Expats In España: The 9 Cheapest Places To Live In Spain

Cheapest places to live in Spain
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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
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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.

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Vigo

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Vigo really is a city of two sides. There’s the old, antique part of the town. It’s known as the Casco Vello and it clambers up a hill above the port, weaving through narrow lanes and steep staircases until it reaches the frescoed Santa María cathedral and the leafy gardens of the Rua Baixada o Forte. Cantinas sell Galician seafood and tapas in the midst of it all, and the people watching is out of this world.

The other side of Vigo is its industrial harbor. That’s home to what by some estimations is the single largest fishing port in the whole of Europe – we’re talking thousands of individual vessels and depots and processing plants. You probably won’t want to settle too close to all that, unless you prize fresh fish in the morning over handsome Galician architecture, of course.

The good news is that life in Vigo is known to be a whole load cheaper than in much of the rest of Spain. By some estimations, the average person here will spend just a touch over $619 a month, not including rent. You should also factor in that the real reason you move to Vigo is for access to the stunning beaches and surf breaks of northwestern Spain. They are all, naturally, totally free!

Province of Toledo

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It’s the pint-sized village of Barruelo de Santullán that, according to European property experts Idealista, came in the as the single cheapest place in the country to buy back in 2021. You’ll find it capping of a hillside in the lovely province of Toledo, which spreads across the plateaus and peaks of central Spain just south of the capital in Madrid.

The main draw in the region is the town of Toledo itself. Proper Don Quixote sort of stuff, it’s a eye-wateringly lovely medieval city draped over a bluff in the heart of Castilla-La Mancha. Once the home of El Greco, it’s now packed with cathedrals and churches, palaces and mansions from centuries gone by, and figures as one of the most popular day-trip destinations from Madrid.

So, what’s the damage when it comes to building buying? How does a relatively modest 304 euros per square meter sound? That’s the lowest in the whole of Spain, and even more than 50% cheaper than what you can expect to fork out for a home in other provinces like Navarra and Vizcaya.

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?

How much does it cost to live in Spain for a month?

We’d estimate that an individual living in Spain will spend in the region of $650-750/month on living costs. That includes everything from foot to transport to entertainment. However, it doesn’t include rent or mortgage costs, which could be anything from $400/month to over $2000/month if you want to live in luxury in more sought-after destinations like central Madrid or Marbella, for example.

Where are the cheapest places to live in Spain?

The cheapest places to live in Spain are spread all over the country. The south coast region of Andalusia is well-known for its bargain villas and flats, but the cheaper places tend to be a little inland from the beaches. Then you have lesser-known, more-industrial parts of the country, like Galicia and Asturias in the north.

How cheap is Spain?

Spain is actually very cheap compared to other big nations in Western Europe. Life here can cost a lot less than it does in, say, Germany or France. That said, a lot depends on where you choose to live and how you want to live. It’s possible to get by on around $1,200/month here including rent if you choose the right area and spend frugally. However, you can spend well in excess of $10k if you want to splash the cash on the Costa del Sol.

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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.