The Best Places to Live in Spain | Top Cities for Moving to Spain

If you want to move to Spain as an ex-pat, a student, or on an extended holiday in one of Europe’s most stunning cities for a few weeks as you travel Europe, then Spain is the perfect place. If you want to find out where the best places to live in Spain are, read on.

Hailed as one of Europe’s most illustrious countries, La Piel del Toro is a highly sought-after place to live – with gorgeous architecture, vibrant cuisine, beautiful people, and otherworldly landscapes, It is easy to see why moving to Spain is so famous.

Best Places to Live in Spain

At the heart of España is a fundamentally vibrant, exotic, and colorful culture, offering the best in absolutely everything. To help you along, we’ve put together a short exposé of the best places to live in Spain to help you decide where to live.


Madrid City Buldings, Best Places to Live in Spain

Best for: International students, explorers, or ex-pats

Are you relocating to Spain as a student or for work? Madrid has everything you’ll ever want or need from a city. It is, hands down, one of the best cities in Spain.

widely recognized among the safest cities in Spain, living in Madrid means getting lost in the splendid cityscape will only ever be wonderful. The city’s locals are renowned for being wonderfully helpful, kind, and accommodating to travelers and ex-pats.

You’ll want to experience a quintessentially Spanish city and Madrid is the place. Trust us.

The 4 Best Areas and Neighborhoods in Madrid

  • Salamanca

  • Centro

  • Lavapiés

  • Chueca

You’ll want to make sure you choose the ideally suited neighborhood for the duration of your stay in Madrid, so check out our guide on Where To Stay In Madrid.

delicious tapas, dishes, olives, peppers,hummus

What To Expect as a Bona Fide Madrileño:

  • Spain’s trendiest nightlife & club scene

  • Gorgeous architecture from many Era’s of Spain’s colorful history

  • A thriving city lifestyle

  • The tastiest local cuisines (Madrid’s buzzing cityside Tapas bars are going to be your top pick for a night out)

  • A Flourishing urban art scene

  • The most distinguished Art and History museums in all of Europe

  • (The national museum of the revolution near the plaza mayor is a must-see attraction in Madrid)

  • The most renowned universities and polytechnics ( if you want to go over on a student visa, Madrid is our top pick!)

  • Exciting markets, catering for just about anything you can imagine! (The The El Rastro Sunday Market sees about 4000 stalls every Sunday, all year round!)

Barcelona | One of the Best Cities to Live in

Barcelona city square people walking palm trees

Best for: retirees, ex-pats & solo travelers

Surrounded by stunning beaches, Barcelona has an entirely different pace and feel than Madrid. ‘Barça’ is more relaxed & carefree compared to Madrid’s faster lifestyle – It is perfect for a more laid-back city experience. It is widely consider to be one of the best places to live in Spain.

After hosting the 1992 Olympics, the city’s popularity skyrocketed, making it one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

Barcelona Beach Sunset, Best Places to Live in Spain

In the following years, Barça became famous for its world-class event scene, rivaling most places in Europe. The city is also budget-friendly: there are always things to do and see without costing you an arm and a leg.

In 2024, the city will be presenting some of the country’s most highly anticipated yearly events; people from all over the globe will flock to the metropolis to attend Barça’s extravagant festivals – you’ll not want to miss these:

  • The La Mercè Festival

  • The Dia De Los Reyes Magos

  • The Barcelona Carnival

Flamenoc dancer, red dress, shawl

Three colorful neighborhoods with thriving ex-pat communities:

  • Horta-Guinardó – this vibey, lush neighborhood is perfect for international students & lower-budget rentals.

  • El Born El Born is extremely popular for ex-pats – As one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Barça, it is easy to see why.

  • Les Corts – Primarily an upmarket, residential area intended for working professionals, Les Corts is picturesque and modern.

Barcelona is famous for its prominent ex-pat communities. You’re guaranteed to find tons of friendly, like-minded people from home, particularly if you’re moving to Spain from the USA.

Check out our guide on Where to Stay in Barcelona to find out more.

Barcelona vs. Madrid?

We want to help your journey along without being biased – this is not a Barcelona vs. Madrid travel guide. We love the two magnificent cities equally, for different reasons, of course.

But many claim that ‘barça’ IS – without a doubt – Catalonia’s most fantastic city & the all-around best place to live in Spain. ( Although, generally, this title tends to come from the ‘other’ football club..).

Decide for yourself which city you’ll most enjoy.


Seville Palace, Beautiful City, Best Places to Live in Spain

Best for: retiree’s, ex-pats & working professionals

The city has some stunning neighborhoods and areas to stay in – you’ll want to choose the best fit for you, so check out our guide on the “best villas and apartments in Seville”.

Few cities in Spain match Seville’s historical significance, religious diversity & renowned art heritage. From antiquity to the present, the Andalusian capital has played a crucial role in the world stage through many eras.

Located close to Spain’s southern coast, Seville is widely known for its quaint beaches, breathtaking palace architecture, incredible food, and wandering picturesque streets. For this reason Seville is one of the best places to live in Spain.

The city is an elegant urban masterpiece so you’ll find archaic, medieval, classical, and modern architectural styles positioned all over the city. Magical hidden gems and lovely out-of-the-way spots are not in short supply.

3 Unique Places to Visit in Seville

busy street in Seville

  1. Mercado Lonja del Barranco

This spot is perfect if you are looking for a drink and some delicious Tapas. The Mercado Lonja del Barranco is a quiet restaurant boasting many different cuisines and a wonderful & comfortable atmosphere.

  1. Museo De Bellas Artes De Sevilla

If you want to experience the best visual and contemporary art Seville has to offer, then take a day to explore Seville’s museum of fine art.

  1. Alameda De Hercules

Seville is famously known as ‘the city built by Hercules’; this spot is where he started with the city’s construction. Students and creatives frequent the square – it is well-known for its wondrous Flameco nights.

As the country’s fourth-largest city, Seville is perfect if you’re looking to live in Spain’s ‘quieter’ more slow-going metropolis. And, like Madrid, there is virtually no crime in Seville – taking long, romantic strolls through the city at dusk will quickly become a favorite past-time.

Concluding Thoughts on Where to Live in Spain

Spain is a city brimming with things to do and see – you will always be captivated and astounded by the beauty and romance that the country offers.

These three cities offer the country’s finest places to stay, cuisine, attractions, art, culture, and architecture.

It won’t matter if you’re living in Spain as an American, Brit, Canadian, or South African because you’ll always find plenty of people from home ready to show you around.

We hope this guide has given you something to look forward to as you plan for your stay – hopefully, we’ve made planning your move to Spain a little easier. It’s up to you to decide which of Spain’s most famous cities will suit you best.




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