Written by Sally Veall,
Last Modified: 1st June 2022

Spain has once again come out on top in two recent surveys. The first, conducted by the Post Office Travel Money, revealed that Spain is the best value travel destination, while the second saw it retain its title of the most Blue Flag beaches.

While the surveys were aimed at tourists, the results are just as relevant to those looking to move to Spain permanently.

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Spain comes out on top for affordability

Despite the current increase in the cost of living worldwide, Spain still holds its own as affordable.

The Post Office survey included 36 global destinations and compared the cost of eating out, drinks and other day to day items. Spain was given a 92% value rating by past visitors in a survey of more than 2,000 people, beating the likes of Greece and Portugal.

Spain beats Greece and Portugal for affordability

Nonetheless, certain items now cost more than last year, such as oils, flour, some other foods and energy; but supermarkets and other retailers are constantly trying to keep their customer base by keeping basic foodstuffs as reasonable as possible.

Although eating out has also begun to cost more, it is still cheap in Spain to have a 3-course lunch, menú del día, €12, a coffee for €1.30 and a glass of wine or a beer for €2 to €3.

As such, the property market around Spain’s beaches is buoyant and the number of British people buying homes has increased noticeably this year. As of December 2021, there are 407,628 British people now officially living in Spain.

Spain has largest number of Blue Flag beaches in the world

Another survey shows that Spain has retained the number one spot for the largest number of Blue Flag beaches in the world – 621 in all. In comparison, England has just 77.

What’s so special about Blue Flag beaches?

There are several criteria a beach must meet to be awarded Blue Flag status. These include water quality; lack of sewage or industrial discharge; surveillance of coral reefs; clean sand or pebbles; adequate waste bins; adequate number of clean public toilets with sustainable waste disposal; regulations concerning dogs on beaches; bars, cafés, chiringuitos should be clean and properly maintained; presence of lifeguards and first aid equipment; available drinking water and facilities for the disabled where practical.

It is no wonder that local municipalities strive to obtain a Blue Flag for their beaches, and it is perhaps remarkable that so many have achieved it.

Spain has the most Blue Flag beaches in the world

The top Spanish coastal locations in 2022

Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is, without doubt, one of the most popular areas for British and other nationalities. Life here is relaxed, sunny and mostly spent outdoors. The InterNations Expat City Rankings places Málaga as the number two city for expats worldwide. Apart from its delightful old town and long promenade, the city is easy to negotiate with plenty of pedestrian-only spaces and you can walk to most places. Expats find it easy to make friends here and enjoy a very good social life as well as many types of culture.

Further down the coast, Marbella still attracts new residents, especially golfers. It has quite a lively vibe but remains a relaxed town, with excellent shopping. For families, Fuengirola is a good choice, with sandy beaches and an 8 km long promenade. There is a large British community as well.

Costa Blanca

The Costa Blanca and especially the province of Alicante continues to beckon British people and those from other countries. The region is home to the greatest number of non-Spanish residents and the most popular towns are Benidorm, Orihuela and Torrevieja because of their location by the sea and beaches and excellent facilities.

Beautiful Cala del Moraig beach

Canary Islands

Spanish islands are also sought after. The Canary Islands are a popular retreat for British expats and others. The warm winters are a contrast to most of Europe with Gran Canaria and Tenerife both good spots. Summers tend not to get too hot, with an average temperature of 25º and the islands have excellent cuisine and are inexpensive compared to many places on the mainland. Healthcare is first class, there are 4 national parks to explore and the islands boast 54 Blue Flag beaches.

Of course, there are many other great locations around Spain’s coasts and islands, some busy and others quiet and less touristic. With 4,964 km of coastline and 621 Blue Flag beaches, there is somewhere for everyone looking to enjoy life in a warm climate.

Read your Emigration Guide to find out everything you need to know about moving to Spain.

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