Spain named country where Brits most want to retire in the world

Analysis of search engine data has revealed that Spain is officially the country where most Britons want to retire.

Spain named country where Brits most want to retire in the world
A man sunbathes in a designated roped-off area on Poniente Beach in Benidorm on June 21, 2020. Photo: JOSE JORDAN/AFP.

Though it’s long felt anecdotally true to say that Spain is the favourite retirement destination among Brits, there is now data to back up the claim.

After a new study revealed the top 10 countries in the world where Brits want to spend their retirement, Spain has come out on top.

Experts at Retirement Solutions have dug into the data and studied the average monthly Google search volume for different search phrases relating to retiring abroad.

READ ALSO: MAP: Where do Spain’s British residents live in 2023

They combined different Google search terms with each country to calculate the total search volume and ranked them according to the results. The following searches were analysed:

  • ‘retire in X’ 
  • ‘best place to retire in X’ 
  • ‘best places in X to retire’ 
  • ‘can I retire in X’ 
  • ‘how to retire in X’ 
  • ‘retire in X from UK’ 

Spain – a retirement paradise?

In news that might not surprise many, the country with the highest average monthly search volume was Spain, with 1,050. Spain has long been a popular retirement destination for Britons, and remains so despite the bureaucratic complications of Brexit. In fact, even after Brexit Spain’s British population continues to grow.

That’s according to new data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), which shows that the number of Brits residing in Spain has actually increased by 11,047 over the past year.


The reasons why Britons might want to retire in Spain seem limitless, but the main draws are the pleasant climate, affordability, proximity to friends and family in Britain, and the gentle pace of life. With the rising cost of living across Europe, particularly skyrocketing utilities bills in the UK, many retirees from across Europe have decided Spain is the best place to live off their savings and pension while avoiding rising prices.

Where do British retirees live in Spain?

According to the latest figures from Spain’s Ministry of Migrations, there are a total of 409,763 Brits living in Spain. This is over 115,000 more than the figure stated by Spain’s official stats body INE, who gauge the number by those with TIE cards, which not all Brits have.

The sociological profile of British residents in Spain may be unsurprising to many. The average age is 54 years old, considerably higher than other non-Europeans migrant groups, most notably Pakistanis and Moroccans, both groups with median ages of 33 years.

READ MORE: The places in Spain where Brits outnumber locals

Most popular Spanish regions for Brits to live in

It might not come as a surprise to discover that in early 2023 the biggest number of Brits in Spain lived in the southern region of Andalusia, home of the famous Costa del Sol, with a total of 92,180.

This was followed closely by the Valencia region, which includes Alicante province, with a total of 87,699, and then the Canary Islands with 29,631. 

Other autonomous communities with a sizeable British population are Catalonia with 24,689, the Balearic Islands with 19,569, Murcia with 17,562 and the Spanish capital of Madrid with 11,831.

READ ALSO: How much money do Britons need to move to Spain in 2023?

Most popular provinces

Meanwhile, the latest data from the padrón register also shows where the majority of Brits live on a provincial level. And unsurprisingly the provinces housing the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol are the most popular.

Of Spain’s 50 provinces, Alicante in the Valencia region comes top once again with 76,739 Brits. This coastal province is of course home to popular spots among Brits such as Benidorm, Torrevieja and Jávea, where those from Blighty represent anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the total population and sometimes even run in municipal elections.

READ ALSO: What makes Spain a great place to retire to?

The Spanish province with the second biggest British population in 2023 is Málaga province with 56,019. Similarly, places like Benahavís, Marbella or Estepona have a sizeable British representation. 

In third place are the Balearic Islands, which isn’t classified as a province but rather a region made up of four main islands, with Mallorca housing the bulk of the 20,000 Brits who live in the archipelago. 

Murcia, which is also not a province but a region, has its British population living mainly along the coast and in particular in the municipality of Mazarrón, where a 8,000-strong British population make up a third of residents.

The Retirement Solutions Rankings

Spain came out on top in the rankings, and the rest of the top 10 was made up of familiar retirement destinations, including Australia (2nd), Iberian neighbour Portugal (3rd), Thailand (4th),  Canada (5th), France (6th), India (7th), New Zealand (8th), Italy (9th), and Greece (10th).

A spokesperson from Retirement Solutions said of the study’s findings: “There are many ways to spend your retirement, whether that be picking up new hobbies or becoming more active – but one thing that many people may not get to experience as well as they’d like to is visiting different countries and exploring new cultures. For this reason, retiring abroad is very appealing to many Brits.” 

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What will happen to property prices in Spain in 2024?

Thinking of buying a home in Spain in 2024? Find out what the experts predict for the market in the year to come.

What will happen to property prices in Spain in 2024?

The price drops that many property experts forecast for this year did not materialise and in fact the cost of buying a home in Spain actually increased by seven percent in the last year.

In the biggest cities of Madrid or Barcelona, property prices skyrocketed and some even reached levels never seen before.

There was also a strong upward trend along the Mediterranean coastal areas and the Balearic Islands, which many believe was driven by international demand.

According to the latest housing stats available, in Alicante and Palma de Mallorca the prices rose by 15 percent, while it was 14 percent in Valencia and 13 percent in Málaga.

2023 comes to an end with a continued rise in house prices in Spain and an even greater demand due to a decreasing supply.

The Housing Law brought in earlier this year sought to solve the rental problem, but has so far caused more issues for tenants, meaning a lack of supply and an increase in prices. Part of this is due to the fact that it generated a significant shift from permanent rentals to seasonal rentals, making it even more difficult for families to access housing.

READ ALSO: Spain’s rent freezes and housing law fail to prevent price rises

Real estate experts predict that price tensions will continue to increase in 2024 in the most dynamic markets, while in the rest, they may begin to stabilise or even fall.

The real estate employers’ association argues that in some areas prices are too high and should drop by at least 10 percent, so that the population can afford them – but is this likely to happen within the next year?

Laura Martínez, spokesperson for mortgage comparison site iAhorro, told local daily Ideal recently that the market has begun to stabilise and everything indicates that this will be the trend in the coming months. “Inflation is being controlled and the European Central Bank should not raise interest rates further, so there could soon be reductions in prices”, she said.

Because of this Martínez believes that the first six months of 2024 will continue to be marked by “instability” but that the market could rise again in the second half of the year.

Bankinter on the other hand has forecast a two percent drop in prices. The bank predicts that the decline will be moderate and temporary, however. “Prices should tend to stagnate and could even fall slightly next year. But, if this correction occurs it will be temporary due to the high rate environment,” the company’s latest report on the real estate sector states.

Not everyone agrees that the prices will stabalise or fall, though, Ferrán Font, Head of Studies at estimates that prices will continue to rise in 2024, but they will be less pronounced at will only increase by around 1 to 2 percent.

“Significant drops are not going to come, especially with the upward path of rates being stagnant,” argues Font. He does, however, predict a possible decline in secondary locations, away from the main markets with the highest demand. “The trend of demand towards urban concentration will keep the pulse in the main capitals,” he added.

What about the difference in the price of new builds vs second-hand properties in in 2024, how will they compare?

Pelayo Barroso, national director of Savills Research says: “The trend in new construction prices will continue to increase given the limited supply. We think that prices will grow around 5 percent throughout 2024. In the case of the second-hand market, the situation is very heterogeneous. In general, prices will tend to remain stable or fall slightly (3-7 percent) in areas where the product is more abundant and demand has less access to the mortgage market”.

Ernesto Ferrer-Bonsoms, business director of Solvia agrees for the most part and believes that despite the current economic instability, marked by persistent inflation and high-interest rates, “2024 will continue to be a dynamic year in the number of real estate transactions” and that the market will begin to stabilise.

He predicts a reduction in the number of transactions of between 5 and 8 percent compared to 2023 though as a consequence of increased interest rates and the lack of supply.


If you’re looking to buy in one of Spain’s main property markets such as the Mediterranean coasts, Barcelona, Madrid or the Balearic Islands you’re unlikely to find a great bargain in 2024 and prices may continue to rise. 

Elsewhere in the country prices will begin to stabilise and some are even predicting slight drops.