously have more tourists and potentially more petty crime.

If something like extreme tourism turns you off, then consider the Spanish pueblos on the coastline. The most popular are Salobreña in Granada, Altafulla in Catalonia, and Ribadesella in Asturias.

Best places to live in Spain as an American

Americans love cities and some are already accustomed to a fast paced city lifestyle. For this reason, you’ll find Madrid and Barcelona ideal for you if this is the tempo you’d like.

In addition to that, Madrid and Barcelona have a lot of English speaking Spaniards and businesses.

Just in case you do not know Spanish, when you first arrive , communicating in the beginning wont be too hard.

Best places to live in Spain on a budget

On a budget? No problem. There are a great amount of options for anyone who is looking to relocate to Spain but doesn’t want to break the bank.

Seville is known as the cheapest place to live but it doesn’t stop there. Other options to live on a budget in Spain are: Pamplona, A Coruna, Cordoba, Granada, Las Palmas, Valladoid, and Vigo.

If you are worried about pricing, it’s best to start comparing and contrasting to get an idea as soon as possible.

What are the best places to live in Spain for families

Whether your family would like a clean city or something near the beach, here are the best places to live in Spain for families:

Oviedo which is known as the cleanest city in Spain and is located in Asturias. Next, we have Madrid which has an extensive expatriate community to make the transition for your family easier.

Then, the next option for families is Alicante. Affordable and beachy, this could be ideal for expats who want to be on the coast of Costa Blanca. Some other beachy options for families are, Marbella, Malaga, and Alhaurin el Grande.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Spain?

If you are going to be living in one of the bigger cities, such as Madrid or Barcelona, then you will want to have about on the lower end $1,500-$2,500 on the higher end monthly. This includes rent, groceries, social activities, bills, travel, and eating out.

Ofcourse, if you limit certain things such as eating out and traveling less, you can get by on 1,500 euros.

Conclusion

There you have the 6 best places to live in Spain. To recap they were Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Seville, Malaga, and Valencia.

After learning about the cost of living and what to do, which place would you consider moving to first?

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