Spain, a country of so much beauty. Valencia has arts and culture, Barcelona has Gaudi’s architecture, Seville has flamenco dancing and a vibrant history, and Madrid has a bit of everything.
If you’re looking for somewhere to travel on a budget but also want to make the most and do lots of things, Madrid is the place for you. This vibrant, lively city is full of different things, from the Museo del Prado to the beautiful Retiro Parque. Whatever your taste there is something for everyone and even better it can be done on a budget!
Generally depending on where you’re from you can get pretty reasonable flights into Madrid airport. The airport is pretty big, it consists of four terminals, similar to Heathrow airport in London, England. I went to Madrid a week before Christmas in 2019 and the return Ryanair flights cost me around £60, with only hand luggage.
If you want to explore Madrid on a budget, I recommend staying in a hostel, these give you the chance to meet lots of new, like minded people and the cost per night is much cheaper than a hotel. There are loads of hostels in Madrid and I always book through hostelworld.com.
I stayed in Mola!! Hostel, it is located in the centre of Madrid, close to Puerta del Sol and one of the main train/tube stations. A bed costs around £25 per night, included in the hostel is a self catered kitchen, 24 hour reception, private clean single bed with a large locker underneath, nightlight, charging points and each room has their own modern clean showers and toilets.
Things to see and do on a budget
Madrid is full of free plazas, streets, parks and monuments to visit for free, you could spend a whole day or even two exploring these free things on foot. A couple of my top places to visit are …
Plaza Mayor, this is one of the oldest squares in Madrid, and one of the most popular. The square has 10 entrances and 9 of them are gated. The vibrant square has restaurants and little shops all around, along with the stunning buildings, which remind me of the Grand Palace in Belgium. As I visited around Christmas, in the centre of the plaza was a Christmas market, filled with homemade gifts to buy along with big, bright Christmas trees, it really gave me the Christmas spirit.
Temple of Debod
Temple of Debod, this is an Egyptian temple given by Egypt in the early 1970s, it’s a great place to watch the sunset from, it’s slightly out of town so requires a little walk, but it’s different to most other things in Madrid. If you get the chance and the queue isn’t too long, make sure you get onto the centre of the temple.
Gran Via, one of the most famous streets in Madrid, known at the Spanish Broadway with theatres where you can watch performances like The Lion King, Spanish restaurants where you can try traditional ham. Gran Via is also laced with shops of all kinds, including the Real Madrid FC store and bars where you can bar hop the night away. It’s common for local Spaniards to go out and enjoy the bars of an evening, usually starting around 10pm, so if you want to enjoy Madrid like a local, the later you go out the better.
Madrid is full of beautiful parks, they are a complete escape from the city, even though most of them are in the centre of the city. On a hot summer’s day they can provide some well needed shade and on a winter’s day they give a completely different feel. Retiro parque is the biggest park in Madrid, there is a lot to do in there. Take a boat and paddle around the lake, feed the fish and ducks. Go inside the Crystal Palace which is almost completely made of glass and amire the seasonally changing exhibition that lies inside. Follow peacocks through the bushes, trees and small ponds that lie around the park. There is a circular rose garden called La Rosaleda which has over 4000 blooming flowers in the spring/summer time, a beautiful relaxing place to spend some time and take some great photos.
Casa de Campo is a mahoosive park at the edge of the city. A great place for a walk, a bird’s eye view of Madrid and if you go in the peak season you can take a cable car up to the top for an even better view. Be sure to wear a good pair of shoes though as there are a lot of hills and uneven ground.
Madrid has masses of museums and a top tip for you, you can enter a lot of them for free and we all love something for free, especially when travelling on a budget! Here are my top 3 …
🤍 Museo del Prado.
You can enjoy free entry from Monday through Saturday between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and on Sundays between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. To avoid long lines, show up early, rather than at 6 p.m. on the dot (or 5 p.m. on Sunday).
🤍 Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
The Reina Sofía Museum is just a short walk away from the Prado, so if you’re feeling brave, you could even try to visit both in the same afternoon.
On Monday and Wednesday to Saturday, you can enjoy the Reina Sofía’s free entry from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Sundays also offer free admission for most of the afternoon 1:30 until 7 p.m.
🤍 National Archaeology Museum.
Travel back in time to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It is one of Madrid’s most-visited museums, holding treasures from some of the world’s most iconic cultures. It’s free on Saturday afternoons after 2 p.m., as well as on Sunday mornings.
My final thing to do in Madrid on a budget is to visit the Royal Palace, there is a small cost to enter – around 10 euros, but this stunning building has been turned into a tourist attraction and royal museum. The last time it was used for a royal purpose was back in 2004 when Felipe and Letizia got married. It’s not everyday you get to go into a palace, so this is something I recommend if you get the chance.
So there you have it, my Madrid on a budget. Have you been to Madrid before? What other things can you recommend to do there on a budget? Let me know in the comment box below.