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Top Spots To Retire In Spain

Most Europeans who re-locate to Spain choose one of the popular expat areas rather than the big cities like Madrid or Barcelona. Due to the climate, very few consider northern Spain, which is colder and wetter than southern Spain. People, after all, mainly come to Spain for the sun and a more relaxed lifestyle.

Costa Del Sol

The Costa del Sol is a firm favourite among retirees looking for sunny beaches and mild winters. With 160 kilometers of coastline, there are plenty of beaches and seaside towns to choose from. The Costa del Sol is home to one of the largest communities of expats and English speakers in Spain, many of whom are located around the province of Malaga. In this stretch of paradise, you’ll find upmarket towns like Puerto Banús (Marbella), pretty beach towns like Nerja and Fuengirola, and a wide variety of golf courses and live-in golf resorts.

If you get bored of the beaches and seaside towns, you can also find plenty of other options to keep you entertained such as museums, bars and shopping centres. The old towns of Marbella and Alcazaba in Malaga are steeped in history and you are just a short drive from the beautiful mountain towns of Mijas, Ronda and Juzgar. You’ll find a bustling melting pot of expats and you can even join the many excursions and trips run by local expat clubs to explore other parts of Spain and Morocco.

The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are another top pick for expats looking for sunny beaches and a relaxed way of life. Just 60 miles away from the Moroccan coast, winters on the islands usually have temperatures around 20C, meaning you can enjoy outside living all year. You’ll find the biggest concentration of expats on the main islands of Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, but there are small communities of expats on La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro.

Costa Blanca

Costa Blanca in the south-east of Spain is a beautiful stretch of coastline that runs from Denia (further north, near Valencia) to Pilar de la Horadada (further south) with Alicante as the capital city. It boasts 200km of glistening beaches, coves and pretty seaside towns. The Costa Blanca is jam-packed with things to do, from swimming and snorkelling to cultural activities and hiking, there’s no risk of boredom in this Spanish paradise.

There is a thriving expat community in the Costa Blanca region, with a large concentration of Norwegian expats around the towns of Torrevieja and L’Albir. You’ll come across Norwegian restaurants, clubs, churches, and even Sjømannskirken parishes in the area. Other popular expat destinations on the Costa Blanca include the stunning towns of Javea, Calpe, Santa Pola, Benidorm, and Guardamar del Segura. If you are looking for something with a more local vibe, the little seaside towns of Cabo Roig, Dehesa de Campoamor, and Torre Horadada have a much more Spanish population. Much like Costa del Sol, the weather stays mild all year round, with slightly hotter summers, averaging 29C.

If you’re looking for a livelier expat community, Benidorm and Torrevieja are probably the two busiest towns in the area. If you are craving something a little more laid-back, there are around eighteen smaller towns and villages in the area which have a smaller expat community and that much-coveted relaxed Spanish lifestyle.

Costa Del Azahar

As you move up the Spanish coast, you’ll hit the less well-known Costa del Azahar. This stretch of coastline in the province of Castellón is often called the Orange Blossom Coast and it boasts 120 kilometres of beaches, coves, and coastal towns. Although it’s just a one-hour drive from nearby Valencia, this coastline of Spain is still quite unknown and is relatively unpopulated compared to other areas on the Spanish coast. Having said that, thanks to its excellent weather (some of the best in Spain), up and coming expat community (those looking for something a little more peaceful), and affordable prices, Costa del Azahar is quickly becoming a top pick for expats. You will find small, retired expat communities in the cities of Torreblanca, Benicassim, Oropesa, and La Llosa.

Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera and Ibiza, are an archipelago of islands in the western Mediterranean Sea. Most popular is Mallorca, it is home to around 900,000 people,20% of whom are not from Spain. This island has the best infrastructure in the Balearics. Its extensive road system makes it easy to hop around between its 41 marinas, 21 golf courses, 200 beaches and impressive 2,500 restaurants. Mallorca is a stunning spot, decorated with pine forests, sandy bays and the Tramuntana Mountain range.

Ibiza may be known for its parties, but there is a lot more to this member of the Balearic Islands than the super clubs of San Antonio and Ibiza Town. Ibiza is a striking island, ringed by rocky coves and crystal-clear waters. Jade Jagger, Gerard Pique and Shakira and Leonardo DiCaprio are just some of the famous names to own property on the island. If you plan to relocate your family permanently, base yourselves close to the international schools in Santa Eulalia in the east, or Santa Gertrudis in the centre.

The 50km wide island of Menorca is just 25 miles from Mallorca and is the first place in all of Spain to see the sunshine each day. Compared to its neighbour, Menorca remains relatively unspoilt, particularly along its northern coastline where rolling green hills meet golden, secluded bays. Menorca is home to more than 4,000 Brits, most of whom base themselves around the island’s one major town, Mahon.

Costa de la Luz

The Coast of Light stretches from Spain’s border with Portugal down to Tarifa, the southernmost point in Europe, almost touching Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar, along the Atlantic Coast. This region is famous for the very thing it’s named for: dazzling, always abundant sunshine. At well over 3,000 sunshine hours per year. The Costa de la Luz’s centerpiece is Cádiz. It’s often called “Little Havana” or compared to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, because of its long board-walked beachfront backed by colourful ancient buildings. Costa de la Luz is considered an affordable expat location as it is less discovered than Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca.

About the author

Maria, the Bueno Team

As expats, we know Spain and have experienced the ups and downs of owning property in Spain