Spain is a historic country located on the Iberian Peninsula that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea. Over the past 2500 years, Spain has seen its share of conquest and civilizations.
Now it’s a country filled with various forms of architecture, mid-sized cities of cultural importance, and a fierce streak of independence.
Spain is also a country for bargain hunters who wish to lead a less stressful and less expensive lifestyle. There are many places throughout the country where people can live for about half of what it costs to live in America.
Here’s our list of the 15 cheapest places to live in Spain. Rent costs are for one person. Home prices are based on an apartment or house consisting of 1,200 square feet.
- Average rent in USD: $551
- Average Home Price in USD: $281,916
History buffs will love this coastal city, which has been inhabited for more than three centuries. Christopher Columbus set off on his second voyage to the New World from the shores of Cadiz. In addition, the coastline boasts archeological remains from the Phoenician and Roman eras.
Cadiz is a compact city—only 400 square miles with 115,000 residents. But it’s also the seat of Cadiz Province, meaning you can handle just about any administrative task necessary (travel documents, banking, and driver’s license) without having to leave town.
One reason the rent is cheap in Cadiz is that it’s a university town. Landlords tend to provide reasonable accommodations for students. The rental market is tight so plan to make your inquiries quite some time before packing up and moving.
- Average rent in USD: $551
- Average Home Price in USD: $221,568
The 144,000-person city of Logrono is in the heart of La Rioja’s wine country and one of the cheapest places to live in Spain. It offers a bustling nightlife and serves as a gateway to many of Spain’s northern towns and places of interest. This includes the running of the bulls in Pamplona, the art museums of Bilbao, and the culture of Barcelona.
Logrono has the patina of age. Its population is on the older side, but people still enjoy the city’s nightlife. To do so, they observe siesta time between 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. each weekday. Many businesses are closed on Sunday and open only for a few hours on Saturday. It’s a laid-back city.
- Average rent in USD: $531
- Average Home Price in USD: $153,636
If you decide to rent or buy in Almeria, you’ll find yourself immersed in two different but complementary cultures: the Mediterranean coast and the heart of Spain. The city of 200,000 is situated halfway between Malaga, on the Costa del Sol (Sun Coast), and Cartagena. It’s known for being relatively unspoiled yet hospitable to tourists.
You’ll find the food to be of some of the highest quality in all of Spain. It’s inexpensive, too. Traditional tapas are often free with a drink order in local bars and restaurants. There’s also WiFi available for those who want to work while visiting this gem of a coastal city.
- Average rent in USD: $529
- Average Home Price in USD: $113,154
On the northernmost point of the Gulf of Cadiz, Huelva is simply one of the cheapest places to live in Spain. It’s in Andalusia, halfway between Seville and the southern tip of Portugal. Miles of unspoiled beaches line the coast as travelers head east toward Donana National Park.
The city of 144,000 is home to the La Rabida Friary, where Christopher Columbus is said to have stayed before his first trip to the New World. Huelva showcases replicas of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria in its town square to commemorate this piece of its history.
Locals enjoy Bonilla, a restaurant that overlooks the estuary.
- Average rent in USD: $521
- Average Home Price in USD: $195,090
The small and peaceful Albacete is a city of 174,000 in the southeast of Madrid, halfway between the nation’s capital and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a modern city more than 2,000 feet above sea level in the Castilla-La Mancha autonomous community.
Albacete is known for its friendly locals, open-air restaurants, and various bars. Don Quixote himself might have tilted at the local windmills.
Agriculture provides Albacete’s largest source of local income. The area surrounding Albacete is lush and verdant, and local farmers offer agricultural produce to markets throughout Spain.
Although its founding date is unknown, Albacete traces its roots as a city at least as far back as when the Moors ruled the region almost 1,000 years ago.
- Average rent in USD: $513
- Average Home Price in USD: $122,628
Cordoba is a long-standing city of 326,000 that can trace its roots back to the Roman, Visigoth, Moorish, and Muslim conquests of Spain over the centuries. At one time, it was the second-largest city in Europe. It is home to the Mezquita-Catedral, an example of Moorish architecture named to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites.
Because Cordoba is not on the coast, many may overlook its charms. But the city boasts a medieval ambiance, lots of great food, and an array of impressive art. Add in a traditional Spanish lifestyle and friendly residents, and this is a great example of one of the cheapest places to live in Spain.
- Average rent in USD: $512
- Average Home Price in USD: $181,200
Approximately 78,000 people call this a coastal town on the Bay of Biscay home. It boasts picturesque sites, cobblestone streets, ancient palaces, and examples of gothic architecture. Its historic downtown area blends history and artistry. Since the 1100s, the port of Aviles has welcomed ships bringing wares to the country’s mainland.
Aviles holds an annual Carnivale parade with floats and street bands passing Galiana Street. It’s also a hub of marble and stone, and they are excavated from the quarries just outside town. In addition, local merchants continue to develop textiles, such as glass, linen, and wool.
- Average rent in USD: $508
- Average Home Price in USD: $211,818
History oozes in Burgos. One of the cheapest places to live in Spain happens to be the ancestral home of El Cid, the famous military leader who defeated numerous Christian armies about 1,000 years ago. The city of 170,000 boasts an 800-year-old cathedral, a Cistercian monastery, as well as the colorful and hexagonal Plaza Mayor. Travelers can find boutiques, outdoor restaurants, and nightspots inside the plaza.
Burgos is a walker’s delight. Cobblestone streets wind in and around the city in a maze of Old World elegance. City residents take pride in the cleanliness of the streets, the laid-back atmosphere, and the panoramic Castilian views.
- Average rent in USD: $505
- Average Home Price in USD: $233,184
It’s always fun to try and find all the locations that Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz wandered during the film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” when in Oviedo. The Academy-Award-winning film was brought to life in this city of 186,000 in the north of Spain.
Oviedo is part of the only region—Asturias—not conquered by the Moors during the Middle Ages. It did, however, play an essential role in the Spanish Civil War. And there are numerous reminders of both everywhere.
Finally, Oviedo is home to world-class hard cider, called sidra in Spanish. Cider houses rule in this city. No visit is complete without a tasting or two.
- Average rent in USD: $496
- Average Home Price in USD: $145,056
Due west of Barcelona, Lleida is known for being the home of Spain’s third-oldest university. But it dates to long before the university’s founding in 1297. One of the cheapest cities to live in Spain began as the ancestral home to an Iberian tribe of indigenous people.
Lleida is known for its arts scene. In addition to theater and music venues, the city hosts two music festivals each year: a folk fest in March and a jazz fest in November. Meanwhile, no less than three museums display ancient and contemporary works of art.
Finally, Lleida is the proud home of the world’s largest escargot-eating festival. For more than 40 years, people have come from all over to eat snails, drink wine, and have a good time.
- Average rent in USD: $488
- Average Home Price in USD: $287,988
It’s hard not to love a city where you can walk your dogs comfortably and safely at midnight. And that’s the case in Salamanca, one of the cheapest places to live in Spain. Walking at any time of the day or night is the best mode of transportation in this town of 145,000. Everything anyone needs is within a short stroll from most apartments.
The historic downtown is another UNESCO World Heritage site and houses the University of Salamanca. Founded more than 800 years ago, it’s the oldest institution of higher learning in Spain. The city abuts the Tormes River and features several rolling hills.
In addition, Salamanca often welcomes pilgrims on the famed Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James) on their walking path to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.
Related: Most Visited Cities in Spain
- Average rent in USD: $466
- Average Home Price in USD: $145,800
Badajoz is a cheap place to live in Spain because it is not right on the Mediterranean Sea or Bay of Biscay, and there is no major industry. However, it’s a quiet and provincial town of 150,000 on the left bank of the Guadiana River, near the border of Portugal, and only a 90-minute drive to Portuguese beaches.
But Badajoz is well known in Spanish history for its almost constant state of military flux. Settled by the Romans, it was overrun by Moors in the 700s A.D. and returned to Spanish rule about 700 years later. Because of its proximity to Portugal, the two Iberian countries have fought over it numerous times since.
Now, Badajoz is a serene city with Moorish architecture and a grand plaza that greets newcomers and tourists.
- Average rent in USD: $462
- Average Home Price in USD: $145,788
The coastal town of Cartagena is an important naval station along the Mediterranean and one of the cheapest places to live in Spain. The city of 216,000 is still home to a naval shipyard and Spain’s Maritime Department of the Mediterranean.
Since the Roman Empire, its location has made Cartagena a seafaring hub of military importance. Since numerous civilizations have called it home, tourists and locals can see a variety of architecture and landmarks. These include the Roman Theater and ruins from the Phoenician, Moorish, and Byzantine periods.
Cartagena is also a welcoming port to cruise ships, so visitors are common.
- Average rent in USD: $439
- Average Home Price in USD: $179,304
Another historic town of medieval and modern warfare, Leon took an active role in reconquering Spain from the Moors more than 1,000 years ago. The city is also credited with hosting the first parliament in Europe and one of the first rebellions during the Spanish War of Independence against Napoleon.
Leon is also known as a party town. It hosts many festivals throughout the year, including a group of processions during the week leading up to Easter. The most important of these is the
“Procession of the Meeting” and is meant to reenact an encounter between Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and Saint John the Evangelist.
But the most fun procession is the “Burial of Genarin,” where locals honor a beggar who was killed when the city’s first garbage truck hit him in 1929.
- Average rent in USD: $417
- Average Home Price in USD: $128,202
Although only 96,000 residents call Caceres home, at 675 square miles, it is Spain’s largest city in terms of land area. It’s also a World Heritage city and one of the cheapest places to live in Spain, thanks to its blend of Gothic, Renaissance, Moorish, and Roman architecture. Some 30 towers from the era of Muslim rule still stand.
Each May, Caceres is home to the annual WOMAD music festival, where people from all over celebrate a large variety of music, art, and dance. In April of each year, the San Jorge festival includes burning a dragon in La Plaza Mayor and shooting off fireworks.
Caceres is also known as an agricultural mecca, with various locally-grown products to try. Sheep’s cheese (from the milk of merino sheep), chestnuts, olive oil, and figs are all grown here. Locals and tourists love the hearty stews made from local ingredients.
Related: Wealthiest Cities in Spain
Spain provides some of Europe’s most economical places for American retirees to consider. Once you get outside the main cities of Madrid and Barcelona, you can find inexpensive coastal towns along the Mediterranean Sea or Bay of Biscay.
Spain has become a growing destination for American retirees in the past few years thanks to its beautiful location on the Iberian peninsula and its history as a gateway to the Roman, Byzantine, Phoenician, and Moorish empires of the last 3,000 years.
Consumer prices are approximately 25% lower than the U.S. before including rent, and 33% lower including rent. It is the 42nd most affordable nation among 138 nations on the cost of living index. Spain is the 19th most expensive country to live in Europe (19 of 41).
Spain taxes foreign retirees on a graduated scale based on income. Each of the country’s regions taxes at slightly different rates, ranging from about 24% to 49% depending on income and location. It might behoove anyone considering a move to Spain to seek the advice of a qualified expert in foreign taxes first.
We’ve highlighted our list of the 15 cheapest places to live in Spain, but there are others as well. It just takes a bit of time and research to find your next home.
See anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below.