The year round sunshine might be the first reason you think of when considering a move to Spain. However, the low cost of living in Spain is often the most cited reason tempting British expats to relocate. But how much is the cost of living in Spain vs the UK? How is this broken down into costs for food or energy prices in Spain? In this article, we have combined all the information, so you can understand how much you could be saving as you soak up the Mediterranean Sun!

Introduction to Living Costs in Spain

The cost of living represents the average amount of money needed to cover essential expenses. This includes food and drink, housing, bills and healthcare. Unfortunately, the UK has been hit hard by a cost of living crisis throughout 2022. Rising inflation has caused prices to skyrocket, particularly hitting energy bills and food prices. While the cost of living crisis is felt across the globe, the rising inflation in Spain is well below UK levels and the European average.

British expats living in Spain will tell you the cost of living in Spain vs UK is much more affordable. To help you understand exactly how much a move to Spain could save you, we have used This website uses crowd-sourced data from tens of thousands of actual people living in each country, to give the most realistic information on the day-to-day prices you would be paying. 

Overall, total living costs in Spain are an incredible 21% cheaper than in the UK. This represents the average for the whole country, and depending on exactly where you are relocating from and to, this could be even higher. To see exactly where these savings come from, we have broken the cost of living in Spain and the UK into food and drink, energy and utilities, and property costs.

Spain Living CostsFood and Drink

From a few tapas and drinks in your neighbourhood restaurant, to a bottle of Spanish wine from the supermarket, we have all experienced how affordable eating and drinking in Spain can be. For many, it is the abundance of quality inexpensive food that makes a move to Spain so appealing. 

According to Numbeo, the average cost of eating out in Spain is between 20-25% cheaper than the UK. While this sounds great, it does not tell the real story of how great dining out in Spain can be. Lunchtime set-menus of the day (menu del dia) are highly popular. Diners can enjoy 2-3 courses for as low as €10 – sometimes even with a beer, wine or coffee included! What’s more, a small draught beer is usually €2 or less, and is often served with a small plate, or tapas, with every drink! Now these are savings we can get behind.

We have all been hit by the rise in supermarket costs in the UK over the last year, with items seemingly going up by a few pence every week. In Spain, most of the standard items in your weekly shop would cost you much less than in the UK. The table below compares the average prices for a variety of items, giving a good idea of the savings you could make. 

ItemSpain Costs (£)UK Cost (£)% Saving
Milk (regular), (1 litre)0.740.9824.5
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)0.921.018.9
Rice (white), (1kg)1.051.3823.9
Eggs (regular) (12)1.882.058.3
Chicken Fillets (1kg)5.625.620.0
Beef Round (or eqv.) (1kg) 9.448.76-7.8
Apples (1kg)1.601.9015.8
Banana (1kg)1.441.10-30.9
Oranges (1kg)1.341.7623.9
Tomato (1kg)1.572.0121.9
Potato (1kg)
Onion (1kg)1.170.98-19.4
Lettuce (1 head)0.840.71-18.3
Water (1.5 litre bottle)0.570.9942.4
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)4.397.0037.3
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre bottle)0.821.7853.9
Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)1.372.0533.2
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)4.3912.0063.4

I’ll admit it makes for quite an odd shopping list, but these representative items would make a grocery shop 24% cheaper in Spain (the lettuce one threw me, as Spain is the largest exporter of lettuces in the world!). So in terms of food and drink, both dining out and eating at home, the cost of living in Spain is much lower than the UK.

Energy Prices in Spain

The UK has seen energy prices skyrocket in recent months with the government stepping in to support households in covering the costs.

Numbeo has combined the energy prices in Spain with other utilities. Overall, the costs of electricity heating, cooling, water and waste disposal is 40% cheaper in Spain. The rapidly changing energy landscape may reduce the accuracy of this figure, but overall the cost of energy in Spain is lower than the UK. What is more, the warm climate may mean you require less energy for heating a Spanish property. For more information on utilities in Spain, check out our handy article on the topic!

Wi-Fi in Spain will likely cost you a similar amount to UK rates. However, Spain boasts an impressive technological infrastructure, allowing Wi-Fi speeds that are amongst the highest in Europe (far better than UK levels), and excellent 4G coverage!

Fuel Costs in Spain

At the time of writing, The RAC states the average price of petrol is around £1.45 per litre in Spain, compared to £1.59 in the UK, making fuel costs in Spain around 9% cheaper. This is mainly due to a lower fuel duty in Spain, which leads to savings each time you fill up. The Spanish government often helps out further with Spain living costs, and recently offered an extra 20 cents per litre subsidy to help make driving even more affordable.

Property Prices

The price of rent or mortgage on a property is often the largest contribution to our total cost of living, and this is where things really swing in favour of Spain. 

On average, rent in Spain is 29% lower than the UK, saving you hundreds of pounds each month. If we look at popular destinations for British expats, these savings get even better. For example, Alicante, which benefits from a Mediterranean climate and miles of coastline along the Southern Costa Blanca, has rental costs an incredible 73% lower than London! 

Buying property is better still. Overall, Spanish property is 40% cheaper than the UK, per square metre. If you want to find out more on the best places to buy property in Spain, then take a look at this article containing all you need to know. At Movehappy we have properties starting from below €100,000, with ideal homes for every budget.

The Lifestyle

Although the cost of living summarises the cost of day-to-day expenses, it doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of life you are living! While this figure covers the amount of money needed to survive in the UK, you could be spending far less and thriving in Spain. Whether you’re relocating for work, perhaps remotely with the new Spanish Digital Nomad Visa, or moving to retire, the Spanish lifestyle and climate allows for an idyllic way of life. Al-fresco dining, seaside walks, cafe culture, mouth watering local cuisine and much, much more will all become a part of your life in Spain – you’ll no longer feel like you’re just surviving!

Summary of Cost of Living in Spain vs UK

Below is a table that summarises the costs of living in Spain vs UK discussed in this article. If you want to know more about these costs from actual locals living in Spain, get in touch with us at Movehappy today and we’ll be more than happy to provide additional information!

Spain Costs (£)UK Cost (£)% Saving
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant10.5414.2526.0
Cappuccino 1.522.9047.6
Draught Beer (~pint)2.194.0045.3
Groceries 40.2253.1524.3
Utility Bill (monthly)110.36184.4940.2
Average Rent (monthly)766.351092.1629.8
House Price (per square metre)2289.383772.6439.3


In a time when we are all feeling the squeeze from rising costs, the move to Spain has never been more tempting. Overall, the cost of living in Spain vs UK is lower in almost every aspect. Each food shop, petrol fill-up and utility bill will on average cost less than in the UK. But it is the price of renting or buying property which is the largest contribution to Spain living costs being 21% lower than the UK. Property on the idyllic Costa Blanca South is a fraction of cost of UK prices, and the house of your dreams could be well within budget. With over 300 days of sunshine per year and 65 km of beach-lined coast, you could be saving whilst basking in the Mediterranean climate. The low living costs in Spain allow more money for the things that really matter, allowing you to live life to the fullest.


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