The 5 Best Places to Live in Spain (2022) (2022)

The 5 Best Places to Live in Spain (2022) (1)


Updated on Apr 13 • 7 minute read


If you're thinking of moving to Spain, you've probably done research on some of the top and not so obvious reasons to move to Spain. But an equally important decision is deciding where is the best place to live in Spain?

These are the 5 best places to live in Spain:

  1. Barcelona

  2. Madrid

  3. Valencia

  4. Málaga

  5. Alicante

The 5 Best Places to Live in Spain (2022) (2)

Whether you live next door to Gaudi's finest in Barcelona or enjoy the sea breeze in Málaga, there's one thing you won't have to compromise on in any of the 5 best places to live in Spain: quality of life.

(Video) Spain's top 5 cities for living and working

Besides that, we've taken a closer look at 3 characteristics of the 5 best cities in Spain:

  • Internationality: Where do most foreigners live in Spain?
  • Cost of living: Where is it cheapest to live in Spain?
  • Safety: Which city is safest to live in?

All set to choose your future home? Let’s get started!

1. Barcelona is the best place to live in Spain

Urban jungle meets sandy beach: it won't need a more convincing argument to see why Barcelona takes the top spot as the best city in Spain ahead of Madrid.

Barcelona is one of the safest cities in the world that also offers gorgeous weather, delicious Catalan cuisine, plenty of art museums, a buzzing nightlife, outdoor spaces for workouts, and a thriving expat community.

The Catalan city strikes the balance between a high quality of life with a seaside view.

Barcelona is also one of the top hotspots for entrepreneurs and digital nomads in Europe and blends two key ingredients: technology and talent.

Internationality in Barcelona

Brits, Germans and Americans alike find their way to Barcelona to enjoy the top quality of life and its laid-back manner. The city has over 179 nationalities and attracts young expats is even ranked as the 29th best city for expats in 2021. So if you're thinking of moving to Barcelona, know that there’re numerous expat communities ready to set you up in a new social circle in no time at all.

The 5 Best Places to Live in Spain (2022) (3)

Cost of living in Barcelona

With its popularity as an expat destination, Barcelona is emerging as one of the top 3 most expensive cities in Spain.

Compared to other Spanish cities, the cost of living in Barcelona is fairly high. Although food prices tend to be lower, you’ll be shelling out most of your money on rent.

According to the HousingAnywhere Rent Index, rental prices have risen sharply in recent years.

Type of accommodationRental Price
Private Room€497

Keep in mind, Barcelona still comes in relatively cheap compared to other major cities in the UK, making it more than comfortable to live in Barcelona on a British budget.

Safety in Barcelona

Good to know: Barcelona ranks as the 11th safest city in the world. The popularity of the Catalan capital draws pickpockets and tricksters as you would experience in any other tourist city. To play it safe, there are 3 areas you might want to avoid in Barcelona during the night.

Learn more about the neihgbourhoods in Barcelona to find your new home away from home.

(Video) Best Places to Live in Spain (Quality of Life, Cost of Living)

2. Madrid is the second-best city in Spain to live in

Club scene and urban culture are as abundant in Madrid as there is sand on the beach in Barcelona: infinite.

In the capital of Spain, you're always on the brink of something new and you can feel that wild and restless spirit in the air. One click away from a ticket to a new theatre show, one entry row away from the vibrant nightlife or a few steps away from the nearest park.

If you're on a quest for a bustling lifestyle, Madrid is your best city to live in Spain.

Even better, from Madrid, you can easily travel all over Europe.

The 5 Best Places to Live in Spain (2022) (4)

Internationality in Madrid

Single expats and expat families, in particular, are moving to Madrid. Madrid was even ranked as the 10th best expat city in the world in 2021.

It’s no surprise. After all, Madrid takes on a key role in the European economy and offers English-speaking expats numerous job opportunities.

Cost of living in Madrid

If you compare Madrid with other European capitals such as London or Paris, the largest cities in Spain are considerably cheaper.

Type of accommodationRental Price
Private Room€495

Safety in Madrid

Madrid is one of the safest capitals in Europe, and close to being one of the safest cities in Spain. And that's despite being the capital of Spain!

With a safety index of 70.34, Madrid is considered a very safe city. By comparison, London's safety index stands at 46.79!

Explore the best neihgbourhoods in Madrid.

(Video) 10 Best Places to Live or Retire in Spain

3. Valencia

When broadening your scope beyond the two largest cities to find your best city to live in Spain, Valencia offers a dream home for a much smaller budget. And the fact that Valencia is geographically smaller than Madrid means that most places are easier to get to by walking or by public transport.

The 5 Best Places to Live in Spain (2022) (5)

For food lovers specifically, Valencia is heaven on earth and the best place to live in Spain. As the original creators of paella, the Valencians set the bar high with their culinary talents. So why not treat yourself to a bocadillo for merienda or indulge in the various tapas bars in the evening?

Internationality in Valencia

You can find around 1,500 British expats in Valencia. Expat families enjoy a high-quality education with international schools.

Did you know that the digital nomad and freelance community is closely following in the footsteps of Barcelona? Join this ever-growing expat community if you want to be on the cutting edge!

Cost of living in Valencia

If you don't want to dig too deep into your wallet and don't want to miss out on the big city vibe, Valencia is the best place in Spain to live with its lower cost of living.

In Valencia, you'll find everything that the big cities in Spain offer without having to pay the high cost of living of Barcelona and Madrid. In fact, rental prices are 37% less in Valencia compared to Madrid and as much as 52% less than in London.

Type of accommodationRental Price
Private Room€325

Safety in Valencia

The safest big city in Spain is Valencia. You will find just minor crimes in Valencia and very few violent crimes. With a safety index of 74.52, you can feel very safe in Valencia.

Find out which neighbourhood in Valencia is suitable for you to live in.

4. Málaga

Fresh fish straight from the salty spring and Andalusian festivals that burst with joie de vivre; that's more or less what you can expect in Málaga.

With its good weather all year round and laid-back lifestyle, everyone from students, families, couples and pensioners are drawn to the city in the south. In fact, Màlaga was named the second best city for expats by InterNations in 2021.

The 5 Best Places to Live in Spain (2022) (6)

Expats love Màlaga for what it has to offer – several museums, a distinct cuisine, a buzzing nightlife, colorful festivals and stunning yellow sand beaches. And to make it better, the city offers good connectivity. With the third busiest airport in Spain and a reliable and cheap public transport, you’ll be able to travel within and outside of Málaga with ease.

Internationality in Málaga

Málaga attracts lots of international students to its university and several pensioners find themselves here because of how welcoming the locals are. You’ll also find plenty of tourists as Málaga is a popular destination in Spain.

(Video) Living in Spain - 10 Best Places To Live In Spain.

More than 90,463 expats live and study or work in Málaga.

Cost of living in Málaga

For those moving to Spain for the high quality of life, the lower cost of living in Málaga is definitely going to appeal to you. After all, Málaga is one of the cheapest places to live in Spain.

Type of accommodationRental Price
Private Room€340

When compared to London, the average rental prices in London are almost 195% higher than in Málaga.

Safety in Málaga

When it comes to safety, Málaga scores highly: with a safety index of 72.72, Málaga is ahead of Madrid and Barcelona.

Màlaga has a range of expat-friendly neighbourhoods where you can live. Find our which is the best for you.

5. Alicante

Year-round good weather and a beach on your doorstep, that’s what awaits you at amazing Alicante.

You’ll also be exposed to the Spanish way of life without too much of a cultural shock, thanks to the huge expat population of the city.

Stroll through historic narrow streets and colourful houses, take in the easy-going spirit of the people, hit up the beach, enjoy the fresh Mediterranean food, experience the nightlife, and be surrounded by fellow foreigners. Overall, Alicante will let you experience a high quality of life.

The 5 Best Places to Live in Spain (2022) (7)

Internationality in Alicante

British people won't be alone in Alicante for long. After all, Alicante is the most popular place among Brits.

But it's not just the English, citizens from Canada, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, etc., also choose Alicante as their new home. No doubt, in Alicante you can mingle with like-minded people in no time.

Cost of living in Alicante

One of the reasons Alicante is so popular among Brits is because it’s one of the cheapest places to live in Spain.

Type of accommodationRental Price
Private Room€340

Let's compare the rental prices with Barcelona. The average rent of Barcelona is almost 36% higher than that of Alicante and food costs almost 12% more as well.

Safety in Alicante

You can feel more than safe in Alicante as the safety index of 72.60 is almost as high as in Màlaga. For comparison, the safety index in London is 46.85.

(Video) 12 Best Places(Regions) to Retire in Spain 2022

Time to move to Spain!

Now that you know all about the 5 best cities in Spain to live in 2022, it's time to start preparing. Make sure to that you don't make these 7 biggest mistakes when moving to Spain by relying on a handy relocation checklist.

Please reach out to if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the content on this page.


Where do most foreigners live in Spain? ›

The most popular islands for expats are Tenerife and Gran Canaria, as they offer cheaper living and housing costs. These larger islands are also home to International schools, some of which follow the British curriculum, while the Spanish state schools also have a good reputation.

Where is the safest place to live in Spain? ›

10 Safest Cities in Spain
  • Madrid.
  • Barcelona.
  • Oviedo.
  • Valladolid.
  • San Sebastián.
  • Lugo.
  • Palencia.
  • Guadalajara.

Where do most English live in Spain? ›

Top 10 most British cities in Spain
  • Benidorm, Alicante (Costa Blanca) ...
  • Orihuela, Alicante (Costa Blanca) ...
  • Benalmádena, Málaga (Costa del Sol) ...
  • Mijas, Málaga (Costa del Sol) ...
  • Torremolinos, Málaga (Costa del Sol) ...
  • Fuengirola, Málaga (Costa del Sol) ...
  • Torrevieja, Alicante (Costa Blanca) ...
  • Calvià, Mallorca (Balearics)
Feb 19, 2022

What places to avoid in Spain? ›

Where to Avoid in Spain:
  • El Mar Menor. © El Mar Menor is a saltwater lagoon in the community of Murcia, near the city of Cartagena, on Spain's Mediterranean coast. ...
  • Gibraltar Border Towns. ©
May 13, 2022

Where is the best place in Spain to retire? ›

Let's have a closer look at some of the best cities to retire in Spain.
  • Madrid. Madrid is both the capital and largest city of Spain, being in the center of the country. ...
  • Alicante. Alicante is a low-density town in Spain. ...
  • Málaga. ...
  • Valencia. ...
  • Barcelona. ...
  • Bilbao. ...
  • San Sebastián. ...
  • Costa del Azahar.
Nov 16, 2021

Where is the warmest place to live in Spain? ›

What is the hottest town in Spain? The hottest town in Spain is Montoro which has twice set the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the entire country. This small Andalusian city has twice recorded temperatures of just over 47 °C in the space of five years.

What is the cheapest city to live in Spain? ›

Granada is the cheapest place to live in Spain and the favorite to visit. The city is 250km east of Sevilla and is ideal for people who prefer cooler or smaller environments.

What is the best city to live in Spain? ›

The Best Places to Live in Spain 2022
  • Madrid.
  • Barcelona.
  • Alicante.
  • San Sebastian.
  • Malaga.
  • Valencia.
  • Seville.
Sep 8, 2021

Is moving to Spain a good idea? ›

There are extensive air routes, railways, ports and roads in Spain that make the country an excellent base for travel around Europe and farther afield. Also, those wishing to move abroad to Spain should be able to return home whenever necessary with minimal hassle.


1. Top 5 Coastal Towns in Spain
(Places and Trails)
2. 5 Best Cities to live in Spain #shorts
(LIving alternative lifestyle)
3. Top 5 Best Digital Nomad Destinations for 2022-2023
(Mike Swigunski)
4. Pros and Cons of living in Spain 2022: life as American expats
(AG3 Family)
5. Top 10 Best Cities To Live In Spain - Most Liveable Cities
(Around The World)
(Dramatically Expatic)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Jeremiah Abshire

Last Updated: 12/08/2022

Views: 6260

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jeremiah Abshire

Birthday: 1993-09-14

Address: Apt. 425 92748 Jannie Centers, Port Nikitaville, VT 82110

Phone: +8096210939894

Job: Lead Healthcare Manager

Hobby: Watching movies, Watching movies, Knapping, LARPing, Coffee roasting, Lacemaking, Gaming

Introduction: My name is Jeremiah Abshire, I am a outstanding, kind, clever, hilarious, curious, hilarious, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.