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Cost of living in Spain

From Valencia to Madrid to Barcelona, Spain’s wealth of cities and beautiful rural towns make it a popular option for those looking to move abroad. People often move to find a better quality of life, to explore their entrepreneurial side, and in today’s circumstances, many migrants living in the UK are looking to escape the uncertainty of a post-Brexit Britain.

In this installment, we look at the costs of living in Spain. Naturally, living costs vary from city to city, so to give an overall view, we’re taking a look at the costs of living in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. It is worth noting at this point that Spain’s currency is the Euro: –

Cost of living in Madrid


Approximately 3.3 million people live in Madrid. However, that number rises to 6.5 million when taking into account the whole metropolitan area, making it the third largest metropolitan area in the EU.

The transport system in Madrid is excellent, with its Metro being the second largest in Europe. Its airport is one of Europe’s busiest; with four smaller airports serving primarily regional destinations.

The city is divided into 21 districts, which contain 128 barrios – each with its own unique personality. From the upmarket and pricey brand shopping district of Salamanca to the relaxed Chueca (popular with the city’s youth), there’s something for everyone in Spain’s capital city. 

Average monthly salary: €1453 (after taxes).

Average monthly rent: A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre averages €750. The price drops to €450 outside of the city centre. A three-bedroom apartment averages €1382 or €956 in the same areas.

Cost of living in Barcelona


A city with a rich and varied history, Barcelona is located in Spain’s Catalonia region on the southern coast. Boasting a vibrant food and nightlife scene, beautiful beaches, impressive art and architecture, ancient history and one of the world’s best football teams, Barcelona is a popular holiday destination for couples and families, as well as large groups and solo travellers. In fact, it’s the third most popular tourist destination in Europe.

Barcelona may be large; but its public transport system is robust, allowing you to jump on a train, metro or bus and reach another part of the city in no time. Within city limits, Barcelona’s population roughly stands at 1.6 million.

Average monthly salary: €1,336.40 (after taxes).

Average monthly rent: A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost around €908, whilst the same apartment outside the city centre will be approximately €658. A three-bedroom apartment in the same areas will roughly cost €1,348 or €983.

Cost of living in Valencia


Valencia is the third largest city in Spain (after Madrid and Barcelona). Founded in 138BC, the city boasts a large historic centre, ancient monuments and cultural attractions. Approximately, 800,000 residents live in the city centre and 2.5 million people live in the metropolitan area.

The public transport system is robust, with most buses running until around 10pm and a limited number of lines operating until about 1am. The metro and buses serve the suburbs and beach areas, as well as the city centre.

Average monthly salary: €1,280.00 (after taxes).

Average monthly rent: A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre averages €513.00. The price drops to €356.00 outside of the city centre. A three-bedroom apartment averages €867.00 or €558.00 in the same areas.

Spain living: the facts



The Spanish healthcare system is considered to be one of the world’s best. Those living and working in Spain typically have access to free state healthcare, which is partially funded by payroll deductions. Expats working in Spain are also entitled to free state healthcare (including those who are self-employed).

The banking system

The Spanish banking is divided into two types of banks: bancos and cajas. Bancos are mostly privately or publicly owned institutions and offer branch banking and a full-line of services. Cajas are smaller regional financial institutions mostly owned by the state.

The major banks include ING Direct, Banc de Sabadell, Banco Popular, Santander and BBVA.

Bank fees in Spain are fairly high. A yearly account administration fee of between €15 and €30 is common, plus there is usually a fee for credit and debit cards, ATM withdrawals, adding an additional account holder, and opening a savings account. Shopping around for banks with the lowest fees is a must.

In order to open an account be prepared to produce the following:-

  • Proof of identity (e.g. passport).
  • Foreigner identification number and certificate.
  • Proof of address.
  • Proof of employment status (e.g. employment contract or student card).

Money transfer fees are quite high. Fortunately TransferGo services customers in Spain and offers low-cost fixed-exchange rates for individuals and businesses.



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