Why is Spain so cheap?

Spain is cheap compared to other European countries because food, groceries, and housing are more affordable. This is due to the fact that wages are lower in Spain, affecting the purchasing power of Spanish people. For tourists coming from countries with higher salaries, Spain is very cheap ($85 per day).

How much does one day in Spain costs?

One day in Barcelona in Spain costs 71€ (or around $85). This includes food, accommodations, and transportation. However, it does not take into account activities and drinks.

So let’s detail this result for one person in Barcelona. This is one of the classic destinations for tourists with Madrid and Sevilla. During that day, we will eat breakfast, and two meals in restaurants for both lunch and diner.

We will also take a taxi from our hotel room to the city center, and another one back from the city center to our hotel. Finally, we will pay for our room for the night. After that, we will add up the numbers and see how much it costs to live one day in Spain.

In order to make this as realistic as possible, I found real prices from real menus on the Internet and real prices of hotel rooms. First, the breakfast. I was able to find one for €4. Now, we need to take a taxi to the city center.

Are taxis cheap in Spain?

In Barcelona, the kilometer price is €1.13, and the basic fee is €2.15. So you can easily find taxi rides in Spain for less than €10.

If you want to prepare for your trip to Barcelona and plan on taking taxis, I recommend that you use this Taxi Fare Calculator tool. Simply enter your starting point and your destination and it will do the maths for you.

For a ride between the beach and La Sagrada Familia, it will cost you €8.20.

taxi in cheap spain
Credits to Taxi-Calculator.com

Let’s assume that an average taxi ride in Barcelone costs €8. It could cost more, but people could also use Ubers to lower the price.

Then, we eat paella on the main street for €14. In the afternoon, we wander in the beautiful streets of Barcelona up to nighttime, when we eat another meal for €12. We take a taxi back to the hotel (€8), and we find a hotel room for €50. Since we only took prices for one person into account, we need to divide this hotel room by two. So the hotel room cost $25.

Type of expenseAmount (€)
One breakfast, one lunch, and one diner€30
One night in a hotel room for one person€25
Two taxi rides€16
Total$71
Table giving the detailed maths behind the cost of living in Barcelona, Spain

Is Spain cheaper than other countries?

Once I did the maths and arrived at this amount, I wanted to compare it with other countries. Thankfully, I already wrote articles about the cost of living in BaliThailandZanzibarthe Philippinesthe MaldivesCambodia, Ukraine, and Malaysia. Apart from Zanzibar and the Maldives, it is the most expensive of them!

For instance, one day in Phuket, Thailand, cost $48,85. One day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia cost $40. One day in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, cost $40.

Spain is cheaper than most other Western European countries like the United Kingdom, but it is mostly due to the fact that salaries are lower here.

I always used the same approach in every article I wrote: living a tourist day in a tourist town. That means eating in restaurants (no street food), taking taxis (no public transports), and sleeping in hotels (no hostels). As a tourist, living in Spain is quite cheap!

Finally, in this article, I did not take the cost of activities and parties into account. But if I were to do it, Spain would probably be even more expensive! Indeed, activity prices are aligned with the prices of Western Europe here.

Is food cheap in Spain?

Food in Spain is quite cheap:

  • A kilo of apples costs $2.30
  • Eggs costs $2.85
  • Bread costs $0.54
  • Chicken costs $3.50/lb

Restaurants in Spain are also quite cheap:

  • A cappuccino costs $2.70
  • Beer costs between $1-4
  • Water costs $1
  • Lunch costs $13
  • A meal costs $25
  • Tapas costs $3-8 per plate

If you want to compare the different cities of Spain between them, I recommend that you watch the following video.

Credits to Traveling with Kristin for this video detailing the cost of living in different cities of Spain

Are houses cheap in Spain?

The average cost of a property in Spain is just above $250,000. With an average per square meter price at $3,000, houses are not really cheap in Spain. Houses used to be cheap in 2010 because the government overbuilt houses. Nowadays, prices have stabilized and are almost aligned with the rest of Western Europe.

When it comes to renting, people can find apartments in the city centers of Madrid and Barcelona for around $900 per month. People can also find Airbnbs for around $1,500 per month.

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