10 Best Places To Live In Spain With Family in 2024 (Expat-Friendly)

Spain is easily one of the most welcoming countries for expats, and the country is particularly popular with families. With a host of international schools, great transport links, job opportunities, good healthcare and year-round warm temperatures, there’s nowhere better! In this article, I’ll present the best places to live in Spain with family. These are a mix of cities with vibrant English-speaking expat communities and locations where you can fully immerse yourselves in the Spanish culture and lifestyle. If you’re interested in learning more and fancy a change of scenery, read on!

Hi, we’re Timon & Filipa!

We travel across Spain in our motorhome, Speedy, and update TravelSpain24 with fresh content, practical tips, and personal stories from the road. Our goal is to help you experience Spain beyond the typical tourist trails.

Is Spain a good place to raise a family?

Yes! Spain is a great place to raise a family. The first benefits are the weather and the Mediterranean lifestyle. Families often spend quality time together on the beach, poolside, or enjoying alfresco barbeques and tapas. As a family, you’ll spend less time indoors watching television or browsing the internet. Instead, you’ll be picnicking or boating in local parks, cycling in the countryside, or immersing yourselves in the colors and flavors of a local festival. Life in Spain can be a combination of relaxing, fun and lively, and a completely different way of life. It can’t be matched anywhere else (and believe me, I tried!).

If you’re curious about Spanish food, take a look at some of the biggest grocery stores in Spain.

10 Best Places for Expats to Live and Raise a Family in Spain

Mother and daughter travelers enjoying views of the Miravet village and Ebro river. Province of Tarragona. Spain

Spain is full of great places for expats to live and raise a family. It has everything from sunny beaches to busy cities. This is a quick overview of the 10 best places in Spain for people from other countries to live and raise a family. The list tells you where in Spain each place is. Further down below, I will tell you more about each location. This will help you know what each place is like.

Remember, if you want to explore any of these places before moving, you can rent a car through Discover-cars.com for a comfortable and hassle-free trip.

  • Valencia (East Coast)
  • Barcelona (Northeastern Spain)
  • Mallorca (Balearic Islands)
  • Madrid (Central Spain)
  • Seville (Andalusia)
  • Marbella (Costa del Sol)
  • Malaga (Costa del Sol)
  • Bilbao (Basque Country)
  • Alicante (Costa Blanca)
  • San Sebastian (Basque Country)

Best Places To Live In Spain With Family

If you’re considering moving to Spain more permanently, I’ve listed the best places to live in Spain with family, with some important considerations to help you narrow down your choices!

To get a feel of the locations before moving, you can book a trip using Booking.com and make your visit easier by renting a car from Discover-cars.com.

1. Valencia

A woman in a white dress holding the hand of a kid while walking on the Puente Del Mar bridge in Valencia

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Population: 838,000
✈️ Airport: ✅
💰 Cost of Living: Average
🗣️ English: Average
🛡️ Safety: High
🌟 Overall: 9.5/10

Valencia was recently voted as the best city to live in as a foreign resident in the world. It has almost year-round sunshine and offers many cultural attractions, verdant parks, museums, and beaches. And it’s a perfect choice for families.

The city has its own airport, trains, buses, and a Metro system. Although the cost of living is higher than in some cities on this list, you’ll still find family accommodation cheaper than in Madrid or Barcelona, particularly if you venture outside the city center.

Wondering about more reasons to make the trip? Check out our detailed assessment of whether Valencia is truly a destination worth your time.

If you’re relocating with younger children, there are plenty of bilingual and International schools, and it’s a popular destination for older students wishing to study abroad too. It is advisable to speak a little Spanish, as many locals don’t converse in English.

If you’re contemplating learning Spanish during your stay in Spain, I recommend Linguaschools in Valencia. I attended their language program for a few weeks and found it to be an enriching experience that truly enhanced my understanding of the Spanish language and culture

Lastly, the low crime rate makes Valencia a safe place to enjoy all the city’s bodega bars, paella restaurants, and evening entertainment.

📍 Valencia on Google Maps
🏨 Top Hotels in Valencia
🚗 Car Rentals in Valencia

2. Barcelona

Panoramic view of Barcelona from Park Guell on a summer day in Spain

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Population: 1.6 million
✈️ Airport: ✅
💰 Cost of Living: High
🗣️ English: Low/Average
🛡️ Safety: High/Average
🌟 Overall: 8.5/10

Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city with impressive architecture, world-class museums, golden beaches, and fabulous dining and nightlife. Over 20% of the 1.6 million residents here are expats, so you’ll feel right at home, although it’s helpful to learn a little of the Spanish or Catalan language too.

The city has great transport links, with its own International airport, high-speed train networks, buses, Metro, and taxis. One potential downside is the cost of living. The average apartment here can cost twice as much as other cities in Spain.

Barcelona is home to 40+ International schools hosting children from over 80 countries, and when it comes to safety levels, the city has a pretty low crime rate. Although pickpocketing can be an issue around Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter (tourist areas).

📍 Barcelona on Google Maps
🏨 Top Hotels in Barcelona
🚗 Car Rentals in Barcelona

3. Mallorca

Young summer holiday with family in Spain

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Population: 950,000
✈️ Airport: ✅
💰 Cost of Living: Average
🗣️ English: Average
🛡️ Safety: High/Average
🌟 Overall: 8/10

The population of the Balearic Islands of Mallorca is around 950,000 people. The island is easy to explore, and incredibly idyllic with coves for swimming, vintage railways, mountain landscapes, interesting cultural attractions, and lively nightlife.

Most expats and families choose to live in the southwest of the island near Palma, Mallorca’s capital city. This is primarily due to the island’s main airport, transport links, and most International schools being located here.

Although accommodation prices in Mallorca tend to be above average in some areas such as Sóller and Deia, you can discover cheaper regions outside the cities and away from beaches and main tourist resorts. However, fear not as Palma (Mallorca) still makes it to the list of cheapest places to live in Spain.

Speaking Spanish will score you points with locals – even more so if you converse in Mallorquin or Catalan. And general safety levels, on the whole, are good – aside from a few neighborhoods in the capital and main tourist resorts.

📍 Mallorca on Google Maps
🏨 Top Hotels in Mallorca
🚗 Car Rentals in Mallorca

4. Madrid

Madrid cityscape and the aerial view from Gran Via shopping street

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Population: 3.6 million
✈️ Airport: ✅
💰 Cost of Living: High
🗣️ English: Low/Average
🛡️ Safety: High
🌟 Overall: 8/10

Madrid is the Spanish capital – home to 3.6 million people. It’s a fabulous place for families and a pleasure to explore with world-famous art galleries and museums, vast green spaces, zoos, an aquarium, amazing shopping and dining, and it has not one, but three football teams to support (Real Madrid, Atlético de Madrid, and Rayo Vallecano)!

If you’re curious about the prominence of football and other top-tier activities, delve into our guide on the most favored sports in Spain.

Getting around is easy thanks to the Metro, buses, light rail services and taxis, and the historic center is easily navigated on foot. There are also high-speed train services and an International airport, Madrid-Barajas connecting you to other destinations.

The cost of living is on-par with Barcelona, so more expensive than other cities on this list, but there’s so much to see and do, that the pros far outweigh the cons!

It’s preferable to speak some Spanish if relocating here, even though the city has expat communities (21% of residents are from other countries). Personally, I experienced that the overall English proficiency in Madrid is less compared to Barcelona. Although there are plenty of International schools, the crime rate is low for a city of such magnitude.

📍 Madrid on Google Maps
🏨 Top Hotels in Madrid
🚗 Car Rentals in Madrid

5. Seville

A young mother and her son playing outdoors, Sevilla, Spain

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Population: 701,000
✈️ Airport: ✅
💰 Cost of Living: Low/Average
🗣️ English: Low
🛡️ Safety: High
🌟 Overall: 8/10

Seville is located in the heart of Andalucia, a vibrant, traditional city with family-friendly activities galore. There are city parks for picnicking and cycling, a river with boats, kayaks and paddleboards, and lots of interesting museums and architecture to explore. In addition, the pristine white sand beaches of the Costa de la Luz are just over an hour’s drive away to the south.

This city is easy to navigate on foot, by bike or via public transport (40+ bus lines), trams and taxis. Seville has nine international schools and is also popular with older students.

You will need some Spanish to converse here, particularly outside the touristy areas. Still, the crime rate is low and overall it’s a cheaper place to live than Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.

One thing to consider about Seville is the heat. In July/August, temperatures swelter over 36°C (97°F). Therefore, it’s wise to search for a property with air conditioning!

📍 Seville on Google Maps
🏨 Top Hotels in Seville
🚗 Car Rentals in Seville

6. Marbella

A street near the coastline of Costa del Sol in Andalusia, Spain

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Population: 150,000
✈️ Airport: ❌
💰 Cost of Living: Average
🗣️ English: High
🛡️ Safety: Average
🌟 Overall: 8/10

Marbella is a popular expat destination in Spain, and out of a population of 150,000 people, over 35,500 residents are from overseas. This is a great area for families, with beautiful beaches, colorful markets, outdoor dining, buzzing nightlife, festivals, and golf courses, as well as plenty of international schools.

A great aspect of this region is the accessibility to other destinations. The main Autopista the AP-7 can take you to Malaga Airport in 40 minutes and even to France! Having a car is preferable if you plan to live here, as there are no trains in Marbella, only buses that operate along the coast. Discover-cars.com can help you with a rental car if you’re planning a short stay to explore the city.

Property prices are slightly lower just outside Marbella and Puerto Banus. If budget is a consideration, expand your search to the Nueva Andalucia, San Pedro de Alcantara and Estepona areas.

When it comes to using the English language, you might wonder how prevalent English is in Spain and Marbella. English is widely spoken all along the Costa del Sol. I also found the crime levels to be relatively low, but it’s good to be mindful that petty theft occurs in some major resorts.

📍 Marbella on Google Maps
🏨 Top Hotels in Marbella
🚗 Car Rentals in Marbella

7. Malaga

A woman carrying a suitcase while walking with her daughter down the street of Malaga, Spain

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Population: 560,000
✈️ Airport: ✅
💰 Cost of Living: Low/Average
🗣️ English: Average
🛡️ Safety: High
🌟 Overall: 8/10

Malaga is a vibrant city with a warm year-round climate on the southeast coast of Spain. It’s a popular destination for expat families seeking to relocate to Andalucia. The city has its own International airport serving the Costa del Sol and Costa Tropical, plus, it boasts beautiful beaches, historic sites, museums, and botanical gardens. If you want to get a feel for the weather patterns before you move, look at our article discussing the best time to visit Malaga.

Malaga is not a huge city – it’s easy to get around on foot, by bike, or by public transport. You will need some Spanish to communicate if you plan on living in the city center. Still, large expat communities in the outlying areas such as Torremolinos and Fuengirola are a short drive away.

Several schools offer bilingual lessons, although most International schools are nearer Marbella 40 minutes away. Overall, Malaga is a safe city to live in, with a lower crime rate than other areas of Spain.

📍 Malaga on Google Maps
🏨 Top Hotels in Malaga
🚗 Car Rentals in Malaga

8. Bilbao

Aerial view of Bilbao, Spain

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Population: 350,000
✈️ Airport: ✅
💰 Cost of Living: Low
🗣️ English: Low
🛡️ Safety: High
🌟 Overall: 9/10

Bilbao is a little different from other cities on this list – located in the far north of Spain, in the Basque country near the Pyrenees. The weather is seasonal with warm summers and cooler winters, but if you don’t mind, the culture, world-class museums, delicious food, and art exhibits are incredible.

This is a city for families who want to truly immerse themselves in an outdoor lifestyle, with lots of coastal walks, activities and nature surrounding. The cost of living and property prices are reasonable; Bilbao is easy to navigate on foot, via Metro, trams and buses, and it has its own ferry port and airport.

Bilbao is home to a few international schools making it easy for younger travelers to integrate into the local community and it’s a welcoming place with a low crime rate.

📍 Bilbao on Google Maps
🏨 Top Hotels in Bilbao
🚗 Car Rentals in Bilbao

9. Alicante

Mother and daughter on the Postiguet beach in summer, rear view. Mother showing to the Santa Barbara castle, fortification in the center, main landmark in Alicante city. Swimming and sunbathing tourist people in the background. Traveler, tourism, sightseeing and visiting new places concept. Costa Blanca. Spain

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Population: 330,000
✈️ Airport: ✅
💰 Cost of Living: Low
🗣️ English: High
🛡️ Safety: High
🌟 Overall: 9/10

Alicante on the Costa Blanca has one of the country’s largest expat communities. With year-round sunshine, lively markets, beaches, and fun outdoor activities, it’s easy to see why the city is a popular choice for families relocating to Spain.

Alicante has reasonable property prices, and International schools in the area cater to all ages. It’s lively in the summer months with cultural events, concerts and festivals and there’s lots of history to explore too.

Many people here, even the locals speak some English, so it’s easy to get by if your Spanish isn’t quite up to par. Public transport is cheap and user friendly with buses, trams and the International Airport nearby. As an added benefit, the crime rate is one of the lowest in Spain!

📍 Alicante on Google Maps
🏨 Top Hotels in Alicante
🚗 Car Rentals in Alicante

10. San Sebastian

View of the city of San Sebastian
View of the city of San Sebastian

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Population: 188,171
✈️ Airport: ✅
💰 Cost of Living: Low/Average
🗣️ English: Low
🛡️ Safety: Very High
🌟 Overall: 9/10

San Sebastian in northern Spain is surrounded by nature, with golden beaches, excellent dining, local festivals, and cultural attractions. It has a range of hiking, biking and outdoor activities, and reasonable accommodation prices, making this city an ideal choice for family relocation. If you’re planning to see if this location suits your family, consider visiting during the optimal travel time for San Sebastian to truly appreciate what the place has to offer.

The city is easy to get around on foot, by bike or by public transport, but if you want to venture into the countryside, explore the Pyrenees, or hop over to France, it’s preferable to have a car. If you’re planning a short visit, check out Discover-cars.com for a cheap deal.

San Sebastian is home to several schools with International curriculums making it easy for younger family members to integrate into the educational system. Although it is preferable to learn Spanish or basic Basque phrases before arrival as the expat communities are slightly smaller than in other cities in Spain. However, if you wish to immerse yourselves in the local lifestyle in a city with one of the lowest crime rates, San Sebastian could be the perfect place for you.

📍 San Sebastian on Google Maps
🏨 Top Hotels in San Sebastian
🚗 Car Rentals in San Sebastian

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Spain With Family

Hopefully, now you have more information to decide on the best places to live in Spain with your family. Ultimately, your choice will depend on many factors, ranging from the monthly budget to employment, language, schooling and more. It’s advisable to try and spend time in your chosen locations before moving permanently, so you can get a feel for what it would be like to live in the city.

For those who prefer a warmer climate, you might want to know about the weather and climate of Spain to make sure you select a location that fits your preference. And make sure to learn more about the coldest cities in Spain as well.

I hope this article has inspired you to move to Spain. Having lived there myself, I can honestly say the Mediterranean lifestyle is one of the best in the world. You’ll have quality time with loved ones, dining outdoors, swimming in pools or relaxing on the beach, immersing yourselves in the local culture and many festivals Spain hosts yearly.

Best Places to Live in Spain With Family: FAQs

Great, you’ve made it this far! Now let’s wrap up with some quick Q&A to answer any last questions about living in Spain with your family.

🏘️ Where do most expats live in Spain?

Most expats flock to the sunny Costa del Sol, Barcelona, Madrid, and beautiful islands like Ibiza and Mallorca. I’ve met some amazing people in Valencia’s expat community, but Barcelona and Madrid also have fantastic communities to join!

🇺🇸 Where do most Americans live in Spain?

American expats love Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia! I met a lovely couple from California in a tapas bar in Madrid – we had a great conversation about life abroad!

🗓️ How long can a US citizen stay in Spain?

US citizens can enjoy Spain for up to 90 days within 180 days without a visa. However, I’ve met many Americans who’ve traveled or lived here longer, often exploring long-term visa options to extend their stay in this beautiful country!

🔒 What is the safest city to live in Spain?

Bilbao consistently ranks among the safest cities in Spain, with low crime rates and a strong sense of community. Statistics show that it has one of the lowest crime rates in the country! Worth considering if safety is a top priority for you.

💰 What are the cheapest places to live in Spain?

In search of affordable living? Murcia, Seville, and Valencia are some places in Spain that offer great options, as I’ve mentioned in my other post on the cheapest places to live in Spain. I spent a few months in Valencia and loved the affordable lifestyle, delicious food, and fantastic wine!

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