This Spanish City Is The No. 1 Place To Live And Retire

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As an International Lifestyle Consultant, I’ve spent years helping my clients navigate the world of relocation. For a long time, I have been living and writing predominantly about Mexico, a country that has captivated me with its vibrant culture, rich history, and stunning natural beauty, a country that has become home already to many expats from both North and Latin America.

You may wonder why I decided to leave Mexico, a country that I have praised so much in my previous blog posts. Well, the answer is simple: I wanted to explore the recent trends in another continent, which is so popular for both Retirees and Digital Nomads – Europe.

My attention is now attracted to the growing appeal of Spain, a country that shares many cultural and linguistic ties with Mexico while offering its own unique charm and appeal.

About Spanish City?

Spain is a country that has always fascinated me. It has a rich and diverse culture, a long and turbulent history, a warm and sunny climate, and a friendly and hospitable people. It is also a country that offers many lifestyle options for expats, whether they are digital nomads, retirees, or anything in between.

In 2023, with a population of 48.1 million, including 6.3 million non-Spanish nationals, Spain stands as a melting pot of cultures and experiences.

As a relocation professional, I am always looking for a country that would allow expats to work remotely, while enjoying a high quality of life, a good healthcare system, and a safe and stable environment. Spain meets all these criteria and more.

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According to the Expat Insider 2023 survey, Spain ranks 1st out of 59 countries in the Quality of Life Index, 4th in the Health and Well-Being Index, and 13th in the Safety and Security Index. It also ranks 12th in the Ease of Settling Index, which measures how easy it is for expats to feel at home in a new country.

Why Valencia?

Once I decided to go to Spain, the next question was: which city? Spain has many wonderful cities, each with its own charm and personality. It will be not my first visit to Spain, but this one is different, I am observing the city’s advantages and live-work conditions from the perspective of the expats and Digital Nomads.

Madrid, the capital, is a bustling and vibrant metropolis, with a rich cultural and artistic scene. Barcelona, the second largest city, is a modern and creative city, with stunning architecture and lively nightlife. Seville, the capital of Andalusia, is a romantic and enchanting city, with a flamenco spirit and a Moorish influence.

However, I decided to make the first stop in Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain. Nestled on the Mediterranean coast, Valencia emerges as a shining jewel among Spain’s many captivating cities. This vibrant port city boasts a rich history, spanning from its Roman origins to its role in the Spanish Golden Age, all while embracing a modern and cosmopolitan spirit.

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Expats’ Choice

According to InterNations, Valencia is the most popular city for expats in Spain, alongside Madrid, Barcelona, the Balearic Islands, and Tenerife. Americans are increasingly drawn to these urban centers and to the Andalusia region, renowned for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

Valencia has a diverse and active expat community, with people from all over the world, who share their experiences, tips, and advice on living in the city. There are many online platforms, such as Facebook groups, meetup events, or language exchanges, where expats can connect, network, and socialize with locals and other expats.

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Digital Nomads’ Hub

Valencia is a magnet for digital nomads, offering a robust digital infrastructure, high-speed internet connectivity, and a thriving community of tech startups.

Coworking spaces and cafes cater to the remote work lifestyle, providing ample opportunities for networking and collaboration. The city’s affordable cost of living, compared to other European digital nomad hotspots, makes it an attractive destination for those seeking a fulfilling work-life balance.

The launch of Spain’s digital nomad visa further facilitates this influx, offering a streamlined process for “international teleworkers.”

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Retirees’ Dream Destination

Retirees seeking a warm climate, cultural immersion, and a slower pace of life find Valencia an ideal haven. The city’s affordable housing, excellent healthcare system, climate and abundance of leisure activities make it a retirement paradise. From exploring historical landmarks to indulging in culinary delights, Valencia offers a wealth of experiences to enrich the lives of retirees.

For retirees, Spain’s Residence Visa without the right to work provides a viable option for longer stays beyond the initial 90-day visa-free period.

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Great Healthcare

Among all cities, Valencia stands out for its remarkably affordable healthcare. Spain’s healthcare system has gained international acclaim, with the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies highlighting the country’s highest life expectancy in the EU. Additionally, social inequalities in health are less prominent in Spain compared to many other nations. In Valencia specifically, 82% of the population finds it easy to access a comprehensive range of healthcare services, surpassing the global average of 65%.

Spain provides public healthcare services where individuals contributing to the social security fund collectively make it accessible to all. This inclusive system ensures that every legal resident, including the elderly, children, and unemployed individuals, can avail themselves of healthcare services even if they are not contributors to social security. It’s important to note that the costs of public healthcare may vary across autonomous regions, with out-of-pocket payments averaging around 24% of the total expenses, which is higher compared to most European countries.

For those residing in Spain who do not qualify for public healthcare, there is an option to apply through a special pay-in scheme. This scheme permits access to the public healthcare system for a monthly fee of 60 EUR (66 USD) or 171 EUR (176 USD) for individuals aged 65 and above.

Affordable Destination

Valencia has a low cost of living compared to other European cities, especially in terms of housing, transportation, and food.

According to the Numbeo website, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is 875 euros, while the average monthly transportation pass is 30 euros, and the average meal in an inexpensive restaurant is 12 euros.

Valencia also has a good public transportation system, with buses, metro, tram, and bike lanes, as well as a fast internet connection, with an average speed of 67 Mbps.

Pleasant Climate

Valencia has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers, and an average of 300 sunny days per year. It also has a beautiful coastline, with sandy beaches and turquoise waters, such as La Malvarrosa, Las Arenas, or El Saler. Valencia is also surrounded by nature, with green parks and gardens, such as the Turia Gardens, the largest urban park in Spain, or the Albufera Natural Park, a wetland reserve with a lagoon and rice fields.

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Spain’s Unique Rhythms

The country, in general, is renowned for its laid-back, relaxed atmosphere, a concept known as “la vida tranquila”. It is a country where people enjoy life. This slower pace of life is a welcome change for many expats, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

However, it’s essential to adjust expectations, as this cultural trait can also manifest in business interactions, which may appear more leisurely than in other countries.

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Challenges and Considerations

While Spain offers a plethora of benefits for expats, it’s important to acknowledge potential drawbacks. Bureaucracy and administrative procedures can be more complex and time-consuming than in some countries. The country’s unemployment rate, while declining, remains higher than the European average. Language barriers can pose challenges, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas. Internet speed, while generally reliable, may not always match the standards of major tech hubs. Finally, the vibrant energy of Spanish cities can sometimes translate into noise and crowds, particularly during peak tourist seasons.


As you can see, Valencia is a city that has a lot to offer to expats, and that is why I chose it as my first stop in a new chapter. I am very happy and looking forward to discovering more about this wonderful city and its people.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post, and that you learned something new about Spain and Valencia. And if you want to know more insights about life abroad, please subscribe to my blog and stay tuned for more updates.

Thank you for reading, and hasta pronto! 😊



Hi, I am Emily Bron.

After living and working in 4 countries (3 continents), experiencing several immigrations, changing several professional fields and being an avid traveler, I created International Lifestyle Consulting to help you to find the best matching place and to relocate abroad for a better quality of life, work, or retirement.

As a professional Baby Boomer and Remote worker, I am relocating again!

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