Best Cities to Teach English in Spain

Within the national boundaries of Spain, you will discover world-class cities steeped in a rich cultural heritage. Fortunately, many of them also happen to be ideal ESL destinations for new and experienced teachers alike.

Here is our definitive rundown of the best cities to teach English in Spain.


Madrid, by far, is the richest source of rewarding English-teaching jobs. It’s the biggest city in Spain, with a population of around 3.2 million people, and it’s also the national capital.

Most reputable teaching programs and recruiters have bases in Madrid. There are tons of private and public school teaching opportunities.

The cost of living in Madrid is higher than the national average, but teacher pay is commensurate with the premium you’ll pay for everyday goods and services.

Barajas Airport connects to nearly every major city in Europe and also offers direct flights beyond the continent. Madrid’s municipal transportation infrastructure is excellent, with bus and high-speed train services running throughout the city.

A large expat population has made Madrid its adopted home. In fact, some estimates put the number of expats in the city at one million – so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make a diverse set of friends, including ones from back home. Connecting with peers from their native country helps many teachers adjust to the sometimes overwhelming culture shock associated with any transnational transition.

Calle Gran Vía, Madrid, Spain


Spain has many great municipalities, including the ones that follow on this list, but in many ways, it’s a tale of two cities: Madrid and its rival, Barcelona. With a population of 1.6 million, Barcelona is the second-largest city in the country.

What’s unique about Barcelona is that it’s the capital of the autonomous zone of Catalonia, the territory in the far northeast of Spain with a fascinating history. Off and on throughout history, Catalonia has seceded from Spanish authority and was evenly a protectorate of France for a brief time. Periodic movements to break away from Spain still continue to this day.

Check out this brief and worthwhile synopsis of Catalonia’s history.

Barcelona’s history has fostered the development of a culture unlike any other you’ll find in Spain or elsewhere. For this reason, among others, Barcelona is many tourists’ and residents’ hands-down favorite city in Spain.

The weather is gorgeous year-round, the architecture is stunning, and the nightlife is happening. The famed French Riviera is just across the border. There’s not much to dislike about Barcelona.

Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain


Seville, the capital of the southern autonomous community of Andalusia, is the hottest city in the whole of Europe, so if heat and fun in the sun tickle your fancy, you might want to consider Seville.

Many residents consider Seville the most “authentic” of Spanish cities as it conjures images of flamenco, traditional dress, frequent parades, and essential Spanish cuisine.

Whether you settle down in Seville or nearby Granada, be sure not to miss the world-famous Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations every Easter.

Spain’s high-speed rail service connects Seville to Malaga and Granada.

Check out this interesting video on Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Sevilla!


Granada, also located in Andalusia and the capital of the province by the same name, is a college town a few hours’ drive from Seville at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the southeast of Spain. It’s the home of the large and prestigious University of Granada.

Granada is the Spanish word for pomegranate, the delicious ruby fruit with multiple health benefits.

A stone’s throw away in one direction is the mountains, and equally close in the other direction is the beach, so you can get the best of both worlds. Have your cake and eat it too.

The biggest tourist attraction in Granada is a Rennaisance-era Moorish fortress called Alhambra Palace.

Alhambra Palace, Granada, Spain

Tutoring jobs are ample in Granada, including to the tens of thousands of university students in the area.

Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca, the capital and largest city in the Balearic Islands in Spain, offers a taste of the island life with a Spanish flair off the coast of Barcelona and Valencia.

The island’s beaches are delightful, as are its interior geographic features. The history of the island is likewise captivating, as it has been heavily influenced by Moorish culture over the centuries and, somewhat surprisingly, Slavic culture as well.

The cost of living in Palma de Mallorca is low relative to bigger cities.

Tutoring opportunities and jobs at private language institutes are prevalent throughout the island.

Palma Cathedral, Palma de Mallorca


The unrecognized capital of Basque Country in Northern Spain with a population of slightly over 300,000, Bilbao is home to yet another distinct Spanish subculture, and also an entirely separate language called Euskadi.

Bilbao is home to a thriving internationalized financial industry, which means there is a large pool of prospective ESL learners to support foreign teachers.

The climate in Bilbao, and Basque Country more generally, is cooler than the rest of Spain, so if you enjoy that type of weather, that’s another consideration to add to the pros/cons column.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao


The capital of the province bearing the same name and situated on the east coast, Valencia is the third most populous city in Spain, with approximately 700,000 residents. It’s an extremely old city with a rich history, having been founded in the BC era as a Roman Empire outpost, later to come under Islamic rule in the 8th century AD.

Valencia’s port is the busiest of any in the Mediterranean and the 5th-busiest in the entire world, so it’s safe to describe the local economy as bustling. What this means for the foreign ESL teacher is that there is a strong demand for English instruction – English being the universal business language.

If you’re into cycling and/or other outdoor adventures, let the 120 km (75 miles) of coastal bike paths entice you – perfect for day-tripping and closing out the journey with a beachside sunset.

Valencia, Spain


Teaching English in Alicante opens doors to a coastal haven complemented by a burgeoning demand for language education. Nestled by the Mediterranean, Alicante combines a relaxed lifestyle with a growing expat community, making it an ideal city for English teachers. Beyond its stunning beaches, the city offers a range of language schools and institutes seeking English instructors. The multicultural ambiance and a steady stream of tourists seeking to improve their English present abundant opportunities for teachers looking to immerse themselves in a laid-back yet vibrant setting.


Teaching English in Málaga unveils a cultural gem where the coastal allure harmonizes with a rising need for English education. Known for its cultural richness and stunning coastline, Málaga presents English teachers with an array of language schools, academies, and private tutoring opportunities. The city’s status as a hub for tourism and commerce fuels the demand for proficient English speakers, offering teachers a chance to engage with a diverse student base while enjoying the city’s blend of history, art, and a relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle.

Santiago de Compostela

Teaching English in Santiago de Compostela unveils a unique blend of history, spirituality, and a growing interest in language education. As the culmination point of the Camino de Santiago, the city exudes a spiritual ambiance that attracts visitors from across the globe. English teachers find opportunities in language academies and schools catering to locals eager to improve their language skills and pilgrims seeking immersion in the local culture. The city’s tranquil atmosphere and rich cultural heritage offer teachers a serene yet culturally enriching teaching environment.


Teaching English in Salamanca presents an opportunity to immerse oneself in academia and history. Known as a university town, Salamanca hosts a vibrant student population eager to enhance their English proficiency. The city’s prestigious institutions and language schools create a conducive environment for English teachers, especially those specializing in exam preparation. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, vibrant nightlife, and a strong commitment to education make Salamanca an appealing destination for those seeking a dynamic teaching experience amidst historic charm.


Teaching English in Córdoba offers a fusion of historical allure and a growing demand for language education. The city’s rich history, marked by its Moorish legacy, resonates alongside a burgeoning interest in English instruction. Language schools and institutes seek English teachers to cater to students eager to enhance their language skills for academic, professional, and personal growth. Córdoba’s unique blend of ancient landmarks, picturesque streets, and a thriving cultural scene creates an engaging teaching environment immersed in a tapestry of history and modernity.

Get in Touch With the Experts at RVF International to Learn More About Teaching and Living in Spain

As you embark on this journey to explore the best cities to teach English in Spain, remember that each destination holds its own set of experiences waiting to be unraveled. Whether you’re drawn to the coastal charm of Alicante and the cultural mosaic of Málaga or the spiritual serenity of Santiago de Compostela and the academic vibrancy of Salamanca, your choice is just the beginning of an amazing adventure.

If you’re serious about creating a new lifestyle for yourself in Spain, whether temporary or permanent, contact RVF International. We would love to help you transition to Spain to have the adventure of a lifetime as a teacher. Hear from the teachers we’ve assisted via our testimonials page.