Cost of living   

The Cost of Living in Spain

last updated 1/2/2017

People often ask about the cost of living in Spain and the answer is, well, it depends on your lifestyle and where you want to move to really. However, for your reference, we have compiled a list of the costs of some everyday items which should help with your budgeting.

General Expenses

Housing Costs. If you rent a house in a tourist area in Spain, then rents will be high and you should be able to find out exactly how high they are by searching on the internet. In non-tourist areas, rent is usually 2.5-3.5% of the value of the property. For people who want to buy a home in Spain, Spanish mortgage artes are currently at similar rates to those in the UK. See some of the websites listed in our Spanish property listings for an idea of Spanish property prices.

Electricity. about 20% higher than UK prices for a similar sized-property

Gas. Where available, about 20% higher than in the UK. However, town gas is not available in many areas, and bottled gas is quite a lot more expensive.

Water. Water is metered in Spain, but you would not usually pay more than 30E per month if you do not have a pool or garden. With a pool and garden the price can be 4 or 5 times that.

Local Taxes. Local taxes are generally quite low, because most things that are paid for by the Council tax in the UK are covered by a regional component to income tax. Home-owners will usually pay less than 250E per year, and landlords will usually pay the charge for rented properties.

Grocery Costs

As you'd expect, grocery prices in Spain vary quite a lot depending on where you live and where you shop. The cheapest supermarkets are usually Mercadona and Dani, followed by Al Campo, Carrefour and many local supermarkets. The most expensive is Hipercor (the supermarket associated with El Corte Ingles), although the quality is very good there. The following are sample prices of brand name goods (where applicable) from a medium priced supermarket:

  • 1 litre fresh milk: 1E
  • Packet of weetabix (430g) 2.80
  • Fresh chicken: 3-4 Euros per kilo
  • Spanish wine: roughly half the cost of the equivalent in the UK
  • French/Italian/Australian wine: marginally cheaper than in the UK
  • Pork chops: 5-6 euros per kilo
  • 1 kilo bag of poatoes: 70c
  • Pack of 40 British teabags (where available!) - around 2.50
  • Tomatoes (summer) 80c per kilo
  • Green peppers: 1.80 per kilo
  • Decent frozen pizza: 3.50
  • Lamb - leg cutlets: 8-10 Euros per kilo
  • Spanish cheese - from around 3E for 250g
  • Cheddar - from around 6E for 250g
  • Baby food - 1 - 1.50 per jar depending on brand.

At today's exchange rate (around 1.10 euros to the pound or a bit less), grocery bills in Spain are a little lower than the cost of UK grocery bills as long as you cook most meals yourself and don't mind substituting ingredients. If you use a lot of pre-prepared foods and/or you like your little foreign luxuries then the cost is likely to be the same or a little less than what you'd spend in the UK.


Second hand cars in Spain are very expensive compared to the UK, although maintenance and petrol are cheaper. Unleaded petrol is around 1.40E per litre and maintenance at a dealership garage is usually 25-40E per hour. If you have a car that is not widely available in Spain, then parts will obviously be very expensive though. Road tax is cheap, and Spanish car insurance is similar to UK car insurance. Insuring a UK registered car in Spain is very expensive.

Eating Out

In non tourist areas, expect to pay around 15-20 Euros a head for a very decent evening meal, or 7E per head for a "menu of the day" set menu at lunch time. In tourist areas you may also be able to eat out for those prices, but you'll have to search around. The low cost of eating out is offset somewhat by the fact that takeaways are not widely available in Spain, and those that are available are about as expensive as eating out anyway.

So what is the overall cost of living in Spain?

Taking all of the above into account, most people will find that the Spanish cost of living is less than or similar to the cost of living in the UK, after rent or mortgage costs. Do however bear in mind that heating and air conditioning may mean you pay rather a lot more in electricity in Spain, depending on the size of your property.

See also:
Property in Spain
Checklist for moving to Spain


Site last updated July 2017.
All content is copyright 2002-17 © except where stated.