Spain and Italy – where is it better to move to live permanently?

Choosing a place for your permanent residence is always a responsible moment, so you need to carefully study the country you are going to move to. There are a lot of attractive options in Europe, but for lovers of warm climate, excellent cuisine and diverse recreation, there are usually two main destinations – Spain or Italy.

In fact, there are a lot of similarities between these two countries. They are located in the southern part of Europe, so it is warm here by default, they have direct access to the sea, and both states are at about the same level of socio-economic development. We tell you where it is better to live, in Spain or Italy, and what makes these countries attractive for potential relocators.




How did we compare Spain and Italy?

According to the portal at the end of 2022, Spain ranked 10th in the TOP of the most popular destinations for immigration. Surprisingly, Italy is next in this list – in 11th place. This means that both countries are extremely attractive for potential relocation and they have many common advantages, otherwise they would not be located so close in the ranking.

When comparing these two countries, we will operate on the main categories that are important for an ordinary person – these are climate, food and entertainment, attractions and, of course, cost of living. And what is more preferable for you – it’s up to you to decide.



Spain and Italy are located in Southern Europe. Italy is washed by 5 seas at once, while it has the longest coastline among all European countries.


Spain or Italy


The length of Spain’s coastline is slightly more modest, but it has another competitive advantage – it has a wide access to the Atlantic Ocean.



Italy, thanks to its elongated shape, falls into several climatic zones:

  • Mediterranean – it is considered the hottest. It includes the southern territories, as well as such islands as Sardinia and Sicily. Winter here is very short (from January to mid-February), while it is quite rainy. Even at night, the temperature here does not drop below zero, and during the day it warms up to +14 degrees Celsius. Summer is quite hot and dry – the temperature is within +30 degrees.
  • Adriatic – this is the east of the country with access to the Adriatic coast. It includes coastal areas, because they are separated from the continent by the Apennine mountains. This area has a humid climate, cold winters and strong winds.
  • Alpine – it is characterized by a rather long winter and a short summer. It is especially cool in the mountains, where it rains constantly in summer and snows in winter. In summer, the temperature here is within 13-14 degrees above zero, and in winter it can drop to -10 degrees and below.


Spain or Italy


The location of the country contributes to the fact that the Italian climate is suitable for any type of recreation. In the mountains in winter you can ski, and in the cities that are located at the foot, the temperature can reach a comfortable 30 degrees. On the same Sicily, which is considered the warmest place in the country, you can find time for sunbathing even in winter, where the temperature stays around +15 degrees. The warmest sea – off the coast of the island of Sorrento and Capri, where the water temperature reaches a comfortable 27 degrees Celsius.

The climate in Spain is somewhat drier and hotter than in Italy, although there is no fundamental difference. At the same time, the difference between winter and summer temperatures is very small, so you can relax here throughout the year. Snow here is a rarity and is perceived by local residents as a national disaster. In winter, the temperature rarely drops below zero even at night.


Local cuisine

Tourism is not only about attractions and beach holidays, but also about exploring the local cuisine of new places for yourself. It is always interesting to try something new, because tastes in different countries can differ radically.


Spain or Italy


Both Italy and Spain have something to surprise those who come for new gastronomic sensations. Italy immediately associates with pizza, as well as excellent pasta. No less famous are risotto and lasagna, which are on the menu of almost every Italian restaurant. This is not just food – it is part of the cultural code of the country, so there is a special attitude to it here. Try eating pasta with bread or adding cream to traditional Carbonara pasta, and you will understand that Italians are very jealous of their cuisine.


Spain or Italy


Spanish cuisine is no less diverse. Cold soup gazpacho and the famous paella are just part of the national dishes that are definitely worth a try. Meat lovers will like the local ham, which impresses not only with its taste, but also with the way of cooking. It is made by drying a pig’s leg, which is cut and cleaned after slaughter. Then it is placed in a barrel filled with salt – this is necessary to get as much moisture out of the meat as possible. After that, all the salt is removed and the leg is hung for further drying. This is a great snack for wine – another Spanish pride. In this country there are many exquisite varieties – cabernet franc, rioja, etc.

Therefore, it is impossible to give a clear palm to either country. Everywhere has its own flavor and its own history, so choose what suits you best.



Spaniards are very temperamental people, so the national entertainment here is appropriate. This is a colorful flamenco show, as well as a spectacular, but somewhat controversial bullfight.


Italy or Spain


In Italy, entertainment is a bit quieter, but they are also very fun. What is worth the unique Venetian carnival.


Italy or Spain


But all people are different, so their entertainment may differ. Perhaps the unifying hobby is shopping and here Italy definitely wins, where you can buy branded items of the highest quality. Milan and Rome are the world capitals of fashion, so here you can have a good time walking through the local boutiques. Shopping in Spain is also developed, so it does not lag far behind Italy.



Here is an approximate parity – in both Spain and Italy you can enjoy the local architecture, as well as magnificent historical objects. In Italy – this is the Colosseum, Roman Pantheon, Leaning Tower of Pisa and Venice canals. In Spain – Royal Palace in Madrid, aqueduct in Segovia and much more.

But the main feature of these two countries is that there are memorable places in absolutely every local city. Spain and Italy have a rich cultural and historical heritage, so this is not surprising.


Where is cheaper to live – in Spain or Italy?

It is believed that Spain is slightly cheaper to live than Italy, if you compare prices for gasoline, transport, food and housing. In the world ranking of countries by cost of living, Italy ranks 23rd, while Spain ranks 38th. Quite a big gap, so this should be taken into account when choosing a place for permanent residence.


Italy or Spain


Comparison of Italy and Spain – what is the result?

To make it clearer for you, let’s look at the pros and cons of each option. Let’s start with the advantages of moving to Spain:

  • Low prices compared to most other Western European countries.
  • Warm Mediterranean climate and very clean air.
  • A large number of beaches, especially on the Costa Blanca (the beaches are free).
  • Good medical service.
  • Good attitude to newcomers, so you will not feel like a stranger here.
  • Free education for all children without exception from the age of 3. If the child does not know Spanish, then a separate teacher will be assigned to him for language lessons.
  • Magnificent local landscapes.
  • Rich historical and cultural heritage. This applies to any areas – painting, architecture, music, etc.
  • The possibility of obtaining a residence permit when buying real estate for an amount of 500,000 euros or more.
  • Visa-free regime to all countries of the European Union for holders of a residence permit.


Spain also has its drawbacks. One of them is the relatively high level of unemployment, so when hiring, preference is always given to candidates from among the local residents. However, this does not apply to people with a sought-after specialty.


Italy has its own advantages:

  • Excellent and diverse cuisine.
  • A lot of options for leisure activities – from shopping and visiting SPA to extreme sports.
  • Measured life. Being here, you feel some kind of soothing atmosphere that allows you to enjoy life. By the way, the same applies to Spain.
  • Free high-quality medicine.
  • A huge number of attractions.
  • Italy is a place of attraction for all those who love fashion. Here are numerous boutiques, so if you need a new thing from the collection of Prada or Gucci, then this is the place for you.


But in Italy there is also a relatively high level of unemployment, while the cost of living is higher than in Spain. Here are relatively high prices for real estate, which increase proportionally as you approach megacities and tourist areas.


It is difficult to answer unequivocally what is better for living – Italy or Spain. These countries are like twin sisters who turn out to be very similar, but at the same time with their own individual characteristics. It’s up to you to choose anyway.

But if you decide to choose Spain, then on our website «M2 Real Estate», you will find a lot of options for buying real estate, in various cities for every taste.