Living in Spain on a budget? Explore cost-effective living options and vibrant cultures in the 15 cheapest cities to live in Spain!

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Laila Oliveira

Spain is all about diversity! With a long list of options for charming cities catering to various budgets, the country is an appealing destination for expats and travelers alike. From the vibrant coastal town of Valencia to the historic city of Salamanca, these destinations offer a high quality of life without breaking the bank. In this article, let’s highlight the 15 cheapest cities to live in Spain!

Whether you’re looking for an urban center or a quaint town, Spain has a city that fits every preference. In this guide, we’ll explore the 15 cheapest cities to live in Spain, highlighting their unique charms. We’ll also delve into the cost of living and what makes them ideal for a fulfilling life in Spain.

The-15-Cheapest-Cities-To-Live-In-Spain-In-2024

Why are expats moving to Spain?

In recent years, Spain has become increasingly popular among expats worldwide. According to the latest census data, in 2023, the country was home to 6,089,620 expats. This constitutes approximately 12.7% of the total population. 

But why are people choosing Spain as their preferred destination? The answer to this question is multifaceted; for some, it is the allure of the beautiful beaches and warm weather. Others cannot resist the exceptional quality of life, emphasizing work-life balance, excellent healthcare system, and renowned cuisine.

Another main reason why expats are choosing Spain is the cost of living. Spain stands out as one of the most affordable nation’s options globally while still offering the best quality of life. But this is not all; the list is endless. You need to visit this great nation to discover why everyone is obsessing over this Mediterranean country.

Best 15 cheapest cities to live in Spain

Spain has plenty of beautiful destinations that you will be spoilt for choice. If you are on a tight budget, here is a list of the cheapest cities to live in Spain. Remember, cheap doesn’t always mean bad; most destinations on this list have unique charms, making them appealing places to live. 

Without wasting much time, let’s explore some of the fun cities to live in Spain that are also among the most affordable.

Seville

The capital of Andalucia had to make it on the list of the cheapest cities to live in Spain. The city offers a unique blend of modern amenities and historic charm with its stunning architecture, bustling markets, and lively festivals. Speaking of architecture, the impressive Cathedral of Seville and the beautiful Plaza de España have a historical charm.

Life in Seville is peaceful, lively, and brimming with student and family activities. The city boasts green areas like the Parque de María Luisa Park next to Plaza de España, offering lush gardens, peaceful ponds, and charming pathways. The weather here is great, promising up to 300 days of sunshine per year.

About SevillaValues
Population1,949,558
Foreign population80,150
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€735.8 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€825.00 

All table data is from Numbeo and INE.es (as of March 2024).

Granada

Granada is another excellent alternative if you love the Andalucia region but want a different destination from Seville. This is particularly true for expats who would prefer a cooler destination. Granada’s warm climate, with hot summers and mild winters, makes it a comfortable place to live year-round. 

Like Seville, Granada is famous for its architecture, culture, and history. One of the standout features that speaks to the rich history and architecture of the city is the iconic Alhambra.

This stunning Moorish palace and fortress complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Spain’s most visited attractions. Granada is home to one of the largest universities in Spain (University of Granada), which contributes to its youthful and vibrant atmosphere. 

As a result, there are plenty of affordable accommodation options aimed at students, which can be ideal for expats on a budget.

About GranadaValues
Population934,072
Foreign population69,157
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€708.8 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€583.33 

Valencia

With a population of 2,656,841 people, Valencia is the third largest city in Spain. Don’t let the size fool you; this is one of the most affordable big cities in the country. 

In fact, it is a good destination for anyone who loves the big city vibes without the Madrid or Barcelona budget. Housing, transportation, and daily expenses are generally more budget-friendly than other big cities.

A breakdown of Valencia won’t be complete without mentioning the beach lifestyle. The city boasts several beautiful beaches, including Malvarrosa and El Cabanyal. 

These beaches offer golden sands and clear waters, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or enjoying a stroll along the promenade. Valencia’s beach lifestyle extends beyond the summer months, as the city enjoys a mild climate throughout much of the year.

About ValenciaValues
Population2,656,841
Foreign population304,795
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€677.6 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€772.38 

Alicante

If you are drawn to the coastal lifestyle, then Alicante is a good destination for you. Besides the coastal lifestyle, this coastal city is an excellent choice for individuals seeking a cost-effective place to reside. The rent, utilities, and other daily necessities are generally lower than in other bigger cities in Spain.

Alicante is a small city, but don’t be fooled by its size. It has one of the busiest airports in Spain, Alicante Airport (ALC / LEAL), which offers both local and international travel. These two factors make Alicante an ideal destination for coastal living and short trips across Europe. 

Alicante provides an exceptional standard of living at an affordable cost, thanks to its Mediterranean weather, gorgeous coastlines, and abundant cultural offerings.

About ValenciaValues
Population1,955,268
Foreign population388,748
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€719.3 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€791.67 

Salamanca

Salamanca, located in western Spain, is a city steeped in history and culture, making it a great destination for expats. The city has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and theaters. It is also famous for its lively festivals and events, such as the Salamanca International Arts Festival.

The city is known for its well-preserved historic buildings and landmarks, including the stunning Salamanca Cathedral and the historic University of Salamanca. You will be surprised to find out that it is one of the oldest universities in Europe.Thanks to its prestigious university, 

Salamanca is home to a large student population. This creates a dynamic and cosmopolitan atmosphere, making it easy for expats to integrate into the local community. 

Its central location in Spain makes it an excellent base for exploring the rest of the country. Madrid is just a few hours away by train, making it easy to travel to other parts of Spain for work or leisure.

About SalamancaValues
Population327,089
Foreign population15,856
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€702.3 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€600.00 

Cuenca

If you are looking for a small city tucked away peacefully in a high elevation, you will love Cuenca. The small, charming city of Cuenca is located between the rivers Huecar and Jucar. Although this city is small, it is quite impressive how much beauty is in such a small geographical area. 

The city’s well-preserved medieval architecture, including its famous hanging houses (Casas Colgadas), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, provides expats with a unique living environment steeped in history and culture.

The cost of living in Cuenca is also relatively affordable compared to the bigger cities. You will find that the cost of most commodities is often 10-20% lower than its popular counterparts. Because of the elevation, the weather here is relatively different from most cities in Spain. While the summer is hot and dry, the winter is often colder and wetter.

About CuencaValues
Population198,436
Foreign population22,723
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€650.3 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€600.00 

Tenerife

Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is a popular vacation spot and an excellent place to reside. Its appealing climate, rich culture, and varied scenery make it an attractive destination for both expats and locals. Living in Tenerife offers a notable benefit: its climate. Referred to as the “Island of Eternal Spring,” Tenerife boasts a mild, subtropical climate, with temperatures seldom falling below 20°C. Residing in Tenerife offers a cultural fusion experience.

tenerife-one-of-the-cheapest-cities-in-spain

The island’s heritage blends Spanish and indigenous Guanche influences, which is evident in its architecture, celebrations, and food. Tenerife holds various cultural festivities annually, such as the renowned Carnival of Santa Cruz, among the globe’s largest street parties. 

This city is becoming increasingly popular among digital nomads. You can take advantage of plenty of co-working and co-living spaces in this city. 

About TenerifeValues
Population1,067,173
Foreign population145,661
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€661 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€716.67 

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Mallorca

Mallorca, the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, is a sought-after destination for expats for several reasons. Its stunning Mediterranean landscapes, with beautiful beaches and mountains, offer a high quality of life. 

The island’s pleasant climate, with mild winters and hot summers, is also a major draw. Mallorca offers economic stability, ensuring ease in finding reasonably priced housing and securing a mortgage if necessary.

Despite Mallorca being a popular holiday destination, the cost of living is relatively lower than in other popular cities like Barcelona or Madrid. You might want to know that this island has a large expat community, making integrating and blending in easy. 

The island’s diverse culinary scene, featuring fresh seafood and local specialties, is another highlight if you are looking to experience the best of Mediterranean cuisine.

About MallorcaValues
Population1,209,906
Foreign population222,017
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€801.8 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€1,033.33 

Oviedo

Regarding popular destinations in Spain, the northern region is not quite as popular as its southern counterpart. However, this region is home to one of the cheapest cities to live in Spain. Oviedo is the capital of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain. This charming city has a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and many attractions for expats to explore.

Everything in this beautiful city screams quality life, right from the gracious squares to the meticulously maintained parks. Unlike other places in Spain, Oviedo has a rather cool climate. While the rest of the country is baking in the summer heat, this city has a lush green landscape and fresh, cold water.

Oviedo’s food and dining scene receives consistently high praise from locals and expats alike, with numerous upscale and casual eateries that are truly noteworthy.

About Oviedo (Principality of Asturias)Values
About Oviedo (Principality of Asturias)Values
Population1,006,060
Foreign population45,630
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€630.8 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€700.00 

Santander

Santander, located on the northern coast of Spain, is a charming city that offers a high quality of life, making it a great place for expats. One of the main attractions of Santander is its stunning beaches, which are perfect for relaxing, swimming, and enjoying water sports. The city also boasts a rich cultural scene, with many museums, art galleries, and historic buildings to explore.

Santander-one-of-the-cheapest-cities-in-Spain

Additionally, Santander is known for its excellent cuisine, particularly its seafood dishes. The city has many traditional restaurants and tapas bars where expats can sample the local delicacies. Fortunately, living in Santander is considerably cheaper; according to expats, this city is about 15% cheaper than Madrid. 

About Oviedo (Principality of Asturias)Values
Population172,655
Foreign population15,435
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€5280.8 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€650.00 

Toledo

Toledo, Spain, is often ranked among the top places to live in the country and is also appealing to expats. Situated in central Spain, Toledo offers some of the most affordable property prices in the nation, making it an attractive option for families. Despite its small size, the city boasts a vibrant cultural and social scene, thanks to its moderate population density and tourism.

One of the main attractions of Toledo is its vibrant cultural scene, with numerous art galleries, museums, and cultural events throughout the year. 

The city’s rich history is also reflected in its diverse culinary scene, offering expats a taste of traditional Spanish cuisine with a local twist. The city’s proximity to Madrid, just 70 kilometers away, provides you easy access to the capital whenever you seek a change of pace.

About ToledoValues
Population731,112
Foreign population74,362
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€1,048 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€700.00

Merida

Another good contender for the cheapest city to live in Spain is Merida. This is particularly true if you love and appreciate medieval history. Mérida, located in the southwest of Spain, is a historic city known for its well-preserved Roman ruins and rich cultural heritage. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers expats a unique blend of ancient history and modern living.

The city’s Roman past is evident in its monuments, including the Roman Theatre, Amphitheatre, and the stunning Puente Romano (Roman Bridge) spanning the Guadiana River.

These archaeological treasures provide a fascinating glimpse into Mérida’s past as a flourishing Roman city. 

Mérida’s charm extends beyond its Roman heritage, with its picturesque old town, lively plazas, and delicious cuisine adding to its appeal. The city also boasts a high quality of life, with affordable living costs, excellent healthcare, and a warm climate.

About MeridaValues
Population59,563
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€680 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€6.3 /m2

Ronda

If you fancy a rural town with a rather slow-paced life, consider putting Ronda at the top of your priority list. Located deep in the heart of Malaga, Ronda is a small town high up on the cliffs between the mountains. This particular town is popular for its scenery and well-preserved culture, which are two of the best experiences for expats and tourists alike.

While Ronda is quite popular among tourists, it is surprisingly quite cheap as far as the cost of livind. The cost of rent is still within a reasonable range, while the cost of groceries and utility bills is also low. 

About RondaValues
Population33,372
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€400 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€6.3 /m2

Santiago de Compostela

The list of the cheapest cities to live in Spain will not be complete without mentioning the charming town of Santiago de Compostela. This is just the place for anyone searching for culture and a well-preserved history. This vibrant university town is widely visited by tourists and pilgrims trekking the Camino de Santiago to reach the iconic cathedral.

The historic city center is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with plenty of galleries and museums to discover. Being a university town, you can take advantage of the affordable housing designed for students if you are on a tight budget.

About Santiago de CompostelaValues
Population98,716
Single-person estimated monthly cost without rent€460 
Cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment€8.8 /m2

Do you need help moving to Spain?

There you have a detailed breakdown of the cheapest cities in Spain. If you’re considering moving to Spain, we hope that this post has brought you closer to finding your ideal destination. Places like Santiago de Compostela, Toledo, and Granada offer affordability without compromising quality of life. However, navigating the complexities of immigration and relocation can be daunting. That’s where Viv Europe comes in.

With our expert immigration services, we can help make your move to Spain smoother and more efficient. From visa applications to finding accommodation, Viv Europe offers comprehensive support tailored to your needs. 

Our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats, can connect you to individuals already living in these cities and beyond. Take this opportunity to book a consultation with Viv Europe and get ready for an exciting and seamless move to Spain.

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