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Where’s the best place to live in Andalusia?

As one of the largest land areas and most populated regions in Spain, the autonomous community of Andalusia is a prime destination for tourists and expats alike.

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However, while tourists flock to the Costa del Sol, there is much more to Andalusia than hundreds of kilometres of sandy beaches and seafront chiringuitos

Whether you want to move to Andalusia for work or retirement, you’ll be choosing from a list of provinces rich in natural beauty and local Spanish culture.

So, which is the best area in Andalusia to move to? Read our guide to the provinces to help you decide which part of Andalusia would suit you the most.


Located on the Atlantic coast, Cadiz is one of the oldest cities in not just Spain, but Europe. Founded thousands of years ago by the Phoenicians, there is plenty of well-preserved history to enjoy, from Cadiz Cathedral to the Torre Tavira.

Alongside its sherry production, Cadiz is also known for its fish market and fresh seafood restaurants, plus popular beaches like La Caleta along the Costa de Luz. Additionally, it’s home to the wind-surfing capital of Europe, Tarifa.

These factors make Cadiz perfect for expats who would prefer deep local history and a laid-back lifestyle on the southwest coast over the busy southern strip.


North-west of Cadiz is the most western province of Spain, Huelva, which borders the south-east of Portugal. Like Cadiz, it also has its own stretch of lovely beaches along the Costa de Luz, but it’s less well-known and largely untouched by tourism.

Huelva is attractive for its proximity to the coast and Doñana National Park, which is home to some of the most important ecosystems in Europe. With wetlands, sand dunes, pine groves, and more, it hosts a range of unique flora and fauna.

While it isn’t considered as pretty as other coastal areas in Andalusia, properties by the beach tend to be more affordable here, not far from airports in Seville and Faro. 


Mild winters, hot summers, Moorish architecture, orange trees, and vibrant street celebrations give Seville a colourful reputation – but despite being the capital of Andalusia, life typically moves at a slower pace for long-term residents.

With many historical monuments, galleries, and theatres, Seville is a pedestrian-friendly place with lots to do, see, and eat. As a research and development hub for business and education, the area attracts people from around the world.

Seville may lack a coastline, but the Guadalquivir River passes through, and it’s a short journey to the beaches in neighbouring provinces whenever you want to visit. 


Situated in between Seville and Jaen, to the north of Malaga, Cordoba enjoys the highest temperatures in Spain – though many people prefer to escape south or west to the sea to cope with the heat in the summer, as Cordoba is land-locked. 

Home to UNESCO World Heritage sites like the Mosque-Cathedral and Patios of Cordoba, this area on the Guadalquivir boasts a true mix of historical cultures that are still present today amongst white-painted buildings and cobbled streets.

A high quality of living with a comparatively low cost of living and ease of travel between provinces means Cordoba shouldn’t be overlooked as an expat destination.


To the right of Cordoba and above Granada, Jaén is also often overlooked by tourists for being a landlocked province. However, it’s famous for its extensive olive groves, which produce more than a third of the world’s supply of olive oil.

In addition to olives and free tapas, Jaén is also known for Renaissance architecture at UNESCO sites Úbeda and Baeza, as well as having the highest concentration of castles and fortresses in not just Andalusia or Spain, but all of Europe.

It may be more suitable for those who can work remotely, due to a limited local job market, but Jaén can offer an authentic Spanish lifestyle while being close to nature.


The smallest and furthest east of the Andalusian provinces, Almeria has a relatively small population, considering its location on the coast. Around a 2-hour drive from Malaga, many people escape to Almeria’s less crowded beaches in the summer.

As the driest province where it rarely rains, Almeria is home to the only desert on the continent, the Desierto de Tabernas – plus the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park with volcanic rock formations, and one of the largest geodes in the world in Pulpí.

Despite its relative remoteness, there is a small but well-established expat community in Almeria, where residents can enjoy the outdoors year-round in peace.


Between Almeria and Malaga is one of the jewels of the southern coast of Spain, Granada. Known for UNESCO historical monuments like the Alhambra palace and its large university, Granada attracts tourists and a young crowd of students.

Boasting the highest peak in mainland Spain in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities here. Granada can get cold in winter, but it’s worth it for the ski slopes a couple of hours’ drive from the beach. 

With lots of rural and coastal communities and a range of affordable real estate options to choose from, many foreigners are finding new homes in Granada.


Undeniably the best-known province in Andalusia, Malaga is a hotspot not just for summer holidaymakers, but for long-term foreign residents, too. Foreigners make up the majority of the population, making the area very sociable and lively.

It’s one of the top places in the country and the world to learn Spanish in a welcoming immersive environment, with lots of daytime activities and busy nightlife. However, it can be difficult to find a suitable property in Malaga due to high demand.

It’s possible to find a great balance between the buzz of the city beachfronts and marinas and the tranquillity of the white villages with inland properties in the hills.

Moving to Andalusia?

Whether you want to live in a coastal town in Malaga, Cadiz, Almeria, or Granada, or an inland village in Seville, Cordoba, Huelva, or Jaén, you’re sure to find somewhere in Andalusia that suits your lifestyle and your personal and professional preferences.

However, moving to a new country as a foreigner can come with a lot of complex paperwork and considerations, so it’s important to make sure that you obtain the right visa and stay on top of your legal obligations as a foreigner living in Spain.

If you need help applying for authorisation to live in Spain, whether it’s to study, work, or retire, it’s a good idea to contact English-speaking lawyers in Spain. 

They can help you to deal with the Spanish bureaucracy and advise you on everything from getting your NIE identification number to your Spanish tax rate, giving you peace of mind to enjoy your new life in Andalusia to the fullest!


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