Retire To Spain: The BEST Places to Retire in Spain in 2023/2024

Many of us dream of retiring abroad to Spain however it is a massive decision so it is worth doing as much research as possible and taking advice and tips from others who have already taken the plunge and retired already to Spain.

Sadly, many expats end up bitterly disappointed with their life in Spain and many return home.

We examine some of the things you should consider BEFORE you actually make the move.

Having said that we personally know many happy retirees who absolutely love their new life in Spain and who would never consider moving back to the United Kingdom.

When looking for the best places to retire in Spain in 2023, there are certain things that need to be considered before taking the plunge.

Here are a few to think about, along with some of the best places to live in Spain .

Sunshine hours:

As we age, our bodies become less tolerant of high temperatures. We begin to tire more quickly. We feel uncomfortable, and we get sunburnt, even when using high factor sunblock. Remember, when living in your favourite place in Spain, moving to a cooler area isn’t an option. At least, not without a lot of upheaval and additional expense.

To integrate – or join the expats:

Do you plan to live like a local, or join the expat brigade? While the majority of expats live in and around the busy tourist areas, others, wishing to more fully embrace the Spanish way of life, take up residence in the smaller towns and traditional villages, which haven’t been so affected by the spread of tourism.

If you are considering going rural, a smattering of conversational Spanish will go a long way to help you settle in. Nonetheless, the Spanish are very friendly people, and within a short space of time will be welcoming you to their fiestas, and village way of life.

A home with a sea view – or a life in the city:

The majority of British immigrants choose purpose-built homes along the coast, or around the local golf club.

For younger immigrants moving to Spain to work, the big cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, or Seville may be more appealing, with the big city bustle and vibrant multi-cultural nightlife. Many people dream of living by the ocean. Where are the best places to live in Spain by the sea? Popular coastal areas are the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca.

Crime in Spain:

Crime in all areas of Spain is lower than the UK, and serious crimes, such as robbery with violence or using an offensive weapon, much lower. However, tourist areas the world over attract petty criminals, pick-pockets, and scammers determined to relieve visitors of their hard-earned spending money. The usual precautions apply.

Is it Cheaper to Live in Spain:

If you are bringing an outside income to Spain and the Islands, such as a UK pension, then yes. Pre-2016, it would have been an emphatic yes, with the pound/euro exchange rate often around €1.40 to the pound. Nowadays, with the drop in the pound, you’re lucky to get €1.08 to the pound.

If you’re working in Spain, everything is relative. Although rents, utility costs, and foodstuffs, are cheaper (and fresher) in Spain, wages and salaries are lower than the equivalent jobs in the UK.

Healthcare in Spain:

Finally, but perhaps critically, you need to very carefully examine the quality and availability of healthcare abroad because in many nations there are long waiting lists for treatment for example.

In other countries, you may not get the sort of social care and support you’d have in your own home nation, and as you get older and older, you never know what sorts of help and care you will need in life.

On top of all of this is the concern that healthcare can cost a lot of money. Is there insurance you can buy to protect your health care needs long-term?

Look carefully at all of these aspects before you commit to a relocation – because, without your health, you have nothing.

Having thought about your own personal situation from these 5 key and critical points of consideration, hopefully, you will be in a more confident and well-informed position to make the right decision about whether an overseas retirement is right for you…

Finances  – Retirement Planning & Calculations:

The number one reason why those who relocate to Spain decide to repatriate and return home is a financial one. If you don’t sort your money out before you go you can quickly and easily fall into a trap where everything around you becomes too expensive and you haven’t got the savings in place to support you for the long-term.

Before you even think about moving abroad therefore, you have to have a cold, long, hard and objective look at your money situation and determine whether you can comfortably afford to move abroad. We have partnered with some very good financial advisors in Spain.

Relocating costs money, there are no two ways about it. What’s more, a fluctuation in a currency’s value can leave you suffering if you haven’t protected against it. If you work hard on money matters before you go, you can secure your retirement abroad – but if you fail to plan, you’ll be risking a lot.

Friends & Family:

Do you have family that you’re emotionally close to, perhaps you have children and grandchildren who still really count on you for support and guidance? Can you leave really them behind with no serious regrets if you move to Spain?

Maybe your family will come with you – or perhaps they will plan to visit often. If the latter is true for you, you will need to think about the affordability of accessibility of where you’re thinking about living overseas.

Talk to your family about your plans and ask them to think about the options of your retirement to Spain from both your point of view and their own. You may get a broader perspective enabling you to determine whether it is indeed right for you to go, or better for you to stay.

When you relocate to Spain you will be without your closest friends, and it may well take some time for you to forge new friendships. This is a reality you need to get to grips with. Those who are prepared for facing a new life alone and getting on with establishing a new lifestyle alone as well, do far better than those who suddenly realise they have cast themselves adrift when they relocate overseas.

There are no two ways about it, you will make new friends – and your old friends will continue to love and support you – but it can take time to establish the supportive relationships you need in life once you relocate. Be prepared and you’ll likely be ok!

So, where are the best places to retire in Spain?

Retiring on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun):

Back in the days before European Arrest Warrants, this fabulous area of the Andalusian coast was affectionately known in the UK as Costa del Crime, because so many of Britain’s most wanted had fled to the area and set up shop. Nonetheless, the Costa del Sol resorts have always been one of the UK and Europe’s, favourite places to retire in Spain.

The area stretches for 160 km. From Manilva, its most southerly point, to Nerja, and takes in the popular holiday destinations of Estepona, Marbella, Fuengirola, Torremolinos, the beautiful city of Malaga, and Torre del Mar.

It is the mild winters that make the Costa del Sol such a popular retirement choice for Brits. Average annual temperatures are around 18C. January lows are around 12C, and August highs around 26C. The area enjoys an average of 300 sunshine days a year.

The Costa Blanca (White Coast):

Around the south-eastern Spanish coast of Alicante, stretches 200 km of enchanting white-sand beaches, coves and inlets, that make up the Costa Blanca coast.

From Pilar de la Horadada, to Denia in the north, the area includes eighteen main towns, and the popular tourist and expat destinations of Javea, Calpe, Benidorm, Alicante, Santa Pola, Guardamar del Segura, and Torrevieja. If native is your thing, a little further south are the coastal villages of Cabo Roig, Dehesa de Campoamor, and Torre Horadada.

The climate is a little warmer than the Costa del Sol, and average annual highs are around 20C. Mid-summer temperatures are higher, averaging 29C, while winter temperatures are broadly similar to the Costa del Sol.

The big two of Benidorm and Torrevieja attract the majority of tourists and retirees, and have active expat communities. However, with the Costa Blanca being one of the most popular places to retire in Spain, many of the surrounding towns and villages have their own expat communities, who have embraced the Spanish culture, the Mediterranean diet, and the laid-back lifestyle.

Murcia and Almeria:

As the coastline begins to bend round to the south, the attractive costas of the Almeria and Murcia areas come into view. Getting closer to the African coast, plenty of sunshine is the order of the day. Daytime temperatures around Murcia through the summer reach the high twenties to low thirties, while January temperatures can drop to 10C. Expect the same daytime highs in Almeria, although night-time temperatures tend to be three or four degrees warmer.

Because Murcia has escaped a lot of the mass tourist commercialisation that has decimated much of Spain’s Mediterranean coastline, it is one of the nicest places to retire to in Spain for those wanting a quieter lifestyle. Agriculture is the main source of income inland, with orange and olive groves, apple orchards, vineyards and plantations filling the rural landscape. With its exceptional air quality, the inland villages attract a number of both French and German expats, as well as British.

Almeria is similar, with those preferring to live amongst other British expats settling around the coastal areas, and those wishing to integrate choosing the villages and small towns around Almeria. The whole area is well served with international airports, and direct flights to the UK.

Retiring to the North of Spain:

With a climate similar to the UK, and few who speak English, unless you are fluent in Spanish, you will find integrating a hard slog.

A certain amount of tourism exists, with short-break visitors to the cities of Bilbao, San Sebastian, and Santander through the summer. During the winter months, the whole area is left to the locals. For those wanting to work in Northern Spain, securing a job from the UK, is the only way to ensure any employment in a country still in the grip of recession.

Retiring to the Balearics:

Sitting around 125 miles off the coast of Spain, the Balearic islands of Majorca (Mallorca), Minorca (Menorca), Ibiza, and Formentera, attract immigrants from the UK, Germany, and Italy, as well as other European countries. The high number of UK visitors over the years has spawned the usual expat-run British bars and fast food outlets. These, in turn, have helped establish a vibrant expat community of retirees and young British workers.

Retiring to the Canary Islands:

Just over 60 miles off the coast of Morocco, the Canary Islands have for decades been a magnet for Brits wanting to retire in the sunshine. With winter temperatures often higher than on most UK summer days, and summer temperatures that can hit 30+C, it is certainly a place for the sun worshippers.

Of the seven main islands, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote have the largest British expat communities, along with communities from Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, and other European countries. Smaller groups of expats are also found on La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro.

With its close proximity to the UK, English as a second language, and the large expat populations, Spain and her islands are one of the easiest and safest places to choose to spend your retirement.

However, take a little time. Lock-up, or let out your home for six months. Book a long-let apartment in your chosen destination, and spend the six months listening to how others achieved their retirement dream.

Finally, one word of caution. Keep your cards close to your chest until you are sure of the people you are talking to about your plans. As a good friend once said to me: ‘Not all the sharks are in the sea, and not all of them have a Spanish accent.’

Advice from Retirees Moving to Spain

Jane Morgan says: Thank you for your article I have read it with interest as this is what my husband and I plan to do in October this year. Having read your article it would appear that we have taken the correct approach and this has set my mind to rest.

Having holidayed in the Benissa area we bought an apartment in Jalon in 2005. It suited us to have an apartment at that time as we could only spend short periods there and the property would be safe when empty.

Increasingly over the last five years, we have spent more time in Jalon getting to know the area and have made a number of friends and we are now confident that this is the place that we want to spend our retirement.

Our only regret is that we didn’t start to learn Spanish straight away as we would expect to be quite good by now, but we went to night school last year and have some of the basics and will continue even when we are there.

We are making the move with our finances in place and in the knowledge that we will have to budget. Also having spent time in the apartment we now know that we would miss a garden and are hoping to sell and maybe find and old finca to put our stamp on.

We know this may take time, but that is no different to the UK as we have had our property here on the market for 18 months now whilst desperately wanting to move to Spain.

Anyone thinking that is easier to make a living in the UK at present should do their homework before returning. I have during my working life earned excellent money during my career as an HR Manager/Director but since my Company closed due to the recession in 2009 and at the age of 58 the only work I have been able to find is part-time in a call centre, and yes, both my husband (who was also made redundant) and I have taken these roles until such time as our house is sold and we can make the permanent move.

There are no guarantees that lifestyles can be maintained in the UK, never mind a foreign country when you don’t speak the language. These are times which call for adaptability, drive, and a willingness to take a whole new approach to how you want to live your life.

I would like to think I could find some part-time work when I get there, so in the meantime, I will get my nose into the learn Spanish books to improve my chances.

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Places to consider retiring to on the Costa Blanca: Albir, Alcossebre, Alcoy, Alfaz del Pi, Algorfa/La Finca, Alicante, Almoradi, Altea, Beniarbeig, Benidoleig, Benidorm, Benijófar, Benimar, Benissa, Benitachell, Bolulla, Busot, Cabo Roig, Calpe, Campoamor, Castalla, Catral, Caudete, Ciudad Quesada, Cumbre Del Sol, Denia, Dolores, El Campello, Elche/Elx, Els Poblets, Gandia, Gata de Gorgos, Gran Alacant, Guardamar, Hondon de la Nieves, Hondón Valley, Jalón Valley, Javea, La Drova/Barx, La Empedrola, La Fustera, La Marina, La Mata, La Nucia, La Zenia, Las Ramblas, Los Altos, Los Montesinos, Mar Menor, Mazarrón, Mil Palmeras, Monovar, Monserrat, Moraira, Oliva, Orba, Orcheta, Orihuela, Pedreguer, Pego, Pilar de la Horadada, Pinar de Campoverde, Pinoso, Playa Flamenca, Polop, Punta Prima, Rafol de Almunia, Relleu, Rojales, San Miguel de Salinas, Sanet Y Negrals, Santa Pola, Santiago de la Ribera, Sax, Teulada, Tibi, Torrevieja, Totana, Vall de Laguar, Villajoyosa, Villamartin, Villena, Villotel.

Places to consider retiring to on the Costa del Sol: Algarrobo, Algatocín, Alhaurín de la Torre, Alhaurín El Grande, Almáchar, Almargen, Almogía, Álora, Alozaina, Alpandeire, Antequera, Árchez, Archidona, Ardales, Arenas, Arriate, Benadalid, Benahavís, Benalauría, Benalmádena, Benamargosa, Benamocarra, Benaoján, Benarrabá, El Borge, El Burgo, (Sitio de) Calahonda, Campillos, Canillas del Aceituno, Canillas de Albaida, Cañete La Real, Carratraca, Cartajima, Cártama, Casabermeja, Casarabonela, Casares, Coín, Colmenar, Comares, Cómpeta, Cortes de la Frontera, Cuevas Bajas, Cuevas de San Marcos, Cuevas del Becerro, Cútar, Estepona, Faraján, Frigiliana, Fuengirola, Fuente de Piedra, Gaucín, Genalguacil, Guaro, Humilladero, Igualeja, Istán, Iznate, Jimera de Líbar, Jubrique, Júzcar, La Viñuela, Macharaviaya, Málaga, Manilva, Marbella, Mijas, Moclinejo, Mollina, Monda, Montejaque, Nerja, Ojén, Parauta, Periana, Pizarra, Pujerra, Rincón de la Victoria, Riogordo, Ronda, Salares, Sayalonga, Sedella, Sierra de Yeguas, San Pedro de Alcantara, Teba, Tolox, Torremolinos, Torrox, Totalán, Valle de Abdalajís, Vélez-Málaga, Villanueva de Algaidas, Villanueva de la Concepción, Villanueva de Tapia, Villanueva del Rosario, Villanueva del Trabuco and Yunquera.

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  1. brenda cumberbatch says

    i have my state pension . but can i still claim my personal independence payment pip. if i move to spain.

  2. Bernadine Hazel Nair says

    I am Bernadine Hazel Nair
    A Roman catholic
    Age 64
    No health issues
    I plan to migrate to Spain

  3. Single bloke, 73 y/o, basic GB state pension, about £200.00 a week Could I afford to live a quiet life in Spain, south Valencia/coastal, Elche areas, prefer more rural than City,
    I would like to contact some-one, in a similar situation, ( ex pat ) by e-mail / letter to find the REAL cost of living ( in the sun ) on a day in day out, weekly / monthly basis,

    • Replying to myself – Considering the costs of life, I don’t think that anyone with a low income would have the cash to waste on a computer, so unlikely I will get a response from the type of people I need, SO.
      I need directions from anyone or an organisation or anyone that can provide me an address or 2 that may give me guidance out there that can assist a person of a peasant status such as I, 8>( There must be some sort of organisation that assists integration, immigration – There are dozens here in GB / England,

      • Hi Jim,
        Did you manage to access or otherwise obtain any useful information? What part of Spain were you thinking of in particular? That will very much dictate available resources.
        Best of luck,

  4. JohnBrattesani says

    I lost my wife in October and I can’t handle living in Scotland any longer too many memories and it really
    Gets me down.
    We were married for 52 years and we visited benidorm every year and had a good time , we had no children ,and I have no family so going to Spain would not be a problem .
    I would rather be in spain than Scotland with my memories as the sun may help any suggestions
    Please reply I need all the help I can get .

    • Hi, if you get any help/ info would you direct some my way please, I am also an elder and want to move to sunny Spain.

  5. If retiring to Lanzerote what needs to be considered if you are an Irish citizen??

  6. Hi to everyone reading, I’m thinking of taking time out in Spain to get away from the cold winter and rising gas and electric bills, (only the winter months) as I enjoy the other months here and there.
    I haven’t come to a decision but lots of thoughts, living with expats or Spanish family if I find someone who wishes to rent their spare room, I would be happy just to enjoy nice warm weather and taking in fresh air either by the coast or interesting city with a good quality diet. I’m keeping this brief as I have been reading lots of good and bad issues about living in Spain.
    If anybody can offer any advice I would be grateful for their time.

  7. Gary Ward says

    I am retiring in about 4 months and love the costa blanca area especially Benidorm and I will have a pension of around 14000 euros.
    Would this amount would be enough for a cheap property Caravan/tent and money to live on comfortably?

    Gary Ward

    • Rent is likely to be your largest outlay, check the websites to see prices, rent is far cheap[er than certain areas of the UK, but you may be better off slightly off the beaten track. we are in the canary islands and could certainly manage on a pension of 14.000 but we don’t have a mortgage or rent to worry about.

    • – Gary, If you find out please let me know, If you can get a reasonable flat , it would mean I could just manage a caravan, 8>)

  8. Malcolm Harmer says

    We’re looking to retire (actively) to the Denia region in 18 months – two years’ time. I lived on Mallorca for some time years ago, but it is now overpriced in every way to be a full-time destination. I speak basic Spanish (learned on Mallorca) and we are already working on improving our standard of speech. We go over to Spain two or three times a year getting to know areas and towns. We’ve done our sums and know that financially (barring disaster) we will be able to realistically live comfortably, albeit not extravagantly from our pensions and selling our mortgage paid property here to give us a good-sized ’emergency fund.’ All things learned from experience and trying to be realistic as we have planned for several years. Really important to be confident and realistic before making the move. Any doubts or insecurities …. and odds on it will fail in my opinion. Excited? Yes we are, but at the same time keeping our feet on the ground and recognising our limitations balancing our expectations.

    • If you can move and apply for residency BEFORE 31st December 2020, it will be much easier. After that, you will be a Third Country national, and the rules are much stricter. For example: annual guaranteed income for a couple will have to be over 33000 € – that’s income, not savings (they don’t really count). Plus complete heathcare insurance. So try to make it this year.

      • Hi, does anyone know if you will require full health care insurance after Brexit to live in Spain full time? From everything I’ve read so far, no one seems to know for sure yet what the situation will be. I am just starting to plan my move to Spain. this is not likely to happen for at least a year or two, which should give time for things to be finalised over Brexit. I will be selling my UK home which will provide enough capital to purchase a property in Spain, cover all legal, and relocation costs, and leave a little bit of security in the bank. I am retired, and have a pension with a take home of £14,700 pa, which I’m lead to believe is more than adequate to live a mortgage free life in Spain (Alicante area) The health care cost could be the big deal breaker for me though?

        • The answer is 100% yes according to the rule as they stand. I have just become a resident after jumping through all the hoops. Initially you can take out private health insurance and then once you have residency you can join the Spanish system using the “Covenio Especial” at about €55.00 per month

        • richard lionheart says

          if you are retired you get a form S1 from the UK DHSS, when you get to Spain you collect a load of different bits of paper (NIE, padron, residency card, Spanish driving licence), but end up presenting the S1 to the Spani h DHSS, and thus get a SIP card, which entitles you to the same free healthcare you would have got in UK, and the Spanish NHS is ten times better than the UK’s, – ambulances turn up in 5 mins, you wait an hour in A&E maximum. and getting a doctors appointment is dead easy even same day

      • HMMM, I did not see the income should be 33K per year. I have understood you have to show a bank account and that would be sufficient.

        • Suzanne Davis says

          If you hold only a Uk passport ,there is a set criteria and income requirement and 33k is for the first year visa required for a retired couple .It was never sufficient to show a bank account!

  9. i am on social security disability. if i move to spain do i have to return to usa every 6 months?

    • Julie Cockcroft says

      Hi, I am 57 and on disability and ESA, due to having fibromyalgia. I am planning on moving overseas as warmer climate is better for my health.
      Anyone know if this would be possible? Anyone in the same situation please that has already made the move?

  10. Mark Baranowski says

    Keep current with Food Safety standards and regulations!

  11. Angela Palmer says

    I am 57 my husband is 62 not sure im pulled whether it is right for us or not.
    Had a fab week in Alicante and went to visit Villamartin and Los Dolsos.
    Change is hard and think my animals dog and cat are too old.

  12. Josephine Wilson says

    We have retired happily in Spain for the past nine years and would be grateful to know if there is a list of Old Peoples’ Homes in the Alicante or Torrevieja area just in case of need in our future. My husband and I are happy to meet others in the same situation and at present are fit, but neither of us know what the future may hold. At present we are both in our 70’s.
    Any advice or suggestions would be very much appreciated

    • Marcouse says

      Use google or learn to speak Spanish and make friends with people who know these things.

      Or come back to the UK like most people do.

      • JIMJFOX says

        What is your age, Marcouse? Do you realise that things get harder as you age?
        ‘Or come back to the UK like most people do.’
        Easily done- but come back to what? Islamisation? NO freedom of speech?
        Living among people who believe in 7th century barbarism? And the multi-
        culti fools who welcome them to assist in the destruction of British culture?

        • I totally agree ,and it will only get worse all these people have come to Britain got into the core of British business in politics where is it going to finish.

    • JIMJFOX says

      I’m in the same age group, thinking of living near Torrevieja as I enjoyed it there for 5 months before retiring to N Thailand for 2 yrs. Nice enough here, lovely people but hot, dusty and SO BORING! Very low cost of living; infrastructure improving but still a bit third world. Amazingly good, cheap and efficient hospital care though. So boring I try to sleep 16 hrs a day!
      BEST place I lived was Dalaman, SW Turkey but now of course the megalomaniac Erdogan is turning Turkey into Saudi Arabia Mk2. So I left.
      I can’t make any useful suggestions since I’m more confused than you! I have family but feel disconnected, never was a proper parent. Care nothing about health or death, what happens, happens. Bipolar.
      My weakness is this- always have felt surrounded by people with Dunning-Kruger syndrome; the internet is overloaded with such delusional twerps it depresses me. Friends I know & respect or admire number fewer than ten or twelve… those I know only from my reading are far greater in number.

      • jerry martin says

        You sound a bit like me I am a Brit lived and worked all over the place , home in thiland and Uk but bored with both ,, now restless and unsure what to do next at 63 ,, going on 20 ,,, loved the comment about Dunning Kruger ,, so true

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