How Much Does it Cost to Live in Spain?
Are you considering living in Spain? With an excellent health care system and an incredibly vibrant culture, it’s a great place for expats to live.
But one of the top reasons moving to Spain is great for expats is the affordable cost of living. If you have your heart set on moving to Western Europe, Spain will allow you to live comfortably for less. The cost of living is 34% lower than the cost in the USA. This is mostly due to the cost of housing, which is 57% lower than in the U.S.! Spain’s living expenses can be higher than other popular expat destinations in Asia and South America. But if you prefer a Western lifestyle, it’s hard to beat.
Learn how the cost of living in Spain compares, including the cheapest and most expensive cities to live in. All prices were sourced from Numbeo unless otherwise noted. These prices were up to date as of August 2022.
What Are the Most Expensive and Cheapest Cities in Spain?
Most Expensive Cities in Spain
- Barcelona: This global city is famous for its illustrious culture and gorgeous architecture, as well as for some of the best beaches in the world. While it’s the most expensive city in Spain, the cost of living is 60% lower than New York City.
- Bilbao: The beating heart of Basque country, Bilbao’s arts scene is as energetic as its txikiteo and pintxos are delicious.
- Madrid: Spain’s beautiful capital and largest city has something exciting to do every hour of the day. It is an especially great place for night owls.
- Palma de Mallorca: Palma offers all of the benefits of island living alongside the electric atmosphere of a cosmopolitan city, all at a 62% lower price than New York City.
Most Affordable Cities in Spain
- Zaragoza: Also known as Saragossa, this amazing city is under the radar for most expats. It has spectacular Moorish architecture and unique, delicious cuisine. It’s close to both Madrid and Barcelona. Best of all, it’s a whopping 70% cheaper than New York City.
- Murcia: Another of Spain’s best-kept secrets, Murcia has been a human settlement since the Neolithic Age. It is known as “Europe’s orchard” because of all the food grown in the region It is a popular university town and one of the top places in Spain for outdoor activities.
- Granada: This vibrant city invariably makes the “most visited cities in Spain” list alongside Barcelona, Madrid, and Palma, but the price of living comfortably is 30% lower than in Barcelona.
- Alicante: Is it the beaches, nature, festivals, history or the sunny climate that draws expats to Alicante? All of the above and more! One out of every five residents is an expat, so you’re likely to find someone who speaks your language. And all with living expenses that are 70% lower than New York City!
The Average Cost of Living in Spain
Housing Costs in Spain
As with every country, the price of housing varies depending on where you live. Through our research, we have found furnished one-bedroom apartments in the center of large cities for approximately USD$675-$825 per month. The cost is slightly higher in the major cities of Madrid and Barcelona. But even in Madrid, housing is inexpensive when compared to similar European cities such as Paris and London. A furnished one-bedroom apartment in the center of Madrid will average USD$925-$1,150 per month.
Don’t want to live in a city center? Rent for a house outside of major towns is USD$550-$680/month and can be even lower. Keep in mind that the typical Spanish home is small compared to homes in the USA, so you may want to rent a larger place.
Utilities are a bit more expensive than in other countries, but the lower rent fees makes the total living expenses affordable. Utilities for a 915 sq. ft apartment are on average USD$115-$140 per month, while internet access costs around USD$34-$41 per month.
Food Prices in Spain
If you’re used to paying U.S. prices, you’ll find that the price of groceries and eating out in Spain is very affordable. With the warm climate, the country grows lots of fresh produce, so if you eat fresh foods, your grocery bills will be quite low.
Most food at grocery stores is anywhere from 40-70% cheaper than it is in the United States. A gallon of milk is one of the only items with a price similar to the USA, ranging from USD$2.75 to $3.37. A dozen eggs are just USD$1.85-$2.26, while a pound of chicken is just USD$2.56-$3.12. Staples such as rice and potatoes are only USD$0.48-$0.59 per pound. And a beer is only USD$0.81-$0.99 at a grocery store, while a mid-range bottle of wine is just USD$4.46-$5.46.
Eating Out and Entertainment Costs in Spain
Eating out in Spain isn’t expensive when compared to the U.S., Australia or most western European countries. A lunchtime meal at a decent restaurant will cost you about USD$10.90-$13.30. At a fast-food joint, you’ll pay an average cost of USD$7.38-$9.02, about what you would in the U.S.
Date night is also much cheaper in Spain. A nice three-course dinner for two is about 25% less than average prices in the United States at USD$44.66-$54.58, and the addition of a beer will only increase the cost by USD$2.23-$2.73. And a cinema ticket is just $7.15-$8.73.
Ready to get in shape? Fitness club fees are one area where Spain is similar to the USA, at USD$33.73-$41.23. But with the country’s legendary beaches and famed hiking trails, you can save some money by participating in outdoor activities instead.
Transportation Costs in Spain
If you live in a major city, you don’t need a car. The public transit systems are all excellent, and monthly public transportation passes are inexpensive at around USD$37-$45. Taxi fares are also almost ⅓ cheaper, but taxis aren’t always available outside the center of larger Spanish cities.
If you do have a car, you can expect to pay a bit more for gas because Spain taxes fuel more heavily. In August 2022, gas cost USD$5.69-$6.95 a gallon. However, the typical commute is short, so you can expect to drive less, and that can even out the expenses. If you need to buy a car, a new Volkswagen Golf or equivalent sells for between $19,425.27 and $23,741.99.
Healthcare Costs for Expats in Spain
Spain has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Compared to other nations, you’ll enjoy high-quality care at lower costs. But there are several reasons that many expats choose to get private health insurance in Spain.
In Spain’s public system, wait times can be long, particularly for specialist appointments. In addition, you will not always get a doctor that speaks your language. Many expats choose to get international health insurance in order to access private health care, which has shorter wait times and far more multilingual health care professionals.
- Compare multiple quotes and coverage options
- Work with an insurance expert at no additional cost
- Find the best plan for your needs and budget
Is Spain Expensive to Live In? No!
Compared to other Western European nations, Spain is an extremely affordable place to live. This is especially true if you are an American or from another country in Western Europe. Rent is low. Food prices are reasonable, even when you eat out. High-quality healthcare can be enjoyed by all, and the public transit system is so good you may not need a car. In Spain, you can live comfortably for less. This makes it a great choice for foreigners retiring in Spain.
But that’s just an added bonus. Spain has incredible history and culture, delicious and varied cuisines, beautiful natural landscapes, spectacular beaches, and so much more. Overall, it’s a great option for expats looking to control their living expenses while enjoying the freedoms and amenities that Western Europe provides.