Spain continues to prove the most popular European holidaying destination for Brits, drawing in more than double the number of British visitors than those to the USA, Italy and even Greece. Having tasted a snippet of life under the Mediterranean sun more and more are opting to make their stay permanent with a surge in searches for removals to Spain services.
The sun-soaked cobbled streets of the Costa del Sol are a regular retirement haunt for Brits looking for cheap villas with swimming pools and excellent local amenities. While the larger cities of Madrid and Barcelona soak up their fair share of young professionals and families relocating for renewed job prospects and siesta style living. Some of Spain’s most beautiful and colourful cities often go under the radar as a result.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the most surprising ‘off the beaten track’ cities which are likely to inspire you to want to move to Spain today.
A thriving expat city in the middle of the Basque country, Bilbao has developed its own cultural identity built on a relaxed approach to life with fiestas aplenty. Each summer the Semana Grande comes to town transforming the place into one massive street party for ten days.
Expats may come for the festivities, but they stay for the food. Basque culture is centred around sharing good food with friends and the humble bar snacks of home pale into significant compared with the evening tapas offering, toasted with a few cool cervezas.
“La Docta” provides a friendly and vibrant cultural scene in the heart of Spain’s Andalusian region. Once a strategically important Roman city, stepping into Cordoba is like stepping back in time, with some of the most stunning whitewashed traditional buildings in the whole of Spain.
This Andalusian city experiences year round hot weather, which brings out the locals in their droves to experience the finest wines of the mountains and wander around this spectacular looking city.
Situated in the thriving state of Catalonia, Girona is often overlooked by its bigger brother, Barcelona. Make no doubt about it this little city packs one hell of a punch, boasting a thriving natural environment perfect for cycling, running and all manner of outdoor pursuits.
The ancient architecture of the city centre provided the backdrop for a Game of Thrones battle scene, but we promise you it’ll be the food you’ll be fighting over once you’ve had a taste. What’s more, it ranks as one of the highest Spanish cities for quality of living and is complemented by a thriving business sector with a pulsating nightlife.
Next on the list of Spain’s hidden city gems is the once Moorish city of Granada. The town’s lushous green city parks and tight knit communities, interwoven among a network of high-quality schools and leisure facilities makes it the standout pick for young families.
You can even ski and sunbathe in the same day. The nearest Ski resort is just a 40 minutes’ drive from the city, with the nearest beaches in Motril or Salobrena, a similar distance away.
After a rocky rollercoaster of a ride which eventually resulted in relegation from Spain’s top division you are probably more likely to have heard of Huesca as a result of its football team. This historic city in the autonomous Aragon region of Spain is the gateway to the Pyrenees and is an area rich in culture, art and stunning natural landscapes.
With around 50,000 inhabitants its modest size makes it the perfect destination for those expats looking for a more relaxed approach to life, far from the hustle and bustle of most Spanish cities.
With one of the biggest bar/restaurants to residents ratios in Spain, Oviedo has earned itself as a reputation as a party town for students and young professionals. As the capital of the Asturian region, Oviedo is geographically far removed from the English-speaking and sunbed reserving posts of the Costa Del Sol, making for a more authentic Spanish experience.
Eating is a lifestyle here and portion control is yet to become a thing. With generous servings of the local delicacy, Cachopo, consisting of two fillet steaks filled with ham and cheese and deep-fried in batter, you’ll be looking into local house prices before you know it.
Little spoke of and largely anonymous even to most Spaniards, Ourense is an up and coming city with exciting new property and commercial developments in the north-west of the country. Construction has just recently finished on high speed rail networks connecting Ourense to the rest of the region and beyond to Madrid and Barcelona. The best thing about this charming city though has to be the wealth of natural hot springs which provide cheap places for a bit of “el relax”.
Pamplona is made famous by the ‘Running of the Bulls festival’, one of Spain’s craziest but most cherished traditions. The festival sees participants run through the city alongside fighting bulls, and some feasting, live music and dancing of course.
Outside of the historic city walls though is where you’ll find some green natural parks, perfect for detox weekends away trekking or exploring the nearby wineries.
Salamanca is nicknamed Spain’s golden city on account of its year-round good weather and is perfect for hilltop living among your ‘tribe’ of people.
The Spanish saying “Mi casa, su casa” roughly translates as “My house is your house” and it won’t be long in this friendliest of cities before you find yourself invited round for banquets or a drink ‘under the clock’ of the town square.
Just a two-hour drive from the capital, Madrid it’s also perfect for those relying on the bigger cities for work but wanting to relax in the confines of the countryside.
Last on our list but certainly not least is the underrated regional capital of Aragon with its eclectic bar and bistro scene and beautiful canals. The cuisine is like no where else in the Mediterranean with its unique blend of hearty stews packed full of hearty vegetables and your choice of meats, haricot beans and other fillers.
From its stunning Moorish architecture to its Latin American inspired street parties and music festivals, Zaragoza is a city like no other.