In which Spanish city do you have the best life?

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish life in Vigo

MADRID – Spain is a big country. That does not make the choice of where you want enjoy your Spanish life any easier. However, the Spanish consumer organisation OCU has analysed a number of objective data to substantiate this, ultimately subjective, choice of 15 cities. 

OCU looked at parameters such as mobility, health and education services, citizen safety, the labour market, cost of living, environmental care, pollution and urban cleanliness. Then, based on these, conducted a survey of nearly 3,000 people from the most populous cities from Spain. Let´s find out where Spanish life is considered the best.

The data offers surprising results. One of the most obvious discoveries has been made in connection with Covid-19. The pandemic has worsened living conditions everywhere. Despite this, the average quality of life in the cities surveyed was around 64 points out of 100. 

The following 15 Spanish cities are named as the best in Spain in terms of quality of life.

Vigo (1)

With about 293,000 inhabitants, this Galician city is considered the best Spanish city to live in. As stated by the participants in the OCU survey, Vigo is a city that stands out for its high quality of life, safety, cleanliness, good education and care for the environment. Likewise, the leisure offer for families with children is very positive. All this gave the city first place in the ranking with 70 points.

Also read: Paradise island in Galicia

Zaragoza (2)

A total of 69 points gives the Aragonese capital second place in this ranking. Zaragoza has 675,301 inhabitants who are happy with good mobility, a large and accessible real estate market, excellent health services and a wide range of cultures.

Bilbao (3)

This city of 346,405 inhabitants took third place for aspects such as mobility, environmental issues and health care, as well as its cultural, sporting and leisure offer. The sum of all variants gives Bilbao 69 points.

Valladolid (4)

The capital of Castilla y León is the only city in this region with a place in the classification. With 97,775 inhabitants, the city scores well on all parameters except one; the real estate market. As a result, Valladolid achieves 68 points.

Cordoba (4=)

This Andalucian city, once one of the most important of the Arab Empire in Spain, has 68 points, like Valladolid. This makes it the city in Andalucia with the best quality of life according to the parameters of OCU to live in. The inhabitants of Cordoba especially appreciate the mobility they have, which allows them to move around on foot or by public transport without any problems.

Malaga (6)

Despite the fact that Málaga is the second city in Andalucia with the highest quality of life of this ranking, it is worth highlighting Malaga. The sample of its 577,405 inhabitants emphasises that it is one of the best places in the world to live and work because of its relatively low cost of living, good digital infrastructure, environment, climate and leisure offer. The sum of all this gives Malaga 66 points.

Cogesa Expats

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Valencia (7)

Valencia has 789,744 inhabitants. These inhabitants attach great importance to the care of the environment, green spaces, low pollution, the offer on the real estate market and employment. For this, the city on the Spanish east coast was awarded 65 points.

Gijon (8)

This historic Asturian city stands out for its sense of security, its efficient waste management, cleanliness and general cost of living. This is emphasised and confirmed by the sample of the 272,202 inhabitants of Gijon.

Alicante (9)

Another parameter that residents of the cities surveyed were surveyed about was cleanliness. This appears to be one of the elements that worry the 337,304 inhabitants of the provincial capital of Alicante the most. In addition, the price of housing is relatively high and the educational offer is valued lower than in the surrounding region of Valencia. Therefore, the city got 64 points.

Seville (10)

Seville is the third Andalucian city in the ranking. It has 684,234 inhabitants who emphasise the extensive leisure offer, the nightlife and the conviviality of the people. This is in addition to the wide gastronomic offer and the climate. However, residents are less happy with health care and safety on the street. Consequently, the capital of Andalucia received 63 points.

La Palmas de Gran Canaria (11)

The high cost of living is one of the reasons why Las Palmas ranks relatively low compared to other cities. Moreover, these costs have increased considerably since the corona pandemic. Likewise, the inhabitants, more than 300,000, believe that there is a problem with the labour market in the city. The result is 63 points.

Murcia (12)

The first city with a number of points below the average is Murcia, which ranks twelve with the overall quality of life of 61 points. Shortcomings in urban mobility are one of the biggest problems here, according to the study.

Palma de Mallorca (13)

This capital of the Balearics has two major problems, which means that no more than 57 points are awarded: the educational offer and the safety of the citizen. According to the population sample, the island also has mobility problems. However, this is to a lesser extent. In addition, housing costs are very high.

Also read: Most expensive places to buy a property

Barcelona (14)

Life in Barcelona has changed quite a bit in recent years. With a population of more than one and a half million people, residents complain about the high cost of living. Also, pollution creeps in as a major problem. All this gives the city only 56 points. However, the respondents do appreciate the opportunities in the labour market and the cultural offer.

Madrid (15)

The capital of Spain is distinguished by its cultural, sporting and leisure offer, as well as by its good employment opportunities. Residents, however, are less happy with the high rents, high cost of living, high levels of air pollution and cleanliness issues. Public health care is also not seen as entirely positive. Madrid got 55 points. 

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