The cost of living in Madrid

The Spanish capital keeps growing yearly, both economically and by population: it is in fact ranked #3 in Europe, after London and Berlin. In 2016, Madrid was even ranked the best city in Europe for expats: it doesn’t surprise that more and more people want to move here. Moreover, one of our studies shows Madrid ranking #1 in the list of best LGBT cities of 2017: a mixture of openness in the city, high level of LGBT rights, security and a dynamic dating scene make it an appealing city to live in (and not only for the LGBT crowd!)
In other words, Madrid remains one of the most attractive cities in Europe for expats that want to move here to work: the cost of living is increasing but remains lower than other big players like London or Paris. The abundance of universities attracts also many students, making it a young and dynamic city full of opportunities.

So, are you also thinking of moving to Madrid but you’d like to know the lowdown on what you should budget? Or are you looking for an apartment in Madrid and you’d like to know how much it will cost you to live in the Spanish capital? Nestpick has got you covered and has put together a useful guide to help you understand how to budget your life in Madrid. We’ve got the scoop on all your major expenses – rent, transport, food, drinks and leisure time. Read on below to learn the real deal cost of living in one of Europe’s greatest cities.

How much does it cost to live in Madrid?

Generally speaking, the city is known for being affordable. That said, the amount of income you need will vary widely, depending on the the type of experience you’re after. You can most certainly aspire to a metropolitan lifestyle in Madrid, but the activities and the kind of things you will be able to afford will vary a lot depending on your budget. Here are some monthly estimations for you, they include all costs for living, from rent to bills to food.

  • 1.000 € – 1.400 €: budget/student style living, room in shared apartment, home cooked meals
  • 1.400 € -1.600 €: a bit more comfortable than student lifestyle, dining out a few times a month and some extra expenses
  • 1.600 – 2.000 €: professional style of living, possibility to travel and buy premium grocery products, afford week-end excursions
  • 2.000 – 4.000 €: comfortable lifestyle, possibility to save and invest in more expensive products and a few whims and sustain a family
  • More than 4.000 € : luxury lifestyle, premium products, travel, exclusive dining experiences etc

As you can see, different budget ranges offer different lifestyle and quality of living. These rough estimates can be further broken down, in order to make it easier for you to understand what you may be able to save on, or what you should expect to pay for different services or products.

Renting a flat in Madrid


Like in any other city, the price for renting a flat in Madrid can vary greatly, depending on how and where you want to live. Those who need to be in the heart of the action should focus their search on properties located within the M-30, a circular highway that surrounds the center of the city. Flats and rooms in this area are obviously a bit more pricey, and normally don’t include parking (parking in this area is difficult because it is the busiest centre). If for work or studying reasons you need to stay around this area, expect to pay prices similar to these:

  • Room in shared flat: 300 € – 600 €
  • 1 bedroom apartment/studio: 700 € – €1,350
  • 2 bedroom apartment. 1.200 € – 1.500 €
  • 3 bedroom apartment 1.400 € – 2.000 €
  • Parking: 85 €

If you’re willing to go beyond the confines of the M-30, your money will often go much further. Normally you can get more spacious flats for similar prices, or nicer furniture. For accommodation and flats a bit out of the centre, you’re looking at costs closer to these ranges:

  • Shared Room: 200 € – 500 €
  • Individual Apartment/studio : 500 € – 800 €
  • 2 bedroom apartment 800 € – 1.300 €
  • 3 bedroom apartment: 1.300 € – 1.600 €
  • Parking: Free, often included in rent

Regardless of where your search is focused, don’t forget to budget for utilities and other supplemental costs. Sometimes it is possible to find options where bills and utilities are included in the rent (most often if you are renting a single room), however keep these monthly figures in mind, on top of your rent:

  • Electricity, gas, heating, water: 95 € – 130 €
  • Internet: 30 € – 40 €

Transport in Madrid

Like many European cities, Madrid’s public transport system is well connected and easily accessible. The transport system counts 14 metro lines, over 170 buses and 3 tram lines. Not bad! On top of this, you will be pleased to know that generally speaking transport in Madrid is cheaper than other European cities.The most common method of transport is the Metro de Madrid, an underground train.
One thing that sets Madrid apart from other locations is that, rather than functioning as one unified system, its trains run through several different zones. This means that the price of a single fare can vary widely, depending on how far you’re traveling. On top of single fare tickets, you can normally buy transport passes that include 10 trips or more. To save, most of the city’s residents invest in a 30-Day Season Pass, or monthly subscription plans that allows for unlimited travel. A regular pass can be purchased for €55 per month. However, when applicable, it’s also offered at discounted fares:

  • Single ticket: 1.50 € – 3 €
  • Monthly pass regular: 55 €
  • Youth (26 and Under): 20 €
  • Senior (65 and Over): 13 €Persons with Disabilities: 34 €

If trains aren’t your thing, Madrid also offers a public bike rental service called BiciMAD. Their annual plan costs just €25. Interestingly, the bikes are electric, which means that getting around will be a breeze – even in hotter temperatures.
Taxis are also surprisingly affordable. Those who need a car to get around can anticipate spending around €1.17 per liter of gas.

Food and groceries

Madrid is home to hundreds of word-class restaurants and dining out is considered a cultural pastime. You’ll definitely want to make room for a few of these experiences in your budget. Fortunately, however, there are plenty of ways to do so affordably.
Students and those trying to live frugally will love Madrid’s “Menú del Día”, a pre-fixed lunch special that’s offered in most the city’s restaurants Monday – Friday. For a flat-fee, ranging around 10 to 15 €, you’ll receive two courses, plus wine/beer and dessert. More than enough to keep you full for most of the day.
For those who can afford to spend a bit more, the sky is really the limit. Madrid offers a whole host of options for dining out, ranging anywhere from 15 € to 100 €.
Later in the evening, tapas is a must. If you can know where to look, sometimes these small plates – including local favorites like patatas bravas and bocadillo de calameres – come gratis (free of charge) with a drink. Otherwise, prices start at around €2 – €3 per dish. If you need a bit more to eat, a larger plate – known as una ración – will cost you around €6 to €10.
Those who like to enjoy a beverage or two can find plenty of nightlife in the city. However, prices will vary depending on the type of experience you’re looking for. A beer in a neighborhood pub is likely to cost €5, whereas a high-end cocktail can be upwards of €10.
Those who are more on a budget and would rather cook their own meal and save some Euros, will find the availability and prices of groceries very favourable. You can make the cost of living in Madrid cheaper by getting to know the Hacendado (own label) range of food at Mercadona supermarket. Local markets and fruit and veg stalls are also abundant: wander around your hood to find the best deals on what is in season and you can easily cook a meal for 2 for under 5 €.

Leisure time in Madrid

If you have just moved to Madrid to work or study, chances are that you may be on the hunt for new friends and exciting activities to do in the city. Luckily, once again, the good news is that the city has a lot to offer for those who are on a budget. There will always be free markets, shows and festivals. Most of the museums in the city offer free admission on specific days, as well as lots of shows and concerts will have discounted prices for students. Here are some more figures to keep in mind:

  • Fitness club, monthly: 40 €
  • Tennis Court (1 hour, week-end): 10-13 €
  • Cinema, International release: 9 €

Here are some miscellaneous costs you may want to keep in mind:

  • Cell Phone: €10 – €50, depending on coverage
  • Medical Insurance: €40+, depending on coverage

Are you thinking of moving to Madrid? Let Nestpick help you with your search for flats in Madrid!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.