How Much Does It Cost to Spend A Month on the Spanish Coast?

by Gigi Griffis

As you may already know, one of my goals with this blog is to bust the myth that travel has to be super expensive. Because money is the number one reason I hear when people talk about not “being able” to travel.

Occasionally, that’s true. Sometimes we have money troubles. Sometimes we need to dig ourselves out of debt. But often people just think that travel is going to cost them a whole heck of a lot more than it really does.

And so yet again I’m here to share a real budget for a real month on the Spanish coast. Luna and I were based in the town of Nerja, which is about an hour from the more popular Malaga. See below for the budget breakdown and below that for notes on how I lived and why those budget numbers look the way they do.


Category Euros Dollars
Accommodations 647.43 $701
Transportation 415.16 $453.62
Groceries & supplies 360.70 $394.12
Eating/drinking out 66.01 $72.13
Entertainment & activities 62.83 $68.65
Totals 1552.13 $1,689.52

Notes on my spending:

As usual, there are a few things I didn’t include above because they aren’t relevant to everyone. The first is my business expenses (things like monthly book sales software fees, my Skype phone number, and mailing things). The second is healthcare.

You’ll also notice that my normal column for Luna (the dog)’s food and care is absent. This is because I’m not feeding her a homemade diet (which means her food is now absorbed into my grocery budget) and because she did not have any vet visits or other expenses while we were in Spain.

My eating out expenses were really low this month for two reasons: 1) that I didn’t eat out much (I was pretty buried in catch-up work on the book) and 2) tapas in southern Spain are incredibly cheap. When I did eat out, I found myself spending about $5 on two drinks and two tapas. As you might imagine, places with beachside views ran a bit more expensive. But small local tapas places in town were almost cheaper than making food in.

My transportation budget this month was higher than usual because I’m factoring in more stops than usual. The main expense was my series of train tickets (Interlaken to Milan, Milan to Rome) and plane tickets (Rome to Seville) to get to Spain. Those legs account for more than half of my transportation costs. The other 1/3 or so includes renting a scooter for the day (and paying for the gas to power it) and taking a series of buses from Seville to Nerja. Aside from that, as usual, I pretty much walked everywhere, from my rental into town (about 20 – 30 minutes one way), from my rental to Frigiliana (about 1.5 hours one-way), and all along the nearby beaches.

Finally, keep in mind that I was working while in Nerja…a lot. So much of my time was spent finishing up my Switzerland book and working on the beginnings of my France book. I didn’t take many days off (and actually worked most weekends). So if you have a lot of time off and plan to eat out more often and do more activities (vs. the walking and beach-sitting that made me happy in my free time), your budget is likely to be higher. My own entertainment spending was mostly on music, books, and the occasional movie. Still, the above budget should give you a really good sense of the baseline expenses in (and likely around) Nerja.

Interested in seeing more travel budgets? You’ll find them all here.

Going to Spain? Grab a copy of my Barcelona guide: Barcelona: 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, & How to Fit In.

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Kristy April 14, 2015 - 5:30 am

Hey Gigi!

First of all let me say that I really like and enjoy your writing!

I think the reason why travelling can get pretty expensive is because most people don’t travel, they take vacations and this is me included. So when I go somewhere it’s usually just for a few weeks a year so then I try to make the best of it and go everywhere and try everything and do a lot of things in a pretty short time which all adds up to quite a large sum.

Also, when you are not a full time traveler the expenses you have at home are still there. So if I go somewhere, let’s say for a month, beside the travel costs for that month’s budget I still have to factor in the rent and bills I will still need to pay at home for that month.

Anyway, just felt like sharing my thoughts here. Keep up the wonderful and useful posts!


gigigriffis April 14, 2015 - 6:07 am

Absolutely! A big part of the travel expense is maintaining expenses back home and of course you’ll spend more if you’re trying to do a lot of activities and visit museums and so on and so forth. But it also depends how you travel. Squeezing everything in in the case of a a nature-based vacation, for example, can still come out surprisingly cheap because most hikes, picnics, days laying out on the beach, etc. cost nothing.

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