Moving to Spain in 2023 regions guide for expats
This guide will help you find the perfect place to start a new life in the European Union.
Spain is an absolutely beautiful country, so it’s great that you have decided on moving to Spain after brexit! It has an array of stunning landscapes, climates, traditions and foods. To find out more about moving to Spain, read our article here.
However, Spain is a very large country. Did you know that can fit two Great Britains in it! It has 15 mainland regions and 2 island regions to choose from. If you are thinking about a move to Spain, use this moving to Spain in 2023 regions guide for expats to help decide where’s best.
This is part of our series of guides about the villages, towns, cities, provinces and regions of Spain. The series aims to give british citizens all need they to know about all of the different lifestyle choices and unique things to discover and experience in Spain. You can use to help make your spanish dream come true!
Now we are a non eu country, buying a spanish property is still possible, but moving to Spain is more complicated since Brexit. Whilst you may also need private health insurance, the spanish authorites have the golden visa which can shortcut the entry process for you. This is a way for those with sufficient financial funds to have guaranteed permanent residency. Get in touch with the spanish consulate in London to find out more – this is the immigration office which should be your first port of call. You will need to apply for a spanish residence permit – all british nationals must do this before travelling to Spain. You will need to make an appointment to visit the spanish embassy.
Once you have sorted out a spanish visa, you can go to Spain, and then you will need to visit the registro central de extranjeros in the area you are moving to, for your fingerprints to be taken ready for your TIE card. The spanish authorities have a process whereby you have to visit the office twice, once to regsiter, and then to collect the actual card. Then the move to Spain is complete, and you will be a tax resident of Spain and have a foreigners identification number. The only thing missing with your move to spain may be your belongings! We can help with that, so contact us now for a free quote
You’ll need to open a spanish bank account at some point. British citizens have many banks to choose from, and you’ll probably find that they all charge for their service, unlike the UK. Your uk state pension can be transferred to your account in Spain.
Another thing you’ll have to do is change over your UK driving licence to a spanish licence. Once you are tax resident in Spain this is mandatory. This is a relatively easy process for uk nationals, your should seek professional advice when in Spain and it won’t take that long to get your Spanish driving license. You don’t need an international driving permit for Spain. Be careful when you go and collect your spanish driving licence, as sometimes all of your categories that you can drive may not have been added.
Don’t forget to sort out health insurance at the local health centre, as you can only use your global health insurance card for a short while once you move to spain and start to pay tax. Then you will be fully in the spanish healthcare system, which is extremely good and very efficient. Like every public health insurance scheme throughout the world, you may find that private healthcare suits you better.
You’ll need to visit your local town hall in Spain, the ajuntamiento, to sort out signing onto the ‘padron’ register. When you have spanish residency, this process registers you as a voter with your local community and makes sure they get an allowance for you as a spanish resident.
If you are planning on working when you move to Spain, you need to make sure you get the correct visa. If you are a self employed person, which in Spain are called ‘autonomo’, you will be paying monthly social security fees for this are much higher than in the UK, but it does get you into the Spanish health system.
Once any British citizen has been in Spain several years, you will be able to apply for full Spanish Citizenship. This is especially important if you plan on living in Spain permanently. Becoming a full spanish citizen does require you to undertake a test. You will keep your spanish nie number, as that stays with you for life.
Spain after brexit is the same lovely place that it was before we left the european union. For non eu nationals who want to move to spain, becoming an eu citizen and paying spanish taxes is a worthy goal.
If one region in this lovely european country jumps out at you in particular, then you can research it in more detail. Once you’ve chosen where you’re relocating to, and you want to arrange a removal for your move to Spain, give us a call!
(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)
Moving to the North West Region
Because of its lush green vistas, this region is known as “Green Spain”.
Many of the villages, towns, and cities are along the coast.
Galicia’s summers are hot and the winters are pleasant. You can expect the same amount of rain as you would in the UK each year. Therefore it is quite well suited to British citizens. In addition, because this region is a major tourist destination, the capital city of Pontevedra has an established English-speaking community. The capital is a lovely, bustling city known for its architecture, history, festivals, and transportation connections.
This region of Spain will take your breath away. As well as stunning beaches, it has mountains, nature parks and biosphere reserves too!
Like Galacia, the weather is like the UK, and winters here can even include snow. The capital Oviedo provides a slice of authentic Spanish life.
Generally speaking, Asturias is an area that’s renowned for its food, photography and literature. It also tops all other regions for having access to the fastest high-speed cable broadband around.
Besides this, the area is famous for its ancient rites and beliefs, its gastronomy, and its monuments.
On the coast of Cantabria there are beautiful bays and romantic fishing villages.
The further inland you go, you’ll discover awe-inspiring green valleys, hills and spectacular mountain ranges.
Climate here is similar to the rest of the North West Region, so it has warm summers and mild winters. The capital is Santander, which is a very popular expat location with lots of uk citizens here. There is always lots to see and do. Visit the town hall to find out more from the tourist office.
Cantabria is famous for its colourful customs, its gastronomy and local crafts.
Moving to the Northern Region
The Basque Region has immense natural beauty. Landscapes along the Guernica river are stunning, there are rolling hills, enchanting beaches and several nature parks.
The Pyrenees mountains are always soaring high in the distance, and are a stunning feature of the european union.
Climate here is typically Mediterranean, so winters are warm and very wet, and the summers are hot and dry.
In fact the Basque region is famous for its mountain sports, including hiking, biking and riding. Wherever you go there is always scintillating modern architecture to see.
This region is absolutely beautiful. It has Mediterranean forests, high-mountain areas and the most amazing lunar landscapes you’ll ever see.
The climate is relatively dry, much dryer than the UK, and you get very hot summers and very cold winters.
La Rioja is famous for its wineries as it has 500 of them. They produce a wine made from the famous Spanish Tempranillo grape. The wine also takes it’s name from the region itself.
The Navarre region is small. However, it has three different types of geography.
There are mountain ranges to the north with exceptional landscapes, in the middle are impressive canyons, and to the south are 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 it’s food, for being eco-friendly and for its jaw-dropping festivals and carnivals (most notably the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona)
This area is “The Land of the Castles”, with extraordinary architecture in most of the towns and cities.
Castile-Leon has incredibly beautiful forests and has over 30 protected natural spaces, set in spectacular scenery. Subsequently, the weather is warm and dry during the summer, and cold in the winter, perfect for british citizens who want to move to Spain.
This region isn’t particularly popular with expats. Actually, it’s worth saying that the native people here don’t quite share the same Spanish politeness as elsewhere.
However, plucky Brits who go come here, particularly if they opt for the funky city of Salamanca, will find a peaceful, cosmopolitan place during the day, with great nightlife.
Moving to the North East Region
This 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. Many a british citizen would enter Spain via Barcelona, as it is, generally speaking, the most famous of all Spanish cities and perfect for a short break.
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid. It’s an enchanting, cosmopolitan and fashionable city. In addition to being incredibly popular with expats, it is also a busy tourist magnet.
Barcelona is a vibrant place to call home, and it is Spain’s first city in terms of culture and art. However, 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. Furthermore, don’t forget those beautiful beaches!
This region is famous for its gastronomy, art (Dali and Gaudi were Catalan), traditional festivals and of course, football! So may well be high on your of places for your move to Spain.
This is a region of beautiful monumental towns and medieval splendor.
This area is renowned for its outstanding mountainous landscapes and glacier lake. There are also treeless plateaus and nature reserves (where you might even spot 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.
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.
Indeed, as well as being famous for its Mudejar architecture, Aragon also has much dancing (in particular the Jota, an energetic 17th century dance), and its folklore.
Moving to the Eastern Region
This region 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. Therefore, this is a city that is a melting pot of different cultures. Additionally, it also has jaw-dropping architecture, and a night-life that rivals any of Spain’s bigger cities.
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). In addition, it has excellent gastronomy, and also the fabulous City of Arts and Sciences museum in the city of Valencia.
Moving to South East Region
Murcia is a region characterized by its medieval history.
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.
Similarly, 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 for a high-quality living and working life. In addition, 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.
Moving to the Southern Region
Andalucia has beautiful golden beaches and awe-inspiring mountain ranges.
This is the home of the Costa del Sol, with 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. Here is more info on moving to Marbella.
This area is an incredibly popular tourist destination and is heavily populated with expats.
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. However, it also has stunning beaches like in Mojacar, and also skiing in the Sierra Nevada only 2 hours away. Here is an expat guide to moving to Mojacar
Moving to the Western Region
This region of Spain, also known as “The Cradle of the Conquistadors” is relatively untouched by tourism and expats.
If you choose to move to Spain here, you’ll find unknown secrets and lifestyles.
Birds are attracted to the vast, undulating plains, which are covered in grasses and herbs. 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!
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.
Moving to Central Region
This moving to Spain in 2023 regions guide for expats salutes Madrid as Spain’s sprawling capital.
It’s located pretty much slap-bang in the middle of the country.
Here is a guide to moving to Madrid
A young, boisterous city, Madrid is a genuine cultural destination, and is a city of great monuments.
The weather here is hot during the summer, and cold during the winter. 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.
This region of Spain is renowned for its historical importance.
The area has stunning arid plains (known as La Mancha) and Castile-La Mancha is the most mountainous region in Spain. Over 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.
Castile-La Mancha is famous for its gastronomy (particularly desserts), shepherding, and its windmills.
Moving to the The Islands
Since this moving to Spain in 2023 regions guide for expats should include all of Spain, we have included the very distinct regions of the island groups.
This group of four islands include Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera.
It makes 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.
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, but 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.
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.
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. You will, however, need to accept that spanish income tax is generally higher than in the UK.
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 and water sports.
In addition, the Canary Islands are also famous for its wildlife, epic scenery, and for tourism.
So there you have it! Hopefully, our Moving to Spain in 2023 regions guide for expats has helped you get more of a feel of where you’d like to go when you move to Spain.
And don’t forget, we can help you with your stress-free removals to Spain from the UK. Here are 5 top tips for a stress free Removal.
We’ll answer any questions that you may have about your removal to Spain, we’re just a phone call or email away.
This may also help – How do I choose my Removal Company?
If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may enjoy
Your Essential – Free – Moving Checklist
Why EU removals will be tougher in 2022
Brexit horror stories and the future of removals to or from Spain
How to avoid these 7 packing mistakes, for the best removal
10 Top Tips for buying a Property in Spain
Moving to Spain … an Expat Guide,
Full List of Other Moving To … Expat Guides
How to use a roundabout in Spain
7 Essential items you Must Carry when driving in Spain