Living Costs in Spain on the Costa Blanca

by Last updated Jul 2, 2019 | Published on Jun 3, 2019Denia, Living in Spain Series, Spain

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 ImageThe 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.

Read More: Our Top 7 Reasons for Living in Denia, Spain as Expats

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 ImageThe 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 ImageThe 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 ImageA 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 ImageA 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.

Read More: Denia, A Hidden Gem Among Gastronomy Destinations in Spain

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.

Read More: Getting Around Spain – Tips for Maximizing the Latest Improvements in Spain’s Transportation

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.

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Dénia, City of Gastronomy

Designated UNESCO Creative City in 2015

Written by Amalia & Eric

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…


  1. kevin linden

    how does Javea compare to Denia? generally speaking and cost wise?
    we are plotting to relocate to Spain and will visit, again, before we decide but those two areas seem about the right size to be self sustaining so dont have to do a lot of travelling for basics.
    also we want to buy after renting for a short while. thoughts?

    • Amalia and Eric

      Hi Kevin, Thanks for being on our blog and for your great questions. Both Denia and Javea are ideal sizes for living year-round. There’s plenty of resources in both towns for getting what you need and they are located only a 50-minute drive to Valencia or a tad bit longer to Alicante in the other direction.

      Javea tends to be more ‘developed’ with British influence while people say that Denia is more Spanish and authentic with the local culture. We would agree although we haven’t lived in Javea and only visited. I think Javea is also a little more expensive than Denia, but again, we don’t know from experience. But both are great places with wonderful people. And both are towns where you can even walk to stores for your shopping and to enjoy going out to eat, etc. (if you desire and choose a home for that purpose). Both towns have marinas, but Denia has two marinas and the port for the Balearia Ferries which go to the Balearic Islands so that can be very nice for traveling.

      We highly recommend renting first here before buying, especially if you’re not sure yet of which town you want to be in. If you want any help searching for properties and especially to understand the market and keep an eye out for buying eventually, we highly recommend Paul Millward of Grupo Garcia. Here’s an article he just wrote for us and his contact information:
      Tel: +34 96 648 2480
      Mob: +34 637 844 891
      [email protected]

      We hope that helps. Please let us know if you have any other questions and whenever you are in the area, we’d love to meet up if you like. Best wishes for your move!

    • Amalia and Eric

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks so much for being here on our blog and for your questions. We do not know Javea very well but our impression and what we’ve heard from others is that it is generally a higher cost of living there than in Denia. Also, Javea tends to be more developed with British and foreign influence, whereas Denia is known for being authentically Spanish/Valencian (yet with a great international community still).

      Size-wise, both are around the same size, but Denia doesn’t seem as spread out as Javea is. Denia also has two marinas and a Nautical Club, with one of the Marinas being the headquarters for the Balearia Ferry company which goes to the Balearic Islands. Javea does have one marina, which is lovely as well, and a very nice promenade along the beach that has various restaurants. Denia has plenty of sandy and rocky beaches, but not necessarily as many restaurants right on the water (but still some and they’re great). Oh, and let’s not forget that Denia has a castle right in the center and near the water – it’s very charming.

      We have heard that in the winter months Javea can be quieter with not very much going on, although still enough open for every day needs and traveling. Denia stays active year-round with a great local feel during the winter months and plenty still open and going on.

      Buying after having rented something here for a time is in our opinion the best way to go. We haven’t bought ourselves, but from hearing stories from our friends, we recommend renting first. That way you can get to know the area and which town you prefer for living in (you can always visit both no matter which one you decide).

      If you need any help looking for a rental and then later a home to buy, we highly recommend Paul Millward:

      Paul Millward
      Tel: +34 96 648 2480
      Mob: +34 637 844 891
      [email protected]

      He’s very knowledgable and responsive. A great guy to know here and for help in this area.

      We hope that helps. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any other questions and if you would like to meet up once you’re here. We love meeting new people and welcoming them to this area of Spain.

      Take care!

  2. Mark Holcombe

    We are looking to move out to Denia in the future, we are not sure when at the moment. Just wanted to know in your 3000 euro budget, does that include rent?

    • Amalia and Eric

      Hi Mark, Glad to hear that you’re considering Denia for your future plans. And yes, the €3000 budget we reference in the post does include rent. Our rent here now is €1000/month for a 3 bed, 2bth top-floor apartment. It’s a 2-floor ‘atico’ (or penthouse unit) comes fully furnished and has two large terraces with great views, as well as two smaller terraces off the bedrooms on the second floor.
      We hope that helps to give you an idea of living costs as you consider Denia. Please let us know of any other questions.
      Thank you for enjoying our blog and we hope to see you here often.

  3. Manuel

    Hi , I live in USA
    Want to go for 1 or 2 months
    First I want to see the town the living situation and if we like it looking forward to live for longer period
    How you can get a permit to live there for 1 month and coverage for insurance for 1 month thinking about the worst situation , that way you r cover ?? Where do I apply ??

    • Amalia and Eric

      Hi Manuel, Thanks for being on our blog. If you’re American, then you can be in Spain for up to 3 months. Beyond that amount of time, you have to have a visa to continue being here/living here. There are different types of visas that you can get and the one we’re most familiar with the non-lucrative visa which means you don’t have to work while living in Spain. You can apply for this, and other visa types, at your local Spanish Embassy.

      For insurance, there are a lot of providers and usually the local Spanish Embassy provides a list of those that they approve of, since it’s required to have for the visa application.

      We hope that this helps and wish you well in your search!

  4. Phil

    We are looking at moving to Denia in August 2020 where we will be working and raising our 3 year old son. Your various posts have been brilliant to read and have really whetted our appetites (figuratively and literally) for our next adventure. Your article on living costs has us a bit confused though. You mentioned a monthly budget of 3000 euro but when we added up all your component parts couldn’t get to more than about half that. Obviously there are some additional things like contents insurance but even so we can’t see where the extra costs might be incurred. This is a critical issue for us as initially it will only be one of us working so we won’t have 3000 euro to spend. Can you clarify please.

    • Amalia and Eric

      Hi Phil, Thanks for enjoying our blog and for your question. Sorry to not answer sooner, but we took a break over the holidays. Regarding our proposed budget of 3000 Euros, I think we factored in money to travel each month and simply aimed for a higher, more generous amount, rather than a minimum. We also like to go out to eat out a lot. It really depends on each family’s preference though. For example, we spend more on renting our furnished place than most local Spaniards sees as affordable, but coming from Denver, Colorado, it’s very affordable and less expensive to us. But if you’re tallying up your own costs and coming to less than 3000 Euros a month, then that’s great and yes it can be possible here. We hope that that helps and let us know if you have any further questions. Hope to see you on our blog often and that you have a great move to Denia. Let us know when you’re here!

  5. Toni

    Hi, I’ve just found your blog and thoroughly enjoyed reading it, it’s been hugely helpful.

    Myself, husband and three children are hoping to move to Denia in Jan 2020, initially for a year, to see how the kids settle… is there an area in particular that you would recommend living in, that is close to the local Spanish schools but also within walking distance to the centre/local amenities. We are from Ireland, have friends living in Javea. My husband plans to visit Denia in October, and find his bearings…. neither of us have visited Denia yet, but I was recently in Javea. Any tips / advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Amalia and Eric

      Hi Toni! It’s great get your comment and questions. And how exciting that you and your family are moving here to Denia soon. How old are your kids? We don’t have children but have very good friends who do and who have also just moved here from other parts of the world. One friend married a Spaniard and has been living here for over 20 years. Her son is nine years old. They will know the most of the schools here and great areas to live.

      We can tell you that where these friends live is in the neighborhoods that are just in from the Marineta Casiana beach and Denia Marina (the other marina on the other side of town is El Portet). It’s as it slopes up to the Mountain Montgo. It seems that is a great area that is still very close to the town center but also to schools, although it’s good to definitely have a car there as well. It can be bit of a walk though into town the higher up you get towards the mountain Montgo.

      Feel free to put your husband in touch with us and we’d love to meet up when he comes to visit in Denia. Let us know of any other questions you have and if you’d like for us to be in touch directly via email. Thank you and hope to see you on our site often!

  6. Anna

    Love Denia! I have Spanish family in El verger and I’ve set my sites on (early) retirement in Denia. I dream of long lunches at els Tomassets in town! Keep the informative posts coming, it’s how I’m convincing my husband of our future plans!

    • Amalia and Eric

      Hi Anna! It’s so great to ‘meet’ you here. How wonderful that you have family in El Verger. You definitely know how wonderful this area is and yes, it will be a great place to retire. We know of els Tomassets too but haven’t been in a while. It’s good to be reminded of it. So glad you appreciate our posts and look forward to seeing you here again on our site and maybe one day in Denia! Thank you and stay in touch!

  7. Donna Montgomery

    Hi, I’m so excited you’ve posted a current cost of living article, just where we are considering moving! We are still about four yrs off, but I’m trying to line everything up. I have two questions for you, the first is on health care ….To get the retirement visa, or non-work here at our closest loc. in Los Angeles they require a full health ins. policy. They all exclude pre-existing conditions, but they’re thousands per year! Any recommendations? I realize later we can get health care through our residency, but concerning in the meantime. Secondly, I would like to be walking distance to town and wondering if housing is all apartments. Can you please give me the name of a good neighborhood to focus on near the historic center? Thanks so much! I can’t wait to get there and meet you in person! Donna

    • Amalia and Eric

      Hi Donna! It’s so great to meet you here and we’re really glad that our article is helpful to you. Great questions that you have as well. For health care that complies with the retirement or non-lucrative visa (non-work), it can be very expensive. We found that you have to especially be careful of health insurance contracts typically being for a minimum of 1-year, which of course you don’t necessarily want because the process may go faster than that and you most likely won’t need it for that long. But for more advice about it, we would recommend being in touch with our friend Tara who went this process more than we did (we still work and I have dual nationality with Spain and the US). She did a great guest article here on our site and part II is going to be coming out this summer, which is where she’s going to speak directly to those details:

      So in the meantime, comment on that article and she’ll be able to comment back to you there as well.

      For housing in Denia, there are plenty of great neighborhoods that are walking distance to town but have homes available rather than apartments. There’s the beginning of Las Rotas, which starts just across from the Marineta Casiana beach, and if you’re interested in renovated townhome style homes, there is the old center that’s just behind the castle, which has beautiful row homes.

      Let us know of any other questions or if you want more details than that. And we also look forward to meeting you in person! Thank you and look forward to remaining connected here.

  8. Elisa Gonzalez

    Excellent information. Love reading your publications, pictures are great!

    • Amalia and Eric

      Hi Elisa! Thank you so much for enjoying the post and for your kind words. We’re so glad that you find it informative and helpful. If there are any ideas you ever have for what you’d like us to write about, just let us know. Thanks and take care!

  9. Shelley

    Ooh I love how you’ve broken it down amigos! I’ll be following in your footsteps just as soon as I can! Olé!

    • Amalia and Eric

      Hey Shelley! You will love it here in España. But you already know that. So glad you liked the article and look forward to when you make the move for yourself. Keep us posted!


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