Canary Is vs Mainland Spain Cost of Living??


I have read that living in the Canary Islands is actually less expensive than living in Main land Spain. Can anyone verify this for me?

My daughter studied in Spain (Madrid) and spent some time in the Canary ISlands for that the gvt subsidies some things there.

Las Palmas/ GC seems to have the International and AMerican schools there and the weather is just if there was just windsurfing year

As always any information would be helpful.


Hello there,
yes life is less expensive on the Canary islands. I lived there for almost a year before moving back to Barcelona where I now live. Food can be a little pricey because of it being an island, especially fruit and vegetables, but rent and bills, restaurants etc. much cheaper than Barcelona. Then again, Barcelona is an expensive city (along with Madrid).

I lived in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, which in my opinion is the best of the Canary Islands. And at Pozo Izquierdo, about 20 minutes from LP they do windsurf all year around I believe ;)

Nice..windsurf all year. I know someone that will make very happy. lol.

We were looking into Tenerife, as there are many expats. We are keeping an open mind as to which island would be the best for us. We are just so excited to be able to make the move.

2013 cant come soon enough.:D

Every island is different and cater to different needs and wishes. Good luck finding your island! I can just say I really miss GC and hope to one day move back there, life quality was/is sky high!!

of course we have wind surfing all year
Life is cheaper in las palmas than madrid, of course
but again depends what is your budget

not much diffrent tanerife to las palmas
only 20 minutes flying time

Could you Tell me which island should be better (and for which reason) for a family with three kids, having 10,10 and 7.
Thank you, Grazie!

I live in Las Palmas, I can tell you compared to Madrid, the rents are cheaper, maybe the cost of life , is more or less the same. If you need anything else, just tell me.

I live in Las Palmas again after years in Barcelona. (I lived here back in 2008) I can say that rent is cheaper here, but food in supermarkets is more expensive, while restaurants are cheaper. I would love to be able to help, do you have specific questions?

Since we are talking about islands located far from continental Europe some things must be more expensive but is is very important to note that the VAT in the Canary Islands is 7% while in mainland Spain is 21%. Many people from mainland Spain, when they travel to the Canary Islands, buy a lot of things in the islands because of this VAT difference.

The Canaries currently has 33% unemployment ..the worst in Europe so don't relocate here if you are thinking of finding a job. Tenerife is the best island and the largest.

Hi Jenny!
Things are cheaper here (for instance gas-oil), other more expensive (like food).  But bear in mind that mainland spain is a large country and it can also vary a lot price from a region to another one).

Regarding windsurf, I came here at Tenerife around 95 and since I am doing it at el Medano.  In Gran Canarias, Maspalomas is reputated, but never been.

I totally agree with el Timple, for searching job, it is not really easy.   Making business is depending of the skill of each one!

HI everyone!

I am looking for moving Gran Canaria as well. My main reason to study spanish and be in a nice weather. Of couse as others I also  would like to work. If anyone can give me some ideas would appraciate. My major is health, fitness and might tourism. I am a physiotherapist and sport trainer. But would not mind to work in a shop or anywhere where I can pick up some spanish knowledge.
My spanish is only beginner, i can talk slow, but hard to understand them.
I got a flat for rent in Arguineguine for start. I am sending my Cv arround but might be better to walk around the placeses for job. What do you think?

Thank you all of your ideas,

Hi Niki,
I recommend you to look in Hotels, like animation or something like this you are working at swimming pool, making sport.
I am sure you will enjoy it!

Hi Jennifer- yes and no.
Food, wine etc. may be a tad cheaper in the Canaries. Please keep in mind that even though the Canary Islands are a part of Spain, they are an autonomous region with their their own import taxes, sales taxes etc. It may for example, be cheaper to buy a new car here in the Canaries, but more expensive to purchase a second hand car. Spanish registered cars will have to pay an "IGIC" import tax on arrival in the Canary Island port. If you are a resident, you must import and register the car within 30 days of arrival, if you are a tourist, you must still pay the IGIC taxes, but if you re- export the car within 180 days, you can apply for a refund :-)
So is it cheaper to live here than in the Peninsula? Yes, and NO

No, Tenerife is the largest island, but Fuerteventura is the second largest, with less tourists, miles and miles of white sand beaches and ASOLUTELY THE BEST!!

I lived in Lanzarote for 6 years, and last year moved to Almeria on the mainland. So it really depends on which areas you are comparing. My day to day outgoings now are around half of what they were when I lived in Lanzarote. The only things I have found to be more expensive so far are utilities and petrol (because the tax is higher in Spain than the Canaries). Alcohol is about the same, and tobacco is dearer. I must point out though that I moved to a rural area here on the mainland (not in a city, which would obviously be pricier regardless of European country) - so am not comparing a city to an island. I can only advise by personal experience.

Yes the tax is only 7%, but there is a premium for shipping because these are islands... which can bump the price of items somewhat.

Good luck with the move - and as has been mentioned above, be prepared for a slog for work as unemployment is horrific.

Elle xx


I understood that unemployment rate in Canary islands is very high, unfortunately we are living in hard times, and whole EU is mainly infected with this problem...
However it is pleasure for me to read that VAT was 7%.
I came from Croatia where VAT reaches 25 %...(temporarily for restaurants it is lower, 10%)
So, I've been thinking to relocate to Canary (as an option No one) for business, small restaurant for instance, with grilled meat (I like to do it and it is very tasty I may say :-)
Any advices, is there someone who tried or considering small business?
Is it complicated in terms of administration? I am EU as well...
Any advice welcome...

Hi Truper,

We absolutely agree with you, Canary Island are at this moment ideal for business (if we compare with last decade).

Unfortunalety for the worker, the rate of unemployment is the highest of all Europe, but it has to be considered for the investor as an opportunity to make business here. The administrations are giving good incentives if you create business (and create employment, of course).

It is also still cheaper & easier to find leasehold and commercial investment, as the bank & construction crisis is expectating a slow recuperation.  In other hand, tourism industry in Canaries is going well, so there is no reason to neglect our islands for investment.  Of course, it is a mature market, so only the most gifted professionals get rich.

Consulting & Investment Canarias (ConInCa) is an international group of sole practitioners that help investor to establish themselves in Canarias. Please feel free to contact us for any questions.

The big reason is that the Canary Islands are not subject to the VAT (unless you order something from the mainland, then the VAT is added) and taxes are much less due and the fact that the Islands are a territory of Spain and has its own governmental policies in many ways. I live in Puerto/Tenerife and generally speaking for example, the cost of fresh produce is lower than the south because of the growing these  products are in an area with great productive soil and a part of the Island with a micro-climate that is perfect for a long list/variety of produce etc. The southern portion is on the more extreme dry-side and that is why many bus or drive to this area for shopping (much more to offer when it comes to a the variety of stores to choose from. Long narrative, but bottom line is, much less cost overall due to mainland taxes not only for Spain, but the EU in general.  Others who have been here on the Islands can give you pro-reasons why. Of course, this depends from Island-to-Island when making researchable comparisons.


About buying a new car: I see the VAT % is much lower in the Canary Islands vs. mainland as you said.

Does the transportation cost of the car to the Islands, that hte car shops have to to bear, lower the savings on VAT a lot? Also, what happens if a car is purchased on the Islands and then took back to the mainland? Does continental Spain tax it?



Do people have to pay additional taxes after buying a home? What do utilities cost please?

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