The idea of living in Spain is a dream of many; zipping along the southern coast, stopping for paella and a sip of wine, enjoying Gaudi’s surreal architecture and taking in the cobbled charm of the Spanish cities. As relocation becomes more and more common, for many the dream is quickly turning into reality.
Whether you’re retiring, temporarily relocating, or moving to Spain for good, one of the most important things to consider is how your money will translate in the European country. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the cost of living in Spain.
One of the first things you’ll have to consider when you move to Spain is changing your existing funds into Euros. While many banks can handle this service for you, it usually comes with a fee and often an exchange rate markup, which is a sneaky way to shave more of your money off the top.
To protect yourself from getting a bad rate, a good place to start is an online currency conversion calculator. Knowing the correct rate can help you avoid doing business with a bank or service that’s trying to overcharge you. You can also transfer money using Transferwise, which always guarantees the mid-market rate and is helpful for cutting back on fees in general.
Money in Spain, euros, are typically either written as EUR or designated with an € symbol. The following charts and table will give you a better idea of the euro’s value, and how the cost of living generally compares to other countries.
- 1000 USD = 849 EUR
- 1000 GBP = 1,109 EUR
- 1000 AUD = 674 EUR
|Comparing basic cost of living||1 bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent)||Three-course meal for 2||transportation (monthly pass)|
|New York City, USA||€2,589||€64||€103|
While the cost of living fluctuates significantly across Spain, the following are the most expensive cities to live in Spain:
- San Sebastian
|Total Living Expenses in Madrid||Average cost|
|1 person, per month (without rent)||€650|
|1 person, per year (without rent)||€7,800|
|4 person family, per month (without rent)||€2,308|
|4 person family, per year (without rent)||€27,696|
|Total Living Expenses in Barcelona||Average cost|
|1 person, per month (without rent)||€654|
|1 person, per year (without rent)||€7848|
|4 person family, per month (without rent)||€2,320|
|4 person family, per year (without rent)||€27,840|
Moving to Spain won’t only affect the cash you spend. Unless you’re planning to retain your job from home and work remotely, moving to Spain will also have an impact on the money you make. While in general Spanish companies pay similarly to their counterparts across Europe, this table will give you a better idea of how much you can expect to earn in your current position.
|Salary averages for Madrid||Average salary|
|Salary averages for Barcelona||Average salary|
|Renting in Madrid||Average monthly cost|
|student dorm room||€660|
|Renting in Barcelona||Average monthly cost|
|student dorm room||€535|
|Renting in Valencia||Average monthly cost|
|student dorm room||€400|
Healthcare in Spain is socialized, so aside from what you pay for it in social security taxes, medical expenses are virtually non-existent. In this system you’re not required to carry insurance, and you won’t pay out of pocket if you’re sick or need to see a doctor.
The way Spanish people travel varies greatly across the country. While cars are the most common transportation method, most cities have excellent public transportation systems, and many urban areas like Valencia and Seville are highly walkable and bikeable.
|Transportation and vehicle prices for Spain||Average cost|
|gasoline (1 litre / 0.25 gallon)||€1.10|
|monthly bus/transport pass||€42|
|bus ticket, single use||€1.45|
|taxi tariff, 30 minutes||€10|
|train trip, single ticket cross country||€102|
|Toyota Corolla, new||€18,175|
|VW Golf, new||€18,000|
Spain has an excellent public education system, and most parents choose to send their children to school free of cost until the age of 18. That being said, pre-school, private international schools, and universities all come at a cost.
|School||Average yearly cost|
|preschool / kindergarten||€326|
|private international school for lower grades||€6,931|
|Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona tuition||€35.77 per credit|
|Universitat Pompeu Fabra tuition||€1,657 (EU residents) / €6,800 (non-EU residents)|
Considering the quality of life in Spain, the cost of living in the European country is fairly low. Many expats find life in the country to be pretty cheap; a good thing when there’s plenty of wine and Iberian ham for the taking! Good luck, and enjoy your new life in Spain.