The 17 Regions of Spain
Spain is an absolutely beautiful country, so it’s a darn good job that you’ve followed your heart and have decided that you’re going to move there!
It’ll do you the world of good relocating there, and Spain certainly won’t let you down, in fact, it will exceed your expectations. It has such an array of stunning landscapes, climates, traditions, foods, and loads of things to do and things to see.
But because Spain is such a large country (you could fit two Great Britains in it!), with 15 mainland regions and 2 island regions to choose from, how do you know where’s best to move to?
Check out our handy little guide, part of our series of guides about the villages, towns, cities, provinces and regions of Spain, which tells you all you need to know about all of the different lifestyle choices and unique things to discover and experience in Spain’s zonas.
If one region jumps out at you in particular, then research it in more detail, and once you’ve chosen where you’re relocating to, and you want to arrange a removal, give us a call!
(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)
North West Region
This area is known as “Green Spain” because of its lush, green landscapes. You’ll find that many of the villages, towns and cities are on the coast.
The summers in Galicia are warm, the winters are mild, and you’ll expect to get the same amount of rain per year as you would do back in the UK.
As this region is a popular tourist destination, there is already an established English-speaking community in its capital city, Pontevedra.
Pontevedra is a beautiful, busy city, renowned for its architecture, history, festivities and transport links. It has changed so dramatically in such a short space of time that it has been awarded several prizes and international prestige for its excellent urban quality.
Galicia is famous for its gastronomy, thermal baths, and history.
This region of Spain will take your breath away. Not only does it have stunning beaches, but it has mountains, nature parks and biosphere reserves too!
Like Galacia, the weather is what you’d be used to back in the UK, and winters here can even include snow! The capital Oviedo provides a slice of authentic Spanish life without the English-oriented services.
Asturias is an area that’s renowned for its food, photography and literature. It also tops all other regions for having the highest access rates to the best high-speed cable broadband around.
Asturias is famous for its ancient rites and beliefs, its gastronomy, and its monuments.
On the coast of Cantabria, you’re treated to beautiful bays and romantic fishing villages, and the further inland you go, you’ll come across awe-inspiring green valleys, hills and spectacular mountain ranges.
The climate is similar to the rest of the North West Region, so it has warm summers and mild winters. The capital, Santander, is a very popular expat location as it is a well-established industrial centre, so jobs are more readily available.
In Santander there is always lots to see, lots to do, and lots of high quality things to spend your money on.
Cantabria is famous for its colourful customs, its gastronomy and local crafts.
The Basque Region has been blessed with immense natural beauty. Landscapes along the Guernica river are stunning, there are rolling hills, enchanting beaches, several nature parks and the Pyrenees mountains, always soaring high in the distance.
The climate is typically Mediterranean, so winters are warm and very wet, and the summers are hot and dry. Even though this area is popular with expats, being one of the most industrialized regions of Spain, it’s a very good idea to have learned some Spanish before you move there.
The Basque region is famous for its mountain sports, including hiking, biking and riding, and it where-ever you go, there is always scintillating modern architecture to see.
La Rioja, Spain
This region is absolutely beautiful, it has Mediterranean forests, high-mountain areas and the most amazing lunar landscapes you’ll ever see, but unfortunately, this region isn’t situated near the coast.
The climate is relatively dry, much dryer than the UK, and you get very hot summers and very cold winters. This region tends to be more of a holiday destination than an expat stronghold, as work can be quite hard to come by, and the ability to speak Spanish is a must.
However, don’t let this put you off. La Rioja is ideal for young couples seeking fun and adventure, and action junkies can ski, bike, or go white-water rafting as often as they’d like.
La Rioja is famous for its wineries, it has 500 of them, and they produce a wine made from the famous Spanish, Tempranillo grape, and it’s named Rioja, after its region.
The Navarre region is steeped in ancient history and natural beauty.
Even though it’s small, the region has three different types of geography, it has mountain ranges to the north with exceptional landscapes, in the middle are impressive canyons, and to the south are lagoons, and stunningly green and fertile valleys.
On the whole, Navarre has summers that are not too hot, and winters that aren’t too cold, but the further south you go, the warmer and drier it becomes. Navarre is a popular destination for expats and ecotourists, and its capital city, Pamplona, is a quiet and pleasant city.
Before moving anywhere in Navarre, it’s suggested that you learn some simple Basque phrases. The region is famous for being eco-friendly (it’s an area almost self-sufficient in renewable energy creation), for its jaw-dropping festivals and carnivals (most notably the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona), and for its food.
Navarre is certainly a peculiar folkloristic attraction.
This area is known as “The Land of the Castles”, unsurprisingly then, most of the towns and cities are filled with extraordinary architecture.
Castile-Leon has incredibly beautiful forests and has over 30 protected natural spaces, set in spectacular scenery. The weather is warm and dry during the summer, and cold in the winter.
This region isn’t particularly popular with expats, and it’s worth a note to say that it’s said that the native people here don’t quite share the same Spanish politeness, and it’s quite a good idea to know a lot of Spanish before you relocate.
Castile-Leon also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the EU.
However, plucky Brits who go there, particularly if they opt for the funky city of Salamanca, will find a peaceful, cosmopolitan place during the day, with great nightlife.
The region of Castile-Leon is famous for its fiestas (it hosts the most throughout Spain), and the pilgrimages it hosts.
North East Region
Catalonia is a quintessentially Spanish region, surrounded by gorgeous coastlines, and beautiful mountain ranges. Generally, the summers are hot and dry, and the winters are cool.
Barcelona is by far the most famous city in the Catalonia region, and it’s the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid.
Barcelona is an enchanting, cosmopolitan and fashionable city, it’s a top tourist destination and incredibly popular with expats. However it is worth mentioning that finding a job is particularly difficult here as most of the business world, and the local community, speak Catalan.
Don’t let this dissuade you though, as Barcelona is a vibrant place to call home, and it is recognized as being Spain’s first city in terms of culture and art. Other areas in Catalonia are more peaceful, and the villages, towns and cities boast Roman roots, and Moorish and Jewish influences in their architecture and tradition. And don’t forget those beautiful beaches!
Catalonia is famous for its gastronomy, art (Dali and Gaudi were Catalan), traditional festivals and of course, football!
Aragon is a region that revels in the beauty of monumental towns and medieval splendor.
This area is renowned for its outstanding mountainous landscapes, glacier lakes, treeless plateaus, and nature reserves (where you might even spot some species that have become extinct across the rest of Europe).
Aragon has some of the most extreme temperatures in the whole of Spain, so expect very hot summers, very cold winters and irregular rainfall.
Aragon is a very popular region for expats as it is a place where the people of the region rank highly among the rest of Europe for satisfaction with their quality of life. Expats can enjoy experiencing a life rich in Spanish tradition, and over 500 multinational companies means that getting an English speaking job is easier than other parts of Spain.
Aragon is famous for its Mudejar architecture, dancing (in particular the Jota, an energetic 17th century dance), and its folklore.
Valencia is a region that has everything; stunning mountains, lush wetlands, beautiful rolling hills, fertile lands, and magnificent beaches.
Truly a sun-lover’s paradise, the Valencia region has very hot summers, and cold winters, and it’s therefore a very popular tourist and expat destination, particularly in the warmer months.
The region’s capital, Valencia, is perfect for young professionals who would like to work within the tourism industry, or as English teachers, in a city that is a melting pot of different cultures, that also has jaw-dropping architecture, and a night-life that rivals any of Spain’s bigger cities.
Having a basic level of Spanish will get you by with no problems.
The Valencia region is famous for its festivals (in particular Las Fallas, the Fire Festival, and La Tomatina, the Great Tomato Battle in the little town of Bunol), its gastronomy, and the City of Arts and Sciences museum in the city of Valencia.
South East Region
Murcia is a region characterized by its medieval history, and it is blessed with absolutely stunning beaches, salt-water lagoons and desert-like landscapes.
The weather is very hot in the summer, and very mild in the winter, and the air quality makes Murcia one of the healthiest places in the world for people who suffer from asthma or arthritis.
Expats adore Murcia and it’s perfect for couples looking to retire somewhere immersed in culture, tradition and who want a slow-paced, stress-free life style.
The Mediterranean diet makes for better health, plus it’s extremely tasty.
Murcia, the region’s capital city, ranks as one of the top ten cities to live in for a high-quality living and working life, and the government provides free Spanish lessons for schools and colleges which have a high number of expats attending them.
Murcia is famous for its traditions, wine production, and architecture.
Andalucia has beautiful golden beaches (this is the home of the Costa del Sol), awe-inspiring mountain ranges, and famous “White Villages” that are steeped in folklore and artisany.
The weather in Andalucia is incredibly hot and dry during the summer, and mild in the winter, although contrary to popular belief, this region, as a whole, does experience higher than average yearly rainfalls.
This area is heavily populated with expats, and is an incredibly popular tourist destination. The Costa del Sol is no longer considered the Blackpool of Spain, but expats and holiday makers alike can still enjoy the sun, sand and cheap sangria.
There has been a recent resurgence of organic production and farmers’ markets, and restaurants are required, by law, to offer inexpensive lunches during the working week, and the Menu Del Dia is often a real bargain.
Expats seeking to settle here should be prepared to work hard, jobs can be quite hard to come by, and English speaking jobs are typically in food, sales, tourism or health-care.
Another popular expat destination is the province of Almeria, much more relaxed and far more peaceful than the Costa del Sol.
Almeria has beautiful, arid landscapes that make you feel like you’re in a Western movie, but it also has stunning beaches, and also skiing in the Sierra Nevada.
Andalucia is famous for being the mother of all Spanish folklore,
This region of Spain, also known as “The Cradle of the Conquistadors” is relatively untouched by tourism and expats, so if you choose to move here, you’ll be uncovering secrets and lifestyles that not many people know about.
The landscape is covered in vast, undulating plains, covered in grasses and herbs, which attracts a variety of birds. There are also glorious mountain ranges and beautiful rivers.
You’ll find the summers are hot and dry, and the winters are wet and cool. Expats can enjoy a peaceful, slow-paced, typical Spanish lifestyle here, and this even extends to transport.
Because many of the ancient paths in the region are impassable for vehicles, donkeys are the favoured mode of transportation!
Finding work may be difficult, and there is no international airport there, so Extremadura is not really the place for city slickers.
However, it is a brilliant destination for the adventurous retiree, who is looking for something off the beaten track and a lifestyle that is truly Spanish.
This region is famous for its customs, it’s local produce (ceramics, metal works and embroideries, as well as yummy, local foods like trout and game), and of course its stunning landscapes.
Madrid is Spain’s sprawling capital, and it’s located pretty much slap-bang in the middle of the country. It is a young, boisterous city, one that will always keep you on your toes. It is a genuine cultural destination, and it is a city of great monuments.
The weather here is hot during the summer, and cold during the winter, and it has a lot to offer expats, as it already has a well-established international community.
Jobs are easier to come by in this city, and even though the pace of life is faster than anywhere else in Spain, it’s still considered to be relaxing, compared to places like London or Birmingham.
Full of noise, colour, celebrations and politics, life in Madrid may seem quite exhausting, so it might be a location for young couples or families who are looking for an invigorating new life in a bustling metropolis, to consider.
This region of Spain is renowned for its historical importance, and it is filled with over 900 monumental and enchanting municipalities to choose from.
The area has stunning arid plains (known as La Mancha) and Castile-La Mancha is the most mountainous region in Spain, 70 percent of its terrain sits more than 600 meters above sea level.
The weather in this region is hot during the summer, and mild in the winter. Expats may be disheartened to learn that despite its central location and excellent communication networks, Castile-La Mancha has been hit hard by the economic depression.
That being said though, for the plucky entrepreneur, the future looks bright, as the regional government has implemented plans to link every municipality by motorway, and are resolving to improve the local economy by producing various incentives and aid programs to attract employment providers to the region.
Castile-La Mancha is famous for its gastronomy (particularly the desserts), shepherding, and its windmills.
Balearic Islands, Spain
This group of four islands which include Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, make up the second-largest tourist region across the whole of Spain.
Expats and tourists are attracted to these islands because of the weather, as it’s gloriously hot during the summer, and mild during the winter, as well as their beautiful virgin beaches and natural beauty.
People wanting to move here will find plenty of English-speaking services and an established expat community.
It’s important to remember that each island has its own personality, and each has something for everyone.
Ibiza is party central, with an amazing, energetic night-life,
Mallorca is renowned for its dramatic coastlines and tourist resorts,
Menorca is known for being a place to relax in beautiful surroundings.
Formentera is the place to be to enjoy unspoiled beaches, sunbathing and windsurfing.
The Balearic Islands are famous for their night-life, opulence and carnivals.
Canary Islands, Spain
This volcanic archipelago (still active) is made up of seven major islands; Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro.
The weather, on the whole, is hot during the summer, and very mild during the winter. Expats and holiday-makers love the islands, because of their outstanding natural beauty.
In the Canaries you’ll find beaches of black sand, moss-cloaked and mist-shrouded forests, and razor-sharp, steep, volcanic mountains.
Across most of the islands, you’ll find that the northern areas are densely populated by the local population in funky, metropolitan towns and cities, which are generally cooler, rainier, greener and more mountainous than areas in the south.
The south is where you’ll find tourists because it’s warmer, dryer and the stunning beaches are located there.
People wanting to move here will find the pace of life invigorating, and there’s not much need to have a high level of Spanish. Work is good in the tourist industry, and health-care professionals, engineers and those in the forestry industry are in high demand.
Tenerife is the most popular tourist destination of the Canaries, La Gomera, La Palma, El Hierro and Lanzarote are known for their tranquility and beautiful walks for ramblers, Gran Canaria is known for its culture and night-life, and Fuerteventura is the place to go if you enjoy action, adventure, water sports, and sunbathing.
The Canary Islands are famous for its wildlife, epic scenery, and for tourism.
So there you have it! Hopefully our guide has helped you get more of a feel of where you’d like to move to in Spain.
Provinces of Spain
Make sure you keep coming back and checking out our blog because we have an exciting series of blog posts coming up that you might find useful in picking your new, Spanish home-town.
We’re producing individual, in-depth guides of all the villages, towns and cities in Spain!
It’s a mammoth task, but Indalo Transport are up to the challenge of revealing why Spain is the perfect location for you to live and love life as an expat.
And don’t forget, we can help you with your removals to Spain from the UK, and we’ll try to answer any questions that you may have about becoming an expat, we’re just a phone call or email away.
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