Spain has held the title of being one of the best countries to live for many years! The year-round sunshine and al fresco dining are just a couple of reasons why moving to Spain is a definite no-brainer. In a 2019 Expat Insider Survey by Internations, Spain ranked in the top five destinations for expats to live! In an annual Expat Explorer Survey by HSBC, Spain ranked in the world’s top five countries for expats to live in 2019, mostly because of factors like quality of life, which it placed second for! Spain is home to some of the most attractive and liveable cities and Send My Bag have put together a few of them in this blog.
As Ernest Hemingway once said, “when you get to know it, Madrid is the most Spanish of all cities, the best to live in, the finest people, month in and month out the finest climate.” As the Spanish capital, Madrid is an international hub of art, culture, and community attracting people from across the globe. The city is a very exciting and dynamic place to live, work, study and travel! Just take a short stroll around Plaza Mayor or Puerta Del Sol as Madrid’s well-known plazas and you will instantly feel this liveliness. The city has been crowned in an annual Expat Insider Survey by Internations as the top city in Europe for living overseas and the third best in the world. Therefore, there is a large expat community in Madrid, adding to the city’s vibrance and diversity, and which can make it easier to settle in.
Living in Madrid means that you could immerse yourself into the Spanish culture and cuisine, wandering the city’s cobblestoned streets and finding some of the most traditional tapas bars and restaurants. Walking around the city means that you can aimlessly explore an endless supply of art, history and culture. However, the public transport in Madrid is recognised as being the best in Spain, particularly the metro system for its affordability and efficiency.
Madrid is particularly favoured amongst students and young professionals because of the young and trendy culture at presence, especially because of its well-established universities that attract many local and international students. One of Madrid’s most well-known and hippest ‘barrios’ (neighbourhoods) is Malasana, with its vintage shops and selection of laid-back cafes, bars, and restaurants being popular amongst locals and tourists. Another lively neighbourhood is Lavapiés, said to be Madrid’s most multicultural neighbourhood and another trendy one, as the streets are lined with edgy street art, hip bars and cafes, and flea markets. Bringing more young, hip and lively vibes to the city is the nightlife culture which Madrid is known far and wide for, with Time Out listing its nightlife scene as one of the best and cheapest in the world. As Ernest Hemingway said, “nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night.”
In the annual Expat Insider Survey by Internations, Barcelona was one of top 10 cities for expats to live in 2019. In Mercer’s annual quality of living rankings, Barcelona placed in the top 50 globally, but was the top-ranking city in Spain, ahead of Madrid. Whether Barcelona is better than Madrid or Madrid better than Barcelona has been a long-standing question! Many may prefer Barcelona over Madrid for being closer to the Mediterranean beaches that Spain is famous for. From beaches, to mountains, to everything in between, you are certainly spoilt in terms of natural surroundings in Barcelona. You are also spoiled with the stunning architecture in Barcelona that people travel far and wide to see, but you could have landmarks like La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Santa Maria Del Mar and many more just a stone’s throw away from you.
Bringing even more character and culture to Barcelona is the large international community. With the city being a top destination for expats and tourists, there is a very welcoming and diverse culture. However, some may see its popularity as a con, because it means that the city can become too overcrowded and overflowing tourism means that prices jump up. It has been reported that Barcelona has had the highest rental increases in Spain over the past five years. However, you can choose from a range of different neighbourhoods in Barcelona to suit your budget and your lifestyle. An example of a neighbourhood in Barcelona’s city centre is Barrio Gotico, otherwise known as the charming gothic quarter. As Barcelona’s oldest district, you will fall in love with its winding medieval streets where there are bars and Catalan restaurants full of historic charm. Gracia is another neighbourhood that isn’t as busy and is suited to all tastes. To live further away from the hustle and bustle of the city and closer to the beach, a neighbourhood like Barceloneta might be more up your street.
Many say that the biggest advantage to living in Valencia is that it is not too big or too small. Having everything that you could want from a big city, but not being as overwhelming or overcrowded as Barcelona and Madrid. Also, the weather is not too hot or too dry, with the World Health Organisation claiming that Valencia has the ideal climate. Also, Valencia is not too expensive, as a ranking of living costs in Spain by Numbeo showed that it is cheaper to live in Valencia than Barcelona and Madrid. You could say that Valencia is the perfect medium!
Whether you are seeking a relaxed pace of life or an active life outdoors, you could enjoy both in Valencia. There are beaches, mountains, rivers, small villages, vineyards, medieval fort towns and much more. All of which provide the ideal surroundings for hiking, running, cycling and even skiing in the winter months. You can also have the choice of living by the beach or closer to the city. Ruzafa is an example of a neighbourhood by the city with a lively nightlife scene, as many of the streets are lined with bars and are particularly busy during the famous Fallas Festival held annually in Valencia. El Cabanyal is a neighbourhood that is closer to the beach and there is a creative and artsy feel about this area, with many digital nomads choosing it because of the coworking spaces, cafes and hip bars.
As the southernmost region of Spain, there is an endless supply of sunshine and heat in Seville! The slow pace of life means that you would have plenty of time to enjoy it. Time isn’t something that people in Seville stress over, as the common way of life is to take things slow and have leisurely breaks for enjoying sunshine, siestas, and tapas to the fullest. One month’s paid holiday is standard for people working in Seville! Some say that Seville is home to the greatest amount of Spanish history and culture, meaning that it is a city full off charm and character. As one of Europe’s oldest cities, dating back to 8th Century BC, there are many world-renowned landmarks. Seville Cathedral, Real Alcazar, Plaza de Espana are just a few! However, living in Seville means that you could see more than the famous landmarks and popular tourist spots. You would have plenty of opportunities to explore the nooks and crannies, and the hidden gems that you wouldn’t necessarily come across on a typical holiday. Seville is a very walkable city, meaning that you can get lost wandering its charming streets.
Many favour Seville for the fact that it has the amenities of a big city, but still maintains the feel of a small town where there is less hustle and bustle. Seville isn’t necessarily suited to professionals seeking a fast-paced working life. The city is popular amongst students, both local and international students, as Seville’s universities are acknowledged as being the top universities in Spain. The buzz of Seville is also very attractive to students, and you can live right in the heart of it due to the variety of neighbourhoods in and around the city centre. Examples include Santa Cruz, El Centro, and Triana. Santa Cruz is one of Seville’s oldest neighbourhoods, lined with narrow alleyways and cobbled streets that are full off Spanish history and culture. However, this lures many tourists and so it can become over-crowded and overpriced. Whilst a neighbourhood like Los Remedios is suited to families because of the various schools and bigger houses.
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