You have finally decided to take the next step and move to Spain, but you do not know yet where in the country you want to live? This article will guide you through each city’s advantages and particularities to help you make this difficult decision.
In order to find your perfect city, let’s take it step by step, according to the landscape and cost of living of each main city, as well as some more specific aspects.
- THE LANDSCAPE:
Spain is known for its beautiful landscapes and nice climate. So, depending on your preferences, you are sure to find the best city for you.
First, if you enjoy city life, the cultural aspectthe beach, and a relaxed general ambiance, you will adore Barcelona. Indeed, as well as the numerous local festivals, such as Poblenou’s or the Mercé’s festivities in September, you will be able to appreciate the renowned architecture, including Gaudi’s masterpieces across the city, but also many museums on Catalunya’s history and cultural heritage. Moreover, if you tire of the bustling city centre, you can go enjoy calmer and smaller neighbourhoods, such as El Born, or go to the city outskirts to smaller beaches.
If you are looking for a place to do your studies or even an internship, Barcelona is the right destination. What’s more, Barcelona has a big expat community so you can always get advice from people who have been in a situation like yours.
On the other hand, if you are attracted to bustling city life and the historical and cultural aspect of Spain, Madrid is made for you. Indeed, thanks to its extensive collection of art pieces found in the Prado Museum, La Reina Sofia, and Thyssen, you will be able to admire world-renowned pieces that depict some of the main events in Spain’s history. The city is rich in history but is also very modern.
If you are retired and are looking for a place with many things to do, Madrid is for you. Other than the museums, the Retiro Park, a huge natural space in the center of the city, will bring you some calm if you ever get tired of the urban setting.
If you are on the hunt for a job, a city as big as Madrid should definitely be an option, thanks to its various job opportunities.
- It’s important to bear in mind that the COST OF LIVING will be very different according to each city:
Indeed, as in most countries, the more populated cities are the more expensive. As such, Barcelona holds the first spot in terms of the cost of living, followed by Madrid. That said, the cost of living in those cities will not exceed those of Northern European cities, which keeps them accessible.
If you prefer to go to a slightly cheaper and smaller city with a similar coastal vibe to Barcelona’s without having to give up on the lively urban aspect, Valencia is perfect for you. The prices are more affordable, and you can still enjoy local festivities and parks, as well as the tantalising gastronomy at the Central Market.
Moreover, if you decide to go to the South, you will find cities even more affordable to live in. If you the Sun and the beach is more your thing, you will love cities like Cadiz or Málaga, the latter getting more and more popular every year due to its cultural and gastronomic offer.
However, if you are, for example, moving to Spain with your family on a Digital Nomad Visa and are looking for a clean city, with low pollution, and somewhere very safe to raise your children, you will love Vigo in Galicia. It’s also prized for its work market and cheap cost of living compared to the biggest Spanish cities, like Barcelona or Madrid. So, Vigo could a good opportunity if you are here on a Job-Seeker Residency Permit.
Now, here is some extra advice to prepare for your move:
Depending on the city you are moving to, the regional language and accent might change so be careful of that. The Spanish spoken in Madrid is the easiest to understand as a foreigner since it is usually like the Spanish you learn at school.
Once you have selected the city, you will need to FIND A PLACE TO LIVE. If you want to rent a property, there are websites like BADI or IDEALISTA. The best way is to visit the property first, but since you might start your process from abroad, you can also do a video-visit. Indeed, you will often need an address in Spain for your visa process.
If you do not speak the language, consider FINDING A SPANISH COURSE. Although it is possible to live in Spain speaking only English, becoming more integrated into society, or seeking employment with a Spanish company, will eventually require you to learn the language.
GET INFORMED ON THE WAY OF LIFE: for example, lunch is often at 2pm, and most banks are closed in the afternoons and during the weekend. Spanish people also eat dinner much later than in the northern European countries. To get accustomed to the country, you should find out as much information as possible on those everyday facts.
FIND THE FACEBOOK GROUPS WITH OTHER EXPATS FROM YOUR COUNTRY: It can be easier to settle in a city if you know that you are not the only one in this situation and it can be comfortable to meet up with people from your own nationality, helping, for example, with homesickness. Also, it is usually where you can find some tips from expats who have lived here longer.
Once you have chosen the city where you will be moving to, and are ready to start your immigration process, do not hesitate to contact our team of immigration experts at firstname.lastname@example.org, to get tailored advice as well as increase your chances of getting your Visa approved.