Madrid is considered an expensive destination when it comes to a quick get away, but it doesn’t have to be if you learn to take in the culture of the Spanish capital without paying through the nose. I am going to share with you my top tips for visiting Madrid on a shoestring budget while not missing out on a single moment of the entertainment and lavishness this city has to offer.
As people will be arriving in Madrid via plane my first easy saving tip can be made as soon as you touch down – do not get a taxi into Madrid City centre from the airport, instead opt for the Metro.
You will save about €35 as a Metro ticket comes in at only €2. And don’t worry taking the Metro is a quick and painless 40 minuet journey (about the same time as a taxi ride) direct to the centre of Madrid. If you are staying in Madrid for a couple of days and plan to see as much as you can I would recommend investing in a 10-ride Metro ticket that will get you around for only €9.
What to do
You can get free entrance to loads of the top attractions by just showing your Metro card! Such as freeaccess to The Natural Science Museum (this comes highly recommended) and the Botanic Garden. When you buy your Metro ticket just pick up a tourist information leaflet (available at most Metro stations) to make sure you know the days of the week these offers are valid.
If you are hoping to bag a bargain while hitting the shops in Madrid then why not try heading to a Flee Market. Madrid has some fantastic, traditional Spanish markets and Rasto Market is probably the best of the bunch. Or why not take some time to watch the world go by in the beautiful Retiro Park. Grab something to eat, sit on the grass and chill out enjoying the Spanish city vibe.
Where to eat
Speaking of food – you might want to know some good tips to keep the cost of your meals to a minimum, as this is something that you can blow your spends on very easily. Luckily you don’t have to sacrifice decent food in Madrid as inexpensive, authentic Tapas bars are all over the city. Tapas is the ideal low-cost, high-quality snack or main meal any time of day or night in Spain, so it’s perfect. A place called El Tigre even offers you a free Tapas dish with ever €1.50 beer you buy – bargain!
Around lunch time cafes and bars will attract customers with a menú del dia, which is a three course set lunch menu. It is worth filling up at lunch time as you get real value for your money with these deals and usually a wine, beer or soft drink included! If you fancy a mid afternoon snack then try the local speciality hot chocolate con churros. This treat can be found on street stalls but for the finest churros head to a chocolateria like San Gines (known for its late opening hours).
Where to stay
There are countless great hostels in Madrid, tailored towards all types of travellers, not just your typical “backpackers”. So you will definitely find something to suit your visit. Cat’s Hostel is perhaps the best know budget guest house in the city, aimed towards a younger crowd.
Regular party nights, arranged by the management, make it the perfect place to stay if you plan to don your disco shoes. If a guest house really isn’t for you then you can find plenty of affordable boutique hotels. Check out Hotel Abalu – this hotel has been featured in magazines Vogue and Elle for its chic style and still remains reasonably priced.