best places to live in spain:
discover Benalmádena

Where dramatic views (not prices) take your breath away

High living standards can be affordable, it turns out. Scenic marvels come as a bonus.

Looking for a good place to live in Spain?

Glorious weather. Safe and friendly environment. First-rate amenities.

Or, perhaps, researching a fun place to visit?

Sights like its famous Marina and Columbus monument make Bealmadena a good place to live in Spain, and a fun place to visit

Tons of fun things to do year-round, with cultural and natural attractions close at hand.

While you enjoy its laid-back lifestyle

A relaxed dinner by the sea is among the city’s many enjoyable pastimes.

Five Best Places to Live in Spain

Benalmadena seafront, viewed from its famed marina, is a hallmark of the town known among the best places to live in Spain

 According to a recent analysis by the International Living magazine, Benalmádena is a great choice. We agree.
Its location is just one of many factors that make it special. Please read on.

At a Glance

If you’re on the lookout for best places to live in Spain by the sea, look no further. Benalmádena offers the best of both worlds. On the one hand, it’s a hugely popular beach resort with all modern amenities and fun things to do. At the same time, it’s a safe and serene town ideal for residential living. True, it’s a magnet for visitors and expats from around the world. And yet, Benalmádena has preserved its authentic Andalusian character and advantages of what’s very much in demand these days — a truly livable city.  

A Scenic Marvel

Experts say scenic views are good for your health and well-being. If that is so, then Benalmádena is the place to be.  Nestled between the mountains and the sea amid lush greenery and golden beaches, Benalmádena offers gorgeous vistas and eye-catching views no matter which part of the city you happen to be in. There is a fabulous park with an impressive collection of cactuses close to the beach.  And just a picturesque walk away there’s an award-winning marina, which is a sight to behold amid hundreds of elegant yachts.

Location: A Clear Win-Win

When people mention Benalmádena among the best cities in Spain to live, one of the big reasons is its rather unique spot on the Costa del Sol. It’s a great example of the adage “location, location, location.” The historical and cultural center of Malaga is just a 30-minute train ride – or an easy drive – from the town’s center. Getting to one of Spain’s major international airports is a cinch. The same goes for Malaga’s rail terminal with its high-speed trains. Which makes a great home base to explore Spain – and Europe.

Lifestyle & Pastimes

The city’s way of life is perfectly in tune with many of the reasons why Spain gets the reputation as one of the best places to live in Spain for expats.  The lifestyle here has been called many things: relaxed, easy, calm, active, Mediterranean, southern, outdoor, cosmopolitan… All are apt, with each one capturing a different facet of an enjoyable way of life.

Cost of Living

Spain has been getting top ratings in recent surveys of the cost of living – and quality of life — in Europe, and beyond. The results in various categories, from housing and groceries to transportation and healthcare, show that the country offers quality choices at affordable prices, a key factor for anyone who is assessing options for the best places to live in Spain.

Retire, Work, Invest

If you’re looking for a good place to live in Spain in retirement, Benalmádena will tick all the right boxes: from warm weather and a healthy lifestyle to culinary delights and a chance to travel and enjoy cultural treasures. But it’s also great for remote workers, or investors keen to explore opportunities of a vibrant real estate market.

Malaga: A great city to have Next Door

Find out why the Forbes magazine called it a “stunning corner of Andalucia.”

Amazing daytrips to enjoy

Wonders of nature, history, and culture within easy reach.

El Torcal de Antequera, a mountainous area of spectacular rock formations, is just an hour’s drive from Benalmadena
A quiet street and sunlit mountains: Benalmadena’s scenic beauty helps rank it among the best places to live in Spain

Tastes differ. Of course they do. Some love cold and snowy winters, others hate them. For some, hot and humid is a bane, for others, no problem.  

So, given this diversity of personal preferences is there a way to define what makes the proverbial best place to live?
 
Naturally, job-related issues or family circumstances play a huge role. Someone who must commute to work every day to earn a living will have a different set of requirements from a person who can work remotely.

And of course, a couple nearing retirement — or already enjoying it — will have an array of other options to weigh.  

Differences aside, experts agree that there are enough objective factors that will apply across the board to most cases — whether you’re exploring a move overseas or within your home country.

Climate and Environment
Warm summers and mild winters can go a long way toward ensuring a healthier and more enjoyable living experience. The same goes for abundant green spaces, low air and noise pollution and proximity to beautiful natural scenery. Although views may differ on how weather impacts people’s judgments of life satisfaction, “there is a common belief that living in warm and sunny climates makes people happier,” according to a review in Psychology Today.  

Affordability
One crucial aspect of a good place to live is affordability. Experts emphasize the importance of considering the cost of living, including housing, transportation, healthcare, and education. A location that offers a reasonable cost of living ensures financial stability and a higher quality of life.

Safety and Security
Feeling safe and secure is paramount when choosing a place to call home. It’s advisable to research crime rates, political stability, and emergency services in the area, as well as access to healthcare facilities and availability of a reliable police force. Not surprisingly, best places for living boast safe and friendly neighborhoods with well-illuminated streets where one feels comfortable to walk a dog in the evening or have a drink in a local bar.  

Cities with large private hospitals like Vhitas in Benalmadena are regarded among best places to live in Spain for expats

Cultural and Recreational Opportunities
A vibrant cultural scene and recreational opportunities contribute to an enriched lifestyle. For many people a good place to live means being within easy reach of museums, theaters, parks, sports facilities, and community events. A diverse range of activities fosters a sense of community and provides avenues for personal growth.

Healthcare and education
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of access to quality healthcare. A common recommendation is to research the availability of hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical services in the area.  If you’re planning to relocate overseas, don’t forget to research the availability – and affordability! — of private health insurance.  If you’re relocating with children, the quality of education available in the area also becomes a top priority. Are there pre-school establishments close by? How good are public schools? How much will you have to pay to send your kids to a private school?

Infrastructure and Transportation
Being able to get around easily without totally relying on your car is an important thing to bear in mind. No wonder efficient infrastructure and public transport systems often rank high on the lists of vital quality-of-life indicators. There’s broad agreement among experts that convenience of one’s daily life in large measure depends on access to reliable and affordable public transportation and essential amenities such as grocery stores, banks, and recreational facilities.

Two other factors not to be overlooked. First, how easy it will be for you to get to a major transportation hub with a large airport and, ideally, a railroad terminal?  Secondly, check out the availability of high-speed internet, a must-have these days whether you need to work from home or relax by streaming movies.

Job Opportunities
Clearly, in many cases employment related issues will outweigh other considerations and thus limit one’s choices in seeking a good place to live — abroad or at home. However, the rapid expansion of remote work and the emergence of new job markets for digital nomads may play a role in expanding your search horizons.

People also ask: What’s the best city to live in Spain for expats?

So, let’s say you’ve made up your mind that relocating to another country would make a lot of sense, based on your wishes and preferences. Following that, no doubt you’ve done due diligence and a thorough research as to where you would like to move.
 
Quite possibly, the results of your analysis prompted you to focus on a destination in Europe. And from there it wouldn’t be a stretch to presume that after weighing all the pros and cons you’ve decided to zero in on just one country — Spain.
 
Not only that, you have opted for the area that has the reputation among the best places to live in Spain by the sea.

A sensible choice

That, according to a growing volume of evidence, would be a very astute and sensible choice.

In a wide range of recent surveys, Spain has received high rankings as one of the most sought-after destinations in Europe for both quality of life and affordability. For many reviewers, it’s been ticking all the right boxes in practically every category.

A recent survey, for instance, found Spain to boast the lowest cost of living compared to 12 nations, among them several leading industrialized nations in Europe, North America, and Oceania. “Those drawn to life in Spain will be pleased to know that out of all 13 of these countries, Spain boasts the most affordable cost of living,” concluded the authors of the study, the Cost of Living Overseas Index.

Affordability is obviously a big draw, but it turns out that the country’s appeal extends well beyond cost-conscious calculations. As another recent study demonstrated there’s a continuing uptrend in foreign investments in Spanish real estate, particularly in the luxury homes segment.
 
This boom, however, is not limited to premium properties.  Nationals of foreign countries continue to purchase real estate in Spain at a brisk pace and the proportion of properties bought by foreigners remains very high.

So where do all these buyers go? Which parts of the country do they find to be particularly attractive?
 
The answers to these questions in a recent report made a bit of a splash. Based on the latest data it turned out that the Malaga province, with its stretch of beautiful coastal towns in the southmost part of Spain, has overtaken one of its main competitors, the Balearic Islands, a holiday hotspot.
 
As a result, Malaga and the Costa del Sol emerged as the third leading province in Spain when it comes to foreigners buying homes. It helped to solidify Costa del Sol’s standing as one of the best places to live in Spain by the sea.
 
Which brings us back to the question posed in the headline about the best city to live in Spain for expats.
 
Certainly, for some a key motivation behind purchasing properties in Spain is to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the local real estate market. For many others, however, buying an apartment or a house is a logical step toward settling down in their new Spanish hometown and enjoying its great weather and relaxed lifestyle.  

Rewards of a cosmopolitan city

Of course, when you see the stats about foreigners snapping up real estate in the country of your planned relocation it should feel reassuring.  Still, if trends in Google searches are any indication, people have understandable questions about the ease – or difficulty – of fitting in after the move.  Will this or that town be a good place to live in Spain as an expat? And what if I don’t speak Spanish?

The short answer is that Spain in general is very open and friendly to foreigners. And while every generalization has its flaws, overall, the Spanish are welcoming and amable (nice or kind) toward foreigners and expats. They will often display heroic patience in trying to fathom what you are saying in English, and if you venture to say even a few words or phrases in Spanish, your efforts will be amply rewarded by expressions of appreciation: Muy bien! Perfecto! Excelente!
 
In the areas of with large expat communities – like the sunny Mediterranean coast of the Costa del Sol – the new arrivals from the US, for instance, will quickly find out that many of their neighbors are from the UK, Ireland, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands, or hail from the Scandinavian countries.

It’s not surprising that in Benalmádena you will often find yourself walking along the streets named after Norway, or Sweden, or Denmark, and so on.
 
Benalmádena has been called a cosmopolitan city, and it’s not an exaggeration. A town with a large and vibrant expat community, it’s very welcoming to international arrivals. True, an occasional bureaucratic hurdle cannot be excluded, but the city’s municipal council has been making great efforts lately to facilitate the process of settling in for its foreign residents, los estranjeros.

It’s one of the reasons why many of them feel happy about choosing Benalmádena among the best places to live in Spain.


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Facts & Figures

average number of days of sunshine per year
miles of beaches along the coastline
‘World’s Best Marina’ wins for Benalmadena port
minutes by train from Benalmadena center to Malaga airport
average summer temperature
Costa del Sol: Sun and Sea at One-Eighth the Cost of California
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