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The Cost of Living in Spain

Written by Damien Shields

Spain has long held the interests of Americans looking for an expat adventure. From Hemmingway’s coverage of the Spanish Civil War to many students studying abroad in Madrid to the world renowned El Bulli restaurant’s influence on many of our top chefs, Spain just holds a certain kind of magic for Americans. And with their relatively low cost of living, you can experience that magic of moving to Spain yourself.

With the glaring exception of Madrid, a couple can expect to get by in Spain for around $20,000 per year and with a little money in the budget for going out and experiencing Spain’s world famous cuisine. Let’s take a look at how the prices break down.


Again, excluding Madrid, rent in Spain is very affordable. Two-bedroom apartments can be found for as cheap as $850/month and it’s not entirely unreasonable that you could get a three-bedroom house for as low as $1600/month; which is great if you plan on bringing or having kids. Utilities average around 116 Euros but still makes it cheaper than many American cities.

Dining Out:

Let’s be honest, you’re not moving all the way around the world to prepare all your meals at home. Part of the experience of going abroad is tasting the local flare as only they can make it. Luckily, doing so won’t break the bank. Mid-tier dining for two, including wine, can be found for $20-$40. You can save extra money by buying the daily specials, called menu del dia. 


Because every meal shouldn’t be taken at a restaurant if you want to live affordably, you’re going to have to buy some groceries. Again, the prices here are not too steep either. You can expect to pay about $70-$80 per week on groceries and keep in mind that the food you’ll be getting is extremely fresh and mostly organic.


Getting around in Spain is another affordable perk. Local public transit costs less than $3 dollars for a one-way ticket. Gasoline, however, is a little more expensive than in America, close to $5 per gallon when converted as they measure in liters. Luckily, as with most European cities, cars are not necessary to get around.

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