Expats are flocking to this European country for happier lives abroad

The top three cities for expats to thrive in their new lives abroad are all in Spain, according to the latest report from the online community Internations.

Malaga, a port city in the south of Spain, claims the No. 1 spot as the top city where foreigners are happiest with their social, financial and work lives, according to survey responses from over 12,000 individuals living in 172 countries or territories. The No. 2 best city is Alicante, another coastal destination, and just a two-hour drive away is the No. 3 city, Valencia.

Overall, Spanish locales dominated the list of best cities on the 2023 Expat Insider report, which ranked 49 global cities this year. Madrid was ranked No. 6 overall, while Barcelona came in at No. 13.

Each Spanish city did “exceptionally well” in elements that contribute to foreigners’ quality of life, says Malte Zeeck, CEO and co-founder of InterNations, “as expats enjoy their warm climate and weather, outstanding leisure options, nightlife and gastronomy as well as an exceptionally good health care.”

Perhaps as a result, Spain is considered one of the healthiest countries in the world. It has one of the highest life expectancies in the European Union, with the average Spaniard expected to live to 82.4 years, versus an average of 80.6 years among all EU residents.

Newcomers also say it’s easy to settle in, make friends and feel welcome in their new homes abroad — Malaga in particular stands out as the most friendly city in the world, according to survey responses.

Meanwhile, expats especially enjoy Alicante’s low cost of living, Valencia’s robust travel opportunities, and Madrid’s culture and nightlife. Barcelona ranks the lowest of the Spanish cities, where expats are a little less happy with their living expenses and say it’s not as easy to get settled into the local community.

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The Spanish government recently made it easier for foreigners to move there to work remotely by launching a digital nomad visa for “international teleworkers.”

Overall, the Expat Insider rankings are based on how expats feel across five main categories, including quality of life (like leisure options), ease of settling in (like how easy it is to make friends), working abroad (including work-life balance factors), personal finance (which covers the cost of living), and an overall “expat essentials” category that evaluates things like how easy it is to secure a visa or open a bank account.

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Check out: This is the No. 1 global city where expats thrive

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