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Living and Working in Spain

Cost of Living in Spain Compared to Other Countries

November 22, 2023

Life in Spain is wonderful and offers a host of benefits, but how does the cost of living in Spain compare to other countries in Europe and around the world? We take a look at the average price of rent, food, transport, and salaries in our blog post. 

Cost of Living Spanish town Compared to Other Countries

Cost of Living in Spain: Rent

The global rise of co-living solutions and short-term holiday leases, coupled with the lax regulation to keep them under control, has caused a spike in rental prices in the majority of major cities across the globe. According to a recently published study based on data from the most popular real estate portals in Spain, Spaniards spend on average 43% of their income on rent. In terms of cost, the study reports that the average price of a residential rental property in Spain ranges between 1000€ and 1600€ depending on the city and the type of house. As you can see, renting a home has become a real headache for Spaniards. But how do these figures shape up against other cities in neighbouring countries?

London: In 2023, rents have decreased, although not significantly. The average rent there is around £1500 per month.

Lisbon: The Portuguese capital, a somewhat cheaper destination for the rest of Europeans, has also seen an increase in the price of its rents for permanent housing. The cheapest rent there is around €700. 

Average Cost of Living in Spain: Transport

Whether it means taking the metro to work or a train at the weekend to visit a hidden gem in the outskirts of the city, public transport is, on the whole, a must when it comes to life in Spain. In Madrid, the average cost of a monthly metro pass is €25. This price includes a general discount of 60% on city transport passes, valid until December 2023. Likewise, discounts are also applied in Barcelona metro;  you can see the current fares here.

In general, the cost of public transport in Spain fairs well in comparison with other major cities around the world. In Stockholm (Sweden), for example, an inner city 30-day travel pass for the subway/bus is around 70-80€.

On the other hand, a weekly London Underground season ticket costs between £40 and £70, depending on the zone.

Cost of Living in Spain: Food

For comparison purposes, let’s imagine we fancy a Spanish tortilla for dinner...what ingredients do we need? Eggs, potatoes and onions. The average grand total for our little shopping basket in Spain comes in at around €6. If we were to buy virgin olive oil, we would need to spend about €9 more. This is the product of the basic shopping basket that has increased the most over the last year. Olive oil is no longer a cheap product in Spain.

These days, the effects of inflation are being felt in the basic shopping basket of all European supermarkets. In general, the prices of fresh products have risen, and there are monthly changes in the cost of fruit and vegetables, for example. Here you can see a comparison of the basic shopping basket in different countries in the region. In any case, we can say that, to date, Spain is still one of the cheapest countries when it comes to spending on food.

Cost of Living in Spain Compared to Other Countries- spanish building

Average Cost of Living in Spain: Salaries

According to data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), the average annual salary in Spain stood at €25.300 in 2022. However, this figure fluctuates depending on the city. Let’s see how annual income compares to other countries and cities around the world. 

You are probably wondering which country has the highest average annual salary in Europe. It may come as no surprise to you to learn that Luxembourg has been at the top of the ranking for years, with an average monthly salary of around €3,700. At the other end of the ranking is Bulgaria, with an average monthly salary of €650.

So where does Spain stand? The truth is that the average Spanish salary is below the European average, at around €1,822 per month. Thus, Spain is in a group of intermediate countries, where average salaries are between 1,200 and 2,500 euros, as is the case of countries such as Slovenia, Cyprus, Italy or Malta. If you want to see more details about the updated salaries of each country, you can have a look at this link.

As you can see, Spain is not at the top of this ranking, and yet it continues to attract citizens from all over the world who want to continue their life project in this Mediterranean country.

Tips for moving to Spain

If you're looking at the cost of living in Spain because you are thinking of enjoying Spain and its quality of life, its gastronomy, and its climate. Here are some tips to help you take the first steps:

  • First of all, check what documentation you need for your stay in the country and what your legal status will be in order to be able to work in Spain.
  • Once you are in Spain, it will be important to have good medical coverage for you and your loved ones. Caser health has health insurance policies that are tailored to the needs of expats living in Spain. You can see the details and the different coverages here. For greater convenience, I recommend that you visit the Caser rate calculator, where in less than a minute you can find out how much you will pay for an insurance policy tailored to your needs.
  • As mentioned above, don't forget to look at housing. Be well informed before deciding whether to rent or buy, and in any case, don't forget to take out a good home insurance policy to avoid additional headaches.
  • Finally, improve your Spanish skills, so that you can connect with your new neighbours and integrate into the culture of your new home more easily. If you need some classes, you can take a look here.

Our brief comparison of the cost of living in Spain with other countries and cities worldwide shows that Spain tops the ranks in many ways; however, it is important to bear in mind that a range of factors come into play. These range from the average salaries, the certain area you’re living in, your daily habits, occupational level, size of house, and so on. If you want to compare the average cost of living between cities within Spain, download our free guide below.

Download Free Guide:  Cost of Living in Spain "City-by-City" Comparison


If  you are searching for health insurance in Spain, Caser Expat Insurance has the right policy for you!

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