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Visiting Madrid on a tight budget

Written by Miguel

Always dreamed of visiting Madrid but don’t really have much money to spend? Don’t worry, that’s what we are here for – to help you plan a low-cost, high-awesomeness vacation in the capital of Spain. So let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Getting here

Photo via Visualhunt

Photo via Visualhunt

Flying to and from Madrid is often where you’ll spend the most money, so it’s recommended that you travel during off-season periods when tickets are cheaper. In addition, make sure to carefully compare prices between different carriers, as well as the cost difference between direct and indirect flights.

If you’re coming from Europe or other parts of Spain, you can save a lot of money by choosing to travel by train. International railway connections to Madrid are available from other European cities such as Paris or Lisbon.


If you’re staying in Madrid for at least 32 days, ShMadrid can easily help you find an apartment. This is a great option if you’re coming with your family or a group of friends, as the rent for a whole month, when divided by 3 or more people, becomes pretty cheap. In addition, by giving you the ability to cook your own meals instead of relying on restaurants, it will save you huge amounts of money.

If you’re staying for a shorter period time, it’s more advisable that you look for a hostel. There are plenty of quality ones in the city at very reasonable prices.

Places to visit on foot

Photo by focus campeador via Visualhunt

Photo by focus campeador via Visualhunt

While public transport tickets aren’t all that expensive (1,50€), staying in a relatively central location will allow you to visit many places of interest using only your feet as a means of locomotion.

The Puerta del Sol square, the famous Gran Via boulevard, Plaza Mayor, the Egyptian Debod Temple, the historical Arab Wall and the former house of legendary Spanish writer Cervantes are just some of the many great places you can visit in Madrid without spending money.

Free museums

In addition, there are plenty of free museums in the Capital of Spain, such as CaixaForum (modern art), Reina Sofia (modern art/free every evening except on Tuesdays), Museo de San Isidro (history), Museo Lazaro Galdiano (private art collection/only free on Wednesdays), the National Library Book Museum and the Archaeology Museum (on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings).

Related article: Museum hack: how to see Madrid’s art treasures for free


Photo by ydcheow87 via Visualhunt

Photo by ydcheow87 via Visualhunt

You know what’s also free to visit? Churches – the majority of them at least, and Madrid has some of the most beautiful and historical Christian buildings in Europe. Whatever your beliefs or lack thereof, we particularly recommend that you pay a visit to both Almudena Cathedral and Iglesia de San Andrés.

Restaurants & Tapas

If you’re looking for a light and inexpensive meal in Madrid, tapas are always a great option, with many establishments offering this delicious Spanish tradition at pretty low prices.

If a larger lunch or dinner is what you’re looking for, there are also some pretty cheap restaurants that serve really great food – La Musa Latina, Subiendo al Sur, Bichobola, Shapla (Indian) and JinJin (Chinese) all have a fantastic price-quality ratio.

Related article: Cheap eats: €10 lunch menus in Madrid


Photo via Visualhunt

Photo via Visualhunt

For a fun evening that doesn’t hurt your budget, stay away from clubs that demand an entry fee. Here are some more sensible options:

Diplodocus – This Madrid bar serves really big drinks, so you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.

Ocho y Medio – This trendy Indie-rock club is free to enter – as long as you add your name in advance to the guest list on their website (under “Lista de Puerta”), which is easy to do and well worth the (little) trouble.

There you go – follow our advice and you’ll be able to have a great time in the capital of Spain even if you’re on a tight budget. As always, feel free to speak your mind using the comment box below. Have fun discovering Madrid!

About the author


Miguel is a freelance writer and copywriter who believes that words can really take you places - so hop on his words and dare to discover the wonders of Madrid with him.

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