a street in frigiliana spain
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The True Cost of Living in Spain in 2022

What’s the cost of living in Spain? There isn’t a straightforward answer because it’ll depend on the city you choose to live in as well as your lifestyle choices.

However, if you want to discover whether Spain is an expensive or cheap place for expats or digital nomads, what the prices are like in different parts of Spain, and specific advice on moving to Spain and the costs that this involves, this blog will give you answers to your questions.

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Why move to Spain?

Its incredible historic buildings and attractions and leisure activities, laid-back lifestyle, delicious food and affordable cost of living make Spain a very attractive country to move abroad.

Pros and cons of moving to Spain

a view of the town of frigiliana in spain

Pros of moving to Spain

  • Diversity of landscapes. You’ll enjoy lush green forests and breathtaking cliffs, arid areas and volcanos.
  • Rich in history and culture. If you love immersing yourself in a new culture and learning about its past, Spain is a great country to live in.
  • Delicious gastronomy. No matter what area of Spain you plan to move to, you’ll discover that there is more than paella and tortilla de patatas. Each region has traditional dishes that are worth trying.
  • Affordable cost of living. Despite the increase in prices of most goods, Spain is an affordable country to live in. This doesn’t mean there aren’t expensive areas or everything is cheaper than in countries like the UK or US.

Cons of moving to Spain

  • Slow bureaucracy. If you need paperwork, a permit or a certificate, you may be waiting for it longer than you would expect. Things go slow, and the earlier you request or fill in your documentation, the better.
  • Lateness. Spaniards tend to be very relaxed about arranging plans, and many of them arrive late to places. If you make Spanish friends, don’t be surprised if they often turn up late and have an excuse about it, even if the excuse doesn’t make much sense.
  • Extreme heat. This will depend on the city you’re moving to. However, Spain, especially the south and centre of Spain, is very warm during the summer months. If you struggle with high temperatures, you need to know this.

How much does it cost to live in Spain?

You can live comfortably with less than 2,000 euros every month since the average salary in Spain is €2,710 gross per month. However, the cost of living in Spain will be different depending on your lifestyle, and your chosen Spanish destination.

For example, living in a lesser-known small town is much more budget-friendly than living in a big city like Barcelona.

Therefore, it’s very important you research the city or town you plan to move to before taking the step of moving there. Although you can always change location, the process of moving is sometimes stressful and expensive.

If you are wondering about the price differences between some of the major and popular expat destinations, let’s look at them.

Cost of living in Madrid

a historic building in the centre of madrid spain

If you dream about moving to a cosmopolitan city, Madrid ticks off all the boxes. It’s a great place to live because there are always things going on (like concerts, theatre performances, traditional events at Easter and Christmas and much more).

The main disadvantage of living in Madrid is the rent prices. Madrid is considered the most expensive place to live in Spain.

Anyone moving to Madrid on a budget may want to consider moving to the outskirts or a nearby city.

Price examples in Madrid:

  • Accommodation: €1,020 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre
  • Transport: €54.58 for a monthly pass

Cost of living in Barcelona

a street in barcelona spain

Barcelona is an amazing destination to visit and live in. Who doesn’t like being surrounded by impressive buildings, a vibrant atmosphere, great traditions, events, and culture?

Although there are many reasons that make you want to choose Barcelona as your home base. One of the downsides of living in Barcelona is that is the second most expensive city to live in Spain.

However, if you compare Barcelona with some European destinations and the UK, you’ll realise that the cost of living in Barcelona isn’t that expensive.

Price examples in Barcelona:

  • Accommodation: €1,015 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre
  • Transport: €40.00 for a monthly pass

Cost of living in Andalucia

colourful buildings in triana seville

Andalucia is one of the most populated counties in Spain, and there’s no doubt why many people choose the south of Spain as their home base. Its beautiful sunny weather, its diverse and delicious food, its friendly people and culture are some of the reasons to choose Andalucia.

Another good thing about moving to an Andalusian city or town is that the cost of living is lower than in other parts of Spain.

Having said that, this doesn’t mean everywhere in Andalucia is cheap. Marbella, located on Costa del Sol, is probably the most expensive town in the region. Its luxurious lifestyle, proximity to the coast and popularity among famous people, have made this town quite expensive.

Some popular destinations to live in Andalucia for expats are Seville, Malaga and Costa del Sol, Granada and Cadiz. Despite Seville being the capital of Andalucia, the cost of living in Seville isn’t as expensive as in towns like Marbella or Benahavis.

Price examples in Andalucia:

  • Accommodation: €645.92 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre
  • Transport: €35.00 for a monthly pass

Cost of living in the Spanish islands

las palmas in spain

Living in the Spanish islands is a dream for many people. The crystal clear sea and stunning landscapes as well as the laid-back lifestyle instantly make you want to move there.

It’s important to know that the cost of living in Majorca is different from the cost of living in Tenerife. The Balearic Islands are generally more expensive than the Canary Islands.

Regardless of the cost of living, the Spanish islands are popular destinations for expats and digital nomads. Some of the favourites are Palma de Mallorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife.

Price examples in the Spanish islands:

  • Accommodation: between €650 and €800 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre
  • Transport: € 40.00 for a monthly pass

General costs of living in Spain

Rent

moving to spain from uk

Rent in Spain is above 50 per cent cheaper than in the US, and it’s also much cheaper than in the UK.

Renting in Spain is seen as cheap for many expats and digital nomads, but it’s important to know that the monthly cost will also depend on the city and area you decide to live in.

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is 740 euros per month, but you can find cheaper rent. For example, Cordoba is one of the cheapest cities to live in Spain, and you can find a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre for 570 euros per month.

Utilities

Whether you buy or rent in Spain, setting up your utilities is one of the first things to do.

Like in many European countries, you can choose from different providers of electricity, gas, and internet. The options will be bigger or smaller depending on the area you plan to live.

In terms of water, you don’t have much choice as you’ll have to sign up with the local supplier.

If you rent in Spain, be aware that some landlords don’t include the utilities in the monthly rent, so this is something you want to check before signing a contract. If the rent doesn’t include utilities, you can either continue with the previous connections or sign up with another supplier.

Food

caesar salad and ham croquettes

Food used to be one of the cheapest expenses in Spain. However, supermarkets have increased the price of certain products due to the recent inflation.

The best way to save money on food is by looking and comparing prices, and buying food at different supermarkets.

There are supermarkets that you’ll only find in certain regions of Spain, but if you look at the biggest supermarkets that are in the whole country, Supeco, Mercadona and Carrefour offer competitive prices and offers.

If you’re wondering how much Spaniards spend on food per month on average, a couple spends between 300 and 350 euros.

This number can be higher depending on your food choices and if you eat out several times a month.

Leisure

Leisure in Spain doesn’t have to be expensive at all. There are many outdoor activities that don’t involve spending money or little money. For example, going on hikes, visiting the parks and gardens, going to the beach, cycling, etc.

If you love eating out, Spain is a fantastic country to eat good food at affordable prices. There are many tapas or pintxos bars (if you go to the north of Spain) that have cheap prices so you can often enjoy a few tapas and a drink with friends instead of having food at a fancy restaurant.

If you’re a big fan of going to the cinema and theatre, you’ll notice that prices aren’t much different to other European countries. You often pay 7 to 9 euros to watch a film in the cinema, and between 20 and 40 euros to go to the theatre or watch a local singer.

Other hidden costs of living in Spain

Healthcare

Unlike countries like the US, Spain offers a public healthcare system in which you don’t need to pay for doctor appointments, surgeries and other medical interventions.

However, you still need to pay for prescribed medication, and dentist appointments.

The downside of healthcare in Spain is that it’s very saturated, and if you need surgery or an urgent appointment with a specialist, this can take quite some time. This is the reason why many people opt for private healthcare.

Healthcare for digital nomads

If Spain is your first destination in your digital nomad journey, it’s very important to get travel medical insurance.

SafetyWing offers flexible and affordable travel medical insurance available in 180 countries, including Spain, and you can purchase it while already travelling.

Some of the best things about SafetyWing is that this travel insurance is made for nomads by nomads, and you receive 24/7 support if needed.

SafetyWing Nomad Insurance includes medical assistance as well as travel coverage for travel delays, lost check luggage and natural disasters among other circumstances.

safetywing nomad insurance infographic

📌 Check out SafetyWing Nomad Insurance here

Education

Essential education is free in Spain. Most schools and high schools are public and students get free education from primary until A-levels, but you can also find private and international schools.

Regardless of the type of school you choose, studying in Spain has hidden costs – from buying textbooks and notebooks to pencils, rulers and other school equipment.

Higher education and university courses have a fee, however, residents in Spain can apply for scholarships if they have and/or their family has a low income.

Tips for reducing the cost of living in Spain

  • Avoid living in popular areas. City centres and resort towns are always more expensive than the outskirts and smaller towns.
  • Buy from the local convenience or “souvenir” shop, known as “el chino” because most of these shops are owned by Chinese nationals. Here you can find anything from cleaning products and tools to stationary, and the good thing about them is that you can often find cheaper items than in big supermarkets.
  • Take advantage of “menú del día” if you regularly have lunch out. Whether you love eating out or you can’t stop home to have lunch, these menus are ideal for workers. You normally get a starter, a main course, dessert, and a drink for less than 15 euros.
  • Compare the different types of transport. If you live near the city centre, you may not need to use public transport on a regular basis, however, if you need to travel to work, study or for any other reasons, compare the different types of transport in the city you live in.
  • Open a Spanish bank account. If you plan to work in Spain, you’ll need a Spanish bank account. However, it’s good to have a Spanish bank account to avoid losing money with transactions and currency exchange rates.
  • Visit attractions and museums when they offer free entry. Many attractions and museums offer free entry at specific times and dates. It’s worth checking their website to know when you can enter for free. Generally, attraction tickets aren’t expensive in many parts of Spain, but it’ll help you save a bit of money that you can spend on something else.

Conclusion of the cost of living in Spain

Spain is fantastic, and one of the cheapest European countries to move to. Not only is it affordable but has great attractions, lifestyle and culture.

If you have any questions or want any advice on moving to Spain, reach me on my email at cristina[at]mylittleworldoftravelling.com or on Instagram. I’m always happy to help.

Cristina xx

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Frequently asked questions about the cost of living in Spain

Is living in Spain expensive?

Spain isn’t an expensive country in comparison to other Western European countries as well as the UK and US.

What are the cheapest cities to live in Spain?

The cheapest cities to live in Spain are:
– Cordoba
– Malaga
– Granada
– Logroño
– Murcia

Is the cost of living in Spain less than in the UK?

Yes, although the cost of living in Spain has increased in the last year, life in Spain is cheaper than in the UK. Especially when it comes to rent, food and transport.

Other moving to Spain guides that you will find useful

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