Madrid on a budget: 8 travel hacks to save on your trip

Published by: BouncePosted
Madrid, Spain

Visiting Madrid might seem like a faraway dream if you are worried about your travel budget. There are many people who think that they cannot afford to travel to the Spanish capital when they look at the costs of visiting Madrid on a regular travel plan. But when you choose to make the most of your budget and save on some key parts of your trip, you will find that you can visit Madrid on nearly any budget with ease. Madrid’s city center is easy to reach with lots of affordable hotel accommodations, and getting around the city center on foot is very realistic.

Between free walking tours to places like Plaza Mayor or Caso de Campo park, free entry to some sightseeing locations, and things like free tapas during special times of the day in the city, visiting Madrid on a budget can be much more attainable than you have probably realized. Make sure that you don’t worry about your bags and your personal items while you are traveling by putting your bags in secure storage with us. We will keep your items safe while you have fun visiting Madrid!

Street in Madrid, Spain

Cheap places to stay in Madrid

Choosing the right place to stay in Madrid can save you time and money. If you are not sure which neighborhoods are the right ones for your needs, check out our guide to the best neighborhoods to stay in when you are in Madrid. If you visit Madrid on a budget, your hotel stay will be the perfect way to save money so that you can experience everything on your list.

Artistic Bed and Breakfast

B&B locations are always a good bet when you are traveling on a budget, and you can count on friendly service and a family feeling when you choose this spot for your home base while you visit Madrid. You will be about 15 minutes from cool things to see and do, like the Reina Sofia Museum, and you can easily get on public transit from this spot too.

Rooms are about $70 a night here, and you will get free wi-fi and excellent food here. The shared living area is also really cozy and comfortable.

Central Palace Madrid

While a bit more expensive than a B&B, this location offers rooms for about $140 a night, which is really great for a hotel in this location. Plus, it feels really inviting and upscale, and you will love the comfortable beds and the peace and quiet here. There is a complimentary breakfast each morning, and you will get free wi-fi during your stay. You are close to the Opera metro station here, and the Plaza Mayor is just a few minutes away on foot.

Generator Madrid

Rooms at this cool hostel location start at just $55 a night! You are minutes from Plaza de Espana here, and you can easily hop onto public transit to go anywhere you want to go while you visit Madrid. There are also lots of eateries and shopping to enjoy here in this area. Your room will come with free wi-fi, and you will be treated to an on-site bar and a rooftop terrace as well. The rooms vary in the number of occupants, so you can pick and choose the kind of room that you want to stay in as well. There are also some private rooms on offer if you book in advance.

Restaurant in Madrid, Spain

Cheap things to do In Madrid

There are many things that you probably want to see and do when you are in Madrid. You probably want to make time to see Plaza de Espana as well as many of the other cultural sites around the city. Believe it or not, there are many really affordable options for things to do in Madrid to help you save money while you travel. Heading to Madrid on a budget does not mean that you will have to be bored every day!

Rent a Boat at El Retiro Park

El Retiro park is enormous and really beautiful. You can head to the lake in the middle of the park and rent a boat for about $5 or $6. Many people just lounge in the boat in the sun, but you can also paddle around and see some of the sights of the park in your little barca. This is a great way to get some sun and have a nice, relaxing afternoon without breaking the bank. It can be amusing to try and learn to navigate in your boat as well, and if you have never tried this kind of activity, be sure to be patient with yourself as you figure it out.

Visit the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace dates back to the 1700s, and you can get access to see this beautiful building for about $11. The gardens on the property are absolutely lovely as well. The current palace actually sits on top of the ruins of a Muslim Castle and also the ruins of the Alcazar of Madrid, which was destroyed by a fire. There is a ton of history to enjoy here, and you can walk around on your own or opt to spend a little more money to take a tour.

Rent a Bike

Renting a bike is a great way to see the city and save some money at the same time. You can find various rental companies all throughout the city, and the average cost of a day’s bike rental is about $40. With a bike in hand, you can enjoy visiting Madrid at your own pace. Head to Madrid’s city center, ride over to Puerta del Sol, visit the Plaza Mayor, or head to Retiro Park. You will find that many of the best museums, like Prado Museum, are easier to get to on a bike, and you will get a little bit of a workout in to help offset what you might have eaten during a food tour.

Covered market in Madrid, Spain

Cheap places to eat in Madrid

100 Montaditos

While technically fast food, this chain of restaurants offers really good food options for a great price. You can get various sandwiches, sides, and tapas at these shops without breaking the bank. Plus, this is a fast service location, which can be ideal for those who are on the go. You can easily get a great meal for less than $10 here, and you might find that some of the dishes are large enough to feed more than one person. This is a great tip for those in Madrid on a budget who want to eat well.

Mercado San Miguel

Mercados are a great place to find all kinds of food in Madrid and also an ideal place to partake of the best street food in Madrid. This location offers you tons of stalls to visit, offering food from all over the world for great prices. Tapas, dessert stalls, and places that offer drinks are packed into this mercado. You will also be able to sample wines and sherries for a great price while you wander. You can sit and snack inside the Mercado, or take your food to go, or even eat as you walk!

Sidrería El Tigre

The tapas here are delicious, and they are offered at a great price. This area of the city is friendly to students, and the pricing is what you would expect if the normal crowd is young and needs to save money. They offer lots of specials where you can get a cider along with a specific kind of food order, and you can enjoy happy hour here as well. El Tigre is a lot of fun, and you can get a lot of food for under $15 a plate here.

Food in Madrid, Spain

Cheap bars in Madrid

Bar El Palentino

This fun location is essentially a city landmark. This is a well-known hangout for locals, and you will not have to deal with lots of tourists here when you visit, which can be nice. The location is charming, and the service is friendly. Expect practical drinks, beer, and basic cocktails, along with low-frills food offerings.  This is basically a dive bar but one with a ton of character and great prices. A full meal with drinks here is about $25 dollars a person, but you can get drinks for anywhere from $5-$10.

Macera TallerBar

Want some classic cocktails or a pint of beer for $5 or less? Then you need to head to this cool little bar on Calle de San Mateo. You will be treated to lots of spirits that are made in-house here, such as their various kinds of gin, and the atmosphere is really trendy and charming. The cups and glassware are also really creative, which can make drinking and chatting here really fun and unique.

Café de la Luz

This charming little bar is affordable, and it’s also really fun! Designed to seem like a living room in someone’s home, this bar offers you places to sit like couches and overstuffed chairs. They welcome people to come in and order a drink and just read a book or hang out, and you will love the relative quiet and comfort of this bar that is different from a club or a sidewalk café. Head here for drinks that are $5 or less and atmosphere for days.

Visiting Madrid on a budget

Bonus Budget Tips for Madrid

Free walking tours are a great way to see the city and ensure that you don’t miss out on anything while you are in Madrid. There are all kinds of different themes for these tours, so you will be able to find the perfect set of attractions in the right part of the city with ease. Many of these tours will take you to the city center, Puerta del Sol, or Plaza Mayor. You might also be taken to the Royal Palace. You can usually pick up tips and suggestions about these tours at hostels all over the city, or you can look for them online. Some of them are self-guided, while others just require that you tip your guide at the end of the tour.

If you love nightlife but have a strict travel budget, you will need to head to the Barrio de la Latina. There are little tapas bars, drinking establishments, and street performers all over this part of the city. You can easily have an entire night of fun in this section of the city, and you will not need to have tons of cash on hand to make the most of a night on the town if you head here. The nightlife in Madrid on a budget doesn't have to let you down, and this street will offer you everything you have been thinking of for a night out.

If the museum fees look too steep to you, look again! Most of the major museums in the city offer free entry for a small portion of each afternoon. If you plan carefully, you should be able to tour all of the major cultural locations in the city center for free from about noon to four. Some of these locations are closed a few days out of the week, so you should check on the location’s hours before making plans each day. Locations like Prado Museum are must-visits here in the Spanish capital.

If you love food and you don’t have a big budget, you should join a food tour for at least one of your days in Madrid. These tours are reasonably priced, and you will be taken all over the city to try different kinds of food and drinks. Most of the food and libations are included in your tour fee, and the tour guides make it clear which items have added charges or fees associated with trying them out. This is a great way to see and experience Madrid on a budget without feeling like you are giving up anything.

Conclusion

If you are traveling with a big group of people or have kids with you that need to be entertained, you will want to be sure to check out our guide to the best free things to do in Madrid. Between saving money on food and lodgings and being frugal with some of these other tips in mind, you should have no trouble filling up your days with things to do and see while you are in Madrid. Traveling to Madrid on a budget doesn’t mean giving up on seeing the things that you want to see!

Visiting Madrid on a budget might actually help you to enjoy more fun local adventures, and you might find that you have been missing out when you have been traveling with a larger budget. Sometimes getting into the nitty gritty of daily life in a new place can help you to have a much more enjoyable and special experience than you could ever have if you confined your visit to the spendy parts of the city center.

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