The Cost of Living in Ribeira, Galicia

Tucked away in northwestern corner of Iberia, Ribeira is know for it’s inshore fishing port and natural park with sand dunes and lagoons. Though small in scale, local auxiliar Jarrett discovered there’s a lot to love about this town in Galicia, Spain.

Name: Jarrett McDowell

City and Comunidad: Ribeira (La Coruña), Galicia


School: I was placed at an elementary school with children between the ages of 6 to 12, grades 1 to 6.

Your living situation?  I lived alone in a two-bedroom apartment right above a Mercadona near the center of town. (Technically it’s a city because the King of Spain declared it one back in the early 1900s pre-Franco)

How did you find your flat? I found my flat using the free inmobilaria services in the area. These were wonderful rental agencies, and they didn’t charge me a penny, either. I also tried calling about different advertisements around town, especially in the grocery store Gadis. It took roughly three days from start to finish.

found it helped a lot to come to the inmobilaria with specifics and to write down your questions beforehand, then write own their answers. I also found it helpful to snap a picture of the inside of the apartment.

Rent: My rent is 300 a month.

What did you spend on utilities? I got charged every two months for electricity. I averaged during the non-cold months about 120€ to 165€ every two months. During the cold months I averaged between 225€ and 260€ every 2 months. Water cost me about 40 euros every 4 months.

You cell phone company and plan? I used R, it’s a local Galician company that has expanded throughout all of Galicia. Their information is in Spanish and Galician. I have 1 GB of data and 500 minutes, free calls between my cellphone and my landline to each other, and I can only talk for a period of 60 minutes at any given time on my cellphone.

What do you pay for internet? I pay 42.23€ every month for Internet and a landline. It also includes some television channels. Internet is 20 megas, plus I get access to all the phone company’s wireless routers over Galicia, and 100 landline minutes, and free landline to landline calls.

Waterfront trail 2

What did you spend on groceries? I spend between 120 and 230 euros a month on groceries.

Did you have any other sources of income? I had private classes to keep me afloat.

Were you able to save any money? I was not able to save much of my money because I spent it on different things around Galicia and traveling to other parts of Spain.

Your favorite tapas bar? My favorite tapas place is A Cabiña. I order the octopus, churrasco, French fries, salad on occasion, calamari, and some more calamari.

Your breakfast and coffee bars suggestions: I used to hang out a lot at a local Moroccan tea shop, but it has since closed down, so I really don’t hang out much anywhere here for breakfast or afternoon coffee. There is a new restaurant called Dorna that’s on the waterfront, and they have a large variety of tea and have American-style bagels.

Dorna Restaurant interior

Nightlife in Ribeira: My favorite bar in town is called 7 Pulgadas. It’s a small bar but the music is wonderful and the people are friendly.

How did you get around? I use my legs and bus around whenever I need to leave town. Within two hours I can be in Santiago de Compostela.

What you loved about living in Ribeira? My favorite part about living in my city is that I am right near the waterfront with a fish market that is constantly fetching fish out of the sound (ría). Another favorite thing about my town is that it is one of the few towns in Galicia with an extranjeria office.

And your dislikes?  I feel that in Ribeira it is fairly difficult to become friends with the local Spaniards. I also dislike that it’s not as well connected as other cities in the region.

How easy was it to travel around Spain and Europe from Ribeira? You can easily get to Santiago by bus, which then opens up all of Galicia or Europe if you hop on a plane from Santiago de Compostela’s airport. The bus ride is two hours.

Your guilty pleasure purchases: In Galicia there’s a dish called rixons and it’s basically shredded pork. That dish is definitely my guilty pleasure and blood-pressure raiser because it is so good and it almost reminds me of North Carolina Barbecue.

What are the top attractions in Ribeira? The top attraction in my city is the Dorna event that happens every year over the 7 days leading up to July 24th. It’s a wonderful event where everyone comes out and celebrates all over town with different events throughout the week, different concerts at night, and the event culminates with a huge “boat” race where everyone races out into the sound.

Festa da Dorna

Something you wish someone had told you before moving to Spain: I wish someone had told me to be less polite with Spaniards. I have noticed that the use of words such as “please,” “would you,” and “could yo,” aren’t really used that much. It’s not the fact that Spaniards are being rude, it’s just that they don’t use these niceties much when speaking and don’t view it as being rude if you don’t either. In fact, some Spaniards will look at you oddly if you start using overly polite constructions.

Learn more about Jarrett on his blog or by watching this video on his YouTube channel.

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