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The Most Expensive Cities In Spain to Live

Edificio MetropolisSpain of course has some wonderful places to live, whether they are in the countryside, in the cities or on the coast or even a combination of two, coastal Barcelona anyone? So Forbes have done a study and found the most expensive cities in Spain to live. One thing we love here at the SPM is that two of our main cities, Valencia and Malaga do not even figure on the list, in Valencia’s case especially considering it is the third biggest city in Spain. So here you go with a few thoughts on them too.

1: San Sebastian.

A bit of a surprise at the top of the list, San Sebastian in the Basque Country is crowned by the beautiful La Concha beach and is known for its stunning gastronomy and wild weather.One of the reasons that it is so high in price might well be that you have never really heard of it, loads of people haven’t. However it has a film festival too just like Cannes, better beach, worse weather. Make sure to get there and try out the Tapas, stunning.

San Sebastian leads the most expensive cities in Spain

San Sebastian leads the most expensive cities in Spain (Image By Jaan Kornelius https://www.flickr.com/photos/j-cornelius/3834263297/)

2: Madrid

Not too much of a surprise at number 2 as the capital of any country is usually amongst its most expensive, Brasilia excepted. Madrid is in the list largely thanks to the population having to pay back for all of those failed Olympic bids that the governing PP party has tried so unsuccessfully. This has raised the local taxes and costs a lot meaning Madrid takes a deserved second place

Edificio Metropolis

Edificio Metropolis – Photo by Antonio Garcia Rodriguez de Espanha http://www.flickr.com/photos/agarcia/

3: Barcelona

Currently the third most expensive city in Spain and maybe soon the most expensive city in the newly created Independent State of Catalonia, Barcelona “enjoys” its position on the rostrum largely due to the lack of opportunity for expansion. Hemmed in by the mountains around it, the sea to the East and with most of the city built up to its maximum height Barcelona will find it difficult to grow and the demand by people coming to live in this vibrant city is huge. Beware of the heaving tourist numbers though.

Barcelona Views of the Third Most Expensive City in Spain According to Forbes

Photo by Mislav Marohnic https://www.flickr.com/photos/mislav-marohnic/4470710448/

4: Tarragona

Another surprise perhaps. Do you know where Tarragona is? Well the second Catalan entrant is best known for being near Barcelona (According to Ryanair anyway who think Reus airport, not too far from the city and useful for Port Aventura the best amusement park in Spain, is for Barcelona) (Do check out Romanic Tarragona though, great Roman remains)

Tarragona Amphitheatre. Fourth on Forbes List of Most Expensive Cities in Spain

Photo by Bernard Gagnon http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarragona#mediaviewer/Archivo:Amphitheatre_of_Tarragona_01.jpg

5: Bilbao

It’s the Guggenheim Innit! Well actually no. Bilbao has always been high in the price stakes as it is a prosperous town in the Basque country and remember this is the second entry for the Basque country. Of course best known for the aforementioned museum and a lot of rain, my personal opinion is that despite being as ugly as sin Bilbao seems bloody expensive 😉

The Spider Outside Bilbao's Guggenheim, the fifth most expensive city in Spain according to Forbes

The Spider Outside Bilbao’s Guggenheim, the fifth most expensive city in Spain according to Forbes
Photo by Doalex on Wikipaedia

6: Palma de Mallorca

Our first non-mainland city, Palma is the capital of the island of Mallorca and home to the Spanish Royals whenever they are on holiday which is most of the time. A huge Marina and well known Cathedral are the standouts of Palma and because of the glitz and glamour of the Royals and the Marina prices are kept high. Remember Mallorca is not just Magalluf 😉

Palma de Mallorca, sixth most expensive city in Spain according to Forbes

Photo by Coco Parisienne on Pixabay

7: Girona

This list has a thing for those pesky Catalans and Ryanair airports that count as Barcelona! Girona is the third Catalan entry, this could be a very different list next year after the independence vote. Inland and some 100km from the Capital of The New Republic of Catalunya, Girona is a lovely city with well known features such as…. erm nope… not quite sure why it makes the list but it does. I think it is the general cost of Catalunya as a whole which reflects their more vibrant economy than the rest of Spain perhaps.

Girona Riverside. Seventh on Forbes list of Most Expensive Spanish Cities

Girona Riverside photo by Internalfox http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/13/Girona_riverside_HDR.jpg/800px-Girona_riverside_HDR.jpg

8: Lleida

Catalans again!!! Lleida in the Pyrenees distinguishes itself from the other Catalan cities in one major respect, Ryanair do not fly there and claim it is Barcelona! Yay! Erm that’s it.

Lleida, the eighth most expensive city in Spain according to Forbes

Lleida, the eighth most expensive city in Spain according to Forbes
Photo by Hector Blanco de Frutas http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A9rida#mediaviewer/Archivo:Lleida_-_La_Seu_Vella_(des_de_Cappont).jpg

9: Toledo

Cool, somewhere not in Catalunya. Toledo is one of the ancient capitals of Spain before intermarriage, internecine wars and whims of various Kings moved it to Madrid. Best known for making swords and the Alcazar on the hill, Toledo is about an hour from Madrid and really there is no reason to think why it is so expensive unless everyone makes their money from selling swords to Americans who then have to leave them at Madrid airport as for some reason Homeland Security won’t let broadswords on transatlantic flights.

Toledo and the Alcazar, the ninth most expensive city in Spain according to Forbes

Photo by Diliff on Wikipaedia

10: Zaragoza

The final entry in our list is the most difficult to pronounce according to any football commentator from the UK that has ever tried. Zaragoza lies inland, not in Catalunya, but sort of halfway between Barcelona and Madrid so it’s a great place to stop off for a coffee and that is about it. Known for being a Fascist stronghold and having the largest abandoned real estate project in Spain on the edge of the city, Zaragoza has very few redeeming features, apart maybe from being slightly less boring than Burgos and being Las Vegas compared to Albacete. (Looks nice on the photo though)

The Pilar Basilica in Zaragoza the tenth on Forbes list of most expensive cities in Spain

Photo by Paulo Brandao

So which cities are not on the list? The aforementioned Valencia and Malaga of course. Stunning places with redeeming features, unlike Zaragoza, like Córdoba, Granada, Alicante, Oviedo, Gijón, Santiago de Compostela, Vigo and so many many more including Albacete which has to be a major omission surely (SarcasmFontOn). The next post will be which should be the ten most expensive cities in Spain, in our opinion and why. There will be some overlap of course but we will be looking at why from the point of view of the lifestyle return on your investment.

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