The 15 best Spanish cities to live

Lectura 6 min

The latest studies from the OCU involved a survey to find out the 15 best Spanish cities to live and buy a house. These cities boast a high quality of life and are fantastic options if you’re thinking of moving to a new city but don’t have a fixed idea in mind. This survey focused on the quality of transport, public health, public education, public safety, employment, the cost of living, the environment and hygiene in the cities. So, which are the best Spanish cities to live in? 

1. Vigo (Galicia)

The best Spanish city to live is Vigo. It is located in the Galician province of Pontevedra and its residents highlight the fantastic quality of life there. They approve of practically every area, particularly cleanliness and safety, and the fact that it is a very environmentally-friendly city. There is only minimal pollution and it offers a wide range of family leisure activities. And it that were not enough, the cost of living is pretty low as well. 

2. Zaragoza (Aragon)

The capital of Aragon is the second-best Spanish city to live. Around 684 thousand people live in Zaragoza, and these residents appreciate in particular how environmentally-friendly the city is, along with the healthcare and the leisure, culture and sports activities on offer there. And best of all: during the summer season, you can fly directly to a number of different European capitals.

3. Bilbao (the Basque Country)

Bilbao takes third place in the list of best Spanish cities to live. It has around 346 thousand residents and it is particularly appreciated for its public transport and its healthcare services. But they are not the only reasons that have pushed Bilbao into third place: it also offers an incredible range of leisure, culture and sports activities. 

The city earned a great rating for hygiene and waste management as well. What’s more, it is a great place for children to grow up and it is very well connected to other Spanish cities and European capitals. And the incredible cuisine is another of its strong points.

4. Valladolid (Castile and León)

Valladolid is one of the cities in Spain with the best quality of life and is the only one from Castile and León that has made it onto the list of the 15 best cities. The cleanliness, safety and low cost of living have earned it fourth place, and it is also a very well-connected city with very reasonably priced public transport.

5. Córdoba (Andalusia)

Córdoba is another one of the best Spanish cities to live, tying with Valladolid. It has the best quality of life of all the cities in Andalusia and stands out for its great public transport. Some of its other selling points include healthcare, education and leisure activities. Córdoba is also a city with great appeal for tourists, as it has many different interesting attractions, such as the famous Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba.

6. Málaga (Andalusia)

Málaga, is one of the most well-known cities in Andalusia, and it has the second highest quality of life in the region as it is one of the best places to work and offers an affordable cost of living, in comparison to other cities. It also offers digital infrastructure, a vibrant environment and a wide range of leisure activities. The Costa del Sol is growing rapidly at an international level. 

7. Valencia (Valencian Community)

Valencia is one of the best cities to live and its residents particularly appreciate the environmental protection, green spaces, limited pollution, great housing market and fantastic employment opportunities. It is also very well connected, not just to Spanish destinations, but to other international locations as well.


8. Gijón (Asturias)

Gijón, or Xixón, is one of the cities in Spain with the best quality of live. It is the second safest city, after Vigo, and stands out for its high quality of life as a result of low crime rates, fantastic public services, such as education and healthcare, and an incredible cuisine. Gijón is also a university city. This gives the city a youthful energy, with cultural and entertainment activities to suit all tastes.

9. Alicante (Valencian Community)

Alicante is one of the 15 cities with the best quality of life in Spain, as it is offers very affordable housing, an exquisite cuisine and fantastic quality sports facilities. The cost of living here is also reasonable, making it one of the best Mediterranean cities to live. And of course its beaches are another major attraction.

10. Seville (Andalusia)

Seville is the third Andalusian city to have made it onto the list of the 15 cities with the best quality of life. It has approximately 684 thousand residents and among its most notable selling points are its leisure activities, nightlife and friendly people. It also stands out for its cuisine and culture, along with its closeness to other Andalusian provinces, which are perfect for a weekend visit.

11. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands)

Tied with Seville is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the first city from the Canary Islands that made it onto the list. With a population of around 378 thousand residents, it is the most highly populated city on the Canary Islands.

This location offers everything you could need, with a very rich culture, a good education system and a wide variety of sports and leisure activities. And its climate is ideal for those who want to enjoy the summer all year round.

12. Murcia (Murcia)

Murcia has approximately 460 thousand residents and is one of the best places to live if you are looking for excellent climate and idyllic surroundings (it has some beautiful beaches), and the price of housing here is also pretty affordable. But there is more to Murcia than beaches, as it is also the perfect place to enjoy sports activities in nature, such as scuba diving, horse riding, paragliding and hiking. It is a perfect city to live as a family. 

13. Palma (Balearic Islands)

Palma has a population of approximately 419 thousand people and is another one of the best Spanish cities to live. Palma de Mallorca is one of the most popular cities for tourists and is known as the “island of calm”. It has a very relaxed atmosphere, many beaches and an idyllic Mediterranean climate. Investing in the Palma housing market is a good option, not only for living there but also if you’re looking to rent property.

14. Barcelona (Catalonia)

Barcelona is a very cosmopolitan city that attracts many tourists and students from all over the world. The best thing about Barcelona is that it combines the best beaches with mountains, in an unforgettable environment. You don’t necessarily need to purchase property in Barcelona city centre, you could also live in one of the neighbourhoods away from the constant hustle and bustle, in an idyllic environment. 

Barcelona also has a perfect transport network that will allow you to get around the city centre and suburbs in record time. And its airport is ideal if you are someone who regularly travels abroad.


15. Madrid (Community of Madrid)

Madrid is a city that anyone would fall in love with. What better option than to live in the Spanish capital? And not everything in Madrid is in the bustling Gran Vía, as it is a very large city with many perfect areas to live, and it has a great transport system with suburban trains and the metro. The south and the north of the community are perfect for setting up your family home and commuting to work. 

And of course the multiculturalism and wide range of leisure activities in Madrid make it one of the best cities to love.

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