A country that inspired the most renowned artists in the world like Dalí, Gaudi and Picasso, one that offers the perfect blend of old and new, modern and traditions, land of the siestas (and the fiestas!), Spain is everyone’s dream country to live in.
The laid-back atmosphere, the Spanish sun, the Mediterranean, the Pyreness and the culture – from flamenco dancers to bull fighters, from gothic cathedrals to busy avenues – it’s the perfect diverse place to live in, where you’ll essentially never get bored since every city offers a vastly different experience. Here are the best cities for expats in Spain:
Madrid is Spain’s largest city, and is a vibrant cosmopolitan city pulsing with life. You’ll be living in the capital where 18th century squares end in skyscrapers, medieval buildings are right next to art galleries, and where life moves much faster than any other Spanish city.
It has an incredible atmosphere and is a great place to live in because it mixes perfectly the cosmopolitan modern life with the general laid-back vibe of Madrid. It’s the perfect place for expats who still love work, who love a fast-paced life, and love the hustle and bustle of Madrid and its energy. Madrid also has the largest number of work opportunities for expats, is the city you’ll earn the most at, but it’s also the most expensive in terms of living expenses.
How does sitting on a beach, sipping a cold mojito in between hours at work in the middle of the week sound like? This is exactly what living in Barcelona would feel like. Filled with tourists all year long, you’ll feel like you’re always on holiday, as the beach is always a few minutes walk away, the colors of the streets never dull away in winter, the sun is always shining – even in winter – and the chatter of people in the streets never quiets down. The thing about Barcelona is that it has everything, it has the natural parks, the museums, the Sub-Pyrenees mountains, the Mediterranean, the rich culture, the people and the shopping. It would have been hard to get a job as an expat in Barcelona a few years ago, but now more and more businesses are opening there, making it much easier to get work. It’s an international metropolis where foreigners and locals both spend their days walking around the gothic quarter or by the beach.
Barcelona is generally cheaper than Madrid when it comes to living expenses, but more often than not if you want to live in the center, the rent will definitely be higher than Madrid.
One thing to keep in mind as well, is that the official language is Catalan – NOT Spanish, however, Spanish is spoken by everyone.
Malaga has been called one of the best cities to live in Spain by a survey done by the European Commission due to the high quality of life that it offers. This is the city where flamenco music and dance started, where Picasso was born, where Arabs rules, where Romans lived and where Spanish people thrive. It’s a rich mixture of cultural attractions and the locals are known for being the friendliest (and the biggest party animals!)
You get to choose between living a rural or urban life, where you can either live in the middle of Malaga or in one of the villages. Malaga is also extremely popular with expats from Germany and England which would make settling down much easier since you’ll have more things in common than with the locals.
Life in Malaga is also very cheap, and for only 700 euros a month you could live quite comfortably.
Valencia is Spain’s third largest city in Spain, and what’s ideal about it, is that it’s a big city with a small city vibe. You’ll never feel overwhelmed like you would in Barcelona or Madrid, and you’d never feel “bored of the small city life” like in Malaga. It has striking architecture, crazy festivals all year long (check out Las Fallas where essentially the whole city burns for a whole day), beautiful gothic and renaissance buildings and a great nightlife. It is so quintessentially Spanish, with real Spanish culture, food, and traditions all around. What makes all of this even better is that it has a beach, 2000 years of history and is a very cheap place to live! 1000 euros would go a long way in Valencia in terms of rent and daily expenses.
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