The objective of this paper is to present the findings of a quantitative study of Swiss elderly residents on the Costa Blanca (in the Province of Alicante, Spain) and of an ethnographic study of their British counterparts in Fuengirola and Los Boliches on the Costa del Sol (in the Province of Málaga). We examine the German concept Heimat and its value as an organising construct for understanding the aspirations and actions of foreign retirees resident in Spain, and explore whether globalisation undermines locality to the extent that being in a particular geographical place is no longer a prerequisite for feeling at home. The paper describes the social life and patterns of association of these groups of retired people, in terms of social clubs, leisure activities, voluntary associations, charity groups and self-help groups, relations with home, and relations to Spaniards and people from other countries. It compares the results of the two studies in an analysis of the strategies that the two groups adopt for constructing social communities and for finding a new home. This paper thus provides some insights into what older people seek in later life in terms of their residence, co-resident groups, social contacts and lifestyle choices.