Where to retire in Spain

lucia lagunas reyes - Our Where to retire in Spain lawyer expert

There are many Spanish cities that have become the perfect retirement destination for countless foreigners who dream of a more fulfilling and relaxed life. Spain is a country that effortlessly combines natural beauty, history and a vibrant social life. That’s why today we want to discover which are the best cities in Spain to live in once you’ve retired.

These include Valencia, Sevilla, Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol… but there are many more where retirees can enjoy a relaxed lifestyle.

Factors to consider when choosing a retirement destination

These are some of the important factors to take into account when choosing a place to retire in Spain

where to retire in spain

Weather and climate

Imagining waking up with the sun streaming through your window practically every day is one of the advantages of living in Spain. What’s more, the country has a wide variety of climates, with a choice between the Mediterranean area, which is characterised by mild winters and hot summers, and the north, where the climate is somewhat cooler but equally pleasant.

Cost of living

When it comes to retirement, financial peace of mind is essential and Spain has an affordable cost of living. In this way you can live comfortably without having to go broke. In fact, there are many options for living, from flats in big cities to cosy villas located in spain by the sea such as in the canary islands. In any case, renting or buying a property in Spain is lower than in any other European country. In addition, the daily expenses are also more affordable.

Health and medical facilities

It should not be forgotten that Spain has excellent healthcare. In fact, it is one of the best in the world. Moreover, it is very easy to access, as it is open to everyone who is in the country.

Culture and lifestyle

Spain nourishes both the body and soul of those who live here. There are many ways to stay fit in this country, starting with the popular Mediterranean diet based on vegetables, fish, fruit and olive oil and continuing with the many ways to stay active. With its diverse landscapes, it is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts. So if you want a retirement that will invigorate and rejuvenate your spirit and body, this is the destination for you.


Spanish is a complicated language, as it is one of the languages with the most grammatical and spelling rules. But it is also one of the most important languages in the world. So what better time to learn it than when you have more free time.

Proximity to the people

To retire here is synonymous with being a member of a community that will make you feel at home. The atmosphere in Spain invites you to socialise and socialise with people who share your interests. Language exchange, hiking in groups, attending cultural events or simply strolling through the streets, everything is possible here.

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Top Retirement Destinations in Spain

Where retire in spain

Coastal Destinations

1. Costa del Sol

The climate, the lifestyle, the beautiful beaches and the cost of living are some of the attractions of this Spanish destination. And within the Costa del Sol the towns of Mijas and Benalmádena are two of the best destinations for British expats, Dutch, North Americans and Scandinavians. In both you can relax and enjoy small, secluded beaches or alfresco dining with unforgettable views.

2. Costa Blanca

There are more than 200 km of the Costa Blanca, a region full of beaches with crystal-clear, sandy waters and rugged cliffs. Its route through the white villages of Andalusia is another of its main attractions, where you can discover the charm and traditional life of southeastern Spain. On the other hand, Benidorm and Alicante are two of the favourite cities for retirees coming from other countries.

They are two coastal towns with busy city centres, offering the ideal combination of activity and relaxation for retired people. But beyond its beaches, this area is full of culture and history ranging from the ruins that can be seen in Denia to the Moorish influences of Altea.

3. The Pyrenees

The perfect destination to enjoy tranquillity, incredible mountain scenery full of beauty and different outdoor activities. Hiking enthusiasts will find an infinite number of routes of varying difficulty to keep fit at all times.

4. Valencia

Warm, welcoming, laid-back, with plenty of historic sites, sandy beaches and a vibrant culture, this is Valencia. The food is great, the weather is amazing all year round and the cost of living is very affordable, making it the ideal place to enjoy the best time of your life. But Valencia is not just one city. In fact, there are many villages and towns that make up this province on the east coast of the country and the birthplace of paella, most of which are less than an hour’s drive from Valencia.

If you want to retire in Valencia our team of immigration lawyers in Valencia will help you through the whole process.

5. Seville

Rich in history, in festivals and fairs and above all, in a relaxed, unhurried lifestyle. Seville is one of the jewels of Andalusia that welcomes retirees with open arms and a smile on their lips. Enjoying its art, its Sevillanas, its wines and its tapas can become the greatest of hobbies. And luckily, it is one of the cities with the lowest crime rates in Spain. It also enjoys a privileged location and the price of living standards for a retired person is very affordable, so you can enjoy your retirement years with complete peace of mind.

where retire Spain

1. Residency requirements for retirees

With the Golden Visa, non-EU citizens will be able to live in Spain, although they will have to prove that they have a property in the country without a mortgage and of at least 500,000 euros. For all this, it is logically essential to have a NIE, an unique, exclusive and personal number that will be the identifier of any foreign person.

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2. Visa options for retirees

Pensioners who wish to reside in the country and who logically are not going to carry out any professional or work activity, can obtain a visa provided they have a guaranteed and sufficient means of subsistence of around 2 400 euros per month. This is the non-lucrative visa.

3. Health cover for pensioners

Both Spanish citizens and foreigners who have established residence in Spain will be entitled to receive health care in accordance with the provisions of art. 1.2 of Law 14/1986 dated 25 April General Health Act.

4. Tax considerations

Correct planning and proper compliance with tax regulations will ensure a smooth financial transition to retirement in Spain, especially for retirees coming from the United States or the United Kingdom due to the complexities of these countries’ treaty with Spain.

Real Estate Market

1. Overview of the real estate market in Spain

Although housing in a big city is somewhat expensive in Spain, the fact is that demand is also growing significantly, boosting the market. Add to this the fact that international investors are also increasing, and the market is sure to grow. In fact, by 2028 it is expected to be almost double its current state.

2. Buying versus renting for retirees

Living in Spain can be expensive if you choose to live in a capital city. On the other hand, if you choose a property in the surrounding area, the price is much more affordable. In any case, it is best to start by renting, especially if you have not yet decided on your destination. This way you can discover as many Spanish cities as possible before deciding. Once you have decided on your preferred region, it will be time to start looking at the option of buying.

In recent years Bilbao has become one of the favourite destinations for retirees. Not in vain, apart from having an international airport, it offers an extraordinary culture, delicious gastronomy and, in short, a different way of life. Likewise, towns such as Calafell and Sitges are receiving more and more foreigners every day who want to enjoy a unique setting and a relaxed atmosphere by the sea and at a short distance from an important Spanish capital such as Barcelona.

Retirement Communities and Services

1. Retirement communities in Spain

One of the best destinations to live in Spain after retirement is Burgos. Here its culture, gastronomy and the average price of living stand out. It also manages to attract with such attractive tourist features as its famous gothic cathedral. According to “International Living”, the budget for living here is 2 000 euros per month per couple. Getting around the city is very easy and you don’t even need to use a car. On the other hand, it is close to important capitals such as Madrid and Bilbao and is the place of passage of countless pilgrims who make the Camino de Santiago, which is why this destination is full of history and culture.

Another Spanish city in high demand by retirees is Logroño. This Riojan city is an excellent destination for its size, its gastronomy and, of course, its delicious wines. Also stands out for its affordable housing prices. As a curiosity it is worth mentioning that Logroño looks like a ghost town at nap time. And that nobody forgives a short break after lunch, something that foreign retirees who have chosen this destination as their residence have also taken to.

2. Services for expat retirees, such as healthcare and transportation.

Pensioners from the European Union have the advantage of being able to access the Spanish public health system thanks to reciprocal health agreements. In principle, it is possible to use the EHIC, also known as the European Health Insurance Card, to access medical services on a temporary basis. Those planning to settle permanently will have to register with the local health system, which involves getting a number from the Social Security and choosing a doctor at the health centre.

On the other hand, retirees from outside the EU have somewhat more difficulty accessing public health care. As a general rule, proof of any private insurance is required when applying for a Spanish residence visa. After having lived in Spain for a certain period of time, usually one year, they can register with the public health care system by contributing a monthly payment to the Convenio Especial.

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When it comes to transport, senior citizens can have a card in their name to move around cities on the public transport network at a reduced price. Having this card is also an important way of saving money, and although it is managed by each of the autonomous communities, it is true that you can enjoy lower fares and even completely free passes when travelling on buses and trains.

Tips for a smooth transition to retirement in Spain

1. Learning the language

Although speaking English is a huge advantage when travelling as it is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world in terms of number of speakers. However, learning a new language can be daunting at certain ages, but the truth is that as well as bringing you closer to the country, it will help you to exercise your brain by stimulating your concentration and memory and helping you to solve problems. This in turn helps to maintain the mental acuity that is lost as the years go by.

2. Cultural adaptation and customs

When choosing a place to spend the golden age of life, in addition to factors such as housing, health and climate, it is very important to take into account the time it can take to adapt to the culture and customs of the country. Spaniards are used to welcoming people from all over the world and therefore always do so with open arms. This logically helps retirees to adapt quickly, so that they can quickly familiarise themselves with Spanish customs and culture.

3. Socializing and making friends

Just as it is very easy to adapt because of the incredible character of the Spanish people, it is very easy to socialise and make new friends, especially if you take into account that in Spain there are trips programmed for all those retirees who wish to travel. As well as being a great opportunity to see the rest of the country, it is another way of meeting new people and making new friends with whom to enjoy this new and well-deserved period of rest and happiness.

Testimonials and Interviews

1. Share personal stories and interviews with retirees who have chosen Spain as their retirement destination.

Michael Leitz and John Flores are a retired couple who lived in San Francisco as renters and worked as teachers. When they retired, they began to realise that they were not able to pay for the house they had been living in for many years with the pension they had left. This is why they decided to move, not to another house, but to another country, and it was clear to them that it had to be Spain. In fact, Leitz explains in an interview they gave to CNN that the lifestyle in California is very similar to the Spanish one. They knew this because they had visited the country on several occasions during their holidays.

For this reason, they began to study Spanish and ended up moving to Valencia to live there renting for 3 years. As they did not have enough money to buy a house in this destination, they finally decided to go and live in a more rural area, deciding on Xátiva, a town full of tourist attractions, with a wide range of leisure activities, friendly people and an extraordinary climate, not forgetting that it is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Spain.


1. Summarize key points

In short, getting a visa to come and live in Spain to enjoy a peaceful retirement is one of the best decisions you are likely to make in your life. Whether you choose Valencia, Seville, the Pyrenees, Barcelona… every corner has its own special charm, and best of all, you’ll enjoy a wonderful climate, friendly people, stunning natural landscapes and a cuisine that you won’t find anywhere else. Relax your body and mind and enjoy what could be the best years of your life.

2. Encourage readers to explore Spain as a retirement option

Spain is a dream paradise for any retiree thanks to its harmonious combination of factors that make it a truly attractive destination that really has it all. What’s more, its extremely rich cultural heritage and the chance to immerse yourself in its true lifestyle add to the unique charm of retirement. Added to all this, its strategic location allows any retiree to explore Europe’s other gems effortlessly to create unforgettable experiences.

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