Living costs are rising steeply all over the world, and finding somewhere with affordable prices is becoming tricky these days. This is making it difficult to maintain a reasonable cost of living. However, finding cheap places to live in Spain is not as hard as it seems.
After spending 3 months in Spain, I found I had spent very little compared to the usual living costs of the UK, whilst still surviving in the big cities. The country remains a popular destination for many tourists and digital nomads alike. This is due to the low cost of living, good property prices, and beautiful places dotted all over the country.
This blog will cover locations in this stunning country, discussing the average price for day-to-day items and activities. It will also look at rent and property prices, popular events, climate, and the general atmosphere of these spots.
Does Spain Have A Low Cost Of Living?
The housing crisis is hitting hard in western Europe, and Spain is not exempt from this, with a 5.5% inflation rate in December 2022. This increase is the lowest of the European Union countries however, with the average increase in the Eurozone being 9.2%, and as high as 25% in Hungary.
The difference in average costs differs from one autonomous region to another. Some areas have a low cost of living compared to others. Northern Spain is generally more pricey than southern Spain for example, but of course, this rule is not absolute. Some of the best cities in Spain can be the cheapest, providing excellent options for living in an amazing country on a budget.
Below is a list of websites which provide great options for cheap places to live in Spain, whilst being easy to use.
Top 5 Best sites for accommodation in Spain
Cheapest Cities in Spain
Salamanca is a beautiful city with historic streets that make you feel like you’ve stepped into the past. The buildings lining the streets in the old city have been largely unchanged for hundreds of years, which gives the city an archaic look. The climate in Salamanca is warm but can get cold in the winter. The summer temperature is normally mid to high 20’s (Celsius), and between 0 to 10 in winter.
Salamanca is famous for its prestigious university, which is the oldest in Spain, and the third oldest in western Europe. Along with the tourism industry, it is the primary source of income for Salamanca and has approximately 30,000 students.
As a result of the university, Salamanca is renowned for its nightlife, reputedly being one of the best in Spain. I had a lot of fun whilst I was there even as a solo traveller. It was very easy to make friends in the busy clubs and bars around the city. It is also one of the cheapest places in Spain, making partying easier on your wallet.
Salamanca was the European capital of culture in 2002, and it’s easy to see why. From the stunning Casa de las Conchas to the Plaza Mayor, it is definitely the most beautiful city I visited in Spain. Salamanca has a large train station from which you can reach many other significant cities in Spain. The city also has 13 bus lines connecting the city, making it easy to get around.
Average Price For A One-Bedroom Apartment: €388/month
Estimated Living Costs Per Month: €1,173/month
Also situated in the Andalucia province, Granada was the final stronghold for the moors hundreds of years after the Reconquista. Due to this, Granada has developed a distinct culture from the rest of Spain. Residents of other areas may describe people from Granada as being rude or blunt, but it is a bit of a misinterpretation.
The city itself is exciting, much like Salamanca being a cheap place for nightlife, with the Mae West Discoteca at the top for me. The exciting bars and complex clubs provide enough fun for a lifetime.
If food is an important factor for you, then the tradition of having tapas included with a drink in many venues will be pleasing. Whilst the choice of food is up to the host, this will not be a problem for even the fussiest of eaters. The mountains surrounding Granada provide excellent hiking opportunities, with some of the best hikes even beginning in the city centre.
The rolling hills and ruins provide great opportunities for photography, along with the cave houses nested on the outskirts of the city. The Sierra Nevada mountains outside Granada also provide skiing and snowboarding opportunities, which is great for a day trip from the city.
The Alhambra is Granada’s top tourist attraction, with its lush gardens, amazing Moorish architecture, and incredible history. Visiting the gardens and palace is a must-do for visitors and tourists alike.
Average Price For A One-Bedroom Apartment: €369/month
Estimated Living Costs Per Month: €1,207/month
It can be hard to find cheap places to live in the lush north of Spain, due to its verdant and warm summers. León stands proudly, once the seat of the most powerful kingdom in medieval Spain. The streets certainly still have a regal air to them, and León wears it well. The city feels a lot more similar to farther north European cities due to the French Gothic architecture and cooler climate.
León’s famous architecture fuel the imagination, and make excellent eye candy for walks, tours and day trips. Some of the famous sites include the Casa de Los Botines designed by Gaudi, The León cathedral, and the Palacio de Los Guzmanes. Leóns streets are peppered with tapas bars, making a meal out in the city a breezy affair. The variety of food leaves little to be desired. Highlights of the Leónese cuisine include smoked beef, blood sausage, and rich garlic soup.
The tapas dining experience is similar to Granada in the fact that tapas is often free with a drink. Whilst this tradition was common all over in the past, it is sadly a dying tradition as tapas has become more of a separate experience and more commercial over time.
León is not too far from Madrid, and the capital is easily accessible via the main railway station. Other great destinations within reach from León include Galicia and Asturias, meaning amazing trips are never too far away, especially in the summer months.
Average Price For A One-Bedroom Apartment: €395/month
Estimated Living Costs Per Month: €1,146/month
Valencia is a wilder city than any other in Spain. Nestled on the coast of the mediterranean sea, it has a population of around 800,000, making it the 3rd biggest city by population. The city is famous for its rice dish paella, and as told by a Valencian friend of mine, ‘if it’s not made in Valencia, it’s not paella’. This dish can come in many varieties, all of which are delicious.
Valencia is also famous for Las Fallas, a festival in mid to late march. I had the luck of experiencing Las Fallas last year, and it remains one of the wildest and most exciting times for me in Spain. All caution is thrown to the wind in the name of fun, spectacular fireworks, and giant, masterly crafted burning effigies. Traditional music and dress are also seen on the streets, worn by the people who funded the effigies. The partying for Las Fallas goes on for weeks, and the air of untamed celebration lasts a long time after. If you decide Valencia is the place for you, Las Fallas will certainly be a highlight of the year.
The city itself contains many wonders. From the City of Arts and Sciences and the endless Turia park, the sandy beaches lining the coast, to the exciting bars and cafes of Russafa. Valencia is never empty of things to do and places to see.
Average Price For A One-Bedroom Apartment: €307/month
Estimated Living Costs Per Month: €1,007/month
Toledo was the capital of Spain until 1561, and due to this, has left its major mark on Spanish culture and history. The city is 70 km from Madrid, and as such, it is a good place to reach the capital. This makes Toledo an excellent option as a commuter town. Madrid can be reached in under an hour by car, along the A-42 motorway, or 30 minutes by train, using the Renfe service. Finding cheap places to live in Spain would normally rule out Madrid, and Toledo solves this problem.
The old city of Toledo is very touristy, but wandering along the old narrow streets tells you why. Much like Salamanca, it is pretty easy to find yourself in streets which look just like you have fallen into the past. Sword shops line the streets selling famous designs from movies, tv shows, and Spanish folklore. Toledo is famous for these shops and has been a centre for high-quality sword-making for over 2.5 thousand years.
Accommodation can be found very close to the old city, with cheap options still within walking distance from the city centre. The compact size of the city makes up for the lack of public transport within the city.
Average Price For A One-Bedroom Apartment: €381/month
Estimated Living Costs Per Month: €1,016/month
The southern Spanish coast is famous for the Costa Del Sol, with its warm climate, golden sands, and mountains of tourists. Unfortunately, finding cheap places to live in Spain makes it difficult to choose this part of the country. Cadiz is not traditionally known as part of the Costa Del Sol, but has a similar climate, making it a great alternative.
This semi-island or peninsula port town is connected to the mainland by two large bridges and a long sandy strip. This is the nearly 4 km Playa de la Cortadura (Beach of the Narrow Pass) and is a great place to relax in the sun. With its atmospheric fish markets, to its long stretch of coast on the mediterranean sea, Cadiz is breathtaking, with far fewer tourists than other locations such as Malaga or Nerja.
Cadiz is populated by flourishing parks with exotic plants, apparently brought over from the new world by Christopher Columbus. Tiny green parakeets populate the treetops and streets, which is a nice change from the normal pigeons in most other cities.
The city is small and pretty with its palm trees and white walls, it wouldn’t feel out of place on a romantic greek island. Life here reflects this, and it’s easy to feel like part of Cadiz after a while. For seafood lovers, Cadiz is a great option, with mouth-watering fried squid, squid fritters, roasted sea-urchins and tuna and onion dishes. The food is tasty and nourishing, served in perfect-sized portions.
Average Price For A One-Bedroom Apartment: €519/month
Estimated Living Costs Per Month: €1,243/month
Seville is a stunning city, the largest city and capital of Andalucia. It has a population of around 700,000, and is 4 square kilometres in size, making it the 4th largest city in Spain. With its numerous sunny squares, and sheltered streets lined with orange trees, Seville is a top spot on this list. The weather in this jewel of the south is very warm, reaching above 35 degrees celsius regularly in July and August.
Seville is teeming with historic sites all over the city, with Roman ruins under Las Setas, an old chain blockade tower known as El Torre del Oro (The tower of Gold), and the magical Alcazar, the palaces and gardens of the Moorish leaders. The Plaza de España resides in the southern part of the city. As well as being used in many films and movies, the square is an excellent spot to catch a performance of flamenco.
Semana Santa or Holy week is the main festival of Seville. Celebrated all over Spain, Seville is where it comes alive. Seemingly more important than Christmas or Easter, the streets throng with traditional dress, food and dance. There are beautiful processions of carved statues which capture the imagination as they march down the streets.
Seville’s busy streets are all connected via tram, bus and metro lines. The bus line covers all districts and neighbourhoods in Seville. There are many options for ticket deals, making intra-city transport very flexible, with the Tarjeta Multiviaje, or the Tarjeta Turista making bus transport an easy option. The Seville-Santa Justa railway station is the main train station in the city, with connections to 17 other major cities throughout the country.
Average Price For A One-Bedroom Apartment: €462/month
Estimated Living Costs Per Month (including rent): €1,348/month
The pride of Costa Blanca, Alicante is the perfect place for digital nomads looking for cheap places to live in Spain. This is mainly due to the multitude of co-living and coworking spaces. Alicante is perfect for a bustling beach town feel, and yet can also easily feel like a more permanent place to live, rather than just a holiday or backpacking destination.
Alicante’s old town, known as El Barrio is very nice, enclosed by mountains and with tapas restaurants and bars galore. The old town is also known for its late nightlife, with many bars and clubs not opening just before midnight. You will find all kinds of music genres, with live music, blaring DJ spots, and chatty bars. Looming above the city, on the side of a hill is the Santa Barbara Castle. The Christians took the Moorish castle in the mid-13th century. There are lifts to the top of the castle, and tours which take you through its complex history.
For sunbathing in Alicante the Playa de San Juan is the top beach, perfect for outdoor sports like beachball, beach tennis, and swimming. Along the beach, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops to supply your every need.
Average Price For A One-Bedroom Apartment: €367/month
Estimated Living Costs Per Month: €1,167/month
Tarifa is the windy surf and kitesurfing capital of Spain. Many hostels organise both sports, and there are many venues for hiring surfboards or taking lessons.
Tarifa is part of the Costa de la Luz, meaning ‘The Coast of Light’. With its sunny weather, it’s easy to see why. The beach Playa de Los Lances makes up the side of Tarifa and is over 7km long. Tarifa’s location has unique wind conditions, which is the main factor why water sports are so popular in the area. Due to the major water sports scene, Tarifa has become a centre for backpackers and digital nomads.
The winding, paved roads in Tarifa make for great photography, and the numerous rooftops in many of the hostels and apartments give a great view of the town from above. Visiting the viewpoint mirador del estrecho is recommended. You can get a good view of Morocco, which is only 14 kilometres away at the closest point. Due to the proximity, it is very easy to visit Africa.
Transport to Tangier in Morocco only takes an hour. FRS Ferries operates routes between Tarifa and Tangier, and run nine times a day, from 8 am to 9 pm. Of all the cheap places to live in Spain, Tarifa opens up the chance to explore a vastly different part of the world with ease.
Tarifa is great for catering to many dietary variations, with many vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants and cafes throughout the town. There are many historical sites around Tarifa such as the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, near the present-day village of Bolonia, and the various Christian and Moorish ruins around the area such as Guzman castle.
Average Price For A One-Bedroom Apartment: €509/month
Estimated Living Costs Per Month: €1,112/month
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The Canary Islands are a great option for cheap places to live in Spain. They are stunning volcanic islands off the coast of northwest Africa in the Atlantic ocean. Tenerife is the largest of these islands and contains national parks, an active volcano which is also the highest peak in Spain, rolling hills, and palm-lined beaches.
Santa Cruz is the capital of the Canary Islands, and also the largest. The coastal town contains many cafes, restaurants, and bars to keep you occupied. These serve many types of traditional local foods such as various kinds of cheese, potatoes, mojo sauce, and all kinds of seafood. People who are interested in outdoor and extreme sports will love the island, with places to have fun paragliding, surfing, diving, sailing, and rock climbing, amongst others.
Almost 70km of beaches make up the coastline, resulting in a large number of great places with very few people, despite the thriving tourism industry on the island. The tropical white sand and blue waters make Tenerife an amazing place for beach lovers. The island itself is very warm throughout the year with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees celsius in the coldest parts of the year. This makes Santa Cruz one of the warmest cities in Spain during the winter. This is one of the many reasons the island has proven to be such a hotspot for digital nomads.
The island has many archaeological sites, with many predating the arrival of the Spanish on the island. These include many cave paintings by the indigenous Guanche people, who became assimilated shortly after the arrival of the Spanish.
Average Price For A One-Bedroom Apartment: €443/month
Estimated Living Costs Per Month: €1,444/month
Which Spanish City Is Your Favourite?
No matter your preferences, Spain has it all. From beautiful beaches to big cities, there is something for everyone. With its rich culture and affordable cost of living, Spain is a great place to live.
For digital nomads especially, the country is possibly the best place to choose for an extended stay. This is due to the new visa especially made for digital nomads. It is due to be available this year, which will make working whilst travelling especially viable in Spain.
With the sheer amount of coworking and coliving spaces available around the country, short stays are a great option too.
With the many websites available for finding cheap places to live in Spain, there is nothing in your way. Prices vary from place to place, but sometimes the extra cost can prove to be worth it. Make sure to leave a comment below discussing which of these Spanish cities is for you.
I’m Sam, an avid traveller from the UK, having been to over 30 countries by the age of 19. I‘m currently studying genetics at Swansea University and often nerd out on history and travel. I spent most of 2022 travelling during my gap year where I met Amy (spellbound travels) and we visited 13 countries together. Of all the countries I’ve seen so far Nepal , Romania, Morocco and Albania were my favourite . I spent many months travelling through Spain so if you have any questions, feel free to message me on Instagram or email me at [email protected]
This post was a guest post written by Sam. If you’d like to write a guest post for spellboundtravels.com please reach out to [email protected] to express your interest. I’ll see you shortly with another blog but in the meantime, you can follow my travels as a digital nomad on Instagram and TikTok!
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