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How much does it really cost to live in Spain’s Valencia?

Valencia is one of Spain's most popular destinations and considerably cheaper than Barcelona and Madrid. Valencia-based journalist Conor Faulkner breaks down rent, transport, grocery and other costs in this lively coastal city.

How much does it really cost to live in Spain's Valencia?
With a population of almost 800,000, Valencia is big enough to feel like a city but not as suffocating as its bigger neighbours Madrid and Barcelona can feel at times. Photo: Pixabay.

If you’ve visited Valencia on holiday, you’ll know that Spain’s third city is a beautiful coastal place with great food, an international feel, the beach and Mediterranean just a short cycle or drive away, and an abundance of natural parks, famous museums and traditional towns nearby.

With a population of almost 800,000, Valencia is big enough to feel like a city but not as intimidating as its bigger neighbours Madrid and Barcelona can feel at times.

All in all, Valencia is a fantastic place to visit and live.

But don’t just take my word for it – in 2020 Valencia was named the most desirable city for foreign residents in the world by the Expat Insider Survey published by InterNations. In fact, over 100,000 foreigners have made the eastern Spanish city their home in recent decades, and for good reason.

READ ALSO: Living in Spain: Why Valencia is officially the best city in the world for foreign residents

Valencia has long been a popular holiday destination, but how much does it really cost to live in Valencia?

How does Valencia compare?

According to Expatistan, one of Spain’s most popular cost-of-living comparison site, overall Valencia is 15 percent cheaper than Madrid, and 14 percent cheaper than Barcelona.

For housing, Valencia is 19 percent cheaper than in the capital, and 22 percent cheaper than in Barcelona. For transport costs, Valencia is around 22 percent cheaper then Madrid, and 11 percent cheaper than in Barcelona.

According to calculations from Numbeo, the estimated monthly costs for a family of four in Valencia are €2,303, not including rent, and for a single person €652.71 not including rent.

As is the case anywhere in the world, prices vary depending on the barrio (neighbourhood) you live in not only for renting and buying property, but even how much you pay for a beer and sandwich. That being said, we can take a look at some average prices to get a better idea of how much living in Valencia actually costs.


According to Numbeo, Valencianos fork out just 27.7 percent of their monthly budget on paying rent.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the centre of Valencia costs an average of €759 a month. If you want something a little cheaper, travelling further from the city centre means you’ll be able to find one-bedroom apartments for an average of €565.

For a three bed in the city centre, you’d pay on average €1,369 a month, whereas a three-bedroom apartment on the city’s outskirts would set you back around €828 a month on average. 

The cheapest barrios to rent in Valencia are generally considered to be:

Favara: sandwiched between Patriax and Jesús is the small barrio of Favara in the south of the city, where renters on average pay just €6.03/m2 – the cheapest rate in Valencia.

Torrefiel: this neighbourhood in the Rascanya district comes a close second, costing on average just €6.47/m2 to rent.

San Antoni: is Valencia’s third cheapest neighbourhood- up in the north of the city and neighbouring Rascanya – where rents average €6.67/m2.

Buying property

Buying a property in Valencia in 2022 costs an average of around €1,839/m2, which means that if you buy a 80/m2 apartment, it would cost you around €147,000.

That’s cheap – in fact, if we compare the average prices in Valencia to Madrid and Barcelona, you’ll realise just how affordable Valencia can be if you know where to look.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: The cheapest and most expensive areas to buy or rent in Valencia

Let’s take, for example, Valencia’s most expensive neighbourhood, l’Eixample, in the city centre, which on average costs €3,024/m2 to buy. That’s quite a bit more than the city-wide average (in barrios further afield the average is around just €1,400/m2), but pales in comparison to the Salamanca district of Madrid (€6,149/m2) and the Sarrià – Sant Gervasi area of Barcelona (€5,228/m2).


Like anywhere, prices depend on where you shop. Generally speaking, chain supermarkets like Mercadona, Masymas, and Consum are the cheapest, while larger supermarkets like Carrefour and El Corte Inglés are more expensive.

Looking at the average prices on Numbeo, in Valencia a kilogram of rice costs an average of €1.14. 12 eggs set you back €2.29, and a litre of milk €0.92. A kilogram of tomatoes (likely grow locally) costs an average of €2.00, and a kilo of potatoes just €1.58.

Of the more expensive products, a kilogram of chicken costs around €6.67, and €12.50 for a kilo of local cheese.

Eating out

Valencia is the birthplace of one of Spain’s most iconic dishes, paella, but has a thriving (and very affordable) gastronomical scene that boasts a mix Spanish classics and international cuisine.

A meal in an inexpensive restaurant in Valencia costs around €12, whereas a three-course meal for two people sets you back an average of €45.

For those of you who enjoy fast food, or use the classic ‘Big Mac Index’ to gage a city’s cost of living, a combo meal in McDonalds costs €8 on average.

Having a caña (a beer in a small glass) costs on average €2.45 whereas Spain’s classic menú del día three-course lunch menu is €12.80, similar to the national average.


A one-way ticket on local buses or metro costs around €1.50, a monthly pass €31.50 on average. 

However, like in many parts of Spain, in recent months the Valencian local government have offered substantial discounts of public transport. The SUMA card, which integrates all the routes of of Metrovalencia, Metrobus, EMT and Cercanías, has been cut by a third. The cost of a 10 trip SUMA top-up in Zone 1 has gone from €8 to €5.60, and passes for Zones 1 and 2 from €12 to €8.40. A SUMA pass for Zone 3 normally costs €20 but is now just €14. 

Those of you who have spent time in Valencia probably noticed that the city is absolutely covered in cycle lanes. Valencia is an incredibly bike friendly city, and the majority of people there (tourists and locals alike) use the public bike rental scheme Valenbisi. It’s also incredibly cheap – a weekly subscription costs just €13.30, and the annual pass is a steal at €29.21. The first 30 minutes are always free (and it must be said, most journeys in the city centre don’t take half an hour) and after that you pay around €1 or €0.50 per half hour after that, depending on your tariff. 

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For members


Which startups succeed in Spain (and which ones fail)?

Foreigners thinking of setting up a startup in Spain should keep in mind that one in five new companies here doesn't last longer than 12 months. Here's what the data available says about the businesses that find success and those that don't.

Which startups succeed in Spain (and which ones fail)?

There are various interpretations about the differences between a startup and a company but, broadly speaking, a startup is a company in its early stages that’s looking for an attractive and innovative business model, whereas a company already has a pre-existing business model and is focused on executing it successfully.

According to a study by the Spanish Tech Ecosystem, Spain has 10,500 startups and more than 300 scaleups, innovative and more established companies that are already growing.

The introduction of Spain’s new Startups Law in early 2023 promises to make the country far more attractive for foreign entrepreneurs, investors and digital nomads.

READ MORE: Spain’s new law for startups and digital nomads – 15 things you need to know

But the road to success isn’t just guaranteed by less bureaucracy, tax cuts and special visas.

Twenty-three percent of new companies set up in Spain don’t survive past a year, according to the country’s National Statistics Institute (INE). 

Of those that do make it past the first 12 months, 45 percent are not in business after five years. 

When it comes to startups specifically, nine out ten startups don’t make it past the three-year mark, according to the Map of Entrepreneurship drafted by Spain Startups, but they do grow at faster rates than SMEs. 

Although these figures may not seem very promising for anyone considering setting up shop in Spain, the Iberian nation isn’t last on the list when it comes to the longevity of startups in the EU.

Lithuania, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Malta and Portugal all have lower rates of success than Spain, according to Eurostat data. 

Spain also lost 311,000 SMEs in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, so authorities are now keen to breathe new life into all types of sectors with foreign talent drawn in by the new startups legislation. 

Spain is also the fifth country with the most so-called ‘unicorns’ companies with a market value above €1 billion.

READ ALSO: What do the experts think of Spain’ new startups law?

Which startups and companies find the most success in Spain?

Insurance companies, reinsurance groups and pension funds are those with the companies with the highest survival rate, as 82.6 percent are still operational in Spain five years after their creation, INE data reveals. 

They’re followed by new companies involved in the supply of electricity, gas and air conditioning (80 percent survival) and those in the tobacco industry (75 percent).

Companies that offer financial services, assistance in residential matters, legal and accounting companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers and those that deal with the extraction of metals and minerals also have a good life expectancy in Spain.

That’s not to say that if you have a business idea in a different sector or that your startup is completely innovative you should get discouraged. 

According to industry specialists Meetwork, among the 50 biggest growing startups in Spain in 2022 are a travel management company, a copyright protection business, a language app for kids, a digital platform for freight transport, a vegetable-based meat manufacturer and other businesses from a wide variety of sectors.

The same applies to most highly valued startups in recent years in Spain; many are companies focused on innovation or the improvement of pre-existing ideas.

Self-employment and entrepreneurship website reported that the ten Spanish startups which have found the most success in Spain and abroad are Brooklyn Fitboxing International (gyms), Freepik (image downloads), Bigbuy (dropshipping), El Tenedor (restaurant bookings), Heura Foods (vegan food), eDreams (flight and holiday bookings), Clicars (online vehicle sales), Mr. Wonderful (an ‘online store for happy products’), Cabify (e-hailing) and Glovo (food delivery). 

And it’s not as if a startup that’s set up in Spain should necessarily have to cater to a Spain-specific market – fintech, tourism, logistics, mobility, cybersecurity, education, foodtech, energy, cryptocurrencies, gaming, employment, retail or health are all sectors with signs of growth potential in Spain and around the world.

Which companies and startups find less success in Spain?

According to INE, among the companies that struggle to survive past the five-year mark in Spain are leather and shoe manufacturers (20 percent success rate), maritime industry businesses (29.8 percent success rate) clothing companies (33.2 percent) and entertainment and artistic businesses (33.7 percent). 

Civil engineering companies are the ones that struggle the most to make it past the first year (30.2 percent survival rate), followed by those involved in arts and entertainment.  

The life expectancy of new companies in Spain has worsened since the pandemic, according to the latest report by Spanish business database Iberinform, who wrote: “The critical moment for any business project usually occurs after the third year, since the initial injection of capital allows the vast majority to complete the first 24 months of life without problems.”

Interestingly, during the pandemic, the sectors which saw the biggest increase in earnings in Spain but also the most businesses closing down were hospitality and retail, which together with tourism are the pillars of Spain’s service-based economy.

Iberinform’s general director Ignacio Jiménez told El Mundo newspaper that “the incomplete and uneven recovery that we are going through, marked by new challenges such as price escalations and supply problems” directly affect business survival in Spain.

“Companies, especially SMEs, which have less capacity to transfer these cost increases to prices are suffering a reduction in margins and loss of profitability,” Spain’s confederation of SMEs reported. 

READ ALSO: What will Spain’s income requirement for the new digital nomad visa be?