Where is the Best Place To Live in Spain? Expat Advice & Tips

We asked readers of the Spain Made Simple newsletter a simple question:

Where did you move to in Spain and what do you like or dislike about it?

We received so many positive and informative responses that we entitled this page – where is the best place to live in Spain?

The responses are below – thanks to each person who took the time to contribute.

Moving to Es Castell on Menorca

I moved to the town of Es Castell on the beautiful Balearic island of Menorca in 1999.

The island is a Biosphere Reserve and is smaller than Majorca.

There are no massive shopping centres but breath taking beaches and hidden coves.

The local hospital is incredible and the locals are always welcoming.

Andy Tysoe – Property Menorca Estate Agents

This video gives great advice from Stuart who has lived in Spain for many years:

Moving to Torremendo on the Orihuela Costa

Hi – here is my story about my village.

Two years ago I moved from the busy coastal strip of Orihuela Costa to a lovely village about 25 minutes inland from Torrevieja, southern Costa Blanca.

I loved my house on the coast, but felt I was surrounded by too many expats, rather than Spanish people.

The village of Torremendo is a traditional Spanish agricultural village with all amenities right on the doorstep.

We have a GP surgery, pharmacy, bank, school, butcher, baker, cafés, etc, etc and all within a few minutes walk of each other.

We even have a lovely new village swimming pool with a sports centre and café.  I don´t think you would find many other villages of just 2,000 people with such great amenities!

There are several beaches around 20 minutes away and the larger town of San Miguel de Salinas is just a five minute drive.

You do need a car to live here, as we only have one bus a day, although many of the locals seldom leave the village.

There is a thriving expat community and we join in with the local fiestas, with the King and Queen of the 3rd age usually being chosen from the foreign population.

This is not the most beautiful of villages but it is a genuine, hard-working Spanish village with a vibrant community spirit and I love it!

Claire Twigg


Moving to Pego, Costa Blanca

We moved to Spain 7 years ago (our seventh anniversary falls next month).

Do we like it?

Well, put it this way – we haven´t been back to the UK in the last 7 years ….. friends and relatives come to us, and never seem to want to go back home!

We live near Pego, which is situated equidistant between Alicante and Valencia.

Our nearest big towns are Denia and Javea.

Pego is a small, market town but has everything we need for day to day living – banks, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, good local shops, a good health centre and an excellent vet.

Because it is small, we find it more than useful to have a reasonable grasp of Spanish – or at least I do; my husband tends to get by with a ready smile, which appears to work perfectly well.

Pego itself is surrounded by numerous small villages, most of which have glorious restaurants selling fabulous, fresh, locally produced food.

We can get a 3 course menu del dia at our local Piscina bar for 8€, including half a bottle of wine, bread and aliolli and coffee.

We have good weather, good neighbours, good food – what else does anybody want?

Kind regards Yvonne

Fallas in Pego

Moving to Jalon (Xalo), Costa Blanca

Jalon ( Xalo ) Costa Blanca North  is a Beautiful Mountain Valley some 20 minutes from the costas.

With Vines plus Almond and Olive trees and the dry river bed running through the valley.

There is a very natural feel to the area, surrounded by stunning Mountains.

There are 5 Villages in the valley the largest being Jalon , where all amenities are found. Plus a Rastro market held each Saturday which brings in Hundreds of Visitors who also enjoy the Bodegas to take in some wine tasting. Then off to one of the many Restaurants.

The fact that the Laude, Lady Elizabeth International School is in the Valley is why we were happy to choose this area for our home.

We have lived here for 11 years, and watched the area grow, from having to travel miles to get what you need for a family.

Today we are well placed for all you need be it  DIY ,Business ,Sport , Pleasure or just a good day out at the shops.

With the two  airports of Alicante 70 min and Valencia 80 min away.

Excellent Motor way connections or Ferries to the Balearic islands or Morocco from Denia and Alicante .

We are quite satisfied with our decision to make Jalon (Xalo) our home.


Moving to La Zenia, Orihuela Costa

We moved from Princes Risborough (Buckinghamshire) to La Zenia (Orihuela Costa) a few years ago, we are in the Alicante Province.

What we like about this place is everything is just walking distance, there’s two beaches that we can go to La Zenia and Cabo Roig , there are supermarkets, shops, restaurants, bars with live music.

The Clinic, Dentist, is also walking distance and Torreveija Hospital is only 8 to 10 minutes drive away.

The ZENIA BOULEVARD is only 3 to 4 minutes in the car.

We live in a small urbanization called INMOEPUL II, we have a few different nationalities, Dutch , Norwegian, Icelandic, English, Irish, Scottish, Spanish and I am A Singaporean, what else can you ask for?

Yes, we like it here, the only thing we dislike is nobody wants to speak Spanish, they all want to speak English even the Spaniards, well you can’t have everything , the most important thing is we get on with life.

We really could not live in the U.K. as how we are living here and that’s a fact.

Dudley and Maureen de Mello


Maureen at La Zenia Beach

Moving to Albatera, Costa Blanca

Just sending a small bit of information about our town Albatera. Hope it is the sort of thing you are looking for.

AlbateraWe moved to Spain in 1997 to a small urbanisation near Torrevieja, Costa Blanca South region.

It was fine for a while but with an influx of ‘extranjeros’, foreigners, we decided to move further inland to Albatera.

This small town is only 35 minutes away from Torrevieja but a world apart in the way of life.

Hardly anyone spoke English so it made us use our Spanish and as I did it at high school millions of years ago I was pleased to discover that the language returned quite quickly and we speak it a lot of the time now.

Albatera has the Sierra de Crevillente as its backdrop which makes for a stunning bit of scenery plus excellent walking trails.

The town has all the usual amenities but since we moved here in 1999 many more supermarkets, shops and restaurants have opened and with the two main motorways for this region only 10 minutes away we can access the various shopping mall at Elche and Murcia.

There are schools and sports facilities in the town with an indoor pool open all year.

A beautiful park with an outdoor auditorium complete the package and makes our town of Albatera a good pace to live.

In the main square are the various cafes and an excellent ice cream parlour plus the lovely church of Santiago, Saint James, together with the ayuntamiento, town hall.

I suppose this last office could be a drawback for living in Albatera as the workers there leave a lot to be desired when it comes to customer service/help etc. But then, I think most town halls have their problems.

If its beaches you want we have La Marina and Guardamar both about 30 minutes away, a good place to go but so nice to come home away from the crowds.

Ray Tudor

Moving to Zafra

Hi there, let me introduce myself, I am Vicki Blaylock and I now live in El Raposo, a small hamlet near the medieval town of Zafra in southern Extremadura, just over one hour from the vibrant city of Seville.

Around 9 years ago my husband Ken and I began to seriously think about early retirement, and what that could possibly mean for us.

Zafra-centreHaving travelled many times to India and the Far East, the thought of spending the winter months on a remote beach in India was very appealing. But then we thought, hang on, what about the rest of the year?

So despite the fact that we had avoided thoughts of retiring to Spain (at all costs!) one day I saw a newspaper article on Extremadura. Wow! I thought, Spain isn’t all quick fix tans, discos, high rise apartments and lager louts!

It does actually have a culture, and there are parts of Spain which haven’t been taken over by the British, and where “old fashioned values” still exist, and further more, those values do matter greatly to the local people.

So, we looked at the map of Spain, and decided, as a first step, to visit the biggest town north of Seville – Zafra.

Our first encounter with Zafra in November 2004 was unforgettable. It was like stepping back in time 30 years. I must confess to being a naturally suspicious person, and thought that, as we spoke no Spanish and therefore stuck out like sore thumbs, people would take advantage of us – but No!

Although there were significant language barriers, local people were (and still are) extremely kind and patient with us.

The following April saw us visiting Extremadura again, further north this time, where we were again impressed with the views and the scenery and by the friendliness of the local people.

However on returning to Zafra at the tail end of our visit, it felt as though we were coming home.

So what attracted us to Zafra? Well… apart from the people, Zafra itself is a beautiful little town in southern Extremadura, located at the base of the Sierra de Castellar Mountains, midway between Seville and Mérida.

Indeed, Zafra is often  referred to as “Little Seville” with its narrow, winding streets and pretty plazas. Zafra has a wealth of historical buildings and areas dating back to the 13th Century.

We finally decided to take the plunge and we moved out here in March 2007, and have no regrets. Our initial assessment and observations of the area, lifestyle and quality of life have proven to be correct.

Vicki Blaylock

Moving to Pinar de Campoverde

Pinar de Campoverde ( of the Green Field literally) is a village set on a wooded hillside, 8 kms inland with views to the Mediterranean. There are around 3000 inhabitants, many from Northern Europe.

The village is situated 20 minutes drive from Murcia (San Javier) Airport and less than 1 hour from Alicante. A hire car is recommended.

To the south west of the village is the famous Rio Seca Natural Park where you can walk along the usually dry bed of the river.

The centre of Campoverde has several bars, restaurants-, International cuisine is available, a baker, clothes shops, a supermarket and a bank. There is a small street market on Sunday mornings.

15 minutes drive from Pinar de Campoverde takes you to several beaches; with 4kms of sandy beaches stretching from El Mojon to Mil Palmeras, including a small, pretty cove at Torre de la Horadada where there is also a marina.

In Lo Pagan just 10 minute drive away in the Mar Menor you have the theraputic Mud Baths for people suffering from Arthritis or any other problems, people come from all over the world to bathe naturally in those special salt baths which is totally free to the public.

The larger town of San Pedro del Pinatar, with its many safe beaches on the tranquil inland sea of the Mar Manor, is 12 kms away. The resort of Torrevieja, with its fine beaches & nightlife is nearby.

The nearest town is Pilar de la Horadada, with its extensive supermarkets, furniture shops & facilities including  its renowned Friday evening market, is 3 miles away.

Pinar de Campoverde enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, very hot in summer and protection by surrounding mountains against the cold north winds in winter. The area averages nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and the average temperature easily exceeds 20 degrees.  In 1986 the World Health Organisation recommended the climate of the area as one of the most equitable in the world – neither too hot in the summer nor too cold in the winter. On average it can boast 325 sunny days each year making it an ideal all year round destination.

I am very fortunate to have a holiday property in Campoverde. You can enjoy a relaxing holiday here and there are lots of places nearby to enjoy too. There is a real village atmosphere and when I go over I always get the local newsletter and free newspapers to find out what’s going on locally and beyond during our stay.  This includes social events e.g. hog roasts and quizzes and sporting events e.g. walking and golf.

Neighbours are wonderful at letting you know the most recent changes and giving you recommendations and directions of where to visit. The prices of food and entertainment are reasonable as they are aimed at local residents rather than tourists.

If my friends or family visit they always come back and say “How did you manage to find such an ideal spot? We absolutely loved it” I do too. It’s not a place that many people have their first Spanish property as it’s not well known but I am really glad I do have. Writing this piece has made me long to return again soon. Enjoy!


Angela & friends at the mudbaths

Angela Liggat

About to Move to La Zenia (Costa Blanca)

It took us a full year and several trips before we found the ideal place.

We had already decided that we would settle in Alicante and narrowed our search to the town of La Zenia. La Zenia is situated south of Torrevieja and is located in the middle between Torrevieja and Murcia.

It was difficult as my husband  and I have very differing tastes. We also saw a number of properties that on further examination didn’t have the right paperwork!

In the end,we found a house we both liked. It is in a gated community and has a community swimming pool. Where at first, we were dazzled by the lovely looks of some properties, with hindsight, we now are more sure then ever that we made the right decision.

Our house is located 5 minutes walk away from banks, restaurants, bars and supermarkets and is also just about 5 minutes to the new shopping venue “The Boulevard”, yet, we are only a10 minute walk away from the beech. We are close to everything and yet the house is located in a very quiet and tranquil spot.

We are getting older and to have all amenities close at hand is important!

At present, we still live in the UK but both of us retire in March and we will then emigrate to Spain. In between this, our family and ourselves have been able to enjoy the house for holidays.

We have found the process of buying the house very straightforward and had a very good solicitor (Xavier Pastor) who ensured all went smoothly and we were fully protected,inclusive of helping us with our Spanish wills.

We are by no means rich but managed to get an interest only loan on the equity of our English property and managed to buy our Spanish home with this.

We know we made the right decision and cannot wait for our “new” life to start!

PS: I have joined the online community of Busuu. com and am learning Spanish on line!


Moving to Los Montesinos (Costa Blanca)

We have a property just outside a village called Los Montesinos which is a few kilometres inland from Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca. There are lots of expats who have settled here and really enjoy the laidback lifestyle the area has to offer.

Not being a tourist area, more a residential area prices of meals, drinks, and general shopping are very reasonable.

The Spanish locals actively encourage everyone to participate in the fiestas (of which there are quite a number) and all nationalities seem to mix well.

There are a number of interesting places not too far away. and the coast with some of the best blue flag beaches is only 10 minutes away by car.

All in all I would thoroughly recommend this area to anyone wanting a better lifestyle.

Michael and Noreen Galbraith

Moving to Mazarron in Murcia

My wife and I came out to Mazarron in the Murcia area last October with our Caravan I was taken with the Area.We went back to Wales for xmas leaving our caravan in the S South of France and returned in February,taking our Caravan back to Wales in April.I then looked on the internet for somewhere to rent long term in Mazarron for the Summer

I found what appeared to be the perfect place at Mazarron Country Club.

Apparently I totally misread the details and ended up with a really poor property for the money only 350 euros a month plus bills,but in comparison with the other really nice properties at this safe and secure trouble free Country Club I think I had a poor  deal,eg 12″ tele,told if I wanted better to buy one,no A C ,Pool,plus the usual refinements one would expect at this type of place which I might add all the other properties on this site appear to have with the exception of a pool in some cases.

I was surprised in the lack of Tourism in this Town and Port,something needs to be done to encourage Visitors,they are certainly not here!!Shops Restaurants and even Estate  Agents properties are closed,up for sale or rent it appears to be a desperate plight the Area is in.

On the bright side the weather is fantastic if you don’t have a Samoed dog like I have ,but this  has nothing to do with the sorry state of Spains Tourist Economy.


Moving to La Florida, Costa Blanca

Hi , we moved to La Florida Orihuela Costa. It is approx 7 Kms from Torrevieja, the area is very central to beaches, golf courses. Good restaurants and good social scene, there are great beach/cliff walks as well as boardwalks and of course the new La Zenia Boulivard shopping centre. There are mostly German people on our road, there are a lot of English and Irish people living in the area as well.

Regards Sheila Coyne

Moving to Ciudad Quesada

We are Stan and Sandra West from the Aberdeen area in Scotland. We decided a long time ago that we were definately born in the wrong country. We originally planned to move to Western Australia but after visiting there a few times, we realised that it was just too far for family to visit us.

We had holidayed in Spain many times previously, but first came to Spain looking for a home around six years ago. It was on one of these €99 weekend breakes and it was a bit of a farce. They did not show us anything we really liked but tried to pressurise us into putting a deposit down on a holiday home in Spain.

However, on this €99 weekend, we did meet a very nice guy from QSD in Quesada. We swopped phone numbers and email addresses and told him we would be back at a future time.

This we did. We also used other Real Estate people in our search for our Casa and we must have viewed around 70 properties. We eventually narrowed the search area down to Quesada after having looked fom La Zenia in the South to El Altet in the North and Fortuna in the West.

While at home in Aberdeen we spotted a property which looked promising in Quesada. However,when our Mr Quesada picked us up from the airport he informed us that it had sold the previous day. We were naturally a bit upset but then viewed another twenty properties before heading home again. Around three weeks later, our phone went and it was our Mr Quesada tellinmg us that the sale had fallen through and the property was back on the maket again.

We flew over a few days later and after checking out another dozen properties (just to make sure) we went ahead and got the paperwork done etc. That was in June 2008. We got the keys in October of that year and used it as a holiday home till December 2011 when we moved out permanently. We have had a lot of work done on the house and feel it is now our Casa.

We live in the Marquesa Golf area of Quesada and are very happy here although it took us a year to realise the enormity of what we had done. We are now the main holiday destination of a lot of our family and in summertime our house in never empty.

Stan West

Moving to Murcia

From: Maria Jones

Where Do You Live in Spain?: Murcia

Why do you like/dislike it: Like the climate, the countryside and food.

Have lived in Spain, as a retired person, for fifteen years.  During this time have owned houses in Alicante, Marbella, Almeria and Murcia – all places with good/bad features.

In general Spain has a wonderful climate, fabulous countryside and good food.

It also has a very annoying culture based largely on the “macho” characteristic which demands that a Spaniard can never “lose face”.

Examples of how Spaniards avoid losing face …

Ask a Spaniard for directions he will always give you an answer even if he hasn’t a clue..

Ask him to do a job and he will agree a time/place (usually) “tomorrow” when he has no intention of turning up.

Ask him how to do something and he will tell you even when he doesn’t know.

The basic difference between a Spaniard and a Brit is that when asked a question a Spaniard  will usually lie and then wonder if he should have told the truth.  And a Brit will usually tell the truth and then wonder if he should have told a lie.

But once you get used to the unfortunate fact that in Spanish culture you cannot believe a word they say most Spaniards are nice friendly people!


  1. reggie andrews says

    i am profoundly deaf and 81 age so i wans like relacate to warm spain very much t need have 2 bedroom bungalow home with swimming pool so i need walk to shower please i want living bit outside but i apologiise about lifemorgarges look like british age partnership why not hope keep touch

    many regards

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