Madrid Travel Tips: City Transport, Budgeting Advice and Important Info
It’s easy to get swept away with the elegant boulevards, manicured parks and captivating museums for which Madrid is renowned throughout the world. But before you start planning your ideal city-exploring outfit or making reservations for the best restaurants in town, browse our Madrid travel tips and arm yourself with all the insider info you need to make your trip incredible.
Our Madrid travel tips are designed to offer helpful advice for everyone, from backpackers on a budget to families who’ve been saving all year. Here are some of the typical costs you’ll come across in Madrid, plus some money-saving tips so you can make the most of your Euros.
Accommodation Prices for accommodation in Madrid vary hugely depending on where you stay. A bed in a shared dorm costs €12-€25 per night in a hostel, while a private room costs €25-€65, depending on how central the hostel is. These prices usually include free WiFi access and breakfast. Expect to pay €40-€100 for a double room in a budget hotel and €150+ for a double room in for four- and five-star hotels.
Airbnb can save you a small fortune on accommodation in Madrid. Prices start from just €30 per night for a private room and if you sign up for Airbnb using this link, you’ll get a $40 discount off your first booking! Here are some of our favorite Airbnb rentals in Madrid city center.
Eating out If you’re happy with simple tapas and eating in small café-like places, a meal in Madrid of 3-4 tapas or two courses will cost you €6-€13. This price rises to around €18 if you include wine and up to €25 if you’re dining in a nice restaurant.
Food shopping A great way to reduce your food bill is to buy your own ingredients from a big supermarket, such as Carrefour or Mercadona, or a local farmers’ market and cook for yourself. You can easily buy enough food to last a family of four for a week for €50.
Attractions Ticket prices for Madrid’s big attractions vary massively, but there are always ways to save money. Check for online discounts on the attraction’s official website and those run by authorized ticket sellers. You can also save cash by sticking to free attractions, like free walking tours, and only visiting museums on the days they offer free entry.
Suggested daily budget €60 per person, which includes a bed in a budget hostel. If you’ve already paid for your accommodation and only need money for attractions, food and transportation, €40 per person per day should cover it. Don’t forget to budget in extra for big nights out, shopping and treats!
Most of Madrid’s biggest attractions are concentrated in a very small area, making it a great place to explore on foot. But if you want to get out of the city center, the most efficient way to explore is on public transportation. Because one of the aims of our Madrid travel tips is to help you save money, we recommend purchasing one of the following cards:
Metrobus Card Valid for metro and bus services, a Metrobus Card costs €12.20 and is valid for 10 journeys. A single journey on the metro/bus costs €1.50 if you’re traveling between five stations or €2 if you’re traveling between ten stations, making this card a real money-saver. You can buy a Metrobus Card from newspaper stands and metro stations.
Tourist Pass This special card offers unlimited use of the bus, metro and local train services, but is non-transferable and linked to one person only. There are two types of card: one for traveling within just Madrid city (the first prices listed below) and one for traveling throughout the whole of the Madrid region, including Toledo, El Escorial and Guadalajara (the second prices listed below). Children under 11 get a 50% discount and children under four travel for free.
- 1-day Tourist Pass: €8.40 / €17
- 2-day Tourist Pass: €14.20 / €28.40
- 3-day Tourist Pass: €18.40 / €35.40
- 5-day Tourist Pass: €26.80 / €50.80
- 7-day Tourist Pass: €35.40 / €70.80
You can buy a Tourist Pass in metro stations, at the airport or online.
Regardless of how much of a nomad you are, we all make silly mistakes and forget things sometimes when we’re traveling. So your dream trip doesn’t turn into a nightmare, here’s some practical info on the city to round off our Madrid travel tips.
- If you’re not an EU citizen, you need get a Spain visa before you land in Madrid.
- The city’s currency is Euros which you can buy before you fly or exchange in the city when you arrive. Most places happily accept international Visas and MasterCards, as long as the check is €5+.
- The language of Madrid is Castellano. This is the “classic” version of Spanish most people are familiar with and it’s the one you will have been taught at school if you took Spanish. If you want to impress the locals, brush up on your Castellano skills before you go.
- The time zone in Madrid is UTC +1 for 6 months of the year and UTC +2 during Daylight Savings Time.
- The water from the faucet is safe to drink in Madrid and tastes perfectly fine, so don’t waste your money on bottled water!
- Just like Barcelona, Madrid is one of the safest places in Europe. But just like you would in any city, you still need to take basic precautions. Here are some tips on staying safe in Spain.
- Madrid has standard European sockets and runs on 230 volts, so take an adapter if necessary. For more practical info about Madrid, take a look at Spain Travel Tips: Things to Know When Traveling to Spain.