Going to visit Madrid and do not want to spend much money?
I have been to the capital of Spain about 5 times, and once almost without any money. Still, I had a great time there.
So, I’m going to prove once again that it is possible to travel the world cheap and have a great time in a foreign city having a tight budget.
You will find out the prices in Madrid, get lots of tips to save money, as well as 3 Madrid 3-day itineraries (from accommodation to attractions) in the end.
Keep on reading!
150 Euros for 3 days in Madrid
To give you information about the prices in Madrid before your visit, I’ve taken data from Numbeo and PriceOfTravel, resources that analyze costs in hundreds of places to find the average one in the particular city. Data about accommodation prices is from Booking.com website.
I don’t write about the city I’ve never been to, so I give you travel tips that I learned by myself and for myself (I wish only the best to me 😉 ) from locals, tourists, travel forums and websites. So, let’s start with the overview of prices in Madrid (also check the post about ways to spend under 50 euros per day in Paris, the most expensive city from the series so far).
Attractions Prices in Madrid
So, we start with prices of attractions in Madrid. There is a bunch of places to visit in the city that are very well known, and most of the tourists want to visit them. They are Prado Museum (one of the top art museums in the world), Royal Palace, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (famous modern art museum). For football (soccer) fans, it is also the Santiago Bernabeu stadium of the Real Madrid football club. The rest is either less known, or free to visit (more on free attractions in Madrid read in the next section).
National Museum of Queen Sofia
Stadium Santiago Bernabeu
Palacio de Cibeles
Royal Botanical Garden
As you see, being a student, you can visit most of them for free or very cheap (except for the stadium). Royal palace is also free to visit for everybody from the EU and Latin America from Monday to Thursday 3 to 6pm (from October to March) and 6 to 8pm (from April to September).
Moreover, the official price of entry to the Palacio de Cibeles (on the picture above) is 2 euros (which is very cheap anyway), but I don’t remember paying anything there, maybe you only need to pay to go to the roof.
You can enter the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum free on Mondays from 12:00 to 16:00.
Those top attractions in Madrid are free under certain conditions. Below, you can find a list of sights that anyone can visit without any charges.
Free Attractions in Madrid
As a warm and nice city, there are lots of opportunities to spend time in Madrid outdoors. Here is a list of great and famous attractions in the Spanish capital that are free to visit:
- Parque Retiro (Retiro Park) – a large and beautiful city park close to some of the famous museums, and the Atocha train station. Inside of it you will also find the famous Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace) made of steel and glass that used to be an orangery with a variety of tropical plants.
- Porte del Sol (Gates of the Sun) – another popular place to visit, square that is always full of people and street merchants. The square indeed looks like a sun with streets forming its sunbeams. It used to be one of the entrances to the city.
- Barrio de la Latina (Latin Quarter) – quiet and lovely area, great to spend time in. Enjoy its tiny houses with traditional bars and restaurants.
- Gran Via – main avenue of the city that reminds me of New York’s Broadway. Very central and busy street with huge stores of the famous luxury brands.
- La Quinta de los Molinos – not very popular park with very beautiful blossoming almond trees, fountains and a lake
- Plaza Mayor (Main Square) – as you can guess, it is the main square of the city with an administrative building surrounding it.
Some of the top things to do in Madrid are connected to the gastronomy. Best and cheapest places to try traditional dishes I will discuss further.
Food Prices in Madrid
Food in Spain is not expensive at all, moreover, there are lots of fast foods and tapas bars with Spanish cuisine that are also very cheap, so trying to save money, you can always eat out instead of cooking at your apartment or hostel. Here are the prices in Madrid supermarkets and restaurants:
3-course meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant
Table Wine (Glass)
Chicken Breast (kg)
Local Cheese (kg)
Apples, oranges (kg)
These are the average prices according to statistics, which is about 30% lower than in Rome (from the previous week). As a big exporter of fruits and vegetables, Spain has very low prices for such products during the harvest season. So, you often can buy apples, oranges, zucchini and tomatoes for just 1 euro per 2 kilos (if you need that much).
Great places to eat some tapas are 2 chains: ‘100 Montaditos’ and ‘Museo del Jamon’, as well as numerous single tapas bars. One of the famous tapas bars, where you get free snacks (tapas) if you buy drinks is El Tigre. Although, the waiters were extremely impolite when I visited it.
For those, who like something sweet, I recommend trying churros with chocolate (churros is a Spanish traditional sweet pastry). Now, let’s move to the transportation prices in Madrid.
Prices for Transportation in Madrid
It is very useful that the Madrid airport is located close to the city, so that you can take a metro to the city center. Taxi is also not very expensive, but having more than one day in Madrid, you will have enough time and power to visit all the main attractions by foot or using the taxi or metro just once or twice. Here is a Madrid metro map for you (save or share it):
Only the Madrid City Pass (called Madrid iVenture Card) is very expensive and probably not worth the money. The 80-euro option is the cheapest one, and it only includes the free entrance to 3 attractions of your choice, the most expensive one includes up to 23 (where did they get so many) costs 255 euros!!! Yeah, it works for 7 days, and it also includes some discounts in bike rentals, restaurants and city tours…
But, you’ve already seen that city attractions can be very cheap or free, and the 3 Madrid 3-day itineraries will prove it once again. Here are the transportation prices in Madrid:
Metro from airport to central Madrid
Public transportation, single ticket
3 km taxi ride
Madrid Pass (7 days)
Now, one of the main expenses of any trip: accommodation prices in Madrid.
Madrid Accommodation Prices
I stayed in several hostels in Madrid. Spanish hostels can be very cheap. Surprisingly, the cheapest ones are in Madrid and Barcelona. Well, if it’s ok for you to sleep with 16 people in one room, with no hot water in one shower, and no door in another, you can spend mere pennies for your weekend in the capital of Spain. If you search better than I did and book earlier (check more tips to travel cheaper), you can find a great hostel for the same price.
So, here are the accommodation prices in Madrid from Friday to Saturday in about 2 months from the publication of this post:
Cheapest option for 1 person
Cheapest option for 1 person with central location and 7+ rating (with breakfast)
Cheapest 3-star hotel room for 2 with central location and 7+ rating
Cheapest 5-star hotel room for 2 with central location and 9+ rating
Some comments to those results. First three are almost identical to the ones I had in the post about prices in Rome. Still, when I visited Madrid (several times from February to May), I didn’t spend for a hostel more than 12 euros. Most of them also had a breakfast included (one thing you should know about breakfasts in most of the Spanish hostels – they suck).
So, I wanted to check, if there are such prices in different days. Yes, there are. Same hostels in the same week cost about 11 euros, just because it’s not a weekend.
While the cheaper options are almost the same in Madrid and Rome, the luxury 5-star hotel is much cheaper in the capital of Spain. Moreover, if I take into account not only the 9+ rating, but also 8.9, the lowest price would be just 160 euros for 2, while the 5-star hotel with central location and a 8.4 rating costs just €117!
So, in the ‘comfort’ option of the Madrid 3-day itinerary in the end, I will try to include a 5-star hotel .
3 Madrid 3-day Itineraries Below 150 Euros
After reviewing the prices in Madrid, it is time to give you three options to spend a great time in the city for less than 150 euros. Here are the three Madrid itineraries: Backpacker option, ‘Visit the Most’ option and Comfort option.
This option is for people trying to do the most and spend the least. Here is how you can spend 3 days in Madrid on a budget.
Accommodation: choosing the hostel with central location and breakfast included for 16 euros per night.
Transportation: you won’t need any. Maybe just once or twice to get somewhere far.
Attractions: well, visiting most of the free sights. If you are a student, you can visit the most famous Madrid attractions for free or cheap. Here, I will include the Botanical Garden and Almudena Cathedral as paid points of interest. When I had almost no money (because of money transfer that was frozen due to one of numerous Spanish holidays), I really had a great time in Madrid spending nothing on attractions, just a couple of euros for food, and 10 euros per night for accommodation. I also recommend going for a free walking tour (as a poor student, you can give just 5 euros for tips). Also, Madrid has some of the best pub crawls for 10-15 euros every day in a week.
Food: a sandwich in 100 Montaditos or Museo del Jamon costs just 1 euro. In the second one, it can be even enough for a snack. Having a breakfast included, you will just need two more meals. The least amount of money you can spend is about 3 euros per day for supermarket food, going for tapas and some drinks once a while would cost you about 7 euros per day.
Total cost of 3 days in Madrid: 32 + 0-3 + 3-26 + 9-21 = 44-82 Euros
Madrid Backpacker Itinerary
You know, I don’t like the step-by-step guides, so I here is a general Madrid itinerary giving you some flexibility. Other itineraries will be similar, but the pace, comfort and number of attractions will differ.
First, check in in your hostel. Without the heaviness of backpack, you can start the Madrid tour. For the first day, I recommend you going on a free walking tour around the western part of the city (Placa Mayor, Royal Palace, Almudena Cathedral and some other places). There, you will find out lots of information and useful tips about Madrid that you are interested in. You can also meet some people on the tour if you are traveling alone.
With the guide, you will be only walking around and looking at the attractions of Madrid from the outside. After the tour, you can visit the Royal Palace (free), and the Almudena Cathedral (1 euro). You can spend an evening walking through the Gran Via and visiting some tapas bars on the side streets.
This day, I recommend visiting the top art museums of Madrid: Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza located almost in front of each other. If you don’t like museums, Retiro park with its Crystal Palace (both free) and the Botanical Garden (4 euros for adults/2 euros for students) are nearby. On the way back to your hostel, visit the Puerta del Sol square and buy some souvenirs there.
This day, the Madrid itinerary will take you to the south of Madrid (Latin Quarter and some other neighborhoods), and then coming back to the city center to have some tapas with local beer before the way back.
‘Visit the Most’ Option
If you would like to visit as many attractions in Madrid as possible, this option is for you. Here are the expenses.
Attractions: All of them, except for the Real Madrid stadium. Costs will be a maximum of 37 euros for adult if you are not from EU or Latin America, and up to 23 euros for a student.
Accommodation: the same as in the Backpacker option, as it is good enough and located conveniently in the city center. So, 32 euros for 3 days in Madrid (2 nights). Another option would be a 3-star hotel room for 2 for 2 nights (59 euros per person).
Transportation: you will be walking too much without using public transport. Let’s say, you use metro 4 times (around 7 euros).
Food: having a busy plan, you will have to eat something on the way sometimes. So, price of food for 3 days in Madrid will be around 20 euros.
Total price of 3 days in Madrid: 23-37 + 32-59 + 7 + 20 = 82-123 euros (not even close to 150).
Madrid ‘Visit the Most’ Itinerary
Trying to cover the most of Madrid attractions, you will spend most of the time in numerous museums, cathedrals and other buildings. Here’s the plan:
The route will be similar, but a couple of new attractions will be added. When visiting the western part of Madrid, you should also go to the Plaza de España (Spanish Square) and the nearby park with the Templo de Debod.
For the second day, in addition to the 2 museums or Retiro park and Botanical garden, you have a National Museum of Queen Sofia and the Palacio de Cibeles (if you like markets, I recommend the one near Antón Martín metro station on the way to those sights).
For the third day, the route will be almost identical as before. I only recommend visiting the San Francisco el Grande church.
No need to rush. Madrid is a big city, but the Spanish people are very relaxed, they like to sit in a tapas bar sipping sangria or beer talking to each other or to the bartender. You can also spend your three days in Madrid in a relaxed way. Here are the prices, and further is the ‘comfortable’ Madrid itinerary.
Accommodation: as I said, I will try to plan this comfort option with a 5-star hotel. The minimum price of a good 5-star hotel with central location in Madrid costs 117 euros for 2, while a good 3-star hotel is 59 euros for 2 people.
Attractions: well, Prado is a must (after so many great and not that great museums, I’m fed up with all the art, so Prado was very boring for me), the rest will be free and outdoor attractions. One more option I recommend is to take a 2-day ticket to Madrid hop-on hop-off city tour busses, which costs just 22,5 euros if you buy online. It is an easier and more comfortable way to visit the city’s attractions.
Transportation: having a tour bus, you won’t need it. Otherwise, about 6 tickets for 3 days.
Food: with breakfast included, budget lunches and inexpensive dinners in some Spanish restaurants would cost around 30 euros per person for 3 days.
So, to afford a 5-star hotel having just 150 euros in Madrid, you will not visit any paid attractions, and you will have to eat only in inexpensive places (no wine in a restaurant in the center). It’s up to you.
Total cost for 3 days in Madrid: 59-117 + 0-37,5 + 0-10 + 20-30 = 79-185 euros.
It was a full overview of prices in Madrid and 3 complete itineraries with places to visit, so that you don’t miss any attraction and point of interest. In a week, at the same time, I will publish a new post with a new city. Stay tuned! If this post was useful, share it with your friends. Also, read about Valencia on a budget and have a nice trip!
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