Three Andalusian cities feature in the list compiled by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU).
Hundreds of thousands of expats have packed up and started a new life in Spain over the years, attracted by the climate, cuisine and laid-back culture.
However, this only scratches the surface. There is much more to consider when looking for a new place to live, including mobility, health and education services, public safety, the job market, cost of living, environmental protection, pollution and urban cleanliness.
To determine which Spanish cities offer the best of all these criteria, the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) surveyed almost 3,000 people in Spain‘s most populated places in 2021 and compiled a list of the top 15 with the best quality of life.
Not surprisingly, the pandemic had an adverse impact on living conditions everywhere, but despite physical and social restrictions, the average quality of life was around 64 out of 100 points.
Here are the 15 best Spanish cities in the OCU in terms of quality of life:
1. vigo 293,837 people live on the southwest coast (as of 2021), those surveyed praised the personal safety, cleanliness, education and protection of the environment as well as the wide range of leisure activities for families with children. The city received 70 points.
2. Zaragoza is the capital of Aragon, one of the autonomous communities in north-eastern Spain, and has 675,301 inhabitants. The study focuses on mobility, the real estate market, healthcare and the city’s cultural offerings. Zaragoza received 69 points.
3. Bilbao. With 346,405 inhabitants, Bilbao in northern Spain scores 69 points for aspects such as mobility, environment and health as well as culture, sport and leisure.
4. Valladolid is the only city in Castilla y León to make it into this ranking. It has 97,775 residents and the only reason it’s not higher is because its residents have highlighted “problems” with the real estate market and the supply of affordable housing. Respondents gave Valladolid 68 points.
8th. Gijon.The coastal town in northern Spain is home to 272,202 people who care deeply about public safety, waste disposal, cleanliness and the general cost of living. (65 points)
11. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has 378,675 inhabitants and ranks so low compared to other cities due to the high cost of living and job opportunities according to those surveyed. (63 points).
13. Palma is home to 419,366 people and has dropped points on issues such as education and public safety in addition to mobility issues. (57 points).
14 Barcelona. With a population of 1,636,732, study participants subtracted points in the cost of living and pollution categories, scoring 56 points.
fifteen. Madrid. Spain’s capital and home to 3,305,408 residents scored just 55 due to property market prices, high cost of living, pollution and urban cleanliness.
Image 1, 2 and 4: Wikimedia Commons
Photo 3: Ayuntamiento de Murcia