The Cost of Living in Granada, Spain


When Dave and I were looking to find a base for the first three months of the year, we decided on Granada after just a few days of research. Here’s what we were looking for:

Somewhere warm: After spending several years chasing summer around the world, the idea of a cold and rainy winter wasn’t appealing. It’s hard to find anywhere with temperatures in the double figures in Europe over January, even in the countries in the south. Granada, in the south of Spain, had some of the warmest temperatures and, most importantly, very little rain. Thanks to its position at the base of the Sierra Nevada, bright blue skies feature in Granada year-round and this was one of our swaying factors.

Somewhere affordable: Spain is one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe, and our research found Granada to be highly affordable.

Somewhere with good food: Tapas! While Spanish food isn’t known for having much spice, I could put up with that if my life would contain an abundance of jamon y queso. Granada’s close proximity to Morocco also means that cheap kebabs and Middle Eastern food are within easy access.

Somewhere where we could communicate: I studied Spanish at school for the better part of a decade — although have forgotten lots of it — and the six months Dave and I spent in Mexico gave us enough functional Spanish to get around. We would find it far easier to assimilate into a country where we could speak a small amount of the language over our alternative options of Portugal, Italy, and Greece, where I don’t know little more than a single word.

Other factors that were appealing included: good transport links to the rest of Spain, having friends in the city (probably the most important factor for extrovert Dave, as spending three months without other people around drives him insane), and the beautiful Alhambra – we love staying in pretty cities!

Panorama of the albaycin neighbourhood of Granada
View from our bedroom of our Albaycin neighbourhood

Our Costs for One Month in Granada

We stayed in Granada for three months, so in order to calculate the cost per month, I took my total expenses and found the average.

Accommodation: $491.05

Transportation: $0.00

Food (eating out): $170.95

Food (eating at home): $286.76

Activities: $58.56

Getting connected: $16.30

Miscellaneous: $80.47

Total: $1104.09

Note: Everything listed here is my share of the costs. Because I travel with Dave, the total cost of the accommodation is twice what’s listed. 

Views of Granada from the Alhambra
Views of Granada from the Alhambra. Our apartment was on that small hill to the right!

Accommodation

We were staying in a gorgeous three-floor, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in the vibrant Albaycin neighbourhood of Granada. It’s the Islamic Quarter of the city, full of whitewashed buildings, bustling markets, shisha bars, and Middle Eastern restaurants, in the tumbling alleyways of the hills of Granada. It’s slightly outside of the centre and therefore cheaper, but nowhere we needed to go was more than a 15-minute walk away.

Our apartment had plentiful hot water, a well-equipped kitchen, and spacious second bedroom for guests to stay. Our living room came complete with a large desk for working and a balcony overlooking the street below. I appreciated having wooden shutters in the bedroom that blocked out all light in the mornings.

Our Wi-Fi was fast but temperamental (resetting the router solved all problems) and we were within walking distance of most of the city.

We found our apartment through Airbnb — here’s the link to the apartment — which meant that we were paying roughly three times more than a local would. Given that our Spanish wasn’t great, and very few people speak English in Granada, we were wary of just turning up and finding a place when we arrived.

For comparison, some friends of ours are staying on the outskirts of Granada and are paying 450 euros a month (plus bills) for a 4-bedroom place.

If we were going to spent another stint in Granada, we would likely turn up and look for apartments once we arrived to get a better deal.

Transportation

Granada is an incredibly walkable city and we could get anywhere on foot. We didn’t take a single bus for the three months we lived there.

Food (Eating Out)

Paella in Granada

Eating out in Granada is probably more affordable than eating at home, thanks to the mind-blowing tapas culture. Throughout the city, you can walk into practically any bar, order a drink, and receive a free plate of food! Dave and I would often head out for lunch, order a couple of glasses on wine each, receive a few plates of food for free, and head home tipsy, full, and three euros lighter. Yes, that’s three euros total for four glasses of wine and two plates of food.

Tapas are small-ish plates of pretty much anything you can think of — fried fish, chicken and rice, jamon and cheese sandwiches, paella, and more! Each plate of food you receive is different and it’s common for the size and quality of the dish to increase as you order more drinks, encouraging you to stay at the same bar rather than hopping around. We often visited the same restaurant (Restaurante Manolo) and after the staff recognised us, they started giving us extra plates of food when we visited.

Tapas options in Granada
Some of our free tapas!

Menú del días are a great way to keep your costs down and receive fantastic value for money, especially if you have a large appetite. For 7 euros or so, you can grab a 3-5 course meal at a restaurant.

When you’re not sampling the free tapas, head to Bodega Castaneda for some of the best meat and cheese plates I’ve ever had; €10 for that plate below:

Tapas options in Granada

We ate quite a bit of Middle Eastern food while we were in Granada, where you could head out and pick up a kebab, French fries, and a soft drink for $5.

Food (eating at home)

granada meal

Thankfully, we had a pretty good kitchen so getting food wasn’t a big deal. We lived ten minutes from a Mercadona, and visited twice a week to pick up everything we needed.

We weren’t cooking in Granada, so opted to pick up several baguettes, cheeses, jamon, pate, wine, fruit, jalapenos, and pickles. Each visit typically came in at around €40.

Buying alcohol in Granada is incredibly cheap, and the best wine is priced at €1-3 a bottle.

Activities

Granada Alhambra views

Many of the best activities in Granada are free. There are dozens of hikes you can venture out on in the mountains, and wandering around the picturesque city is an activity in itself.

Everyone who visits Granada hits up the Alhambra, which comes in at a cost of around $16 per person. I recommend buying a ticket several weeks in advance from Ticketmaster, and getting one for the earliest time slot in the day.

Alhambra views, Granada

One of the highlights from our time in Granada was a 21-course tasting meal at La Oliva. In a small restaurant that seats a maximum of six, Franisco cooks up a tasting meal based around local produce. Every single ingredient comes from Granada or nearby villages. At €41 a person for 21 courses of food, it was exceptional value!

Granada Cathedral

Getting Connected

I buy a local SIM card in every country I visit these days to make my visit as hassle-free as possible. It means that I can use Google Maps to find my way back home, that I can Instagram and tweet my way around a city, and I can get in touch with Dave if I need to.

Getting a SIM card in Granada was fairly straightforward and for €15, I received 1.2GB of data, 60 minutes of calls and 60 texts. Too Many Adapters has a comprehensive guide to buying a local SIM card in Spain.

Granda views

Miscellaneous

I bought a juicer from Amazon to take advantage of the delicious fruits in Granada. I paid $40.59 for the Philips HR2100 blender.

Granada Town Square

Replacing broke cups and plates (of course! I’m accident-prone!) came in at €7.30

Souvenirs. While I try not to buy souvenirs as I travel as I don’t often have room in my backpack, I’ve found jewellery to be the perfect way to remind myself of a place without adding much weight or space to my pack. In Granada, I picked up a couple of pairs of earrings for around €10.

Views of Granada

Overall, Granada makes a cheap place to base yourself for a few months.

If you’re looking for a place with fantastic weather (we had two days of snow and one day of rain in three months over winter! I think we may have had three cloudy days), delicious, cheap food, affordable living, and easy access to southern Spain, take a look at Granada!

Does Granada sound like the kind of place you could live for a few months?

42 Comments

  1. Eve
    December 7, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren,
    Thanks for this post!
    My husband and I just moved to Spain (Barcelona) last week from Canada. We plan to move around and explore the country. Grenada looks promising! What websites would you recommend to find a place to stay if not using Airbnb?
    Thanks a lot!
    Best,
    Eve

    • December 8, 2015
      Reply

      @ Eva, I can recommend checking http://www.loquo.com/pisos-en-alquiler-particular/. It is a Spanish website but that is where I found my apartment when I lived in Barca. It’s a great and bustling city, I am sure you’ll enjoy living there!

      • December 8, 2015
        Reply

        Thanks, Lotte! :-D

        • December 8, 2015
          Reply

          Glad I could help:-)

      • Eve
        December 8, 2015
        Reply

        Thanks a lot Lotte! I’ll have a look.

        • December 9, 2015
          Reply

          Good luck! Hope you find something:-)

    • December 8, 2015
      Reply

      I’m not aware of any, as the ones with the good deals would likely be aimed at locals and I don’t understand enough Spanish to use them. Try checking out the site Lotte recommended, or go with Airbnb and accept you’ll have to pay a higher price.

      • Eve
        December 8, 2015
        Reply

        Ok, thanks!

  2. December 7, 2015
    Reply

    Southern part of Spain it’s a little bit to hot for me, but it seems like a nice location to live. About costs, I think that 500 euros per month for accommodation is a little bit of a high price, but then again, the flat looks lovely.

    The spanish people have some incredible sauces, when I went last year in Malaga on some friends, i’ve eaten a lot of delicious sauces on the dinner plate.

    The only bad thing, as I’ve said in the first row, it’s the heat. But maybe in the winter months it would be a pleasent experience.

    • December 8, 2015
      Reply

      The temperatures were great while we were there. Around 10 degrees in January, and then hovering between 15-25 in February and March. The summer in Granada is meant to be horrific — 45 degrees every day!

      • December 8, 2015
        Reply

        Oh my, that is quite hot. Sauna hot temperature.

        Around 10 degrees I can manage it, since here there are only 2 degrees on every morning, and the temperature won’t go more than 7 ore 8 degrees Celsius.

        I do like colder area, so maybe Granada would be fine just in the winter.

        • February 18, 2016
          Reply

          Granada would be perfect in the winter for you! Blue skies, very little rain, and warm-ish temperatures.

  3. I know you were busy with your book but it is impressive that you were able to keep your dining out costs under $200 a month in Granada. Outside of New Orleans I can’t think of a place where the urge to over indulge is greater.

    • December 8, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks! One of the (many!) downsides to the stress and anxiety that the book brought is that my reaction to both is to stop eating. I made up for that once I handed in my manuscript and was finally free, though! :-)

  4. December 8, 2015
    Reply

    Oh Spain, one of my favorite countries. I studied in Barcelona for one semester but actually prefer the South of Spain because of the food, the weather and the people! Living in Granada for a month doesn’t sound bad at all;-)

  5. December 8, 2015
    Reply

    Love your pictures! I would love to visit one day.

    • December 8, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Michelle! It’s hard to take a bad photo of somewhere so pretty!

  6. December 8, 2015
    Reply

    This post comes at a perfect timing! I’m looking for somewhere to spend a few days during this winter and it seems Granada is a perfect choice in Europe. Cheap tapas and sunshine make me happy! :) Thanks for the advice, I might check this little town out in a few days!

    • December 8, 2015
      Reply

      You definitely should! Really great weather for winter in Europe, and so, so beautiful! :-)

  7. December 8, 2015
    Reply

    Wow Grenada looks gorgeous! While I enjoy warm summer weather, I really like winter time too, but chasing summers around the world sounds like fun haha.

    • December 8, 2015
      Reply

      It’s been pretty great, but I have lost my tolerance to the cold. Currently in Melbourne on a 22 degree day and I’m covered in goosebumps!

  8. December 8, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren!

    Muchas gracias for this post – it’s exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. Living in London now, but looking to move to a cheaper, warmer location with good wine and food. Did I say good wine?

    In fact, about a month ago I went across to Andalucía (but the other side from Granada), in search of ideas. I most loved Cádiz, I think, where rent seemed to be around €400 / month for a one bedroom right in the centre of town. Despite Tarifa being the digital nomad hub, I found it to be far too windy as someone who doesn’t kite-surf or wind-surf.

  9. December 8, 2015
    Reply

    I lived in Madrid for 10 months a few years back and I fell so in love with that city! Granada looks gorgeous too, I think everyone should live in Spain at least once in their lives, the weather and the food, whats not to love?! Love this blog post!!

    • December 12, 2015
      Reply

      Absolutely! I headed to Madrid for a six week stint after Granada and enjoyed it even more there :-) Such a great laidback lifestyle!

  10. elizabeth
    December 9, 2015
    Reply

    do you think you could do an updating packing video and include how you fit everything into your pack?

    • December 9, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Elizabeth!

      To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend anyone travel with what I currently do, which is why I’ve held off on an update. I’m now travelling with a 2 kg bag of makeup and beauty products, some huge speakers, a mini-gym kit, and probably about 60 different outfits. I’m looking to find a base within the next few months and already travelling as if I’m living somewhere, so I don’t think my list would be helpful to anybody, especially considering a ton of people told me I was travelling with too much in my last update, which is about half as much as I do now!

      Having said all that, I’m going to be creating a gear page on my site within the next few weeks that’ll be full of recommendations for what to travel with and how to pack more efficiently!

  11. Kate
    December 8, 2015
    Reply

    Life in Granada looks pretty amazing!
    My boyfriend and I recently moved to Madrid from Canada – overall we’re finding it much more affordable, and you really can’t beat the warmer weather!

    • December 13, 2015
      Reply

      Yes! I later spent six weeks living in Madrid and I loved the lifestyle and weather :-)

  12. December 10, 2015
    Reply

    That is actually a lot less than I would expect, but you do save money with the tapas, it is true. I’m enjoying your recent blog posts, it’s like you have a renewed energy for your original craft. Cheers!

    • December 11, 2015
      Reply

      Awww, thanks, Louis! I’m definitely enjoying getting back to writing about what I want to write about :-)

  13. December 12, 2015
    Reply

    Interesting post, been thinking of working from that region over the winter. Was looking at Almeria which is supposed to be quite cheap.

    That accommodation looks amazing for under $500/month – especially if there is 2 of you.

    • December 12, 2015
      Reply

      Lots of very cheap places in Spain to base yourself! I’ve been considering Barcelona or Valencia for next year :-)

  14. Kim
    April 13, 2017
    Reply

    Hi, Lauren. Don’t know if you’ll read this comment as it’s an old post of yours. But I wanted to say THANK YOU! Such precious information for a first timer in Spain (and am thinking of staying for a month). However, I was wondering how you could get that place so cheap. Did you have to negotiate with the owner? Because that house now is like 80AUD for a day. Any tip? Thanks!

    • April 13, 2017
      Reply

      Check out the price for a month rather than the daily rate. There’s a 50% discount on month-long stays. I checked it out now and it’s still $1062 for a month.

  15. James Horner
    October 5, 2017
    Reply

    Warm climate, affordable experiences, delicious food, fascinating attractions… Truly an amazing article providing deep insights into the costs of Granada in an excellent way. Thanks so much for sharing Lauren.

  16. jessica
    November 14, 2017
    Reply

    Well Granada looks affordable place to stay for few days. Its budget friendly. Wanna try 21-course tasting meal, sounds cool.

    • November 17, 2017
      Reply

      It was such a memorable experience :-)

  17. Dave
    October 15, 2018
    Reply

    Granada is simply amazing. I lived there for a year in 2009-2010 and now my wife and I working on returning for good. We both love the heat and sun and with the daily choice for outdoor play between the Sierra or the Med, how can you go wrong.

    Running through various costs calculators we’ve found the cost of living in Granada to be 1/3 what it is on the eastern seaboard of the US.

    Can’t wait to get back, and yes it does help that we have a network of friends already on the ground. That makes a huge difference!

  18. March 1, 2019
    Reply

    Granada is just lovely! I was there 3 years ago and I’m going to spent a month there this October! Great post!

    • March 3, 2019
      Reply

      Oh perfect! October will be a really good time to be there.

  19. Ewelina
    March 20, 2021
    Reply

    Great article!

    I have a question about safety. Now during covid19 Spain faces an increasing problem with squatters. Is it also an issue in Granada?
    And why on mosts windows there are bars? Is there a homebreaking problem?
    I plan to move there for some time with husband and a half year old son. Is the healthcare and hospital on a high level?
    Thanks for your answers, you might help me a lot. I was also considering moving somewhere to the Malaga – Alicante coastal part of Spain, but I am afraid of the crime level there :-(

    I hope you will find some time and reply me :-)

    Cheers,
    Ewelina

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