This paper aims to establish the singularity of the European retired who have moved to live on the Costa del Sol, Spain. To study this topic it was necessary, first, to discuss the constrains that arise when this 'migration' is under close scrutiny; secondly, to depict the geographical model of retired Europeans who move to Spain; and, thirdly, to carry out an ad hoc survey to ascertain the reasons for this residential movement, the advantages and disadvantages of living in Spain after retirement, and the influence on several aspects of the economic and social activity on the receiving area. The survey fieldwork was conducted in April-May 1996. Nonlinear canonical correlation analysis is applied to identify the relationships among demographic and perceptual variables. The results show that nationality and, to a lesser extent, age and academic level are the most important variables for grouping retired Europeans on the Costa del Sol according to their statements. The pleasant Mediterranean climate, the lower cost of living and the informal Spanish lifestyle were the main pull factors of living in Spain, the language acting as the greatest disadvantage. As the retired relate these conditions to life in Spain, a strong relationship with tourist areas is highlighted when the geographical distribution is described.