Madrid is one of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities in Europe. From its world-class art museums to its lively tapas bars and nightlife, there is so much to see and do in the Spanish capital. However, visiting Madrid does not need to break the bank.
With some planning and budgeting, you can easily spend a week exploring all that Madrid has to offer without overspending. Here are some tips for enjoying an affordable week in Madrid.
To get around Madrid cheaply, purchase a Tourist Travel Card, which allows unlimited rides on buses, metro, and commuter trains for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days. The 1-day pass costs €9 while the 5-day pass is only €26.50.
Madrid also has an excellent bus and metro system that can take you anywhere in the city. Avoid taxis which can add up quickly. You can also walk to many top attractions since Madrid’s historic center is very compact.
For affordable lodging, look for budget hotels, hostels, or apartment rentals in central neighborhoods like Malasaña, Chueca, and Lavapiés.
You’ll find many clean and comfortable options for under €60 per night. Some of the best beach hotels in Spain also offer affordable rooms, especially if you book outside the summer high season. Be sure to ask about discounts if staying longer than 3 nights.
Madrid offers many free and inexpensive activities to enjoy on a budget. Wander through the grand boulevards and plazas like Puerta del Sol, which is always bustling. Explore the beautiful Royal Palace and gardens.
Stroll through the Retiro Park, a lovely urban oasis in the heart of the city. Visit museums on certain nights of the week when admission is free or low cost. Many churches like San Francisco El Grande are also free to enter.
Eating on a Budget
Madrid is famous for its tapas, small plates of food enjoyed with drinks at bars. Hop from one tapas bar to the next, sampling a variety of dishes for €2-5 each.
Or enjoy a full three-course lunch menu at restaurants Monday through Friday for around €10-15. Picnic in the parks with supplies from local markets and grocery stores. Indulge in churros and chocolate for breakfast.
Break up your days in Madrid with affordable day trips. Visit the magnificent Royal Palace of El Escorial, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just 45 minutes outside the city by bus or train.
Explore the charming town of Segovia, famous for its Roman aqueduct and castle, only an hour away. Head to Toledo, a medieval gem situated on a hilltop with stunning views, and return to Madrid the same day.
On rainy days, visit museums like the Prado, Reina Sofía (free on certain nights), and Thyssen-Bornemisza which have impressive collections for just €10-15 each.
Catch a flamenco show for €15-25 or enjoy free live music in the plazas. Relax in one of Madrid’s many parks. Check event listings for free concerts, festivals, and activities happening around the city.
With a little planning, using public transportation, sampling tapas, and taking advantage of free activities, you can easily experience the vibrant culture and history of Madrid without breaking the bank.