Comparing the cost of living in France, Spain, Italy and the UK


Comparing the cost of living in France, Spain, Italy and the UK

France, Spain and Italy are three of the most popular European choices for overseas relocation, but the ongoing global financial crisis has made life difficult for many living in these nations. With high unemployment and price hikes a real issue, making ends meet can be tough.

In this article we compare the cost of living in France, Spain, Italy and the UK by looking at the average price of a selection of every day goods and services.







Basic restaurant meal





Combo meal at McDonalds





1 pint beer





Coffee (takeaway)





1 litre Milk





1 loaf bread






One-way ticket on local transport





Monthly pass on local transport





1 litre petrol





Housing Costs

Basic monthly utilities for a flat





1 min of prepaid mobile tariff





Internet connection for 1 month





1 Cinema ticket





Monthly rent for a one bed flat  in city centre





Purchase Price per m2 for flat in City Centre





 Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax)






Our table features figures compiled by Numbeo, the world’s largest user-contributing database. Figures are averages, shown here in GBP.

Remember, the cost of living will vary according to location. The more popular regions of all these nations are likely to have a higher cost of living than the less popular locations.


Food – In the food category Spain came out as the cheapest option, followed by the UK. Three of the six food products we compared are most expensive in France, including domestic beer, but four of the six food products are priciest in Italy.

Transport – In terms of public transport the UK is by far the most expensive of the four countries, but Italy had the highest petrol costs. A litre of petrol cost the least in Spain.

Housing Costs – According to our data, average monthly utilities are cheapest in Spain, closely followed by France, with the UK having the highest utility costs.

Although average monthly rent is highest in the UK (and cheapest in Spain) when it comes to buying a home the price per m2 is by far the highest in Italy, at over £2,000 more than the UK and over £1,500 more than Spain.

Monthly Disposable Salary – Of the four nations involved in our comparison, France offers the highest monthly disposable salary. The UK comes a close second, with Italy in third and Spain trailing in last. According to these figures, the average disposable salary (after tax) in Spain is over £400 less a month than in France.

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