The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Madrid on a Budget

how to save money in madrid

Are you thinking of traveling to Madrid and you don’t want to spend a fortune? If so, these tips for traveling to Madrid on a budget will do wonders for your next trip.

When I had to plan a cheap trip to Madrid, I realized that the city is not particularly affordable. I wanted to do some tours and visits that were expensive and I didn’t want to miss out on them.

How to Travel Madrid on a Budget

So I started saving for Madrid. I began doing small actions in my daily routine that, in the medium term, can help you save enough to then spend on your trip to the Spanish capital.

Now I will tell you in detail how to save during your trip to Madrid, as well as discuss everything you can do to enjoy the city without having to return home without money.

Is it your first time traveling to Madrid? This post will be really useful: Tips for Visiting Madrid for the first time.

How to Visit Madrid on a Budget

Are you ready to travel Spain on a budget? Here are my top travel tips and resources to help you make the most of your trip to Madrid.

Find the best deals on flights, trains and bus tickets to Madrid

You can find here the cheapest flight, train and bus tickets to Madrid with Omio.

cheap madrid flights

The key to getting cheap flights to Madrid is to be attentive to the offers that pop up throughout the year. Also you can travel cheaper using miles or points. (Check out these point hacks for travel!).

The city is a much-requested destination, but there are always flights with offers or discounts coming out for the different airlines.

Save on Madrid’s public transport

Madrid Metro is the cheapest and fastest way to get around the city.

There are different types of tickets and various prices for this service. Since November 2017, all subway tickets are gathered in the Multi-rechargeable card.

It can be purchased at tobacconists and other authorized outlets, as well as at subway stations for € 2.50. After purchasing it, you will have to recharge it in advance of the trips you are going to make.

madrid metro

To save money, it’s best to buy the Multi-card with 10 trips. Doing so will afford you a discount and allow access to Madrid’s metro and bus lines. It lasts 10 years and, being transferable, can be used to get around Madrid by more than one person.

Also, if you travel to Madrid by plane, I recommend you to read my tips on How to Get from Madrid Airport to City Centre, with updated and useful information on the best options, prices and distances for airport transfers.

Find cheap hotels in Madrid

The next step is to know where you’re going to sleep in Madrid. If you stay in the city center (such as Puerta del Sol or Gran Via), the accommodation options are going to be more expensive (and the rooms smaller).

If you have money saved before the trip, you may want to indulge yourself for a few days and sleep in a central and more expensive hotel.

cheap hotels in madrid

Or maybe you prefer to save that money and sleep in more average accommodation or try house sitting. This would allow you to spend it better on experiences during the trip, such as a good restaurant or a helicopter flight over the city.

Without a doubt, the latter option would be my choice, because in the end you spend little time at the hotel, right?

Hostels are a great option if you want to save money on your accommodation. The city is home to plenty of them, and they’re a lot more affordable than hotels. There are some fantastic hostels to choose from in Madrid, including room007 Ventura Hostel and 2060 The Newton Hostel.

Book in advance for any excursions and guided tours

With the money you have saved on flights and accommodation, you will be able to spend a little more on restaurants, attractions, and experiences.

Plaza Mayor Budget

There’s nothing better than spending the money on memorable experiences during a trip, right? Also if you book the activities and tours in advance, you will have two advantages:

  • You’ll pay less money.
  • You’ll avoid queues and waiting for hours (especially if you travel to Madrid in the Summer).

The best tours and guided visits in Madrid that I recommend are the following:

Guided tour of the Royal Palace

A visit to the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral is a must during every trip to Madrid. This is especially true if you’re a lover of history, architecture, and grand design.

And if you buy the tickets online in advance, you will save money and avoid an entire queue.

Royal palace Madrid

Visit to the Prado Museum without queues

The Prado Museum is one of the stars of Madrid and one of the most important art museums in the world. And if you buy the tickets online you can enjoy their masterpieces without queues.

Prado Museum Statue Madrid

Gastronomic tour of Madrid

You can’t leave Madrid without tasting their most typical dishes.

The simplest, cheapest and fun option is to embark on one of the gastronomic walking tours of the city, where you will visit the most typical bars and taverns to taste the culinary essence of Madrid.

El Escorial in a day

If you have one more day in Madrid, and you don’t know what to do, I recommend you to visit El Escorial.

It’s the perfect place to learn more about a very important part of Spain’s history.

Madrid aerial

Budget attractions in Madrid – What to do for free

If you want to visit this wonderful city on a Budget and you’re looking for free attractions in Madrid, don’t miss the following places:

  • El Retiro Park is one of the most famous parks in Madrid and it’s also free. There’s nothing better than walking in the park, sailing on the lake or even having a picnic while enjoying the park’s atmosphere.

Budget boat trip Madrid

  • Many Museums in Madrid have free entry days so you can enjoy them without having to spend money. In this post about what to do in Madrid for free, you will find all the information about the free entry days for famous museums such as the Prado or the Reina Sofía.
  • Explore the Debod Egyptian Temple, enjoy one of the best viewpoints in Madrid, and don’t miss one of the most beautiful sunsets in the city. style=”font-weight: 400;”> Walk along Gran Vía Street at night and be amazed by the lights and the number of people there .
  • A great way to save a bit of cash while enjoying a typical Spanish experience is to seek out some free tapas. One of the most renowned tapas bars in Madrid is El Tigre, known for its large portions of tasty food offered free when you buy drinks. And the drinks are cheap too! So make sure you visit El Tigre during your trip.

Temple of Debod night

  • Enjoy a free walking tour in Madrid. You have many options and all of them totally free! You only have to give the tip that you consider fair to the guide, if you liked the visit.

Madrid attractions on a budget – The Madrid Card 

Unarguably, one of the best things for cheap sightseeing in Madrid is the Madrid Card. It allows you free entry to more than 50 attractions in Madrid and ensures that you avoid the queues at each of them.

Priced from 47 euros and upwards (depending on the days you need it), visiting just 4 of these attractions will already make up for buying the Madrid Card.

Temple of Debod day

The most popular attractions included in the Madrid Tourist Card are:

  • El Prado Museum
  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
  • The Royal Palace
  • Reina Sofía Museum
  • Almudena Cathedral
  • Royal Botanic Garden
  • Teleférico
  • Círculo de Bellas Artes

Bear statue Madrid

Don’t go crazy with shopping if you want to save in Madrid

It’s very typical to go to a city on vacation and spend the last hours there shopping, whether it be for typical products or clothing and accessories from outlets. Don’t go crazy because that’s where you can spend all your savings that you haven’t spent during the trip.

But if you still want to go shopping in Madrid, I advise you to do it at Las Rozas Village, one of the most famous outlets in Spain. If you want to go from the center of Madrid, I recommend you take a look at this Las Rozas Village shopping trip where they will take you to the outlet for only 18 euros. The tour also includes a VIP card with special discounts.

Water fountain Madrid 

From wandering through Retiro Park to taking free walking tours through the city, a trip to Madrid doesn’t have to be expensive. 

I hope this post has been useful for your next trip to the city and that it’s answered your questions about how to save money in Madrid. But if you have further questions, leave a comment and I will help you as much as possible in your Madrid travels!

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madrid on a budget

Sara Rodríguez

A passionate traveler with a mission: Help you plan your next trip easily and enjoy it to the fullest.

In this travel blog you will find everything you need to get inspired and organize your next adventure. Read more about my story here.

One response to “The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Madrid on a Budget”

  1. Ryan Biddulph says:

    El Retiro looks like so much fun Sara. A day at the park is free and a blast for soaking up nature in urban centers. We just landed 2 more house sits in NYC in a month. Both by Central Park so I will be there daily, running or walking around.

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