Spain is a beautiful country with plenty of character and some of the cheapest accommodations in Europe! If you’re looking for a colorful, budget-friendly travel experience, this is a great place to start. Find inexpensive transportation, lodging, food, and excursions to make sure your trip is unforgettable!
EditFinding Inexpensive Transportation
- Fly into high-traffic cities for cheaper ticket options. Major cities like Madrid and Barcelona act as travel hubs to the rest of the world, which makes them the cheapest and most convenient options for flying in or out. When booking your ticket online, look for flights that depart or land in a major city and compare prices with other destinations to find the best price.
- Some of the other cheapest cities for flights include Palma Mallorca, Málaga, and Valencia.
- The most expensive airports to fly out of include Bilbao, Gran Canaria, and Santiago de Compostela.
- Travel on the city bus lines for 1-3 euros per trip. The train and bus system in Spain is one of the best in the world. The buses are often clean and comfortable, and some even have extra amenities like TV screens in the seat backs. To get the best bargains, book your rides with companies like ALSA.
- Overnight buses are also the cheapest option for intercity travel, with tickets for about 18 euros each.
- Buy a metrocard if you plan on staying in 1 city for a while. These cards can be purchased from the metro on a weekly basis, with a flat rate for unlimited rides. Individual rides cost about 1-3 euros, but the travel card lets you take as many rides as you want.
- Choose slower regional trains over high-speed trains like Renfe. While high-speed trains generally cost between 50-140 euros, slower lines only cost around 15-45 euros per trip. Generally, overnight trains are the cheapest option, at about 18 euros per ticket.
- Use car-sharing programs like BlaBlaCar for quick rides around cities. This French car service is extremely popular in Spain, and it’s perfect for road-tripping across the country or between cities for a reasonable price. Simply create a profile and find drivers on BlaBlaCar’s website, then book a ride online.
- For example, you can get a ride from Madrid to Barcelona for only 35 euros.
- Set up your ride-sharing profile at https://www.blablacar.es. If you’re from the U.S. or any other English-speaking country that’s not listed, just select the U.K. as your home country.
EditSaving Money on Lodgings
- Book a hotel room between November and March to save up to 40%. Spain’s major tourist season lasts from April to October, so try to book your trip between November and March for the best hotel deals. Visiting during this time also means you won’t be surrounded by throngs of tourists, which can make the trip much more relaxing.
- Some cities don’t follow the high season rule. For example, hotels in Seville often drop their prices by 40% during the hottest months like July and August.
- Look for small local hotels or inns to get an even better deal. These smaller, B&B-style inns are known as ‘’pensiones’’ or ‘’hostales.’’ You can find lodging at a 10-room ‘’pension’’ for 45-80 euros per night. Book your travel dates online to compare the ratings and prices between different locations.
- At smaller inns, you may have to share a bathroom with other guests.
- Avoid ‘’pensiones’’ located on the city’s main plaza or strip, since these tend to be expensive and noisy. Instead, look for rooms located on side streets or further into the ‘’barrio.’’
- Reserve a rustic mountain cabin for cheap lodging in the highlands. Practically every Spanish highland region has a selection of mountain cabins for travelers to rent. The cabins are very rustic and only include basic amenities, but they’re extremely cheap, making them a really budget-friendly option. You can reserve a cabin through the website of the Spanish Federation of Mountaineering.
- To book a cabin, click the “Refugios” link on the home page of https://http://www.fedme.es.
- Visitors who aren’t members of the Federation will pay 15 euros, while members pay half-price.
- You can also purchase some affordable meal options, such as breakfast for 5 euros and dinner for 15 euros.
- Rent out a private room in someone’s home for some extra comfort. Use websites like Craigslist, Airbnb, Homestay, or a local apartment rental agency to find private rooms. You can often rent by either the day or week, and depending on what kind of room you choose, you could pay as little as 15 euros per night.
- For the safest options, look for homes in the center of the city, or even in a student or international flat.
- Stay in a hostel for a cheap room and a chance to meet travelers. You can either choose a private room, which will generally start at 40 euros for a double bed, or go for an cheaper dormitory-style room, which is usually around 30-40 euros. This is a great option if you’re looking to meet up with fellow travelers and potentially join a group of new friends!
- Free Wifi is standard in Spanish hostels, and many even offer a free breakfast as well.
- Couchsurf for very low-budget lodging. Look for couchsurfing options in major cities, and be sure to book your stay quickly, since the couches often fill up quickly! Use websites like Couchsurfing.com for a safe, streamlined booking process. Some hosts will even act as tour guides and give you insider information about the area.
- Look for hosts with plenty of personal information listed and lots of positive user reviews.
EditEating out on a Budget
- Get breakfast at a café or check if your lodging has free breakfast. Instead of getting breakfast at a restaurant, look for a local café that offers breakfast food. You could also check if your accommodations offer a free breakfast option for the cheapest solution!
- A traditional Spanish breakfast includes café con leche (coffee) and bread with crushed tomato and olive oil.
- Grab a meal of tapas and sandwiches for a cheap, easy lunch. You can find these dishes on the street or in bars for around 3-7 euros each. Tapas are a small, snack-sized portion of food, and they can range between savory, sweet, and spicy. They also vary between regions, so be sure to try out some different dishes wherever you travel!
- In Valencia and Catalonia, fried potatoes served with aioli dipping sauce are very popular.
- ’’Croquetas,’’ or fried balls of meat, fish, or vegetable filling, are served in bars and restaurants across Spain.
- You could also try ‘’montaditos,’’ which are small grilled sandwiches filled with meat, fish, or vegetarian fillings.
- You can often add a glass of wine to your tapas or sandwich meal, bringing your total cost to 10-13 euros.
- Ask for the menu of the day at restaurants for a cheaper lunch option. Generally, a restaurant meal can cost around 13-22 euros, but the menu of the day options generally only cost around 7-9 euros. This is a great way to save your money and still experience local dishes!
- The menu of the day often includes a starter, main course, dessert or coffee, and a soft drink, wine, or beer.
- To ask your server about the menu of the day, ask “¿Cuál es el menú del día?”
- Avoid eating at restaurants for dinner, since prices tend to skyrocket for evening meals.
- Buy your own groceries from local markets if you’re staying for a few days. Eating out can add up quickly, so if you have a kitchen or a small kitchenette in your room, making your own food is a great way to save money. Avoid grocery stores and opt for local markets instead, which will give you the cheapest and freshest options for produce and meat.
- For example, you could shop at Barcelona’s ‘’Mercat de la Boqueria,’’ a bustling, colorful indoor market hall filled with fruit, vegetables, seafood, tapas, and even pizza.
- Find a reasonably priced tapas bar for beer or wine on a night out. Do some research online and compare the prices and special offers between several bars in your area. There are many bars in the south of Spain, smaller towns, and even Madrid that will even offer free tapas with the purchase of 1 drink.
- Expect to pay about 1.2-1.6 euros for a bottle of beer and 1-4 euros for inexpensive local wine.
EditChoosing Budget-friendly Excursions
- Go to a museum to learn about Spain’s culture and history. This will cost between 2-14 euros. Most museums also have specific free hours when you don’t have to pay admission. Check the museum’s website to find out when its free hours are.
- For example, the Museo del Prado in Madrid is free on Monday through Saturday at 6-8 pm, and on Sundays at 5-7 pm.
- Buy a citypass for a variety of sightseeing options. If you’re staying in a major city and you plan to do a lot of sightseeing, this is a great way to save money! Most passes include access to several different museums, attractions, and activities. You can purchase passes for major cities like Madrid and Barcelona online through the companies’ websites.
- If you’re traveling with your family or a big group, you may be eligible for a discount as well.
- Some of the activities may include sporting events, walking tours of the city, or meal discounts.
- Check out local festivals to experience the city’s colorful traditions. If you visit a major Spanish city during the summer, odds are you’ll be in town for a local festival! These are free to attend, and they can truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Google the local festivals or ask your hotel, Airbnb owner, or local guide about any events coming up for more details.
- For example, you could visit Barcelona in late September to catch the ‘’Festes de la Mercé,’’ which fills the city with free concerts, dancing, fireworks, acrobatics, and lively parades.
- Carnival is celebrated all throughout Spain, but the biggest parties are in Tenerife and Cadiz. Tenerife dedicates the whole month of February to glittering parades, contests, and parties in honor of Carnival.
- Walk around and view the city’s architecture for free. Spain’s cities are full of beautiful cathedrals and impressive mansions, especially Barcelona, Seville, Granada, Salamanca, and Córdoba. Although the interiors cost a small admission fee to view, but the exteriors are just as impressive and absolutely free!
- In Barcelona, you can walk around and take in the dramatic, powerful work of Antoni Gaudí, such as the Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, and the Sagrada Família.
- In Granada, you can visit the Alhambra Palace, an elaborate Moorish castle and fortress.