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How much does it really cost to live in Madrid?

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How much does it really cost to live in Madrid?
How much does it cost to live in Madrid? Photo: Josefina Di Battista / Unsplash

Along with Barcelona, Madrid is one of the most popular cities for foreigners to move to due to cultural and work opportunities, but being the biggest city, it's also one of the most expensive in the country. So how much do you really need to live in the Spanish capital?


So you want to move to Madrid? World-class art city, foodie hotspot and a vibrant night scene. You've most likely heard that the Spanish capital is an expensive place to live, but what are the real prices and how does it compare to where you currently live?

It’s no surprise that as the capital of Spain, Madrid is one of the most expensive cities to live in the country, but surprisingly it’s not the most expensive.

According to a study carried out by Insurance broker Kelisto, San Sebastián is the most expensive city in Spain exceeding the average cost of living by 33.44 percent. Just behind this is Barcelona +26.76 percent above the average and then Madrid +16.18 percent above the average. 

READ ALSO: How much does it really cost to live in Barcelona?

Cost of living website Numbeo states that you would need around 3,519.20 in Madrid to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with  in Barcelona. According to the site, consumer prices including rent in Madrid are 9.8 percent lower than in Barcelona. 

Keep in mind though that prices in Madrid like everywhere in Spain and many places in Europe have risen dramatically over the past year due to inflation.

Cost of living website Expatistan, which last updated its data in August 2023, stated that a family of four would need an average of €3,562 per month to live in Madrid, while a single person would need an average of €1,860.



A recent study carried out by the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) each year comparing supermarket prices revealed that the price of grocery shopping has increased by 15.2 percent in the last 12 months in Madrid.

Expatistan lists that 1kg of tomatoes costs an average of €2.32, while you will be paying €2.85 for 12 eggs and €7 for a 500gr block of local cheese, while Numbeo lists a loaf of bread as €1.31 and chicken fillets as €7.48.

Eating out

According to the site, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant will set you back €12 per person, while a three-course dinner for two in an average restaurant would cost €50.

If you prefer to go for something cheaper like fast food or burgers, you'll pay around €8 for a meal deal. 



Of course, rent is typically the most expensive item to factor into your cost of living. The cost of a rental in Madrid, like most places, depends on many factors such as the neighbourhood, the type of home, the size, the number of rooms and if it has extra amenities.

The latest data from real estate giant Idealista reveals that the cost of rent per square meter in the capital is €17.1, which is 10.1 percent more than in the same month of 2022. This would equate to a monthly rent of €1,368 for an 80m2 apartment, but in reality, there are lots of other factors which affect the rent as mentioned above.

According to rental site Enalquiler, the average rental price in Madrid is €1,918, based on 15,569 homes of varying sizes from less than 60m2 to more than 90m2, throughout the city.  


Buying a property 

Idealista lists the average price to buy a property in Madrid as 4,002 €/m2 as of July 2023. This has grown by 3.9 percent since the same time last year. 

According to the site, San Sebastián was the most expensive city to buy a property in 2023 followed by Barcelona and then Madrid, while Palma de Mallorca came in fourth place.

Cost according to neighbourhoods

Of course, your cost of living, not just the amount of rent you pay, could vary within the capital, depending on where you choose to live. The city is divided into 21 districts, which are further divided into 131 neighbourhoods or barrios. Everything from the cost of a coffee to the price of a meal in a restaurant will change depending on where you are in the city.

Salamanca, Chamberí, Chamartí and Centro are some of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Madrid, while Villaverde, Puente de Vallecas, San Blas and Latina are some of the cheapest.


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