See also: Things NOT to Do in Barcelona
Sticking to a Tight Budget in SpainIt is easy to travel cheaply in Spain without compromising your vacation. Check out my Spain Budget Travel Tips for some ideas on how to get the most out of your vacation without breaking the bank.
Read on for some example prices so you can work out how much to budget for on your trip to Spain.
How Much Do Costs Around Spain Vary?With regards to the kinds of costs you would have as a tourist in Spain, you can broadly divide Spain into three sections:
- Bilbao, San Sebastian and other Northern Cities Slightly more expensive than Madrid and Barcelona
- Madrid & Barcelona Similar to each other. Barcelona will be a bit more expensive in the touristy areas, but a little effort will reward you with lower prices. Prices below are all for Madrid and Barcelona.
- Rest of Spain Cheaper than Madrid and Barcelona.
Spain Travel Budget: Example PricesHere are some pointers on how much you should expect to pay for things when in Spain.
- Accommodation Budget: For a bed in a dorm in a youth hostel, expect to pay between 13€ and 24€ per night, for a double room in a pension, double that. For 70€ per night you will get a very nice room.
- Coffee and a pastry or toast for breakfast is under 2€ (add 1.50€ for freshly squeezed orange juice)
- A baguette and a drink for lunch will cost about 5€.
- A three course 'menu del dia' can cost anything from 6€ to 15€. A la carte meals are more expensive, but you can still eat well for under 20€.
- Spain is hot - factor into your budget the need to buy water and stop for a cool drink occasionally. A 1.5L bottle of water from a street vendor or convenience store is 1.50€ (60c in a supermarket, though it will rarely be cold). Potato chips and a chocolate bar will cost you 2€ for the two.
- Total Food Budget Per Day: 15-40€ (if you eat lunch from a supermarket you can eat even cheaper).
But don't take my word for it. Numbeo, a cost-of-living comparison site, gives the following prices for restaurant prices in Barcelona (it gives very similar figures for Madrid).
- Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 10.00 €
- Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 40.00 €
- Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar 6.95 €
- Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) 2.50 €
- Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 3.00 €
- Cappuccino (regular)1.55 €
- Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)1.50 €
- Water (0.33 liter bottle) 1.20 €
Spain Restaurant Prices ComparisonA 'basket' of one of each of these goods in Barcelona comes to 66.78€, according to Numbeo. As a comparison, they give the following prices for the same selection of services in other cities around the world:
- Madrid 73.50€
- London 89.16€
- New York 86.11€
- Paris 88.00€
- Sydney 84.69€
- Long distance buses and trains: Long distance buses are typically half the price of the train, with journey times approximately 30% longer. The bus is much better value than the train, but it can be quite difficult to book as the Spanish bus network is split up into a number of different companies. You will rarely pay more than 30€ for a bus, but you can pay over 70€ for an economy-class train ticket (sleeper cars and first class tickets will set you back even more).
But not always. Never book your bus or train without checking the price of the other first.
- Metro and City Buses: Travel within cities in Spain is cheap. A bus or metro ticket rarely costs more than 1€ and there are usually saver tickets that can make them even cheaper. Read about the Madrid Metro and the Barcelona Metro for more information on these tickets.
You can conveniently buy your Madrid Metro tourist pass before you arrive for the same price as if you got it at the station: Buy Madrid Metro Tourist Passes (buy direct).
- Taxi A ten minute journey in a taxi in Spain will usually cost about six or seven euros. They should use the meter. If you feel you have been overpriced, ask for a receipt - there will be details of where to complain on the back. When going to or from the airport, check the price before you get in. There is a fixed price for more airport trips. Check with a different taxi if you think the price quoted is too high. As one taxi driver told me, there are very few bad taxi drivers in Spain, but those that do exist all work at the airports.