The best cities in Spain – and the world – for expats

non resident tax Spain
Malaga, Spain (Shutterstock).

Moving to a different country is sure to be a big upheaval for anyone, but it can also be incredibly rewarding to start afresh somewhere new with an excellent quality of life.

If you are considering moving abroad, choosing the right place to move to is a key decision that could shape your future opportunities, so it’s important to research the best destinations for expats.

After our previous blog, we know that Spain is one of the best countries for expats and remote workers, but which cities in Spain rank as some of the best cities in the world for expats?

 

The best cities in Europe for expats

According to The Academy of Urbanism, Estepona is the second best city in Europe – coming in silver behind Amersfoort (Netherlands) and ahead of fellow finalist Exeter (UK) in the European City of the Year category at the Urbanism Awards.

The up-and-coming ‘garden town’ of the Costa del Sol was a strong contender thanks to its inspiring sustainable city model, ambitious city-centre pedestrianisation project, and coastal corridor initiative to connect towns along the entire coastline.

The judging panel also praised Estepona’s beautifully maintained green spaces and the inclusivity of its cheap public parking, making this Andalucian town an attractive place to live or visit.

Meanwhile, Condé Nast Traveller also features an Andalucian hotspot among its top ten cities in Europe – Malaga takes fourth place in the publication’s 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Readers appreciated a ‘resurgence’ of new restaurants and museums refreshing the face of Malaga in the southwest of Spain, though another Spanish town in the northeast stole the top spot – with San Sebastian scoring a few points ahead.

 

Expats’ favourite city in the world

The latest InterNations Expat Insider 2023 report ranks around 50 countries based on the way over 12,000 global expats rated specific aspects of life as an expat in their country.

While Spain came in second place to Mexico as the best country for expats, Spain dominated the Expat City Ranking 2023, with three Spanish cities taking gold, silver, and bronze.

In third place is Valencia on the southeast coast, which actually ranked first in the global Quality of Life Index – perhaps thanks to its first-place affordability and third-place healthcare. Despite also placing high for friendliness and ease of settling in, Valencia was let down by its low-ranking career prospects and job security.

A little further south lies the second place city, Alicante, which came first in the world for affordable housing and fifth in healthcare and the Quality of Life Index. While Alicante ranks at the very top for expats feeling welcome, at home, and content with their social lives, it also fell into the bottom ten for career opportunities.

Taking the crown for expats’ favourite city in the world for 2023 is Malaga, which is rated the highest in the world for friendliness and climate, coming second behind Valencia in the Quality of Life Index.

Despite ranking in the bottom ten for its local job market, Malaga does come first for work-life balance and personal finance, boasting the best general cost of living. Malaga also ranks in the top ten for leisure options, travel and transit, natural environment, healthcare, and affordable housing.

With 88% of expats being happy with life in Malaga, compared to the global average of 72%, it seems like this part of southern Spain really is the place to be for expats moving to Europe.

 

Thinking of moving to Andalucia?

Whether the sustainability of Estepona or the buzz of ever-popular Malaga has drawn you in, you might be considering moving to the Costa del Sol. No matter if you’re a full-time expat, a part-time remote worker, a student, or a holiday home owner, it’s likely you’ll need professional legal advice.

Luckily, you’ve found Manzanares Abogados! Our blogs provide a range of information about immigrating to Spain, buying property in Spain, tax obligations in Spain, and more.

As an English-speaking law firm based in Andalucia, we can help you with anything from visa applications and real estate transactions to managing non-resident tax in Spain.

When it’s time to get your legal paperwork in order ahead of your move to Spain, don’t hesitate to give us a call on +34 952 82 41 12 – or send an email to clientservices@manzanareslawyers.com and we’ll get back to you.

 

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