Cost of Living in Spain

Spain offers a diverse range of cities and regions, each with its own unique appeal and cost of living. From the bustling city centres of Madrid and Barcelona to the laid-back coastal towns in the south, there is something for everyone.

Spain is known for its relatively cheap cost of living compared to other European countries, making it a popular destination for British expats, families, and single individuals alike. With affordable monthly costs, excellent public transport, and good quality primary schools, Spain attracts people from all walks of life.


Houses and apartments in Spain tend to be compact. Thanks to a warm and sunny climate, people spend a lot of time outdoors. They like to sunbathe on the beach and spend time with friends on open terraces of bars and cafes.

These are the locations with the highest rental and purchase property prices:

  • Large cities

  • Catalan coast

  • Some other Northern coastal areas

The good news is the small Southern towns (think of Malaga) are popular among the expat community too and have a very decent infrastructure. In lesser-known locations, you might be able to rent an apartment for as little as €500 per month and find one for sale for $100,000 or even less.

Let's have a look at the average cross-country statistics:

Rent of a 1-bedroom apartment in a central location


Rent of a 1-bedroom apartment outside of the center


Rent of a 3-bedroom apartment in a central location


Rent of a 3-bedroom apartment outside of the center


Price per m2 in a central location


Price per m2 outside of the center


Fixed yearly mortgage interest rate for 20 years


Now, let's scrutinize the price range of apartments and rooms for rent in various locations:


Monthly rent of a 50 m2 apartment

Monthly rent of a room













Las Palmas de Gran Canaria












Plus, it's essential to factor in the utility bills. Water, electricity and fiber optic broadband will cost you approximately €100 per month. The cell phone plan is not included — it will require an additional €15-20 per month.

Expenses Related to Obtaining and Renewing Residence Permit

Once you've qualified for the local residence, it will involve the following expenses:

  • Authorizing it and renewing it for the first time — from around €11 to €22, there are no discounts for family members

  • Work authorization for employed and self-employed individuals — from roughly €204 to €408

  • Further residence renewals and modifications as well as extensions of work authorization — from €82 to €204

  • Foreigner's identity number — around €10

  • Fee for getting the local nationality — approximately €104

  • Fee for getting the local ID — €12

These prices tend to increase over time.

Healthcare and Insurance

After relocation to Spain, foreigners can either buy private health insurance or sign up for the national healthcare plan. If you get employed in this country, you and your family members will be likely to automatically get access to free nationwide healthcare services because you'll be paying the contributions that fund this system.

The local public healthcare system is one of the most advanced in the EU. You should be ready to pay for some prescriptions, dental care, eye care and orthopedic equipment, while most services will be provided at no cost without compromising on quality.

For retirees aged younger than 65, the monthly cost of using the free public healthcare system is €60. Retirees aged 65+ pay €157 every month. Elderly individuals can get private insurance too, either instead the access to public healthcare services or as an addition to it.

The average cost of private health insurance falls within the range of €50 to €200 per month. The older you are, the more extensive the coverage and the longer the duration of the insurance, the higher the price. If you're aged 55 and have no serious health issues, you might be able to pick a plan for as little as €52 per month, including some dental services. People in their early 60s are expected to pay around €111 for the same scope of support.

When a medical professional visits you at home, it will cost you roughly €60. A supply of cold medicine that will last you for a week costs approximately €6.


Check whether your homeland has signed a double taxation treaty with Spain. If yes, you won't need to pay taxes in both territories.

If you spend less than 183 days per year in Spain, you won't become a local tax resident. You won't need to pay the taxes here for your income generated abroad. However, you might be considered a local resident if you run a business in this country or if all your family lives here.

For non-residents, a flat tax rate is usually applied:

  • Income tax — 19% for citizens of the European Union or the European Economic Area, 24% for all the others

  • Capital gains from transferred assets — 19%

  • Dividends and investment — 19% (there are exceptions)

  • Royalties — 24%

  • Pensions — from 8% to 40% (it's a progressive tax rate)

Non-residents are exempt from deductions and allowances. Be ready to pay a property tax for any real estate that you own here, regardless of whether you rent it out or not.

Being a local resident, you'll be obliged to pay the income tax here and submit a tax return if you tick at least one of the following boxes:

  • Declare your Spanish tax residence for the first time

  • Earn over €1,000 per year on rentals

  • Earn over €1,600 per year on savings and capital gains

  • Earn over €22,000 per year as an employed professional

  • Run a business or are self-employed in Spain

Don't forget to declare your foreign assets that cost over €50,000.

For residents, the tax rates are progressive:

  • Tax on employment — from 19% to 47%

  • Income tax on savings — from 19% to 26%

  • Capital gains tax — from 19% to 26%

  • Inheritance and gift tax — from 1% to 7%

  • VAT — from 4% to 21%

  • Corporate tax — from 10% to 25%

  • Wealth tax — up to 3.5%

The numbers can vary from one region to another.

Consult your tax advisor to find out about deductions and allowances that you can be eligible for. If you're married, you may want to pay the taxes together with your better half or separately, depending on which is more profitable for you. This opportunity is valid for both heterosexual and same-sex marriages.


Spain is world-famous for the taste and quality of its local produce. The high season for fruits and vegetables lasts nearly half a year. The meat is delicious. Seafood in seashore areas is not only extremely appetizing but also much cheaper than in the central part of the country. If you're used to yogurts, cereals and other items sold in Europe or the US, you'll be able to find many of them in international chain stores.

Here are the prices of the most common products:

Olive oil, 1 L or 1 qt


 Milk, 1 L or 1 qt


Bread, 0.5 kg or 1.1 lb


Rice, 1 kg or 2.2 lb


Eggs, x12


Cheese, 1 kg or 2.2 lb


Chicken Breast, 1 kg or 2.2 lb


Round Steak, 1 kg or 2.2 lb


Apples, 1 kg or 2.2 lb


Banana, 1 kg or 2.2 lb


Oranges, 1 kg or 2.2 lb


Tomato, 1 kg or 2.2 lb


Potato, 1 kg or 2.2 lb


Onion, 1 kg or 2.2 lb


Water, 1 L or 1 qt


Coca-Cola / Pepsi, 2 L or 67.6 fl oz


Wine (mid-priced), 750 mL bottle


Beer, 0.5 L or 16 fl oz


Eating Out

Spaniards love to eat out and they don't need to break the bank to do it. A fast food meal to eat on the go will cost you approximately $7.85. If you want to take your better half to dinner with a bottle of wine, $40 can be enough for two. Of course, there are a lot of premium restaurants in the country that you can visit for special occasions.

The most cost-efficient option for having a copious meal is the lunch menu. Its average price is $15 and it consists of at least two courses:

  • Vegetables, soup, paella or salad to start with

  • Fish, meat or a vegetarian meal to carry on

  • Bread

  • Beverage (most likely, you'll be allowed to have a glass of wine or beer)

  • Coffee or dessert

0.5 L or 16 fl oz of beer in a pub will cost you around $3, a cup of cappuccino in a cafe — around $2 and 0.5 L or 16.9 fl oz of Coke or Pepsi — around $1.85. In a bar, don't forget to order "tapas", which is a small portion of a snack. It usually costs around $2 — or you may even get it for free when you order a drink.


A monthly gym membership will cost you around €38. If you want to rent a tennis court for one hour on a weekend, be ready to pay around €12.5. A cinema ticket usually costs around €8 and its theater counterpart around €17.

Spain is a good place to indulge in shopping. A pair of branded jeans or a pair of mid-range running shoes by a major brand will cost you €70, on average. A pair of men's leather business shoes will have a price tag of around €85 and a summer dress in a chain store — around €30.


The transportation expenses differ from one location to another but not too drastically. Here are the average prices across the country:

One-way ticket for local transport


Monthly pass


Taxi start, normal tariff


1 km of a taxi ride, normal tariff


1 hour of a taxi waiting for you, normal tariff


1 L of gasoline


Buying a new Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline


The public transport system is excellent. In most locations, you can easily do without a car. Retirees aged 60+ can often benefit from ticket discounts.


The cheapest nursery in this country costs €150 per month. If you send your kids to a free kindergarten and school, people around them will be speaking Spanish. If you want your children to get their education in English, which can broaden their career opportunities, be ready to pay at least €5,000 per year for an international school.

Here are the approximate costs of higher education, per academic year, and the typical durations of the programs:



4 years



2 years



3 years

Each consecutive enrollment costs more than the previous ones. The prices for international students who arrive from outside the EU tend to be higher than for those who are residents of this region. In private universities, the yearly tuition fee varies from €6,000 to €20,000.

Average Salary

According to the 2022 statistics, the average salary in this country was €2,710 gross per month or €32,520 per year. Only 25% of the population earned over €7,080 per month. The other 25% of the population failed to earn even €1,600 per month.

In Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands people earn 80-90% as much and in France — as 60% as much as in Spain. Italians have more or less the same level of income as Spaniards. In Greece and Portugal, residents earn 40-50% less.

By the EU standards, Spanish salaries are mid-range. But the cost of living here is much more affordable than in the countries with higher levels of income.

The Spanish authorities state that it's enough to have from €820 to €1,100 per month to sustain yourself. The lowest interprofessional wage is €1,167 gross per month.

Spain needs more expats with profound expertise in the following fields:

  • Medicine

  • Account management with multilingual capabilities

  • Business development

  • Computer engineering

  • Computer programming

  • Data science

These professionals can expect to receive highly competitive salaries. Non-EU expats tend to earn more than their EU counterparts. Local companies hire them only if they can't find specialists with the required expertise in their homeland. This is typical of top managers, business directors and scientists who receive working visas that are otherwise very hard to obtain.

Approximate Monthly Budget

Let's imagine that you're relocating to Spain together with your partner and you don't bring pets or kids with you. Here is the table with your approximate monthly expenses in a mid-sized city:



















You should be able to enjoy a comfortable life if the two of you earn around €2,000 or $2,400 per month.

If you live alone, make $20,000 per year and don't need to pay rent or mortgage, it should be pretty much enough. You'll be able to dine out and have fun with this income.

Comparison to Other Countries

Finally, let's compare the cost of living in Spain vs USA, Canada, UK, Italy and Portugal:








Overall expenses per single person per month







Overall monthly expenses for a family of four







Rent for one individual







Rent for a family







Monthly food expenses per individual







Monthly transportation expenses per individual







Monthly salary, taxes deducted







Monthly rent of 1-bedroom apartment in a central location, 40 m2 or 430 ft2







Monthly rent of a 1-bedroom apartment outside of the center, 40 m2 or 430 ft2







Monthly rent of 3-bedroom apartment in a central location, 80 m2 or 860 ft2









Monthly rent of a 3-bedroom apartment outside of the center, 80 m2 or 860 ft2







Purchase price of 1 m2 or 10 ft2 in an apartment in a central location







Purchase price of 1 m2 or 10 ft2 in a house in suburbs







Mortgage interest rate for 20 years







Utility bill per person







Utility bill per family







Unlimited Internet for 1 month, with a speed of 50 Mbps+







Local transport ticket







Monthly local transport pass







Taxi ride, 8 km or 5 mi







Fuel, 1 L or 0.26 gal







Daycare or preschool, 1 month







International primary school, 1 year







Gym membership, 1 month







Doctor's visit







Cold medicine, 1 week







Simple haircut







Toilet paper, 4 rolls







Cigarette pack







Lunch menu







Dinner in a restaurant, for 2







Fast food meal







Cappuccino in a cafe







Milk, 1 L or 1 qt







Bread, 0.5 kg or 1.1 lb







Rice, 1 kg or 2.2 lb







Dozen of eggs







Cheese, 1 kg or 2.2 lb







Chicken breast, 1 kg or 2.2 lb







Banana, 1 kg or 2.2 lb







Tomato, 1 kg or 2.2 lb







Water, 1 L or 1 qt







Coca-Cola / Pepsi, 2 L or 67.6 fl oz







Wine (mid-priced), 750 mL bottle








Q1: What are the average rental prices and property prices in major Spanish cities?

A1: The average rental prices and property prices vary depending on the city. In major Spanish cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center ranges from €900 to €1,200. Property prices in these cities are also higher, with average property prices ranging from €3,000 to €4,500 per square meter. In smaller cities and the Andalusia region, rental and property prices tend to be lower, making it more affordable to live comfortably.

Q2: How do living costs in Spain compare to other Western European countries?

A2: Spain is considered to have a relatively low cost of living compared to other Western European countries. While cities like Madrid and Barcelona can be more expensive, many Spanish cities offer a high quality of life at a cheaper cost. Overall, Spain's cost of living index is lower than the global average, making it an attractive destination for expats and those looking to work remotely or retire.

Q3: Can I save money on living expenses by living in a smaller city in Spain?

A3: Yes, living in a smaller city in Spain can help you save money on living expenses. Smaller cities tend to have lower average rental prices, property prices, and overall living costs compared to big cities. Additionally, smaller cities often offer a more relaxed lifestyle and a stronger sense of community.

Q4: How is the public transportation system in Spain, and can I save money by using it?

A4: Spain has an excellent public transportation system that includes buses, metro systems, and high-speed trains. Public transportation is generally affordable, making it a cost-effective way to travel and commute within and between cities. By using public transportation, you can save money on gas, parking, and other car-related expenses.

Q5: How much should I expect to spend on groceries and dining out in Spain?

A5: Groceries costs in Spain are generally lower than in many other European countries. For example, you can expect to spend around €200-€300 per month on groceries for a single person. Dining out is also relatively inexpensive, with many restaurants offering a "menu del dia" (daily set menu) for around €10-€15. Eating at an inexpensive restaurant can cost you about €10-€20 per person, while a meal at a mid-range restaurant may cost €30-€50 for two people.

Q6: What are the main expenses I should consider when moving to Spain?

A6: When moving to Spain, the main expenses to consider include housing (rental or property prices), utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage), groceries, transportation (public transportation or car-related expenses), childcare (if applicable), and leisure activities. The cost of these expenses will vary depending on factors such as the city you choose to live in, your lifestyle, and your personal preferences.

Q7: What is the average wage and social security contribution for permanent residents in Spain?

A7: The average wage in Spain varies depending on the sector and region, but a good estimate would be around €23,000-€25,000 per year. Social security contributions are calculated based on your salary, and both employees and employers contribute. As an employee, you can expect to contribute around 6.35% of your gross salary for social security, while employers contribute around 23.6%.

Q8: How does the quality of life in Spain compare to other European countries?

A8: Spain offers a high quality of life, with a favorable climate, rich culture, and a relaxed lifestyle. Many expats choose to live in Spain for its affordable living costs, excellent healthcare system, and good work-life balance. In comparison to other European countries, Spain ranks highly in terms of quality of life, making it a popular destination for both expats and retirees. The quality of life may vary depending on factors such as the city or region you choose, but overall, Spain is considered a great place to live and work.

Q9: What are some of the best places to live in Spain on a budget?

A9: Some of the best places to live in Spain on a budget include cities like Valencia, Alicante, and Granada, as well as smaller towns and rural areas. Valencia is known for its affordable property prices, vibrant culture, and beautiful beaches. Alicante and Granada also offer low living costs, rich history, and a pleasant climate.

Q10: What is the minimum wage in Spain?

A10: As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the minimum wage in Spain is €1,108 per month in 14 payments, meaning it is distributed over 14 payments across the year, including two extra payments in July and December.

Q11: Can you explain what minimum vital income is in Spain?

A11: The Minimum Vital Income (Ingreso Mínimo Vital) in Spain is a social security benefit designed to prevent poverty and social exclusion. It is a guaranteed income for those who are in a situation of vulnerability, providing a safety net for those without resources. The amount received varies depending on the individual or family unit's circumstances.

Q12: What is the cost of living in Benidorm, and what is the weather like?

A12: Benidorm is generally more affordable compared to larger cities in Spain. The average monthly cost for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around €500-€600. Groceries and dining out are also relatively inexpensive. As for the weather, Benidorm enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot summers, mild winters, and plenty of sunshine throughout the year.

Q13: Can you find long term rental properties easily in Spain?

A13: Yes, long-term rental properties are readily available in Spain. Websites such as Idealista, Fotocasa, and Habitaclia are commonly used for finding long-term rentals. It's also possible to engage the services of a local real estate agent.

Q14: Is it possible to move to Spain from the UK post-Brexit?

A14: Yes, it is still possible to move to Spain from the UK after Brexit, but the process is different now. UK citizens are required to apply for a visa if they plan to stay in Spain for longer than 90 days. It's important to research and understand the new immigration rules and requirements.

Q15: Can you live on 1000 euros a month in Spain?

A15: It's possible to live on €1000 per month in Spain, particularly in smaller cities or towns where the cost of living is lower. This budget would cover basic expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, and public transportation. However, living on such a budget would require careful planning and budgeting.

Q16: What are some job opportunities in Spain for English speakers?

A16: Spain offers a number of job opportunities for English speakers. These include positions in sectors such as teaching (particularly English language teaching), tourism, customer service, and IT. Some international companies operating in Spain also seek English-speaking employees.

Q17: How expensive is Tenerife compared to the Spanish mainland?

A17: The cost of living in Tenerife is generally lower than in major mainland cities like Madrid or Barcelona. However, prices can be slightly higher than in smaller mainland cities due to the island's remoteness and reliance on imports.

Q18: How much is rent in Spain in US dollars?

A18: Rental prices in Spain can vary widely, but on average, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from $850 to $1,400 per month (€700 - €1,150), depending on the city.

Q19: When paying by card in Spain, should I choose euros or pounds?

It's generally better to choose to pay in euros when using a card in Spain. This is because choosing to pay in pounds could lead to a dynamic currency conversion, which can often have unfavorable exchange rates and may include additional fees.

Q20: What is the average pension in Spain?

A20: As of my last training cut-off in September 2021, the average pension in Spain is about €1,200 per month. However, this can vary depending on one's personal work history and the number of years contributions have been made into the Spanish Social Security system.

Q21: What is the cost and process of renting in Spain for 3 months?

A21: The cost of renting in Spain for 3 months would depend on the location and type of property. In general, you could expect to pay anywhere from €500 to €1,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. The process usually involves finding a property through a real estate website or agency, contacting the landlord or agent, viewing the property, and signing a rental agreement. For a short-term rental, landlords may require the full payment upfront along with a security deposit.

Q22: Can I retire to Spain after Brexit?

A22: Yes, you can still retire to Spain after Brexit, but the rules have changed. As a UK citizen, you will now need to apply for a non-lucrative visa which requires proof of sufficient financial means to support yourself without working, among other requirements. It's recommended to seek advice from an immigration expert or lawyer to fully understand the process and requirements.

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