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What are the best cities to move to in Spain?

Any expats looking to move abroad from the UK to Spain will obviously need to decide where to make their new home.

Like many other popular Mediterranean countries, the majority of cities in Spain boast sun, fun, and fantastic culture, but if you’re looking for something particular, the following cities may be just the right location to suit your lifestyle.

Barcelona

A popular pick with expats seeking a Mediterranean spot, Barcelona is home to 1.62 million residents, making it a truly global city and a major centre of both culture and business in Spain.

Expats moving here for work will find Barcelona is one of the biggest hubs for biotech and transport in Europe, and an ideal area for entrepreneurs thanks to the city’s focus on new talent and technology.

Compared to other major cities in Europe, Barcelona is also relatively affordable in terms of cost of living, including cheap prices on the following:

  • Pint of beer – €3.00 (£2.70)
  • Cappuccino – €1.80 (£1.61)
  • Meal in a restaurant – €12 (£10.79)
  • Monthly public transport pass – €40 (£35.97)

Alongside this, Barcelona boasts a beautiful coastal locale, with all of the sun and sea that entails, and bright, warm sunshine year-round means you can make the most of your days off and weekends in the great outdoors.

Barcelona is also famed for its architectural wonders, thanks to visionaries like Gaudi, and hosts wonderous sights like its gothic Old Town and the Sagrada Familia.

Palma

Palma is the capital of the Balearic Islands. Situated on the island of Mallorca, it’s home to a population of 456,088 people and is the economic and cultural hub of the island, which makes it a great place for expats to call home.

The city itself is lively and stylish, combining hundreds of years of history and culture with the feel of a modern, vibrant city. Palma is well known for its iconic Moorish architecture and intricately designed churches, and the stunning gothic cathedral of Santa Maria overlooks the city’s cobbled streets and rooftop bars.

Palma has plenty to offer expats – it’s easily reached from the airport, with great transport links to the rest of Spain and Europe, and its coastal location means you don’t have to choose between a bustling city lifestyle and easy access to stunning Spanish beaches.

And much like Barcelona, Mallorca’s prices are suitably inexpensive:

  • Pint of beer – €2.50 (£2.22)
  • Cappuccino – €2.07 (£1.84)
  • Meal in a restaurant – €15 (£13.32)
  • Monthly public transport pass – €30 (£26.64)

With fantastic international schools and private and state hospitals within the city boundaries, expats can also make the most of its modern infrastructure and amenities while still experiencing the best that the Balearic Islands have to offer.

You can also rest easy knowing that you have easy access to Blacktower’s financial experts, with an office conveniently located in Palma itself.

There’s a good range of property in Palma, but some of the most desirable areas for those looking to retire from the UK to Spain include the peaceful Calatrava district and the charming fishing village of Portixol, now home to designer penthouses and renovated fishermen’s cottages.

And heading further into Mallorca’s countryside, those looking for luxury might find the Son Vida estate offers the best housing spots on the island, including convenient access to three golf courses.

Malaga

Last, but certainly not least, the gateway to the sun-soaked Costa del Sol, Malaga, is one of the oldest cities in the world. In modern times, it combines the best of traditional and modern Spain by blending its charming classical Old Town with its bustling modern port and city centre, which acts as a hub for commerce in the region.

From the cobbled streets in the old quarter to the sleek architecture of the Pompidou Centre, there’s tons to see and do in Malaga. With an up-and-coming culinary scene and lively nightlife, Malaga is a great choice for young professional expats, but the nearby beaches of the Costa del Sol also makes it an ideal location for families and retirees.

Like many Spanish cities, Malaga is also on the economical side when it comes to prices:

  • Pint of beer – €2.25 (£2.02)
  • Cappuccino – €1.52 (£1.36)
  • Meal in a restaurant – €10 (£8.79)
  • Monthly public transport pass – €39.95 (£35.85)

Sought-after neighbourhoods in this city include El Limonar and La Malagueta, but you can also get a more traditional Spanish feel in areas like Paseo Marítimo de Oeste.

Valencia

Valencia is voted the best city in the world to live in, according to Forbes magazine. In the publication of “Neither Madrid nor Barcelona: this Spanish city is the best city in the world to live in – Forbes Spain” Valencia is crowned with the first place in the ranking of the 20 best cities to live in based on the Expat City Ranking 2022, by InterNations, the world’s largest expatriate community.

According to the ranking, “Valencia ranks 1st out of 50 in the Expat City Ranking 2022, as well as 1st in the Quality of Life Index. Expats describe public transport as affordable (85% happy vs. 70% globally) and love the great opportunities for recreational sports (92% vs. 75% globally). And 92% of expats feel safe in Valencia (vs. 81% globally).

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