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Spain on a Budget: Understanding the Cost of Living in Spain

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Spain on a Budget: Understanding the Cost of Living in Spain

Many people dream of moving to Spain because of its fascinating history, lively culture, and breathtaking scenery. But before you make the jump, one very important question comes up: How much does it actually cost to live in Spain?

Housing costs: Finding your way around Spain's rental market

There are many options available in the Spanish housing market to accommodate a range of spending levels and tastes. One-bedroom flats in the heart of major cities, such as Madrid or Barcelona, can be found for between €1000 and €1,500. When you move outside of these metropolitan centres, rental costs often drop to between €800 and €900, making it a more affordable choice.

For those drawn to Valencia by its Mediterranean charm, apartments in the city centre usually cost between €800 and €1,000, while prices outside the city centre decrease to between €600 and €750. Having a roommate might further cut expenses to between €500 and €800 per month in the city centre.

Source: Numbeo 2024

Finding the Perfect Home

It might be difficult to find an apartment or flat that meets your needs in terms of services, location, and price range. Thankfully the search becomes a lot easier with the right techniques and websites.

A number of trustworthy websites focus on listing vacation rentals all around Spain. These platforms include large databases that are available in many languages, as well as features that are easy to use, like interactive neighbourhood maps and price filters. 

Top Websites for Finding Housing in Spain:

For short-term rental (up to 12 months), we can highly recommend Housing Anywhere! Here you will find rooms and apartments for any budget. It's the perfect quick solution for moving abroad and then starting the search for a proper accommodation on-site. For this the following websites can be very helpful:

  1. Idealista: With around 64,000 listings, this website provides a wide range of houses throughout Spain. renowned for its user-friendly features, which include 3D floor plans and walkthroughs of streets, and for its safe and scam-free reputation.

  2. Uniplaces: Designed specifically for students, this platform streamlines the leasing process and provides multilingual support. offers a section for assisted booking to make the process easy.

  3. Fotocasa: Offers enhanced search features, such as travel time estimates and heat maps. provides access to over a million properties, making it simple to find rentals that fit your budget.

Transportation: Getting Around Spain Efficiently

Another significant factor for Spanish citizens to consider is transportation expenses. The country has a huge public transit system that includes metros, trains, and buses, providing reasonably priced ways to get around the country. 

Let’s have a look at the city transportation of one of the most famous cities in Spain, Barcelona. All users of Barcelona's public transportation system, including those with decreased mobility or disabilities, can access it with ease. Ramps, elevators, and spaces set aside for seats are features seen in metro stations and buses that help make travel comfortable and inclusive for all.

Barcelona also has reasonably priced transportation tickets, which include the metro and buses. (Status: 2024):

  • Single – €2.55

  • T-casual (10 individual trips, single zone)– €12,15

  • T-usual (monthly ticket, single zone) – €21,35

Next to the public transportation system, Barcelona also has a great biking reputation with increasing bike lanes across the entire city. One of the best bike rentals for locals is the city bike rental Bicing. 

  • Bicing(annual pass) – €35-€50

​Thinking about taking the step and moving to Spain? We've got just the job for you! Have a look at our current openings and get ready to start your adventure!

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Food and Dining

Spanish food is renowned around the world for its wide variety of tastes and seasonal ingredients. The many reasonably priced vegetables, seafood, and specialities can be discovered in the local markets and grocery stores. Traditional Spanish cuisine can be enjoyed while dining out; the cost of the meal varies based on the location and reputation of the place.

Average Food Prices in Spain

To provide you with a clear picture of food expenses, here's an overview of the average prices for basic grocery items commonly found in Spaniards' shopping carts:

  • Bread: €1,27 (500g)

  • Milk: €1,27 (1 liter)

  • Eggs: €2,45 (12 eggs)

  • Fruits: €1,68 (1 kg)

  • Meat (Chicken): €6,94 (1 kg)

  • Rice: €1,31 (1 kg)

  • Potato: €1,44 (1 kg)

Leisure and Entertainment: Embracing Spain's Cultural Offerings

Both locals and tourists are drawn to Barcelona's thriving nightlife, which is full with bars, clubs, festivals, and culinary pleasures. But managing the cost of life in Barcelona means finding a middle ground between luxury and thrift.

From tapas bars to Catalan restaurants, the city's diverse eating options have something to satisfy every pallet without going over budget. There are plenty of reasonably affordable places to eat. Lunch specials, or Menu del día, are available at many restaurants and normally run between €12 and €15 per person. A mid-range restaurant's standard three-course dinner costs about €50 per person.

But all that delicious food also needs to be worked off,  so let’s have a look at sports in Spain. A gym membership ranges from €30 to €90 a month, depending on amenities and personal preferences, for those who are fitness-inclined. But Spain also offers a bunch of free fitness options. In Barcelona for example you can find free outdoor gym areas at the beaches, volleyball nets, basketball fields and a lot of free groups you can join to participate in these games. Also, don’t forget about the local sport Paddle, which originates from Mexico but is played all across Spain and can be described as a mixture of Tennis and Squash. 

Barcelona's booming cultural sector provides a wide range of entertainment options, although at different price points. The average cost of a theatre play or festival is between €40 and €50. Similarly, going out partying in Barcelona may be expensive, with admission costs often about €20, which also includes a drink. Clever clubgoers can, however, save money by buying tickets online ahead of time, which guarantees both a discount and entrance.

To put it briefly, although leisure and amusement in Barcelona can be costly, careful planning and consideration of less expensive options allow locals and visitors to enjoy the city's attractions without breaking the bank.

Tips for saving money in Barcelona

Here are some suggestions to help you save money when living in Barcelona. Instead of heading to the nearest supermarket, try out your local market (mercado) which has much fresher products and often at a cheaper price. On top you support local vendors and shop groceries that are in season. 

Second, stick to public transportation. A monthly metro pass is a very affordable alternative to taxi or Uber services, and it's a convenient way to go around the city. Even better, try biking through the city. It often takes you less time and you get to know the city much better this way.

Third, make use of all the free things the city has to offer, like going to parks, museums, sports activities and other sites. Barcelona has plenty of things to do that don't cost a lot of money.

Finally, you might think about relocating to an area outside of the city centre or even to a suburb to find  cost-effective housing choices. These neighbourhoods typically have cheaper rents than the city centre.

We invite you to experience Spain's overwhelming charm

Spain offers a mix of affordable living costs and a high standard of living due to their relaxed lifestyle and entertainment options. So, who would not want to move there and experience this unique way of living?  

If Spain sparked your interest, now is the time to start looking at our open positions and get in touch with one of our recruiters to hear more about working and living in Spain.

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