The Cost of Living in Spain

Xe Consumer UK

June 2, 2016 4 min read

Spain has long been an extremely popular choice of country for Britons to set up a new life abroad, boasting a fantastic climate and great quality of life, while only being an hour’s flight away from the UK.

Spain is also known for offering a low cost of living, which is another reason why it is so appealing to expats. However, the cost of living in Spain will very much depend upon on your lifestyle and where you decide to live. If you regularly like to go shopping at designer stores and eat out at restaurants then you will find Spain very expensive. If you are prepared to eat and live like the locals by having social barbeques and gatherings at home, you will find your money could go a lot further in Spain than it does in the UK.

Housing costs can be very reasonable, but if you choose to live in cities and the more popular touristy areas you will end up paying a lot more. Utility costs are high, and are sometimes up to 20% more than the UK. However, food in Spain tends to be relatively cheap and, provided you don’t dine out in tourist hotspots, you will find the prices in restaurants are generally reasonable.

Schools and Education

If you are moving to Spain with your family, it is important to know the costs around education. State primary and secondary schooling in Spain is compulsory until the age of 16. After this, there is an option to leave school altogether or study for the Bachillerato, which allows students to access the university system. Alternatively, students can pass into the Ciclos Formativo system to undertake vocational training.

It is free for expats to send their children to state schools in Spain, so long as they have registered for their Empadronamiento at their local town hall. Private schooling is available with fees varying greatly depending upon the school concerned, its location and the language and curriculum it teaches.

The cost of living in Spain

After analysing the data on Numbeo, the largest database about countries and cities worldwide, our team of experts have pulled together the cost of living in various different parts of Spain. From the average salary to the cost of a meal out, this should give you a good overview into the sort of prices you can expect when you move over there. In the table below, we have also included more details on areas such as the quality of life and crime rate to give you an even greater understanding of each place.

OverviewMalagaSeilleSalamancaBilbaBarcelonaCost of living index (excluding rent)52.6953.1258.3863.5966.07Quality of life203184.17n/a193153Crime rate28.4 (low)25 (low)16.67 (very low)12.5 (very low)45.24 (moderate)Average monthly salary (after tax)€1,246€1,150€1,174€1,750€1,508Rent per monthMalagaSevilleSalamancaBilbaoBarcelona3 bedroom apartment – city centre€778€865€600€1,075€1,2143 bedroom apartment – outside centre€566€602€450€850€860Cost to buy apartmentMalagaSevilleSalamancaBilbaoBarcelonaCity centre per sq m€1,965€3,250€1,800€5,250€3,761Outside centre per sq m€1,557€1,515€1,200€3,333€2,684UtilitiesMalagaSevilleSalamancaBilbaoBarcelonaBasic (electricity, heating, water, garbage)€88€102€143€153€130Food and drink – restaurantsMalagaSevilleSalamancaBilbaoBarcelona3 course meal for 2 – mid-range restaurant€30€30€40€50€40Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught)€1.50€2€2€0.85€2.50Food and drink – supermarketsMalagaSevilleSalamancaBilbaoBarcelonaBottle of wine (mid-range)€3€4€5€4€5Milk (1 litre)€0.78€0.67€0.80€0.85€0.8412 eggs€1.81€1.56€1.55€2€1.88TransportOne-way ticket (local transport)€1.30€1.40€1.05€1.45€2.10Monthly pass€39€35€22€30€52Taxi 1km€1.28€1.06€1.50€1.45€1.07Sport and leisureMalagaSevilleSalamancaBilbaoBarcelonaMonthly gym membership€29€32€32.50€35€46Cinema ticket€6.75€7€8€8€8Although the cost of living does fluctuate depending where you live in Spain, it is also important to consider the other aspects of what you do get for your money. For example, it is to be expected that Barcelona is one of the most expensive cities in Spain, but the average salary is over €300 a month more than Malaga. Despite this, the data shows that the quality of life is rated much higher in Malaga than Barcelona, so there really are a number of things to consider before choosing your new home.

One thing that you don’t have to worry about when it comes to moving to Spain is your international money transfers, as XE is always working to make our customers' money go further.

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