But where will you live? We present you a list of the top-7 cities for British expats to help you decide.
Popular Areas for British Expats in Spain
- Barcelona: Your first choice if you’re after a cosmopolitan feel. Barcelona, in Catalonia, offers a blend of culture, art, and modernity.
- Madrid: The heart of Spain’s culture and politics. Madrid, the capital city, is a bustling, vibrant metropolis. It has a growing British expat community, and English is widely spoken. Madrid’s cultural similarities to the UK include a love for football (soccer), a pub culture, and an appreciation for a good cup of tea. You’ll feel right at home amidst the rich history and contemporary buzz of the city.
- Valencia offers a more traditional Spanish experience, but it’s also becoming increasingly popular among British expats because of its low cost of living. The city has a thriving English-speaking community, and you’ll find expat-run businesses catering to your almost every need. The city’s cultural events and festivals make it an ideal blend of Spanish and British influences.
- Alicante is said to have the largest percentage of foreign residents compared to other Spanish provinces and a significant British expat population, primarily concentrated along the Costa Blanca. Many Brits are drawn to the laid-back lifestyle, the seemingly limitless sunshine, and the many sandy beaches along the coast. You’ll also find English-speaking services, shops, and social groups to help you integrate into the local community.
- Malaga and the surrounding towns have a large British expat community, particularly in areas like Fuengirola and Benalmádena. English is commonly spoken, and you can participate in various British cultural events and clubs.
- Seville offers a more authentic Spanish experience, with a growing British expat community. The city is known for its traditional culture, bullfighting, and flamenco. While English may not be as prevalent as in other cities, you’ll find a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
- Granada has a smaller British expat population, which may appeal to those seeking a less touristy experience. English-speaking services are available, but you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in authentic Spanish culture and enjoy the city’s historic charm.
The city has a substantial British expat population, making it an excellent choice for those seeking the familiarity of pubs and social clubs where you can meet fellow Brits and enjoy a taste of home.
For many, the city’s primary draw is its architecture. Barcelona’s extraordinary whimsical, modernist facades pull in millions of visitors from across the globe.
Barcelona’s top attraction: the breathtaking Basílica de la Sagrada Familia, designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, is a masterpiece and UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases incredible architectural creativity.
Many expats are enchanted by the capital because of its infinite cultural riches, authentic charm, extravagant carnivals, vibrant nightlife, and an abundance of dining spots.
If you’re moving with kids, don’t worry – Madrid isn’t only about partying and nightlife. It’s a wonderful city for families and ideal for those considering a lively retirement too.
Madrid’s top attraction: the Royal Palace, a living testament to Spain’s regal history, and the artistic treasures of the Prado Museum.
Valencia’s top attraction: the futuristic wonderland of the City of Arts and Sciences, where cutting-edge design and innovation come together in a stunning display.
Alicante’s top attraction: the Castle of Santa Bárbara, a historic fortress perched on Mount Benacantil, offering panoramic views of the city and coastline. Its rich history, dating back to the 9th century, and the strategic location provides a stunning backdrop for understanding Alicante’s cultural heritage.
The Costa del Sol’s fantastic weather and beautiful beaches make it a preferred destination for Brits looking to escape the cold back home. There are also several international schools, which make Malaga and the Costa del Sol a great place for families to settle. It also doesn’t hurt that the cost of living in Malaga is cheaper than in other parts of the country.
Malaga’s top attraction: ascend to the Alcazaba, an ancient fortress with panoramic views that tell stories spanning centuries.
Seville’s top attraction: the rhythms of flamenco that seduce your senses as you witness mesmerizing dance performances and admire the opulent beauty of the Seville Cathedral, a true Gothic masterpiece.
Granada’s top attraction: the Alhambra, a breathtaking palace and fortress complex with intricate Islamic architecture set against the stunning backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Adopting the Spanish Lifestyle as a Brithish expat
Embracing the Spanish way of life means adjusting to a rhythm that’s both relaxed and vibrant. Picture yourself strolling through bustling markets in the morning, exploring historic sites in the afternoon, and enjoying tapas at a local eatery in the evening. This balance between work and leisure is a defining feature of Spanish living, inviting you to truly enjoy each day.