Cost of Living in Spain
Living costs in Spain are fairly low, even in the cities. Leaving aside rent or mortgage payments–and depending on your lifestyle–a couple could easily live on 10,000 euro to 12,000 euro per year and still eat out regularly. Once you know where to go, a meal for two with wine can cost as little as 20,00 euro. For the best value, choose the lunchtime menu del dia (the menu of the day). Although the food is likely to be more filling than fancy, there’s normally a choice of dishes on the three-course lunchtime menu.
In most places, the menu del dia usually costs between 7.50 euro and 10 euro. A local beer and a tapa (a little snack that can be anything from a couple of rings of fried squid to a slice of ham topped with an olive) costs
around 1.40 euro. Even dining in classier restaurants isn’t overly costly. For a couple, the bill is usually somewhere between 45 and 70 euro – wine included. Obviously, grocery bills are hard to estimate, but the typical
spend per person is 70 weekly. You can go to the cinema for 5.40 euro and get a mid-range seat in the shade at Madrid’s bullfighting arena for 3.80 euro (3.50 for a seat high up in the sun).
Aside from Madrid and Barcelona, city living can be affordable in Spain. One of your major expenses in Spain is going to be rent. Monthly rental prices average 11 euros per square meter in Barcelona, but only 6 euros in Sevilla. So, for example, a 56-square-meter or 600-square-foot apartment in Barcelona will set you back 616 euros, while you will only be paying 350 in Sevilla. If you head into smaller towns into the countryside, rents drop even lower, as low as 250 per month.
If you don’t mind country life, heading away from the big cities will save you even more money. Granada, Salamanca and Santiago de Compostela are cheap places to live in. Things can get slightly more expensive during special festivities and holidays, but in general, rents, utilities and food shopping will be cheaper than in bigger towns.
If you have your heart set on living near the beach, you can do that for cheap if you stay away from the most popular coastal destinations. For example, the coast of Menorca is cheaper than chic Mallorca. Menorca is also more deserted and receives fewer visitors, which means you’re more likely to receive a discount on services and prices won’t be racked up to cater to tourists. The islands of Gran Canaria are also cheaper than other coastal towns.
What to Avoid
Some of the most expensive places to live in Spain are on the coast. Costa Brava is full of luxury hotels and marinas, while Mallorca has some of the top resorts in the country. If you’re looking to save money, those are not the places to go. The two major cities, Barcelona and Madrid, also rank among the 50 most expensive cities in the world, according to “The Guardian.”