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10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

For those of you who wish to spend their retirement days in a warm climate drinking sangria, our list of best places to retire in Spain will give you all the info you need.

So Spain, huh? Well, I can’t say I don’t envy you. Spain looks like a great country to spend retirement days in. Beautiful beaches and summer resorts, rich history, vibrant culture, amazing food topped with a high quality of life. Get this, if you get tired of the sun and salty water, Pyrenees or Siera Nevada Mountains will give enable you to enjoy in winter sports. With all this isn’t a surprise that Spain is third most visited the country in the world.

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

Shchipkova Elena/

Don’t be fooled, it isn’t all milk and honey in the country if you are a resident. The political situation has become complicated in the recent years. There is Catalonia’s secession plan which has been put on hold at least for now. Then, Basque nationalism is also on the rise. This contributed to tensions between different regions of the country. Then there is government corruption, high unemployment rates, and massive debt. Since 2008, the unemployment rate went from 12.1% to 26.3% in 2012. The rate dropped to 18.4% in the last year, but government debt didn’t. Since 2013 to 2016, the debt was around 100% of Spain’s GDP. Also, the income inequality and poverty was on a dramatic rise in the recent years. But, don’t be scared yet. Despite all of the problems Spain managed to stay one of the leading countries in Europe when it comes to healthcare.

According to WHO report, Spain had the 7th best healthcare system in the world in 2000, but then again, that was 17 years ago. The country was spending 9.4% of the GDP on healthcare in 2011, with 73% of health spending being made from public sources. Healthcare system was free for all legal and illegal residents, visitors and tourists until recently but as of 2012, foreigners who are undocumented can only hope for emergency care. The important thing to note is that the healthcare quality mostly depends on the region of the country you find yourself in.

Let’s talk now about safety. According to the United States Overseas Security Advisory Council Crime and Safety report for Spain from 2017, the country is considered to be a safe destination. Like in all countries that get lots of tourists, touristic attractions are dangerous in terms of petty theft and pickpocketing. There are also lots of cyber crimes and credit card frauds. When it comes to terrorism the country is a medium threat for such events. If all this sounds a bit too much for you, you may want to consider Spain’s neighbor, Portugal. Everything you need can be found on our list of 10 Best Places to Retire in Portugal.

You’ve must be eager to find out a methodology for creating our list of best places to retire in Spain. Well, we first took recommendations about the retirement destinations in Spain from Investopedia and Expat Exchange among others. Then we ranked the places according to their cost of living index (Numbeo) and hospital to population ratio (Google Maps) while taking into consideration the temperature, rainy days and sunny days averages over the year (World Weather Online). We combined everything into our IM Score and thus ended up with a definitive list. In order for you to better understand the displayed data, cost of living index for each city is comparable to 100.00 which represent the cost of life in New York. Also, hospital to population ratio tells you how many people are assigned to one hospital (in theory). Finally, temperature, rainy days and sunny days information represent lowest and highest month averages in one year. Ok, it’s time to start with our list of best places to retire in Spain.

10. Bilbao

IM Score: 12
Cost of Living Index: 67.98
Hospital to Population Ratio: 20,301
Temperature: 55/76°F
Rainy Days: 7/25
Sunny Days: 2/23

Bilbao is the most expensive place on our list, but if you have enough savings, that shouldn’t be a problem. The weather isn’t spectacular but you will enjoy it if you don’t like too much sun. The city has a rich cultural life with festivals, concerts and art exhibitions taking place all year long. If you don’t have anything better to do, we recommend paying a visit to one of the city’s 12 museums.

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

9. A Coruna

IM Score: 19
Cost of Living Index: 59.48
Hospital to Population Ratio: 14,351
Temperature: 52/72°F
Rainy Days: 6/27
Sunny Days: 3/22

Located in the region of Galicia, A Coruna will be suitable for those looking for a destination where they can get fast and quality healthcare since the city has a great hospital to population ratio compared to other entries on our list of best places to retire in Spain. The winters can get rainy, but in the summer you can relax on the city’s extremely popular beaches.

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

8. Valencia

IM Score: 20
Cost of Living Index: 54.56
Hospital to Population Ratio: 41,589
Temperature: 57/85°F
Rainy Days: 4/11
Sunny Days: 15/27

If you like history and old monuments, you can’t go wrong with Valencia. The city has one of the largest historic centers in whole Spain containing cathedrals, ancient markets, towers, squares and much more. In case you are a fan of modern architecture, there is plenty for you as well. There are of course lots of cultural events, so you will never be bored.

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

7. Palma de Mallorca

IM Score: 21
Cost of Living Index: 61.53
Hospital to Population Ratio: 25,184
Temperature: 58/87°F
Rainy Days: 0/16
Sunny Days: 11/29

Yes, we know that Palma de Mallorca is considered a place for tourist and brief visits, but hear us out. If you don’t like the crowd, there are lots of remote areas that will offer the same amazing sea view. If you don’t like to watch the sea all day, you can choose the countryside instead. It is a bit pricier, but the weather is great and you have to admit that it would be awesome to spend retirement days on an island.

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

6. Girona

IM Score: 22
Cost of Living Index: 59.87
Hospital to Population Ratio: 8,187
Temperature: 55/81°F
Rainy Days: 1/20
Sunny Days: 10/28

Now, if you don’t want to be on the beach but wouldn’t mind visiting it now and then, Girona could be a place for you. It is conveniently located less than an hour from Mediterranean sea, while also being close to one of Spain’s most beautiful cities, Barcelona. You would be able to visit it whenever you want, without having to put up with Barcelona’s 32 million tourists per year. Finally, Girona has the best hospital to population ratio on our list of best places to retire in Spain.

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

5. Las Palmas

IM Score: 24
Cost of Living Index: 47.66
Hospital to Population Ratio: 29,153
Temperature: 66/79°F
Rainy Days: 3/17
Sunny Days: 9/26

If you would prefer an island a bit more distant from mainland Spain, consider Las Palmas. The city is located on Gran Canaria Island and offers the lowest cost of living index on our list of best places to retire in Spain. Although the temperatures are pleasant through the whole year, it can often get rainy and cloudy. Besides the city’s beaches, you can choose to visit one of many gardens, parks or archeological sites scattered around the city.

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

4. Seville

IM Score:  25
Cost of Living Index: 52.93
Hospital to Population Ratio: 36,345
Temperature: 58/95°F
Rainy Days: 1/15
Sunny Days: 14/29

Seville is the hottest city on our list of best places to retire in Spain, literary. Although the summers can get really hot, the advantage is that the winters are mild with a small amount of rain and lots of sunny days. The downside is that you won’t be able to take a dip in the sea when the temperatures rise. The city is a home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, numerous museums, parks, and gardens. If you enjoy good food, Seville is well known for a rich food culture.

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

3. Granada

IM Score: 25
Cost of Living Index: 54.13
Hospital to Population Ratio: 14,672
Temperature: 51/89°F
Rainy Days: 2/16
Sunny Days: 13/28

We are continuing our list of best places to retire in Spain with Granada that will be ideal for those looking to enjoy in winter sports, being located near Sierra Nevada Mountains. The city offers numerous cultural attractions, most of them dating from Islamic period which gave the city some of its most recognizable monuments. Although there are no beaches near Granada, natural parks and gardens may do the trick.

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

2. Malaga

IM Score: 27
Cost of Living Index: 52.63
Hospital to Population Ratio: 33,471
Temperature: 58/86°F
Rainy Days: 2/13
Sunny Days: 16/27

Malaga, the second one on our list of best places to retire in Spain is a one of the world’s oldest city, so it is only natural that it has an amazing cultural heritage. The city’s center is an “open museum” containing monuments from Roman, Arabic and Phoenician eras. Malaga has a pleasant climate with mild winters, hot summers and lots of sunny days. That and low cost of living make it a very desirable retirement destination. Also, Pablo Picasso was born here. What else do you need?

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain

1. Almeria

IM Score: 36
Cost of Living Index: 51.47
Hospital to Population Ratio: 13,871
Temperature: 58/86°F
Rainy Days: 1/12
Sunny Days: 16/30

The time has come for us to conclude our list of best places to retire in Spain. Almeria may not have the greatest cultural heritage in Spain or the best beaches, but the city offers plenty of everything. It isn’t too crowded and has both the second lowest cost of living index and second best hospital to population ratio on the list. The winter is among the warmest in Europe while rain won’t bother you too much.

10 Best Places to Retire in Spain