Madrid is one of the most expensive cities in Spain. But if you’re arriving from another western country and planning to live here, you might get positively surprised at the prices. In this article we are taking a look at the cost of living in Madrid.
Madrid vs. other Spanish cities
Barcelona and Valencia are projected to be slightly more expensive than Madrid. But Madrid is still in the expensive end when we are talking about Spanish cities, and that sometimes scares people off.
But Madrid is still in the lower end when we look at capitals in the western world. It is far cheaper than cities such as London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, New York, and so on. And you will feel that immediately if you are arriving from an over-priced country.
Rent prices in Madrid
Finding a place to live might be the most difficult part of being in Madrid. There is an insurance process when you sign up for an apartment, and if you don’t have any work in Spain, it is tremendously difficult to pass it.
But: If you have worked in Spain and can document your last 3 monthly salaries, or if you have a large savings account, it is quite easy.
Studio apartments in central Madrid usually starts off at 700 euros per month. 1-bedroom apartments can be found for 1000 euros per month and above. Here we are talking about central apartments in decent areas – it gets more cheap when you go outside the city centre. If you are willing to live in the south, a bit off the centre, you will be able to find a large apartment for less than 1000 euros. But it comes at the price of not being central.
For an easy overview of apartment prices, check Idealista and search for apartments in Madrid.
Shared rooms can be found at an average price around 400-500 euros per month in good areas. The prices, however, start at 250 euros for smaller rooms.
Food prices in Madrid
As for supermarkets, the prices are generally the same as the rest of Spain.
Mercadona is the best supermarket, and if you shop here, you don’t have to put away any huge budget for food shopping. Central Mercadona’s can be found in Quevedo, Embajadores, Salamanca, in the ABC Serrano-mall, Acacias and Pacífico. The Mercadona in Quevedo is often extremely crowded, but the others are very accessible.
Carrefour, Dia and Lidl are solid alternatives to Mercadona. Especially on Sundays and holidays when Mercadona closes.
Restaurants may vary a lot in prices. It is certainly possible to eat out at cheap restaurants for less than 10 euros per person. Buffet tables can be found in central Madrid down to 11 euros per person. For good restaurants, expect between 20 and 30 euros per person for meals and drinks. And for the high end restaurants, put aside 30 euros or more per person. The prices are particularly high in Salamanca and in La Latina.
One ride with the metro or with the Renfe cercanías is between 1,20 and 2,20. If you are 25 or younger, you can get a public transport card for 20 euros per month where you can travel unlimited with all metros, cercanías and busses.
Internet and telephone
You can get a package with a solid phone line and internet at home. Choose Orange or Movistar, and the price will start out at 40-50 euros per month for the decent packages.
It might take a few weeks before you get the internet installed in your apartment. But it is completely free and part of the deal.
Jacob’s personal expenses
I will share my personal expenses so you get a good idea.
Initial notes: I live very Spartan, and I share rent expenses with my girlfriend.
But for me, it is very cheap to live in Madrid. And that is one of many reasons why I like the city.
My girlfriend and I live in a very central apartment in Malasaña. Monthly rent is 700, where my share is 450.
Electricity is 50 euros every second month. Water is also paid every second month but varies in price. Usually it is between 40-50 here.
Phone and internet adds up to 52 euros per month.
I have a monthly food budget of 200 euros. This is often slightly exceeded, but not by much.
I pay 20 euros per month for all public transport.
And then I pay 64 euros per month for private health insurance with Sanitas (highly recommended – it will help you with your residency application, and you can go to doctor’s any time you prefer, while tests are also included in the insurance).
Overall, my cost of living here is a bit more than 800 euros per month. It would be more expensive if I wasn’t sharing some costs with my girlfriend, but the main point is that it is quite cheap to live here.
Feel free to write in the comments if you have any questions!