Most people assume that it’s tough finding cheap places in Spain to live. But even if you’re a budget traveller (or “pisspoor” traveller as I like to say), there’s actually a wealth of decent options available.
Based on research over at milanuncios.com and my own knowledge living and talking to people in Spain, here are my top choices on where best to live, learn the language and take in the culture. Considering my own impending return, a few of these are firmly on my list for January too!
With each recommendation I’ve tried to include an average rental price for a room in a shared apartment, a recommendation and a “pisspoor rating” (based on how much fun I think it would be to live there for the cash-strapped traveller). Take these ratings with a pinch of salt, you’ll have to dig a bit deeper to make sure it’s right for you!
La Coruña, Galicia
Galicia is well-known among the Spanish for being one of the cheapest places in Spain to live over the long summers. That’s the reason many locals have holiday homes here which they rent out year-round to students, workers or other people interested in living in the region. La Coruña, the second largest city in the region, is a lovely spot right on the north-western tip of Spain full of cool sites like the tower of Hercules, the promenade (Paseo Maritimo) and a 9th century old town.
What most people will probably love about it La Coruña however are its two beaches, Orzan and Riazor. The former is also the main venue for the Noroeste Pop Festival, a free music festival featuring acts from all over Spain and abroad.
My Pick: Room in a 3 bedroom apartment for 110 Euros a month (part bills included).
Average Rental Cost: 140 Euros per month
Pisspoor Rating: 8/10
*if you’re thinking about moving to learn the language be aware that in Galicia, and La Coruña specifically, a large percentage of the population speak the native Galician language Gallego.
Zamora, Castile and León
All the provincial capitals are worth a look at if you’re in the process of searching for cheap places in Spain to live for a few months. Zamora’s no different. Close to the Portuguese border, Zamora is most famous for being home to a crap-load of Romanesque churches that take the pride and place of the region during the city’s famous holy week. If that’s not your bag there’s also a pretty little cathedral, a medieval castle and a large indoor market.
The climate in Zamora is much like the rest of Spain. Boiling in the summer but pretty chilly in the winter. Whatever the season make sure you sample Toro, the dark black wine of the region that gets a pretty good rap throughout the rest of the country.
My Pick: Room in a 4 bedroom apartment for 110 Euros a month right in the centre of the city
Average Rental Cost: 125 Euros per month
Pisspoor Rating: 5/10 (outside of the splendid architecture there isn’t that much to do)
Andalucia is home to many of the cheap places in Spain and, thanks to its amazing weather and fantastic cities, is one of my best picks. Cadiz, the oldest continuously-inhabited city in (what’s thought to be) the whole of South Europe is historically home to the Spanish navy. For the pisspoor traveller however this city has it all. Numerous plazas to party in, more Roman theatres, bridges and towers than to a shake a stick at and, most importantly of all, some pretty impressive beaches. La Playa de la Caleta, a beach stuck between two old castles, was also used in the James Bond movie Die Another Day thanks to its close resemblence with Havana, Cuba. Those visions of yourself right now, martini in hand, soaking up the rays? Let them be a reality.
My Pick: Room in a 2 bedroom apartment for 150 Euros a month 500m from the beach
Average Rental Cost: 150 Euros per month
Pisspoor Rating: 9/10
Ávila, Castile and León
With its famous city walls and relative proximity to Madrid, Ávila offers up a pretty scenic alternative to expensive, big city living while still being close enough to it. A city much like Zamora, Ávila is most famous in Spain for being the highest provincial capital in terms of elevation (it’s built on a flat rocky hill).
Unfortunately its Ávila’s geography that also makes it a slim pick for me. Long, cold winters and very short summers aren’t something I’m after.
My Pick: Room in a 3 bedroom apartment for 120 Euros a month
Average Rental Cost: 130 Euros per month
Pisspoor Rating: 2/10
The first of my picks in the province of Valencia I’ve hopefully shown by now that cheap places in Spain exist all over the country. Alicante, Valencia’s second-largest city, is also one of the most heavily populated on the list. One of the fastest-growing cities, owing to the beaches of the Costa Blanca, you can expect Alicante living to be fast-paced and fun if a little slightly more expensive.
But with plenty to see and do, including a trip to the high-up Santa Barbara castle or a stroll along the palm-tree lined promenade Explanada de España, the price of living in this city may well be worth it over the quiet sleepy feel of places in Extremadura or Castile and León.
My Pick: Room in a 2 bedroom apartment for 170 Euros a month 200 metres from the beach
Average Rental Cost: 200 Euros a month
Pisspoor Rating: 9/10
Living in Spain, as I’ve helped to show, needn’t break the bank. If you’re willing to downsize, live in a shared apartment and travel a little more slowly there’s a lot of cheap places in Spain that can help you do just that.
Don’t forget Cáceres either!
Got any more recommendations?