Expats In España: The 7 Cheapest Places To Live In Spain

Cheapest places to live in Spain
Photo by Dimitry B/Unsplash
The links on the website are in affiliation with Amazon Associates worldwide and we earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.

So, you’ve decided you want to relocate to the home of spice-plumed paella kitchens and twirling flamenco dancers? We can hardly blame you. Soaring summer temperatures, olive tree-dotted sierras, rich literary history – it’s all here. But what if the budget is tight? Cue this guide to the cheapest places to live in Spain

Here, we’ll hop from one wallet-friendly city to the next, scour out resort towns that are easy on the bank account, and help you uncover the cheaper hotspots in the country. The aim is to reveal a whole medley of destinations that you can consider for your next chapter that don’t demand that you’re part of the international jet set to roll up and start a new life.

We think you might just be pleasantly surprised at what’s on offer. Yep, from the salt-washed bays of Galicia in the north through handsome mountain towns in the Andalusian sierras all the way to the glorious beaches of the Spanish Mediterranean, there’s a tapas menu’s worth to pick from when it comes to the cheapest places to live in Spain…

Cordoba

Cordoba
Photo by Saad Chaudhry/Unsplash

Cordoba was once the second-largest city in all of Europe. It was also once the principal Roman town in Spain. It’s since given up the limelight to the resorts of the Andalusian coastline, but that’s okay, because it’s what helps to keep the prices on the down low and the charm factor nice and high. Mhmm…Cordoba brims with history and it’s often hailed as one of the cheapest places in southern Spain to make a home.

You won’t get bored of this town. Not when there’s that glorious UNESCO Mezquita-Catedral standing tall in the center of the city. Not when you’ve got sights like the exquisite Alcazar and a Roman mausoleum all woven together by postbox-wide streets like Calleja de las Flores and the snaking meanders of the sparkling Guadalquivir River. To put it another way: It’s a real stunner this place.

One of the downsides (or upsides but we’ll let you judge) of living in Cordoba is that this town reigns as the home of some of the highest summer temperatures on the whole continent. We’re talking regular mercury peaks of 39 C (99 F), folks. You might want to consider renting a pad with air conditioning!

Alicante

Alicante
Photo by Cale Weaver/Unsplash

Yes, we know, we know. We’ve just gone on and on about how prices in Spain soar when you near the coast, and if Alicante is known for one thing it’s got to be the coast. The city is perched right on the edge of the famous Costa Blanca, where blue flag beaches, rugged headlands, and sandy bays have long been the fodder for family holidays.

However, you should find that property prices in this region on the Med are actually pretty easy on the wallet. That’s largely down to a hefty boom in building that went on in the 90s and 00s, upping the supply of condos and villas. When the markets crashed in 2008, the average cost of a home in the region plummeted and still sits at around €240,000 ($271,000), which is roughly in line with the national average but also 20% lower than the onetime peak!

So, what’s on offer? Well…beaches are numero uno. You’ve got some seriously fantastic sands in the form of Cala del Moraig and Playa del Arenal, along with the buzzy strips that line the resort city of Benidorm. On top of that, you can scale to the Moorish-era fort of the Castle of Santa Barbara, strut down lively esplanades on the Mediterranean, and get lost in the lovely Casco Antiguo old town of the city, which is brimming with galleries, cafés, and bars.

Granada

Granada
Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas/Unsplash

Crowned by the iconic Alhambra complex, Granada is a medium-sized city in the depths of Andalusia. It’s got a rep for being both touristy (most come to see the wonderful Moorish-Christian palace complexes) and indelibly local, as there’s a big university presence and a full-time population of over 230,000 people.

The good news is that costs are estimated to be much lower than in the beach-side towns of the region, and a whole load less than you get in bigger cities like Madrid and Seville. According to price collator Numbeo, you’re looking at spending about €578 ($653) a month here per person not including rent, which is an eye-watering 40% less than London, and only a touch more than in Bangkok!

What’s more, Granada’s charms hardly let up after you’ve been up to explore the Alhambra for the umpteenth time. The old city is hailed as one of the homes of Andalusian cooking, so it’s packed with tapas bars that serve tasty patatas bravas until the early hours. Oh, and the whole place sits in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada (the original Sierra Nevada, USA readers!), where there’s endless hiking and even rare Spanish ski fields.

A Coruña

A Coruña
Photo by Eduardo Fernandez/Unsplash

Plonked on the wave- and wind-lashed shorelines of the Galician region in the northwest of the country, A Coruña isn’t a place that makes it onto many tourist itineraries in the land of flamenco and tapas. However, that’s precisely what helps it stand out as one if the cheapest places to live in Spain. Prices here are local and noticeably lower than in the more-visited regions along the Mediterranean and in Catalonia.

There’s certainly a buzz about A Coruña. The town can trace its origins all the way back to the Roman era, and there’s an incredible lighthouse known as the Tower of Hercules that is thought to have been built during the reign of Emperor Trajan. Fusing light industry and fishing heritage, the city itself is a lived-in mix of boulevards and grand plazas that anchors of the wonderful Praza de María Pita. There are also some lovely urban beaches, like Playa del Orzán.

Talking of beaches…A Coruña is worth some thought for would-be expats because it also helps to buck that trend of being pricier just because it’s on the coast. Not so here, and the coastline is truly wonderful. It’s not like the south, but rather rugged and wild, with loads of hidden surf spots and empty beaches where you can do cliff walks and escape the crowds.

Murcia

Murcia
Photo by Enrique Vidal Flores/Unsplash

Murcia has long had a reputation for offering some of the best-budget beach holidays in the whole of Spain. That carries over into the cost of living, with the town sitting a plum 34 places lower than the capital of Madrid on Numbeo’s overall price index. Expect to have to fork out about €564 ($637) a month to live comfortably here, not including rent.

What Murcia does offer is a great balance between beach, city, and mountain life. The region occupies a beautiful stretch of the Spanish Med, with more beaches between Aguilas in the south and San Pedro del Pinatar in the north than you can shake a choco churros at. Go inland for about an hour, though, and all that changes, as you swap golden sands for the table-top peaks of the Parque Regional de Sierra Espuña, one of south Spain’s lesser-known reserves.

Murcia is the city at the center of it all. It’s a middle-sized town with a population of about 500,000, meaning it can maintain a buzzy nightlife (mainly thanks to the students) and great shopping amid its historic palaces and plazas.

Malaga

Malaga
Photo by Tabea Schimpf/Unsplash

Malaga is so often overlooked by sun-seeking travelers on the warpath of the Costa del Sol that it’s nothing short of a crime. The city is a glorious place that’s about MUCH more than just the regional airport and access points to the sands of Marbella et al.

Oh, and it’s cheap. In fact, some experts believe it’s the place that shows the most potential of all for increasing property prices in Andalusia in the coming years, as it’s an emerging city with bright prospects.

The regional capital, Malaga is famed for its old town, which comes crowned by a mighty Moorish-era cathedral and crisscrossed by narrow alleys filled with tapas bars and pubs. The marina and urban beaches are wonderful, too, and the iconic Costa del Sol is always only a short drive down the coastal highway when you want that fix of R&R. Not bad, eh?

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Photo by Héctor Martínez/Unsplash

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria comes out top among the cheapest places to live in Spain in the Canaries. It’s not actually that cheap when compared to some of the other names on this list, as it ranks a little higher than Murcia, Malaga, and Alicante. However, let’s just reiterate a moment: This one gets you a place in the forever-warm vacationing mecca of the Canary Islands. That’s not to be sniffed at!

Estimated average monthly outgoings in the city, which is the capital of the island of Gran Canaria itself, sit at around the €590 ($666) mark according to Numbeo. That’s minus rent, so you’ll need to add on an estimated €680 ($760) for a one-bedroom apartment, or a little less if you’re happy with a studio pad that’s not so close to the heart of the city.

In fact, we’d say that being outside of town isn’t such an issue here. The joys of living in Gran Canaria are mainly in the great outdoors. The island is spiked at the center by the soaring cone of Pico de las Nieves, a sleeping volcano with amazing lookout points. Its southern side has laurel forests and pine woods in the Caldera de Los Marteles, while tried-and-tested holiday resorts and the beaches to match beckon around Maspalomas and the far coast.

The cheapest places to live in Spain – a conclusion

There’s some great news for folks who dream of dining on tapas in the evening and dancing flamenco by night: There are actually plenty of wallet-friendly spots to choose from in this corner of Europe. Yep, the cheapest places to live in Spain run the gamut from handsome highland towns on the cusp of the sierras to salty beach towns on the Med. Most are sunny from April to November, most boast fantastic history and restaurants, and they all offer a hit of authentic Spanish culture and charm. What are you waiting for?

Previous articleCabo vs Cozumel: Where In Mexico Is Better To Visit?
Next articleMexico City vs Oaxaca: Which Mexican City is Better?
Joe has been a freelance travel writer for over nine years. His writing and roaming have taken him from the colonial towns of Mexico to the chowks of Mumbai to the Southern Alps of New Zealand. When he's not putting together the next epic blog on the best Greek islands or ski fields in France, you can usually find him surfing or hiking – his two top hobbies.