Cost of Living Comparison: UK and Spain

Published Last Updated 7 min read

Spain is a top-rated destination, with many people making a move there every year. Once you experience its warm weather, beautiful scenery and incredible food, you’ll soon see why Spain is so tempting for expats from the UK and worldwide. But how does the cost of living in Spain compare to similar countries?

If you’re wondering what it costs to live in Spain and what effect Spain's living costs would have on your lifestyle if you were to make a move, we’re here to help. Read on, and we’ll explain everything you need to know about the cost of living in Spain, from the household bills you’ll need to pay to the other potential costs you’ll have to consider.

Is it expensive to live in Spain?

Spain is known for its relatively low cost of living. Compared to similar countries such as the UK, it’s incredibly cheap to live in Spain - even if you want to indulge by eating out several times a week. However, like most countries around the world, the cost of living here does vary considerably depending on which region you choose to make your home.

Looking for the cheapest cost of living in Spain? Madrid is one of the most affordable capital cities you can live in. Living here is far more cost-effective than in London or Berlin, and the quality of life you’ll enjoy is comparatively high.

Choose to settle in Madrid, and you’ll find it’s over 50% cheaper than New York and over 40% cheaper than London. Living in Barcelona is similar, where it's 50% cheaper than New York and 40% cheaper than London.

Head to Valencia, and you’ll find costs plummet even further. The cost of living in Valencia is over 60% lower than in New York and over 50% lower than that of London. Other affordable cities in Spain include Seville, which is around 60% and 50% cheaper than New York and London.

Spain prices: Typical living costs in Spain

The main living costs you’ll need to consider if you’re moving to Spain are housing, taxes, utilities, food and drink, and healthcare. Here’s what these essentials typically cost in Spain.


Housing is known for being relatively affordable in Spanish towns, but prices vary depending on whether you’re moving to a big city or a more rural location. Coastal towns and cities also command higher price tags, given the popularity of these areas.

Some of the country's most costly places to live include cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. Here, a 50-square-metre apartment costs in the region of €150,000 - €250,000. If you’re hoping to purchase a larger home to relocate your whole family, but need to be within easy reach of a bustling Spanish city, you’re likely to be looking at a price tag of between €600,000 - €700,000.

There are many affordable Spanish towns, however. If price is a concern, take a look at areas like Extremadura, Aragon, Navarre and Castile La Mancha. Here, you’ll be able to purchase a home for a much lower price and still benefit from an excellent standard of living and plenty of Spanish sunshine.


Move to Spain, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the change in your household bills. Spanish utility bills are quite low compared to other countries in the EU, and they’re far cheaper than in the UK.

On average, electricity bills cost €116 per month in Spain. There are factors to consider that might mean you spend more on electricity, however. Spanish summers are, of course, very hot, and they can be comparatively long too. This may mean an increase in electricity spend if you install air conditioning or run fans throughout the summer.


If you’re relocating to Spain from the UK, you’ll be used to the provision of free healthcare from the NHS. In Spain, healthcare is still free - but it works slightly differently.

Spanish residents with a social security number can access most healthcare services for free. However, some treatments and procedures do command a small charge. There is no coverage for dental services in Spain.

Check whether you would be entitled to free healthcare if you move to Spain. If not, you’ll need to take out private health insurance for the duration of your stay.


In Spain, you can eat well even on a strict budget. Food prices are low, and everything from the basics such as milk and bread to luxury purchases like cured meats and alcohol are better value for money.

If you’re moving from the UK, you’ll be impressed by the price of beer, wine and water in Spain, and it’ll cost you much less to stock the fridge each week. A litre of milk costs around €0.80, 12 eggs are €1.99, and a loaf of bread is €1.02. For more average prices in Spain, take a look at this data.

How much does it cost to live in Spain per month? The average monthly cost of living in Spain

In Spain, monthly fees for essentials like heating, water, and electricity, and housing and rental prices are low compared to the UK. This means that those moving to Spain or those planning to retire in Spain can enjoy a high standard of living.

While bills in Spain vary throughout the country, the prices below provide a general guide as to how much you can expect to pay for everything you need. On average, the monthly costs for a family of four are €2,239.58. For a single person, the average cost of living is €633.20 per month.

Basic household bills (electricity, heating, water, garbage)€120.71
Rent for a one-bedroom city centre apartment€744.12
Pre-school childcare€360.62
Three-course meal for two at a restaurant €50.00
Internet connection€37.07
Gym/leisure centre membership€37.29
Cinema ticket€8.00
Monthly public transportation ticket€40.00

What is the average salary in Spain?

The average salary in Spain is lower than that of the UK, which will come as no surprise given the difference in living expenses between the two.

In Spain, salaries are 56.04% lower on average than in the UK. The average annual income in Spain is €27,000, which is near the bottom of the EU rankings in salaries. However, salaries in cities tend to be higher, and lucrative positions are still available for those with the right skills and experience.

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