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Cost of living in Bilbao

cost of living in bilbao

Located in the northern Spain, Bilbao is one of the most populated cities of the Spain and the most important city of the Basque Country. Due to its importance in this region, the quality of life is also higher than in other cities of Spain; what makes this city more expensive that the cities of the south of the country. In this article we are going to show you what’s the cost of living in Bilbao analyzing different aspects.

Renting a room in Bilbao

Renting a room in Bilbao can turn difficult if you plan to arrive to Bilbao once the semester has started. If you’re looking for a good and cheap accommodation, we reccomend you to use our Search Tool to find the most suitable room for you. You may know that the price of an student room in Bilbao can go from 250€ to 450€. The average price of a room in Bilbao is normally around 350€; but it always depends on the area you choose and the equipment of the flat.

Shopping in Bilbao

One of the most important expenses for an exchange student is the food, so it’s important to analyze its price to calculate the real cost of living in Bilbao. In Bilbao you can find different supermarkets, you have to know that some of them are cheaper than others. If you want to save money during your stay, we reccomend you to buy in Dia Supermarkets or Simply, which are normally the cheapest ones.

Here we leave you a list of basic products with indicative prices:

Cereals: 1,40€/Kg Bread: 0,39€
Milk: 0,61€/L Chicken: 2,17€/Kg
Dozen of Eggs: 1,19€ Sugar: 0,69€/Kg
Rice: 0,68€/L Salt: 0,23€/kg
Flour: 0,60€/Kg Toilet Paper (12 Roll Pack): 1,95€
Pasta: 0,75€/Kg Sunflower Oil: 1,02€/L
Apples: 1,45€/Kg Yogurt (16 pack): 2€

*Reference: February 2017

Public Transportation

In Bilbao you can find different public transportation methods. Depending on where you live and where you study, you’ll use one of them more often. You need to know that in Bilbao you can find: underground, bus, tran and train. There is an universal public transportation card called Barik, which is valid for every public transportation method in the city, except for taxis.

Metro Bilbao

Metro Bilbao is the underground of the city, and probably the fastest way to get around the city. Being Bilbao an small city, the underground has only 2 lines that conect the whole city and the sorrounding cities of the metropolitan Bilbao.

cost of living in bilbao

The price of a single journey with the Barik Card is 0,87€. There is also a monthly plan for the metro and its price is 35,30€ for one metro area.


The urban bus of Bilbao is called Bilbobus and you can recognize it from the rest of buses because of its red colour. There are 36 different bus lines with different schedules. One of the main advantages of Bilbobus is that is cheaper than the metro and can be useful to make certain short trips. Apart from that, it gives support to those areas where there is not a metro stop. The price for a single trip is 0,64€ using the Barik card; and the price of the monthly plan is 29€.


The tram is another alternative to move in Bilbao and is well connected with other transportation methods of the city, such as the metro, train or bus stations. The price of a single trip by tram is 0,73€ with the Barik Card.


Bizkaibus is the public transportation used to move from Bilbao to the surrounding cities and villages. If you are going to study at the Campus of Leioa, you’ll need to take a bus to go from Bilbao to the Campus almost everyday. The price of the bus to Leioa is 1,13€ and there are different buses that can take you to the university. You can check all the lines available here.


It can be really difficult to predict how muchare you going to pay in your electricity bill. It not only depends on the usage, but also on the price of the KW in the market. With the most recent law, the price of the electricity is established by a bid system. This means that during the periods of high demand and low production, the price of the bill will increase. It’s normal to see how the price of the bill increases during winter (unless you use air conditining systems at your place. The average amount per month is around 55€ and 60€.

Water and Waste Treatment

The price of the water in Bilbao is not very expensive if we compare it with other Spanish cities. However, in this bill they also include the tax for Waste Treatment, and this tax increases the total amount to pay sensibly. Like in the restof areas, the final bill is going to depend on the consumption you make. If it’s on the average, you’ll pay between 70€ and 80€ every 3 months.

Spanish SIM Card and Internet

If you are going to spend some months studying in Bilbao, you’re going to need an Spanish SIM card in order to stay connected. One of the most popular companies between international students of Bilbao is MásMóvil, which offers competitive prices on its prepaid SIM Cards. For example, you can get 1GB of Internet in your phone for 5€ per month.

sim card

MásMóvil is also a popular option for those who don’t have an Internet connection in their flat. This company is also offering the most competitive price for ADSL connections. The current offer is 50MB of Internet + a Phone Line for 30€/month.

Restaurant Prices

As a cosmopolitan city, Bilbao is full of different kind of restaurants. Like in every city, you can find the international brands of fast food for affordable prices, but apart from them, there are also local restaurants that offer daily menus for a fair price.


If we analyze the prices of the innexpensive restaurants of the city, we could say that it’s possible to have lunch for 10€ and dinner for 15€. It always depends on the restaurant, of course, but it’s a good reference to calculate the cost of living in Bilbao if you plan to try restaurants during your stay.

Bars and Clubs

When you go on Erasmus, one of the most important aspects is the party. Clubs and bars are the places where you are going to make new friends and where you are going to have fun with them. You need to know that there is normally a big difference of prices between bars and clubs. In the following table we show you the average prices in bars and clubs.

Coffee 1,50€
Beer 2€ 4€
Shot 1,50€ 2,50€
Cocktail 6€ 7€

We hope this information helps you to calculate the cost of living in Bilbao.

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