Living Costs in Spain on the Costa Blanca
Among the many great reasons foreigners have for moving to España is the living costs in Spain. Simply put, it’s wonderful! For many of us, it literally makes us giddy with excitement that the cost of living here is so affordable and such good quality. It takes our expectations of quality of life to a whole new level.
For many expats, it even makes early retirement possible, or for that matter, retirement period. Even if you’re not yet retired and still working, which is our case, living in Spain can be wonderfully affordable.
So that you can consider Spain for your own move abroad, or equip yourself if you’ve already decided, here’s what the numbers look like and what to keep in mind about the living costs in Spain.
How Areas Influence Living Costs in Spain
Above Image – The Plaza de Ayuntamiento (town hall) in Valencia.
Like any country, the living costs in Spain vary depending on whether or not you’re in a metropolitan area, rural area, or somewhere in between. In our case, we live in Denia, a good size beach town on the Costa Blanca and in the Community of Valencia. So what we share here is based primarily on this area.
More rural areas and smaller villages, especially if they are inland rather than on the coast, will have lower costs of living. While major cities and destinations, like Barcelona and Madrid are the most expensive. However, compared to other major cities in the world (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London), even they can be ‘inexpensive’. It’s really about your point of reference and where you’re coming from.
Having lived for several months in the heart of Valencia’s old town, we can attest to the fact that it’s more affordable compared to Spain’s two larger cities, Madrid and Barcelona. And overall, the quality of life is consistent throughout the country.
The Quality of Life in Spain
So speaking of… What do we mean when we say ‘quality of life’? The phrase can be easily thrown around. The dictionary defines it as “the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group”. And how is that standard set? We base it on the elements of food, health care, housing, access, culture, and community.
Spain is already known for its relaxed culture of long lunches, siestas, and the attitude of mañana, mañana. Life here in Spain is far less stressful and the weather is sunny and comfortable most of the year, especially on the Mediterranean Coast.
The community is also very family-oriented, there’s great public transportation nationwide and locally, and many people are healthy due to walking regularly and the local diet. Let’s also not forget, that along the coast and even inland, the renown Mediterranean diet, known for fueling long and healthy life, is still the predominant diet.
Overall, what you get for what you pay here is really exciting. Just because costs are lower doesn’t mean you’re getting crap. And when you do pay more for something, most times you’re getting the higher quality that you’re paying for.
As we start to jump into the numbers, keep in mind that they’re based on the living costs for a couple, two people with no kids at home and no pets (yet, that is).
Housing Living Costs in Spain
Above Image – The view from one of our terraces where we currently live.
For an example of housing costs, a €1000 a month here can get you a really great apartment with an average of three bedrooms and two or three bathrooms, in the town center, walking distance to the beach, and with great sea views. Oh, and that’s even furnished!
This is based on our own personal experience of where we’re currently living, which is in a two-story, top-floor apartment or penthouse, with two large terraces on the first floor and two small terraces on the top floor. Here in Spain, they call them áticos. There are also houses that can be rented for around this price and yes, plenty of housing can be even less.
Above Image – The first home we rented in Denia.
The first home we rented in Denia (which was 2017 and 2016) was a beautiful one-story, traditional Spanish style casita that was right on the beach and came fully furnished. It was three bedrooms and two bathrooms, had an updated kitchen, covered parking, two terraces, and a yard. And we paid €900 a month (not including the internet and utilities).
These situations are based on 1-year, long-term leases.
Expat Tip: If you’re renting, the time of year is key for getting a long-term property. Just before summer is more difficult because owners can rent their property out short-term for a lot of money. So think fall and end of the year for finding and locking in a place that you like.
The Cost of Utilities in Spain
Above Image – A sunset view from the other terrace of our current place.
This is another area where, of course, it depends on your usage, but in general cost so much less than in other countries. For example, our electricity bill has been as low as €87 for a month and as high as €144 for a month when we were running the air conditioning or heat and had guest visiting.
The water bill is only every two months and has been between €55 and €80. Again, variables like having guests are when the bills have been higher.
Something else to keep in mind is that water heaters in Spain are either electric or gas, meaning butane. These are literally small gas tanks that are stored in a cupboard of the kitchen and work with the water heater and the stove if it’s a gas stove.
In our current place, we really like that the water heater is electric and our stove top is still gas, but with the butane tank outside on our terrace. We don’t know about you, but for us coming from the US, it really is strange to have a gas tank in your kitchen.
Then the internet service we have is between only €38 and €42 a month, which comes as a package that includes two mobile lines, a landline (which is required here in Spain), and the internet is Fiberoptic, so it’s good and fast.
Food Costs When Living in Spain
And going back to the foodie in all of us, eating out here can be really inexpensive, yet superb quality. The local produce especially is downright cheap, even for natural, non-sprayed produce. Grocery stores also provide a great selection of organic goods (called biológico or ecológico in Spain) that tend to be less expensive than in other countries.
On average, we get a week’s worth of fresh, local produce from the weekly Friday market in Denia, and it cost us around €15 to €20. Sometimes even less. Then purchasing good quality meat and fish, let’s say a kilo of each, from one of our local butchers inside the Mercado Central (central market building), can be about €20 to €25.
Eating out can be so easily affordable also because of that beloved Spanish way of living. You can share 2 – 3 tapas between two of you, at an average of €5 to €10 each tapa. The higher the price, the larger the tapa, like a large bowl of mejillones (mussels). A caña, or small tap beer, is only €1.75 or €2, while wine can range between only €2 or €3.75 by the glass (depending on the vintage and region). And one of our favorite drinks, Spanish vermouth, is priced similar to wine.
Above Image – A traditional dish served for lunch, puchero.
Better yet, many places still give a free tapa with your drink order. This is usually a small pincho, meaning it’s on a piece of bread. Or it can be a small plate of ensaladilla (potato salad), olives or chips.
But if you’re really hungry, you can benefit from the famed menú del día, which is a set menu at a set price, served at lunchtime. They can range from €10 up to €20 per person, and usually include your choice of one or two starters, a main course, dessert or coffee, and sometimes comes with wine or beer. Some places won’t let you share one menú del día and even require that everyone at the table orders one of their own. But over the past years, we’ve seen that change quite a bit and today, more places are allowing you to share.
When it comes to dinner and an evening out, you can enjoy a delicious, quality dinner for two, wine and/or beer, and in a nice setting, for less than €50.
Super Important – What Does Wine Cost When Living in Spain?
Oh my gosh! We almost forgot about the wine. Spanish wine here is fantastically cheap and very good, which applies to store-bought wine and drinking out. With Spain making more wine than what they can export, it makes sense that like the Spaniards, you can enjoy some every day (we’re not kidding – it’s part of that long-life Mediterranean diet).
On average we spend anywhere between €2 and €4 on everyday wine for having at home, €5 is splurging at home, and between €6 and €10 for a nice bottle of wine to take to a dinner party.
There are plenty of more expensive wines, trust us, but those are great for celebrating a very special occasion and giving a nice gift. Unless of course you just like the more expensive wines.
Healthcare Costs in Spain
Spain-wide, healthcare is available to you once you are a resident (and paying social security contributions). Although we have found that you can get your health card and start using it as soon as you have your NIE card. It’s also considered one of the best in the world. And yes, it’s still far better than the US.
For services in addition to basic healthcare, like dental (although emergencies are covered), eye care, chiropractic and more, we have found it to also be much less expensive than in the US and other countries. We even have friends who come to Spain just to visit but also tie in dental and other procedures. One such friend had some dental work done that in the US she was quoted over $3000 for, but in Valencia only cost her a few hundred Euros out of pocket. We’ve also experienced for ourselves that having a broken back tooth repaired for one of us, was less than €300.
On top of these great prices, the quality of care and service is very good. While public hospitals can be busier and in some cases take longer for getting treated, the treatment is still of a high standard. And dealing with more serious diseases like cancer can receive better treatment here and be more affordable.
Other Living Costs in Spain
If you like keeping your place clean, you’re going to love this one. House cleaning is so much cheaper around here. It’s usually only €10/hour per person to have a cleaner clean your home. Many of them don’t bring their own stuff, so you have to make sure you have the cleaning products, but it’s still so worth it and there’s plenty of them who do a great job. We like to have one lady come once a month for either two or three hours, and it only cost €20 or €30.
And here are some basic transportation costs:
- Taxi = €6 – €12 around Denia, for up to a 4-kilometer radius. This increases based on it being a weekend or holiday, late evening, or if you call ahead of time versus hailing them on the street. And around Denia, hailing them on the street is likely to be possible only during the busier summer months.
- Local Buses = The local DeniBus that goes from the center to the end of Las Rotas, and then in the other direction to the end Las Marinas, is only €1.50 per person, each way.
- Regional Bus Routes = Alsa is the main bus company around here and has some good routes, for example from Denia to Valencia. These cost an average of only €18 to €20 for a couple, one-way.
- Fuel Costs for a Car = Well for that one, we can’t speak to because so far we don’t have a car here and we don’t drive. If you have input about this one, please share about it in the comments below.
On Your Way to Living in Spain
Now that you have some insider knowledge and insight into the living costs in Spain, particularly on the Costa Blanca, you can be even more excited about moving here. You can be living in Denia, or a place similar, very comfortably as a couple for around €3000 a month. And that’s allowing for some nice spending money too. Now, this does depend on your lifestyle, how much you like to eat out and shop, and what kinds of places you enjoy those activities.
Most importantly, what you’ll love about the affordability of living in Spain, is the great quality of life that comes with it. We hope that this helps you out in your move to Spain.
Are you already living in Spain and have your own insight into living costs? Are there any costs that we didn’t cover here? Chime in in the comments below with any questions or input you have.
Dénia, City of Gastronomy
Designated UNESCO Creative City in 2015
Written by Amalia & Eric
Founders & Producers of Move to Traveling
We’re Amalia and Eric – a traveling couple who are living a traveling lifestyle. Do you love to travel? Perfect! Come along…