The 7 Best Cities in Spain For Your Retirement - International Living

The warm, sunny climate, rich history, diverse culture, stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, and friendly people have made Spain a popular retirement destination for many people.

Located on the southwestern tip of Europe, Spain is the fourth-largest country on the continent and consists of 17 autonomous regions, each with its own unique language, culture, and customs. The official language is Spanish, but many regions also have their own official languages, such as Catalan, Basque, and Galician.

Spain has something for everyone. Whether you prefer the bustling city life of Madrid, the beach paradise of Alicante, or the historical grandeur of Granada, you're sure to have a wonderful retirement experience. What’s more, the value of your dollars is undeniable. A budget of $2,500 could bankroll a very comfortable life for a single person and $3,000 for a couple.

Choosing the right city for your retirement in Spain requires thoughtful consideration. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of seven of the best cities in Spain for your retirement, considering factors such as cost of living, quality of life, healthcare, safety, proximity to attractions, and more.

With so many options to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect spot for your Spanish retirement dream. In no specific order, here are seven of the best cities to consider for retirement.



Malaga is a lively, coastal city offering retirees a combination of rich culture, stunning architecture, and a warm, welcoming community. Located along the beautiful Costa del Sol, one of Malaga’s most significant selling points for retirees is its fantastic climate, with over 300 days of sunshine a year. Spots like La Malagueta Beach provide opportunities for relaxation and water activities. The city also offers a bustling culinary scene, active markets, and a vibrant nightlife, making it a well-rounded and captivating destination.

Despite the stunning weather and beautiful beaches, Malaga is also known for its vibrant mix of cultural heritage and as the birthplace of the renowned artist, Pablo Picasso. The city’s rich history is evident in its well-preserved landmarks such as the Moorish Alcazaba fortress and the Roman Theatre.

The historic center, with its narrow streets and charming squares, offers a delightful atmosphere for exploration. Malaga is a hub of culture and entertainment with multiple museums, art galleries, and music festivals. The city's Picasso Museum pays homage to the influential artist, showcasing a significant collection of his works.

The city also provides a robust transportation system, making moving around more accessible and affordable for retirees. Malaga is well-connected by trains, buses, and taxis, ensuring easy access to both the city and the surrounding area. The city's friendly and welcoming population makes it easy for retirees to integrate into their community and make new friends.

Expats report living in Malaga comfortably on as little as $2,300 a month.


©iStock/Sami Auvinen
©iStock/Sami Auvinen

You can’t discuss Spain’s top cities without mentioning the bustling capital city of Madrid! A city full of energy and excitement, Madrid offers retirees a unique combination of world-class amenities, rich cultural events, excellent healthcare, mild winters, and hot summers.

Madrid is known for its beautiful architecture, world-class museums, and wonderful restaurants, offering some of Spain's best cuisine. The city is a hub of entertainment and cultural events that range from flamenco shows to famous art galleries. Madrid is also home to one of Spain's best public transportation systems, making it easy to get around the city and beyond.

Madrid’s warm weather and sunny skies make it easy to enjoy outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, or simply strolling in the city's beautiful parks. Such activities make for the perfect opportunity to get out and meet people, and it certainly won’t be difficult for you to make new friends due to Madrid’s thriving expat community.

If you’re looking for a dynamic and versatile retirement destination, Madrid could be your perfect choice.

A single woman reports enjoying a comfortable retirement here, including rent, for less than $1,900 a month.



Barcelona offers the perfect combination of rich culture, exceptional healthcare, and fantastic weather to make it one of the best Spanish retirement destinations.

Barcelona is renowned for its stunning architecture, including Antoni Gaudi's masterpieces, Park Guell, and La Sagrada Familia. The city brims with world-class art museums, theaters, and music venues, offering retirees plenty of cultural events to enjoy.

The city's Mediterranean climate creates an attractive lifestyle for retirees, allowing them to explore the beaches, parks, countryside, and nearby mountains throughout the year. Finally, Barcelona is home to a large, friendly expat community, making it easy for retirees to connect and make new friends.

Overall, Barcelona has a vivacious, active, yet relaxed lifestyle, blended with unique culture and outstanding healthcare, making it a perfect retirement destination for those who crave a balanced and exciting life.

A couple can live well in Barcelona on a monthly budget of $2,500 a month.


©iStock/Cristian Mircea Balate
©iStock/Cristian Mircea Balate

Granada, located in the south of Spain, is a stunning and picturesque city that offers retirees a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Home to the magnificent Alhambra Palace, Granada is rich in Moorish architecture and historical monuments.

One of the main draws of Granada is its relaxed and casual lifestyle. The city is small enough to wander around and feel at ease, yet has all the modern amenities and services that retirees could want. With a mild climate and plenty of sunshine, Granada is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, or golfing.

Retirees will enjoy the city’s local cuisine, from famous tapas and pintxos to delicious paella. Granada also has a thriving cultural scene, with many art galleries, festivals, and music events.

Suppose the beach is not for you, and you're looking for a peaceful and picturesque retirement destination packed with history, friendly locals, and natural beauty. In that case, Granada might be the place for you.

A couple can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in Sliema, including rent, from $2,400 a month.



Located in the Andalusia region (in southern Spain), Seville offers retirees a fantastic climate, friendly people, delicious food, and rich culture.

Seville is mainly known for its rich history, captivating architecture, and vibrant cultural traditions. The city is renowned for its iconic landmark, the Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. The Real Alcázar, a stunning royal palace renowned for its exquisite Moorish and Mudéjar architecture, offers visitors a glimpse into the city's past.

Seville is also famous for its flamenco music and dance, with numerous venues hosting electrifying performances. The annual Feria de Abril, a week-long festival filled with flamenco, traditional attire, and horse parades, showcases Seville's lively spirit. Additionally, the picturesque neighborhood of Triana, located across the Guadalquivir River, is known for its ceramic workshops, vibrant markets, and charming ambiance. Seville's vibrant street life, delicious cuisine, and warm Andalusian hospitality make it an unforgettable destination.

Seville's relaxed lifestyle provides a tranquil atmosphere that’s perfect for retirement. The people are welcoming, and the cost of living is affordable compared to other popular Spanish cities. Seville has long, hot summer days, which may not be ideal for everyone.

Here, a couple can live well from $2,300 a month, depending on lifestyle.



If you’re considering retiring in Spain, Alicante is a great option. This Mediterranean city offers a wealth of benefits for retirees, including an affordable cost of living, a fantastic climate, and a warm and welcoming community.

Alicante is primarily known for its stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, and vibrant tourism industry. The city attracts visitors with its picturesque waterfront, including the famous Postiguet Beach, where sun-seekers can bask in the Mediterranean sunshine. Its beautiful gardens and parks are perfect for morning walks or afternoon picnics.

Alicante's historic Castillo de Santa Barbara, a hilltop castle overlooking the city, provides panoramic views and a glimpse into the region's rich past. The city's Old Town (Barrio de la Santa Cruz) charms with its narrow streets, colorful houses, and lively atmosphere. Alicante is also renowned for its lively nightlife scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants catering to both locals and tourists.

Alicante offers something for everyone, whether you are looking for an active retirement filled with cultural and social activities or a more relaxed, tranquil lifestyle.

A couple can live very comfortably in a midrange neighborhood for as little as $2,000 a month.



Valencia is a hidden gem and one of Spain’s best cities for retirees. Famous for its delicious cuisine, beautiful architecture, and rich history, Valencia offers retirees a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle without sacrificing all the modern amenities of a big city.

Valencia is predominantly known for its iconic City of Arts and Sciences, a futuristic architectural complex featuring the Hemisfèric, Science Museum, Oceanographic, and Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. The city is also hailed as the birthplace of paella, offering an authentic taste of the famous rice dish.

The historic center, Ciutat Vella, captivates with its Valencia Cathedral, Silk Exchange, and Central Market, while the sandy beaches, notably Malvarrosa, draw sun-seekers. The city's lively calendar includes La Tomatina, a massive tomato-throwing festival, and Corpus Christi's exquisite floral displays. Additionally, Valencia hosts the extraordinary Fallas Festival with its impressive sculptures and fiery spectacle.

The city's rich culture and friendly, welcoming people make living in Valencia a fantastic choice for retirees looking for a quieter, beachy lifestyle with a lower cost of living, excellent healthcare, and a relaxed vibe that celebrates the best of both worlds.

A couple retiring in Valencia can expect to pay around $2,220 a month, including rent.

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