Spain has always been a favourite holiday destination for the British people. And what’s not to love about this country? Sunshine all year round, amazing beaches, …
No wonder so many British people decide to move abroad and live the Spanish dream! But despite all of Spain’s charms, sometimes you can’t help but crave a Sunday roast or a decent pint while you’re abroad.
Spain-Holiday, a search engine for holiday rentals in Spain, decided to find out which are the most British cities in Spain.
All Spanish cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants were considered, and the ranking was drawn up using two main data points: the percentage of residents with British nationality, and the ratio of British pubs, shops and similar establishments per inhabitant. The ranking reveals that:
- The Costa Blanca town of Benidorm is the most British city in Spain!
- The Costa del Sol dominates the ranking, with 5 towns in the top 10.
- Brits prefer to settle in popular tourist destinations, staying in areas that are already well-known and avoiding inland cities.
Top 10 most British cities in Spain
1. Benidorm, Alicante (Costa Blanca)
As arguably the most famous holiday destination in Spain, it shouldn’t surprise us that Benidorm takes the title of most British city in Spain.
Benidorm was one of the earliest holiday resort towns to exist, drawing tourists to its shore since 1925. A lot of British families have been spending their summer holidays in Benidorm for generations! So when deciding on a place to settle down, a lot of expats stick to their familiar holiday haunts and move to sunny Benidorm.
During the summer, the British community in Benidorm easily triples in size thanks to the many tourists, but even outside the high season the city has a lively community of British expats who permanently live there.
With several British supermarkets that bring your familiar brands and favourite products to the Costa Blanca, and a good number of British restaurants that serve lovely Sunday roasts and full English breakfasts, Benidorm truly is a “home away from home”.
Benidorm’s British stats:
- Permanent residents with British nationalities: 3,389 (4.90% of the total population).
- British shops, restaurants & pubs: 43.
2. Orihuela, Alicante (Costa Blanca)
The second most British city of Spain lies just to the south of Benidorm: Orihuela, a charming town near Torrevieja. It is divided into two parts: Orihuela Costa, the part of the town located directly by the sea (and the most popular location for Brits to settle down) and the old medieval part of Orihuela a few minutes inland.
Orihuela has always drawn plenty of expats because of its Blue Flag beaches and the nearby national parks.
This town is also well-connected with the rest of the country and Europe, thanks to two nearby international airports, another reason why it’s so popular with Brits wanting to move to Spain!
Orihuela’s British sports bars will make sure you won’t have to miss a single Premier League match, and your trusted British brands are always available in the British 'supermercados.'
Orihuela British stats:
- Permanent residents with British nationalities: 10,025 (12.70% of the total population).
- British shops, restaurants and pubs: 18.
3. Benalmádena, Málaga (Costa del Sol)
The Costa del Sol finally makes its appearance in this ranking with Benalmádena, which closes the top 3!
In summer the city is taken by storm and its beaches fill up with tourists, but in winter, Benalmádena becomes a sleepy town where expats and locals live side by side.
The town has a very international population that is divided between 3 main areas: Benalmádena Costa, known for its beaches, Benalmádena Pueblo, quiet and located on the slopes of the Malaga mountains, and Arroyo de la Miel, located in between the previous two and with plenty of entertainment for locals and tourists alike.
While people from all over Europe enjoy life in Benalmádena, Brits are one of the most prominent nationalities. Here you will find the most British shops and bars in all the Costa del Sol, converting Benalmádena into the British centre of the Costa del Sol!
Benalmádena British stats:
- Permanent residents with British nationalities: 3,420 (4.87% of the total population).
- British shops, restaurants and pubs: 31.
4. Mijas, Málaga (Costa del Sol)
For the next town in the ranking we stay on the Costa del Sol, because Mijas is the fourth most British town in Spain!
While Mijas Pueblo has always attracted many visitors because of its natural beauty and traditional Spanish architecture, you will find that most British expats have settled in its coastal area, also known as Mijas Costa.
This beautiful piece of coastline has attracted many expats wanting to experience Spanish living.
Thanks to its central location on the Costa del Sol, living in Mijas makes it easy to explore the Andalusian coastline and the 'pueblos blancos' located inland. Combine this with marvellous weather and a welcoming British community, and you get one of the cities with the highest percentage of British residents of the Costa del Sol!
Mijas British stats:
- Permanent residents with British nationalities: 8,610 (9.93% of the total population).
- British shops, restaurants and pubs: 3.
5. Torremolinos, Málaga (Costa del Sol)
The next most British town in Spain another one of our favourite holiday destinations: Torremolinos.
This lively coastal town attracts both young professionals and pensioners who want to make Spain their home. It’s well-connected with Malaga, the capital city of the province, and the southern part of Torremolinos has become a real tourist hub, with plenty of British pubs, restaurants and shops.
The northern part of town still conserves that authentic Spanish 'pueblo' look and feel, so any expats living here can enjoy Spanish living and at the same time you can go down to the coast and order a pint whenever you’re feeling homesick.
Torremolinos British stats:
- Permanent residents with British nationalities: 1,353 (1.99% of the total population).
- British shops, restaurants and pubs: 28.
6. Fuengirola, Málaga (Costa del Sol)
From one Costa del Sol town to another: Fuengirola comes in sixth place! While the town is mostly known as a hub for Scandinavian expats, it still has a large British community.
Because of the many green spaces, the child-friendly, clean beaches and the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city, Fuengirola has attracted many British families with young children who’ve made the city their home.
The city has everything an expat could wish for: plenty of pubs and restaurants where you can watch Premier League matches and enjoy a pint, many English-language events all year round, and even a local 'Spainsburys' to buy all your favourite snacks from home!
Fuengirola British stats:
- Permanent residents with British nationalities: 5,508 (6.67% of the total population).
- British shops, restaurants and pubs: 15.
7. Torrevieja, Alicante (Costa Blanca)
Moving back to the Costa Blanca, Torrevieja is the next city in the top 10.
This is another resort town, where Brits have been spending their summers since the 50s. No wonder many expats decide to make this town their home when they move to Spain! Most of them do not live in the city centre, rather they chose to live in the suburbs, where you can find entire neighbourhoods that consist only of expats!
Apart from the many pubs (where you can enjoy a decent cider if that’s your fancy), there are several small British supermarkets and even a Dealz and Iceland located in town. Whenever you feel like having a taste of home, your familiar brands and products are waiting for you.
Torrevieja British stats:
- Permanent residents with British nationalities: 4,743 (5.73% of the total population).
- British shops, restaurants and pubs: 18.
8. Calvià, Mallorca (Balearics)
Calvià is the first city in the ranking on one of the Spanish islands!
The actual town, located inland in the south of Mallorca, is small, sleepy, and not very well-known. However, the administrative area of Calvià includes the nearby holiday resorts Magaluf and Palma Nova, much-loved holiday destinations by many of us.
The majority of British expats, however, prefer quieter neighbourhoods like Nova Santa Ponsa and Bendinat as places to settle down. This means that in summer, expats can avoid the crowds at the holiday resorts, but they will only have to drive a few minutes to get to the resort towns with all the pubs, restaurants and shops for those moments of homesickness.
Calvià British stats:
- Permanent residents with British nationalities: 4,068 (7.89% of the total population).
- British shops, restaurants and pubs: 5.
9. Arona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands)
Next in the ranking is Arona, a sleepy town located in the south of Tenerife.
Just like Calviá, the name might not sound familiar, but its coastal area definitely will ring a bell, with holiday resorts like Los Cristianos and Playa de las Américas dotting the costa of Arona. Most Brits living in Arona settled there, to be able to enjoy the amazing beaches of Tenerife and be a part of the lively British community.
With Tenerife being called the Island of Eternal Spring, it’s no surprise that many Brits decide to make this area their home!
Apart from the high season in summer, Arona is a calm area where you can experience island living with all the comforts from home!
Arona British stats:
- Permanent residents with British nationalities: 4,013 (4.86% of the total population).
- British shops, restaurants and pubs: 17.
10. Estepona, Málaga (Costa del Sol)
We return to the Costa del Sol with the next most British town on the list: Estepona. This town to the west of Marbella is both traditionally Spanish and cosmopolitan at the same time.
Its beautiful old town and amazing beaches draw plenty of visitors from all over the world, but they also draw a lot of expats to this paradisiacal part of Spain.
The expat community in Estepona is very large, about 25% of the general population, and one fifth of them are British.
Combine this with plenty of expat clubs and groups, pubs and shops offering your familiar products, and Gibraltar only a 45-minute drive away, Estepona has definitely earned its place in the list of most British cities in Spain!
Estepona British stats:
- Permanent residents with British nationalities: 4,111 (5.72% of the total population).
- British shops, restaurants and pubs: 5.