How Much Does One Week in a Student’s Life in Spain Cost?

cost2“How much will it all cost?”

This is probably the first question most people ask when they start planning a language learning trip to Spain.

This is why the UniSpain website has several financial tools that can give you a really good idea of spending money needed in Spain. We have a Pocket Money Calculator that will work out your rough monthly spending depending on your location and the things you like to do.

And all our school descriptions come with exact prices for courses and shared student flat, host family or student residence accommodation. So those are really useful places to start.

Below, we’ve also put together an overview of the cost of living in Spain in 2013-2014.


Spending Categories
To budget anything, you first need to have a good idea of the different spending categories. For a language trip, they’ll be something like this:


Below we’ll have a look at each of these categories in detail.


Some prices, like your actual language course and the flights, will be easy to figure out. Do you already know how much you can spend on a course and where you want to go?

Visit the UniSpain Course Finder to view exact prices of courses with guaranteed 5-10% discounts.

Or you can read our blog articles on finding cheap Spanish courses, details on accommodation types and prices, and how to get the lowest airfares to Spain from UK & Ireland, USA & Canada or Europe & Scandinavia.


Although all-inclusive student accommodation is very common – normally shared student flats and residences – in some cases you may be liable for utility bills on top of rent. This applies especially when you rent your own apartment directly from a landlord, but also in some cases, in a shared student flat or a student residence you have to pay some money towards bills, on top of rent.

– Currently billed every two months in Spain, a typical household with 1-3 people may spend anywhere between 45-190 € per month on electricity, depending on the appliances used. If an apartment that has a water heater, air conditioning and winter heating that run on electricity, these will bring your bills up. It’s worth using air conditioning units very sparingly, and running a washing machine at night after 11pm when the cheaper night tariffs apply, if you want to save money on electricity.

WaterReasonably cheap in Spain, a 1-3 person household will probably pay between 30-90 € of water per quarter.

GasGas (for water heating, winter heating or cooking) may be piped into an apartment, but more often gas bottles have to be bought. These are called ‘bombonas’. Currently a gas bombona costs around 16,50 € and it can last a 1-3 person household about 2-3 weeks if used sparingly.

Telephone and DSL – Spanish telephone companies do varying offers and packages that include landline rental (with a telephone terminal included) and DSL for an average of about 50-60€ per month.

Mobile phones – In Spain you can buy a cheap rechargeable mobile phone that is good for making calls within Spain, or for people from abroad to contact you easily. These are available from telephone retailers and call shops (‘locutorios’) for varying prices, sometimes as low as 10€. But the rechargeable phone credit is usually expensive per minute, and just a few phone calls and texts may use up 10€ of credit very quickly. Look for offers when buying, and use sparingly to save money.



Metro, local trains and city buses – Local transport prices will vary depending on the city or area. In provincial southern cities like Seville, Malaga or Las Palmas, you can probably catch a local bus for 1.20 -1.50€ and in the northern provinces you may need to add another 30% onto the price. In Madrid or Barcelona, a single ticket will cost around 1.50 – 2.50 depending on the distance you’re travelling, but you can often get good discounts when you buy a day- or month travel card.


Long-distance trains and buses – Long-distance buses in Spain are probably about half the price of long-distance trains (although the journey time can also take up to twice as long!). You’ll probably pay no more than 20-40€ for a journey on a bus, but around 75-150€ for a long-distance train.

Taxi – A 10 minute journey in a taxi in Madrid costs about 7-8€, whereas in some provinces it can set you back 10-15 euros. Always check with the driver before getting in.

Car hire & petrolYou can get cheap car hire deals on the web. A small to medium car will cost around 150-300€ per week. Petrol in Spain currently costs on average 1,50€ per litre. Diesel is a little bit cheaper, and unleaded 98-octane petrol slightly more expensive.



Food & Household Items – One person can eat healthily from the supermarket for as little as 40 euros per week in Spain, if shopping carefully and preparing food from raw ingredients like meat, vegetables and eggs. Seasonal fruit is cheap in Spain and a ‘barra’ (white baguette) from the local bakery can be as cheap as 30 cents, while a sliced whole meal breakfast loaf costs around 0,80-2€, depending on the brand.


If you add household items like toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo and cleaning materials, and the occasional luxury food like smoked salmon, a bottle of wine or chocolates an pastries, you can still grocery shop for 45-90 euros per week, depending on your individual preferences and the products you buy. Check for daily grocery shop prices and offers all over Spain.

Clothes & Souvenirs
Shopping for clothes and souvenirs is a very personal thing, so how much you spend in this category is up to you. But as an example, you can buy a pair of girls’ or boy’s jeans in a high street shop like Zara for around 40€ and find bargains like t-shirts for 10€. Brand clothing, shoes and accessories will cost round the same as in other parts of the world. A post card in Spain can sell for anywhere between 0.20 and 1€, depending on if you are in a small town kiosk or a big city centre souvenir shop. 15€ will get you a bottle of wine, a jar of gourmet olives and typical Spanish turron Christmas sweets to take back home.SHOPPING



Travel insurance & Medical insurance – It’s really important to get good travel insurance that provides at least basic health cover and repatriation in case of illness. If travelling to Spain from a non-EU country, you will also need complete health insurance. For EU nationals, it’s still highly recommended that you get good travel insurance, but as a European Union member, you are entitled to free Spanish national A&E healthcare. Just don’t forget to bring your EU health card along. UniSpain can offer you a travel and health insurance for 8€ per week if you come from Europe and 15€ per week if you are from outside Europe but check also with your local insurance provider.

Prescriptions & Over-the-counter medications – A packet of paracetamol in Spain costs around 3-5 euros, depending on the brand. Over the counter products like cold remedies, ibuprofen or antihistamines are around 7-14 euros. Prescriptions like antibiotics may cost anything from 15 euros upwards, depending on the ailment. EU nationals staying longer in Spain, who have applied for a residency permit and registration at a local health center, are entitled to government subsidised prescriptions, with run of the mill medicines costing as little as 0,50€.



Eating Out – In Spain, you can get a coffee and toast for breakfast for around 2.00-3.30€ and a sandwich and a drink for lunch will cost about 3.50-5€. These prices apply to cafeterias where local people eat, not tourist cafés of course. A ‘menu del día’ three-course lunch in a typical workmen’s cafeteria can 6€-14€. Restaurants are more expensive, but you can still eat well for under 20€. Tapas are a cheap way to eat out, at about 1.50-2.50 euros per tapa. Some places will give you a free tapa with your drink. Here are some average prices in Spain:

  • Meal in a cheap restaurant 10-15€
  • Meal in a mid-range restaurant including starter, coffee and a glass of wine 20.00 €
  • Fast-food chain meal (McDonalds, Burger King, KFC) 6-7€
  • Spanish fast-food meal (campero, bocadillo, kebab) 3.50-5€
  • Beer: small draught 1-1.50€, Spanish beer in bottle 2.00 €, imported beer in bottle 3-4 €
  • Coffee 1.50 €
  • Soft drink bottle small 1.50 €
  • Water bottle small 1.20 €

Bars & NightclubsSpain has many different types of nightclubs. The huge, multi-story ones in Madrid, Barcelona, Ibiza or Marbella will charge anything between 10-60 € entry fee, depending on how famous the DJ playing that night is. But many smaller nightclubs offer free entry, or a small entry fee between 5-8€, which also entitles you to a drink. Bars in Spain will also vary greatly in price, depending on their location and the type of clientèle. A local pub in a smaller provincial city will charge about 1.50 for a glass of beer and around 5-6€ for a spirit and mixer. More touristy areas, and big city wine bars can charge anything from 7€ for a spirit mixer or 4€ for a bottle of beer. Student bars and night venues will be much cheaper with special offers and happy hours.

Cinema – Cinema tickets usually range between 6-9 euros, but you can sometimes get discounted tickets and student offers, as well as viewers’ day offers (normally Tuesday to Thursday) for less.


Museums & Sightseeing – Many museums in Spain offer a free day each week, so it’s worth checking online or with a tourist office beforehand, if you want to save money. Big national museums can charge around 10€ entry fee and smaller sights often have a lower cost, such as 1-4€ or a voluntary contribution. Many historic sights in Spain are free, unless they are national heritage sites and require careful and expensive preservation and maintenance work, like the Alhambra castle in Granada where ticket prices start at 14,30. If your language school is able to offer a student card, you can often use this to obtain cheaper entrance tickets in most places.Elevated view of crumpled euro bank notes in rubbish bin


You can save a lot of money in Spain if you prepare at least some meals yourself, instead of eating out each day. Spanish shops and retailers often do ‘special offers’ on items so look for cheap deal on everything. And when you venture out, eat, drink and dance in the places where ‘normal’ Spanish people go, avoiding major tourist venues.


As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the UniSpain Pocket Money Calculator is a useful tool, if you want to work out how much spending money you need in Spain.

On a small budget, where you commit to eating in most of the time, and only go for cheaper entertainment like cinemas or local bars once a week, you can get by with about 100-200 € per week, in smaller cities.

If you’re planning to live in a private apartment, go on many excursions, shop a lot and have a very active social life – or do things like hiring a car every once in a while or take a lot of public transport in one of the bigger cities like Madrid – you’ll probably need around 250-400 € per week.

Either way, we hope that the above prices will allow you to plan your trip with confidence, knowing that you’re budgeting enough money for it.


Have a great trip! And let us know how you managed on a student budget in Spain?


All prices quoted in August 2013,




  • Weekly Updates by Email