Planning to go to Spain and wondering how much money you may spend there? We were also wondering that and were really curious if sites like numbeo.com are telling the truth. Spending around €1350 per month, without rent, was not looking cheap for sure. For us, it seemed awfully overpriced, especially since Spain is considered a cheap country to live in Europe. Let’s discover the real monthly cost of living in Spain based on our experience.
Overall we lived in Spain for 12 months and now, with a pure heart, we can tell you what the costs of living really look like from the perspective of full-time digital nomads and slow travelers. We’ll share with you how much money we spent on average while living in Spain and if it really is that cheap.
Important notes. This post was written mostly for digital nomads/slow travelers staying for longer in one place. The prices used in the post are valid for the period September 2021 – March 2022 & January-June 2023.
Interested in the costs of living in other countries?
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Real monthly cost of living in Spain as digital nomad
Accommodation in Spain
During our time in Spain we lived in 8 towns: Benicassim, Benidorm, Mijas Las Lagunas, Tarifa, Llanes, Almeria, La Manga and Salou. We use Airbnb for finding our temporary homes. We’re staying in one place at least for 6 weeks. Additionally, as digital nomads, we have specific requirements that each place must meet:
- a whole place for ourselves,
- fully equipped,
- with great Internet,
- with a place to work,
- a parking spot is a must too, as we are traveling by car.
All of this translates into a higher price we have to pay for a place.
Our average monthly accommodation cost in Spain 2021/2022: €900
Our average monthly accommodation cost in Spain 2023: €1000
Of course, the price will depend on various factors – for example, you’ll pay much less if you’ll be satisfied with renting only a room in someone’s place.
Other possibilities to look for accommodation in Spain: Booking, Agoda, Idealista, Fotocasa. But if you’re not planning to stay for really long we don’t recommend the last two – you’ll often have to pay a high deposit and rent for at least a few months.
Grocery costs in Spain
We do our shopping in supermarkets. In Spain, you’ll find popular stores like Lidl, Aldi, or Carrefour. There are also some national brands like Consum, Mercadona, Alimerka, Dia, Masymas, or Esclat. Some are better equipped, some worse but for sure everyone will find perfect one for himself. Also, many depends on the region.
Our average monthly grocery cost in Spain in 2021/2022: €280. Back then we spent practically the same amount of money on food every month as in Wrocław, Poland. Food prices didn’t affect our wallets at all.
Our average monthly grocery cost in Spain in 2021/2022: €360. Quite a big change, huh? We didn’t really change our eating habits so the increase in price is probably related to inflation and the economic changes.
It’s the price for vegetarian groceries as we don’t eat meat.
Below we leave sample receipts and photos from stores so you can see the prices of various products (click to zoom).
Going out in Spain
Restaurants in Spain
Here the price range is quite large. You can find quite cheap tapas bars, or you can go to fancy restaurants. As for us – we usually paid about €50-80 for one dinner out for two. We’ve read somewhere that going out in Spain is as cheap as eating at home – well, it isn’t, at least in our case. For that price we can buy groceries for a whole week.
Our average monthly going out cost in Spain: €70
Here are some examples of prices. As you can see, even “cheap tapas” aren’t that cheap.
Photo source: Google Maps. For example, in this place, we paid €50.
Cinemas in Spain
We love going to the cinema so we’ll mention it here too. Doing that in Spain can be difficult for people who don’t speak fluent Spanish. Why? Because most cinemas are playing movies only with dubbing. Yes, you read that right. Only some (mainly larger cinema chains) play movies in the original language (look for VO/VOSE) from time to time.
How about the prices? About €8-10 per person. Compared to cinemas in Poland, it is really high price.
Cost of transportation in Spain
Traveling by car
We’re traveling by car so the only thing we need is gasoline. In September 2021 we paid less than €1.5/L, in March 2022 more than €1.65/L, and in 2023 about €1.7/L. Prices vary a lot depending on the gas station. From our observations from “major players” BP is the cheapest, then Cepsa, and Repsol is the most expensive. Local small gas stations were always the cheapest.
When traveling by car, you also need parking. We always look for free ones. In Spain we rarely paid for parking but it much depends on a visited places. It’s so much easier to find free parking lots in smaller towns than big cities. On average it cost us about €1.5 per 1 hour (in parking lots not in the city center). So you can assume that you’ll pay a similar price per hour for parking.
Our average monthly transportation cost in Spain: €80
If you’re traveling by plane we advise you to rent a car as it’s a very comfortable way of discovering Spain. You can use websites like rentalcars.com or look for local rentals. The cheapest options we’ve found cost about €1500 per 31 days, of course, plus fuel.
Traveling by public transport
Another option is public transport, but here we also can’t say anything from the experience. For example, according to rome2rio.com, a bus from Benidorm to Alicante will cost €5-8, and a longer ride from Valencia to Malaga is €50 – €70. There are also high-speed trains available (AVE trains) connecting major cities in Spain. A trip from Barcelona to Madrid in standard class will cost about €55-90, mostly depending on the departure hour. But we’ve just read that Spain is starting to launch more low-cost high-speed AVE trains, like this from Madrid and Valencia (€7) or this one from Alicante to Madrid which will come into operation in autumn 2022 (€9).
Cost of tourist attractions in Spain
As you might guess: prices depend on the place. In our opinion entry fees are quite cheap compared to other countries. We usually paid around €2-6 per person. We were also surprised that some attractions are free, like Santa Bárbara Castle in Alicante or Roman City of Baelo Claudia near Tarifa.
Here are some examples of prices for one adult:
- Alcazaba of Antequera: 6€
- Colomares monument: €2.50
- Morella castle: €3
- Alcazaba of Malaga: €3.50
- Fonts de l’Algar: €4
- Catedral de Cádiz: €6
- La Casa del Rey Moro: 8€
- Caminito del Rey: 10€ + €1.5 for return bus
- Baños Árabes in Ronda: €4,50
Going to the doctor in Spain
Fortunately, we didn’t have to use any doctor’s services in Spain. If you’re from one of the EU countries (and insured in your residential country) you can use a free EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) to receive treatment in another member country for free or at a reduced cost, if that treatment becomes necessary during your visit.
But EHIC doesn’t cover a lot of things so more important is to have travel and/or health insurance. Its prices may vary a lot depending on your country and your needs. We’re using one offered by a Polish company, which cost us about €70 per month for two people. We highly recommend buying good insurance as you never know when you’ll get sick or something bad will happen. Also, you probably won’t be happy with paying thousands for hospitalization, treatments, etc.
Internet costs in Spain
We already mentioned at the beginning that we always look for a place with a good Internet connection. Outside the apartments, we use roaming data plans (in very small amounts). Another popular option is to get a local prepaid SIM card. Here’s what we’ve found about the prices of the most popular providers in Spain:
What can you save on while traveling?
Looking for savings during traveling? We’ve prepared a whole post where we’ve listed tips on how to save money while traveling. Check it out: 💰💰 20+ Tips On How To Save Money While Traveling 💰💰
Real Cost Of Living In Spain – Summing up
For us, people who lived in one of the biggest and most expensive cities in Poland – Wrocław, the monthly cost of living in Spain is really attractive and very similar, and you can say even cheap for what you get. In our case, the only cost that has increased significantly is the price of renting an apartment. Although this is also not entirely true because in Spain we lived in apartments 2x larger – and for such a space in Wrocław we would also pay twice as much as we paid for our small studio apartment.
Our average monthly cost of living in 2021/2022 was €1250.
Our average monthly cost of living in 2023 was €1460.
So… is Spain cheap?
The monthly cost of living in Spain was acceptable for us. Definitely, the costs could be higher as well as lower but everyone needs something different and has different requirements for daily life. However, we’re sure everyone will find something great as overall Spain is pretty cheap.
Oh, one more thing! For us living in Spain was twice cheaper as numbeo.com claims. So always take this kind of information with a grain of salt.
We hope you found this post very useful and it will help you plan your expenses or even convince you to start your own journey shortly.