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Our Guide to Cost of Living in Spain vs UK

The cost of living is crucial to consider when thinking about a move abroad. Nestled in Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, Spain is distinguished by its stunning architecture, a vibrant food scene, and of course, plenty of sunshine. Living in Spain after Brexit has been on the rise amongst British nationals looking to enjoy Spain’s high quality of life for a low cost of living.

If you’re considering relocating, our comprehensive guide breaks down every aspect of the cost of living in Spain compared to the UK to help you plan your move.

Housing Costs in Spain vs the UK

Property prices take up a significant chunk of living costs. But unlike the UK, this is where you’ll save money in Spain as rent is 29% cheaper in comparison. Spain’s attractive housing is a bargain, especially when it comes to buying a property as overall costs are 40% cheaper than that of the UK.

Renting a Property

If you’re moving to Spain for a global mobility project, you may wish to head back at the end of your international assignment. Renting is a great way to experience a new place without the burden of long-term commitment. 

Item Spain* UK*
1 Bedroom Apartment in the City Centre £800 £ 1,050
1 Bedroom Apartment outside the City Centre £600 £ 900
3 Bedroom Apartment in the City Centre £1,300 £ 1,800
3 Bedroom Apartment outside the City Centre £900 £ 1,350

A residential street showing houses with hanging flower pots in the Spanish town of Estepona in Malaga

Buying a House 

If you’d like to settle down in Spain, buying a property is a better option in the long run. Prices will vary based on the region, and whether you’d like to live in the town centre or somewhere a bit further out. Local estate agents are the best point of contact for getting the most accurate information.

Item (Price per square metre) Spain* UK*
Apartment in the City Centre £2,900 £ 5,100
Apartment outside the City Centre £1,800 £ 3,900

Utility Bills

Utilities can’t be overlooked in a cost-of-living analysis. These figures can vary significantly based on local regulations, energy efficiency, and market dynamics. Taking them into consideration will make sure you don’t go over budget during the transition period.

Item Spain* UK*
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment £100 £ 250
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data £15 £ 12
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) £30 £ 30

Food Prices in Spain vs the UK 

The affordability of food and drink in Spain is widely recognized, be it a few tapas or some Spanish wine from the supermarket. One of the main reasons why moving to Spain is appealing to expats is due to the availability of good quality produce at cheap prices.

Grocery Prices

In the UK, supermarket costs have spiked significantly in recent years. A weekly food shopping spree in Spain, however, is still as affordable as ever. The figures seem even more attractive when some of the exotic produce of this coastal country is considered.

Item Spain* UK*
Regular Milk (1 litre) £0.90 £ 1.20
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) £1.10 £ 1.20
White Rice, (1kg) 1.10 £ 1.60
12 Eggs £2.10 £ 3
Local Cheese (1kg) £10 £ 7
Chicken Fillets (1kg) £6 £ 6.50
Ground Beef (1kg) £12 £ 10.50
Apples (1kg) £1.70 £ 2.10
Oranges (1kg) £.150 £ 2.10
Potato (1kg) £1.25 £ 1.10
Onion (1kg) £1.30 £ 1
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) £ 4 £ 7.50

Restaurants 

Dining out in Spain is quite affordable with prices being 20-25 % cheaper than that of the UK. But the real charm lies in the popular ‘menu del dia’ at lunchtime, where diners can indulge in 2-3 courses for around €10, typically with a beverage like beer, wine, or coffee included.

Item Spain* UK*
3-course Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant £40 £ 60
McDonald’s McMeal (or Equivalent) £7.50 £ 7
Beer (0.33 litre bottle) £2.50 £ 4.50
Cappuccino (regular) £1.50 £ 3.10
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle) £1.75 £ 1.80
Water (0.33 litre bottle) £1.30 £ 1.50

A young woman enjoying Spanish paella and red wine sitting outdoors in Valencia, Spain

Transportation Costs in Spain vs the UK 

Petrol prices in Spain average around £1.45 per litre, which is about 9% lower than the £1.59 per litre seen in the UK. The main reason for this price difference is Spain’s reduced fuel duty, which translates into consistent savings at the pump. 

Item Spain* UK*
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) £1.30 £ 2.40
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) £25 £ 70
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) £3 £ 3
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) £1 £ 1.20
Gasoline (1 litre) £1.30 £ 1.50
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) £28,600 £ 28.300
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) £22,150 £ 24,800

Childcare Costs 

For families considering a move between the UK and Spain, childcare costs are an important factor in a cost of living analysis. Public schools in Spain are free of cost, although you can also opt for some of the country’s top private institutions.

Item Spain* UK*
Full Day at Private Preschool (Monthly) £350 £ 1,240
International Primary School (Yearly) £6,850 £ 14,600

Recreation Costs 

Recreation costs can be easy to overlook, but they significantly impact one’s quality of life. On top of its vibrant cultural scene, Spain’s sunshine means you can enjoy outdoor activities, especially on the beach, all year round. They’re also more affordable compared to the UK.

Item Spain* UK*
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult £30 £ 30
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) £10 £ 10
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat £7 £ 10

Aerial view of the coast of Barcelona, Spain at night

Spain’s vibrant culture, favourable climate, and the welcoming nature of its people make it an attractive destination for UK families seeking a change. While the lower cost of living in Spain is appealing, it’s essential to approach such a move with a comprehensive budget that includes all aspects of daily life. 

If you’re thinking of relocating, our international moving guide has a lot of useful information. With over 60 years of experience in facilitating personal and professional relocation, Gerson is here to help you at every step of your move. 

(*All prices are approx. as of April 2024)

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