Cost of living in Spain

4 min read

Sunshine, lower cost of living, safety, warm lifestyle… Spain attracts new foreign expatriates and retirees every year. Before deciding to live in Spain, it is essential to gather information about the cost of living in the local area. Is life less expensive in Spain than in the United-Kingdom?

A cost of living 23.8% lower than in the United-Kingdom

Treat yourself to a restaurant without breaking the bank

In terms of dining, the budget to plan is also reduced. For a full meal in a mid-range establishment, budget around £38.57. If you enjoy fast food, the prices should delight you. A menu costs £6.87. A local beer (50 cl) will cost you an average of £2.14, a Coca-Cola (33 cl) £1,65, and a cappuccino £1.53.

Full meal in a mid-range restaurant Fast-food Local beer (50 cL) Coca-Cola (33 cL) Cappuccino
Spain £38.57 £6.87 £2.14 £1,65 £1.53
United-Kingdom £60 £7 £4.50 £1.75 £3.09

Competitive transportation

Regarding transportation, prices are competitive at all levels. Whether you prefer to buy your public transportation tickets individually or subscribe to a monthly pass, you will make significant savings compared to the UK. A bus ticket costs £1.29, and a monthly pass is £28.65. If you need to take a taxi, the average price will be £0.95 per kilometer.

Monthly pass 1 ticket Taxi (per kilometer)
Spain £28.65 £1.29 £0.95
United-Kingdom £67 £2.50 £1.24
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Prepare good meals at a lower cost

In Spain, all food products are cheaper than in the UK. On average, your grocery budget is reduced by 17.2%. In the top 10 list of cost-effective products, we find:

Spain United-Kingdom
Local beer (50 cL) £0.86 £4.41
A pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) £1.87 £13
White rice (1 kg) £1.10 £1.58
Tomatoes (1 kg) £1.95 £2.47
Chicken breasts (1 kg) £5.93 £6.48
Oranges (1 kg) £1.50 £2.11
Local cheese (1 kg) £10.35 £6.82
Onions (1 kg) £1.35 £1.02
Beef, lower cut (1 kg) £11.43 £10.43
12 eggs £2.03 £2.75
Living in Spain: ¡Bienvenido a España!

Buy your favorite clothes at discounted prices

Spain allows you to satisfy all your shopping desires with a controlled budget! Clothes and shoes are priced lower than in the UK. For example, expect to pay around £59.76 for a Levi’s 501 or equivalent jeans, £24.42 for a summer dress, and £60.85 for sports shoes. If you want to buy a pair of leather shoes for men, you’ll have to spend £70.99.

Spain United-Kingdom
Levi's 501 or equivalent jeans £59.76 £62.32
Summer dress £24.42 £30.82
Sports shoes £60.85 £73.48
Pair of leather shoes for men £70.99 £75.68

The prices mentioned are provided for reference only. They may change depending on inflation.

Plan a budget for your children's education

In Spain, education is not free. You must budget an average of £1,657.20 per child for their education. This budget can be tripled in private institutions. On the contrary, in a public school, tuition fees are around £855.55 per year. Prefer enrolling your child in an international primary school? The average annual fees are £6,625.60.
If you have a toddler, budget £352.93 for a month of daycare.

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Benefit from an exceptional healthcare system

In Spain, life expectancy is 83 years, three years more than the average of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). With the universal Spanish legal healthcare system, basic care is free. Only prescribed medications for individuals under 65 require the insured’s participation. No upfront payment is required. Unlike France, dental and optical expenses are not covered.

To be affiliated with the National Health Service (Sistema Nacional de Salud – SNS), you must contribute as an employee, self-employed worker, job seeker, or retiree receiving a pension from a Spanish institution.

Salaries in Spain

While the cost of living is lower in Spain than in the UK, the local purchasing power is also lower. It is 25.4% lower (including rent). Indeed, the average monthly salary, after taxes, for a Spaniard is £1,517.27, compared to £2,316.19 for an English person.

There are significant disparities between regions and industries. For example, the Community of Madrid tops the list of the highest salaries. In 2021, the average salary was £1776,98 gross per month, which is £200 more than the national average. Other regions with high salaries include the Basque Country (2.754.73 monthly), Navarre (£1,611 monthly), Catalonia (£1,596.46 monthly), and Asturias (£1,500.63 monthly).
The industries with the highest average salaries are:

  • Electricity and gas: £3,528.29.
  • Finance and insurance: £2,853.26.
  • Information and communication: £2,283.46
Good to know: What is the minimum wage in Spain?

Spain is among the eight European Union (EU) countries where the minimum wage exceeds €1,000. In February 2023, the Spanish minimum wage was €1,260 (£1,077) revenue per month.

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The autonomous communities where the price per square meter is the lowest are Extremadura (around £889.77), Castilla-La Mancha (around £983), and La Rioja (around £1.456). In contrast, it is highest in Catalonia (around £2,180), the Foral Community of Navarre (around £1,654), and the Canary Islands (around £2,584).

What are the average renting fees in Spain?

To rent a three-bedroom apartment in the city center, you will, on average, need to spend £1,289.57. Outside the city center, the expected budget is £936.72. Monthly utilities (electricity, heating, water, etc.) amount to £108,06.

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