The latest data from the EU statistics office Eurostat gives us an idea of the comparative cost of living in different European countries, with Spain just below the average overall, but one of the most expensive for telecommunications.
Eurostat compares price levels for consumer goods and services using purchasing power parity to adjust for currency differences to get a comparable cost of living index for each European country in the survey.
Looking at overall price levels, the survey finds that “The highest price level among EU Member States was observed in Denmark, 41% above the EU average, while in Romania the price level was 45% below the EU average.”
Spain was 4.5% below the EU average in overall price terms, but 12.7% below for alcohol and tobacco, 4.8% for food, and 10.1% for clothing. If you like a drink and a ciggy in the sun, Spain is the place to be. Booze and fags cost 70% more in the UK, and 130% more in Norwary.
Energy prices including electricity and gas are 4% above average in Spain (and almost 10% below average in the UK), whilst communications goods and services like broadband are 21.5% above average in Spain, making it the most expensive Mediterranean country for telecoms with the exception of Greece, which is a crazy 73% above average.
For Mediterranean living on a budget, Turkey is the cheapest country in Europe to live with an overall price level index of just 38% of the EU average, but you might not be very safe there. Croatia at 69% is better run, and part of the EU, whilst Greece at 86% is always attractive, despite its economic problems. Malta (88%), Portugal (89%) and Cyprus (90%) are all cheaper than Spain, but not by much. France is 14% more expensive than average, and 20% more expensive than Spain.
However, the survey does not take into account average salaries, and GDP per capita, which are also relevant when looking at the cost of living. Higher living costs are cushioned by higher salaries. Switzerland might be the most expensive country in Europe, but the salaries are also the highest too. What matters is how much you can afford with your income.
Read more about the European Cost of Living survey by Eurostat here.