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As a potential international student in Spain, one of the most popular study abroad destinations, you are probably interested in how budget-friendly Spain can really be. The truth is, the cost of education in Spain is quite affordable, considering the quality of education (which is excellent). In certain other countries of the world, such as the US or UK, the cost of education tends to reach enormous amounts, which could even be unaffordable without the help of scholarships or loans. Spain, on the other hand, is generally budget-friendly and, if you are lucky enough to live in one of the cheapest cities in Spain, you will find yourself having a splendid experience.

Here are the cheapest cities in Spain to live in as an international student:

Note: For comparison, we have placed the cost of living in one of the most expensive cities in Spain, Barcelona, at the bottom of the article.

1. Córdoba

Largely known as Andalusia’s most intricate cities (and cheapest cities to live in Spain), Córdoba has an interesting cultural and historic offering while also being quite a friend to your expenses. This city is majestic, with one of its main attractions being the Mezquita-Catedral, originally built as a mosque in the 10th century, later on, to become a cathedral. As an international student here, you will have just so much to see and do, while also saving money, considering this is one of the cheapest, most-affordable, cities in Spain. You will be able to find a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre for as little as 400EUR, while if you decide to opt for the suburbs, the cost is even lower.

Find some of the average costs in Córdoba below:

ExpensesAverage Cost
1-bedroom flat (centre)416.00 €
1-bedroom flat (periphery)350.00 €
Utilities93.94 € (+ 43.00 € for internet)
Local transport ticket1.30 € 
Meal (inexpensive restaurant)8.00 €
Water (0.33-litre bottle)0.97 € 

2. Santiago de Compostela

Apart from being affordable, Santiago de Compostela is also quite magnificent to live in. With an interesting historic square, churches, and palaces, this city and its cobblestone streets sure find a way into becoming among the most beautiful areas in Spain. As the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region, Santiago de Compostela also showcases some of Galicia’s unique cuisine. Here, you will get to try a wide range of seafood, local cheeses, and numerous desserts, all at an affordable price. You will be able to find a meal at an inexpensive restaurant for as little as 9.00EUR, but, of course, prices will vary depending on the restaurant. However, it makes the list as one of the cheapest cities for international students in Spain.

Find some of the average costs in Santiago de Compostela below:

ExpensesAverage Cost
1-bedroom flat (centre)439.00 €
1-bedroom flat (periphery)323.00 €
Utilities85.00 € (+ 37.00 € for internet)
Local transport ticket1.00 €
Meal (inexpensive restaurant)9.00 €
Water (0.33-litre bottle)1.25 €

3. Salamanca

Salamanca is home to the oldest university in Spain, meaning it has an evident student culture, while also being fairly convenient for international students cost-wise. Living here you will get to be part of a small-town culture and environment while having just plenty of opportunities to explore. The living expenses are affordable for the average international student in Salamanca. Foods like tapas, paella, sangria are delicious and there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options as well. You will find drinks for as little as 1EUR, and a wide range of foods to choose from without breaking the bank. 

Find some of the average costs in Salamanca below:

ExpensesAverage Cost
1-bedroom flat (centre)450.00 €
1-bedroom flat (periphery)305.00 €
Utilities171.00 € (+ 35.00 € for internet)
Local transport ticket1.05 €
Meal (inexpensive restaurant)10.00 €
Water (0.33-litre bottle)1.02 €

4. Alicante

The living costs tend to be largely reasonable in Alicante as well, so it is definitely among the cheapest cities to live in Spain. The cost of groceries at the central market, entertainment, public transport, is affordable. Rent, although not the cheapest, is still more affordable than in certain other cities in Spain (see Barcelona below for comparison). Students and tourists like Alicante for its warm atmosphere, beautiful sceneries, and architecture. But, above all, you may also get to enjoy numerous other recreational activities for free, such as going to the beach!

Find some of the average costs in Alicante below:

ExpensesAverage Cost
1-bedroom flat (centre)522.00 €
1-bedroom flat (periphery)437.50 €
Utilities84.98 € (+ 36.50 € for internet)
Local transport ticket1.45 € 
Meal (inexpensive restaurant)12.00 €
Water (0.33-litre bottle)1.09 €

5. Granada

Living here, you will get to experience a vibrant, relaxing, and lovely place with beautiful architecture and cobbled streets. The cost of living is relatively cheap and largely affordable. Besides, although budget-friendly, most places in Andalusia, including Granada, will give you free tapas when you buy a drink. Talk about generosity! Prices can range depending on the restaurant, but you will approximately be required to pay around 10EUR for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant (often even less).

Find some of the average costs in Granada below:

ExpensesAverage Cost
1-bedroom flat (centre)550.00 €
1-bedroom flat (periphery)420.00 €         
Utilities132.00 € (+45.00 € for internet)
Local transport ticket1.40 € 
Meal (inexpensive restaurant)10.00 €
Water (0.33-litre bottle)1.68 €

6. Seville

Seville is also one of the most famous cities in Andalusia and among the most budget-friendly in Spain. The traditional tapas are also largely prominent here, and people can simply experience Spain’s culture and customs through a wide variety of activities and events. An authentic culture, rich history, and Flamenco dancing are just a few of the things that define Seville. For international students and tourists, Seville is also attractive due to its affordable cost of living. In the city centre, compared to the surrounding area, rent can be a lot more costly, but other expenses are mainly affordable.

Find some of the average costs in Seville below:

ExpensesAverage Cost
1-bedroom flat (centre)620.00 €
1-bedroom flat (periphery)446.00 €
Utilities137.00 € (+ 37.00 € for internet)
Local transport ticket1.40 €
Meal (inexpensive restaurant)8.80 €
Water (0.33-litre bottle)1.05 €

Comparison: Barcelona

Maybe you might have guessed, but if not, Barcelona is one of the most expensive cities to live in, in Spain. For international students here, rent can be a challenge, unless they opt for flatshares with other fellow students, or better yet – student halls. The cost of living, such as daily expenses, however, are not much higher than in the aforementioned cities. The cost of an individual meal at an inexpensive restaurant, for example, is approximately 12EUR, a slight difference from Salamanca, where it is 10EUR, and the same as Alicante, where it is also around 12EUR.

Find some of the average costs in Barcelona below:

ExpensesAverage Cost
1-bedroom flat (centre)930.00 €
1-bedroom flat (periphery)722.00 €
Utilities133.00 € (+ 41.00 € for internet)
Local transport ticket2.20 €
Meal (inexpensive restaurant)12.00 €
Water (0.33-litre bottle)1.33 €

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