“Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands.” - Richard Burton

The cost of living in Spain is lower than in other countries in Europe like France, Germany or the UK.

But what does that mean for somebody who wants to travel to Spain on holiday?

From the north to the south of Spain, food, transportation, and accommodation are a significant part of any traveller’s budget. It’s therefore very important that you calculate your budget before you go to Catalonia, Galicia, or Andalucia.

Whether it’s the cost of paella, a hotel, or getting a ticket for the Madrid metro, you need to be ready to pay for stuff. Since traveling isn't free, you need to learn how to travel on a budget, regardless of your destination. Whether you're a tourist going to the Caribbean, Asia, or just up the road, every tourist needs to work out their budget to pay for airline tickets, accommodation, food, and attractions.

Whether you're backpacking or going on a weekend getaway, in this article, we're going to look at how much it costs getting to Spain, how much you can expect to pay for accommodation, budgeting for food and dining out, and the cost of visiting tourist attractions.

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Average cost of trip to Spain: how much is it?

Before you head on a trip to Spain, this is the first question you’ll need to answer. Traveling by plane, train, or car won't cost the same. However, it’s never been easier to get to Spain on a budget.

barcelona spain
Before you can visit Spain, you have to get there! (Source: Aleksandar Pasaric - Pexels)

There are plenty of airlines offering cheap travel to Spain. You can get trips to top Spanish cities like Madrid, Seville, Malaga, Barcelona, and many others. Here is a breakdown of average flight prices from different US cities:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Madrid: $1,100 USD
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Barcelona: $1,200 USD
  • New York (JFK) to Barcelona: $700 USD
  • New York (JFK) to Madrid: $495 USD
  • Chicago (ORD) to Madrid: $860 USD
  • Chicago (ORD) to Barcelona: $816 USD
  • Houston (IAH) to Barcelona: $840 USD
  • Houston (IAH) to Madrid: $1040 USD
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Madrid: $1160 USD
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Barcelona: $1440 USD

As you can see, traveling from the east coast is a better option price-wise so you might consider a small layover there if you are on a budget. Of course, you can expect to see prices increase during the high season. That said, if you spend time exploring booking sites and price comparison sites, you can sometimes get cheap plane tickets.

There are also bus companies like Eurolines and Flixbus that can take you to Spain on a budget from other destinations in Europe. If your plan is to do a "eurotrip" and visit a number of countries, buses tend to be the cheapest options available. However, the journey will take far longer than it would on the plane!

If you're interested in backpacking through Europe and you like a chat, you may also want to travel using a car share option like BlaBlaCar, a website where people state their road travels and how many people they can bring along for the ride. This is a great way for you to get around without breaking the bank and may even help you make a roadtrip friend.

Car sharing is also a nice option if you want to travel within Spain. All the Spanish regions are very different and each one has its distinct charm so we would encourage you to make the most out of your overseas travel and see as many cities as you possibly can!

What cities to visit in Spain?

With more than 46 million people and over 194,897 square miles, Spain is the second European country that receives more visitors and tourists per year only after France. While Madrid and Barcelona are staple cities for those who want to get a little taste of Spanish culture, there are a lot of cities and small towns worth visiting all over the territory. Here are some of the cities you should visit while traveling to Spain:

  • Seville: Seville, or Sevilla in Spanish, is a beautiful city in Andalucia with a very particular charm. Outdoor cafes along cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, pastel-colored plazas... It is something out of a dream. If you love flamenco, this is also the city for you, since flamenco dancing at night is a big local staple. You can visit Plaza de España and the Real Alcázar, two of the main attractions.
  • Bilbao: Bilbao is famous for its iconic Guggenheim museum but there's so much more to see, since it is a bastion of Basque culture. If you love architecture, both of traditional and contemporary styles, this is the city for you. You will also find great food, museums, galleries and theatres.
  • Pamplona: Pamplona is part of the semi-autonomous Kingdom of Navarra and has become world-famous for the Running of the Bulls festival. While this tradition is a big hit (and also quite infamous) among locals and tourists alike, the city has much more to offer. It is full of beautiful medieval alleys, archaeological sites, a beautiful cathedral and old fortifications.
  • Alicante: if you like the sun, the beach and nature, Alicante is a perfect destination for you. While there are a lot of resorts in the area, the city itself is worth visiting. The port city has a great beach, Santa Bárbara Castle is a historic site not to be missed and taking a stroll in the evening and getting some tapas is a must.
  • Granada: Granada is quite difference from the rest of Spain thanks to its Arabic influence. It is a combination between classic Spanish tapas and Moroccan tea cafes and Arab bathhouses; a true cultural mix. There are also a couple of things you cannot miss: the Alhambra and Sierra Nevada National Park.
  • San Sebastian: San Sebastian is full of beautiful beaches, grand buildings and numerous cultural attractions. It is also home to a myriad of music, arts and cultural festivals such as the famous San Sebastian Film Festival.
  • Malaga: it is located along the Costa del Sol and placed on a mountaintop. If you are looking for a city with art galleries, historic sites and a thriving culinary scene (as well as some great nightlife for visitors), this is the place for you.
  • Cordoba: Cordoba is one of the largest cities in Western Europe and it has a beautiful Mezquita and Moorish mosque that you definitely need to check out. The city is full of historic sites and, while often packed with tourists, it is worth visiting just to admite the lavishness of the architecture.
  • Tenerife: Tenerife is the largest of the seven Spanish Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa. While its main attractions might be full of resort seeking tourists, away from the coast and the tourist hotspots you will find things as amazing as volcanic peaks where you can explore the craters and ancient lava flows.

Are you ready to visit Spain and discover the culture and gastronomy? Keep reading to find out how much it costs to travel in Spain.

How expensive are hotels in Spain?

After booking your flight to Spain, the next thing you probably think about is accommodation. Where should I stay? Can I find good and affordable hotels? How about an AirBnB? Depending on the type of traveller you are and your budget is the type of accommodation that you will find. Some people prefer to stay in a large hotel with all the services whereas others may be happy with a shared room. But rest assured: there are options for everyone!

Here are some of these options:

Luxury Hotels

Of course, not everyone can afford these types of hotel. A hotel room could cost anywhere between €100 ($120 USD) and €250 ($300 USD) for the night. The price range is so big because of all the different types of services that could be offered. If your budget allows it, you will definitely find some good options like W Hotel, Fairmont, Meliá and Intercontinental.

Small Hotels

The good thing about hotels is that you don’t necessarily have to stay in big luxury hotels. You can definitely find cheaper hotels for between €40 ($50 USD) and €80 ($100 USD) for a double room. However, you might not get to stay in the heart of Madrid or get all the services. If this small inconvenience doesn't bother you, finding this type of hotel might be the best option for you.

Hotel Chains

Like elsewhere in Europe, you can find big hotel chains in Spain. For example, Ibis Hotels offer rooms for between €30 ($36 USD) and €150 ($180 USD). While these aren’t typically Spanish hotels, you can get cheap rooms in good locations.

Youth Hostels

Backpackers or those traveling on a budget can get private rooms for a similar price to hotels or beds in a dormitory for much less. Of course, staying in a hostel is an experience in itself and is a great way to meet travelers like yourself. This is especially true if you're traveling on your own and are looking for others to explore the city with.

Hostels are often found around the more touristy areas of cities which is quite convenient and allows you to move by foot or take public transportation without problem. If you don't mind the crowds, staying in hostels is probably a great option for you!

Eating out in Spain: consider it in your budget

Eating in Spain isn’t always cheaper than eating in other places of Europe or the world. If you want to eat in restaurants, you can pay somewhere between €13 ($16 USD) and €25 ($30 USD) on average. This cost will add up if you eat in restaurants every day.

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Enjoy a good meal in Spain! (Source: Alex - Pexels)

You can also eat fast-food for between €6 ($7 USD) and €8 ($10 USD). You can find all the regular chains as well as other fast-food places. That said, with so much good food and reasonably priced restaurants, it'd be a shame to regularly eat in McDonald's!

Don’t forget to try the Spanish specialities. For example, a decent paella can cost between €10 ($12 USD) and €15 ($18 USD) per person. Make sure you keep in mind that paella is usually for multiple people. A full Spanish omelette (tortilla) can be found for around €7 ($8 USD) or €8 ($10 USD).

Don’t forget to get tapas, either! These small dishes can be a snack or part of a full meal and cost between €2 ($3 USD) and €4 ($5 USD) each. Whether it’s meat, fish, or vegetables, there’s something for everyone.

When it comes to drinks, small beers cost between €1.50 and €3 and you can find mixed drinks for €5.

If you don’t feel like eating out or your budget won’t allow it, you can always self-cater and make food in a kitchen in a youth hostel or an Airbnb.

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Transportation costs in Spain

Accommodation, food, and transportation are the three main parts of a travel budget. You might not spend much on transport if you’re staying in the city center as you can always travel on foot. You just have to walk from A to B, after all.

For those who’d like to take a metro or bus, you can pay around €2 ($2.50 USD) per trip. If you’re staying in a place for a while, you’ll probably want to get a weekly or monthly ticket. Make sure you research the different tickets available where you’ll be staying.

Travelling in Spain doesn’t mean that you have to stay in just one city. Traveling within the country is quite reasonably priced as well. You can get buses between cities for around €30 ($36 USD) or the train for around €50 ($60 USD).

You can also use a car sharing platform to ride around the country with locals. If your budget is tight, you can explore this option and, who knows, maybe make some friends along the way.

Want to do some shopping in Spain?

Spain is great for shopping since it tends to be cheaper than other places in Europe like France or the UK.

There's also much less tax on cigarettes, for example. This is why many smokers tend to bring back as many cigarettes as they can.

man walking in madrid
Ready to get some souvenirs? (Source: Selim Cetil - Pexels)

Clothes can cost up to a third less than they do in other European countries. There are even chain stores charging less. You could get dresses in chain stores for between €20 ($24 USD) and €40 ($48 USD). However, prices are getting closer to one another.

Check out Spanish markets for cheap products. You can even haggle with some market stall owners. When it comes to souvenirs, you may want to avoid touristy stores, especially those in the little side streets. These tend to be more expensive than elsewhere. You’ll probably want to go to markets and get something like a good bottle of olive oil.

On the other hand, you might want to explore local shops, where you can find clothes and accessories made by local designers.

Price of attractions in Spain

Some tourists only want to do free things like going to the beach or having a walk around. You can save a lot of money traveling like this.

On the other hand, some people will want to see all the different attractions, visit museums, and learn a lot about Spain. If you’re 25 or under, you can get discounts or free entry to certain museums and art galleries. Similarly, you can also get discounts for students or seniors.

A lot of museums are either free on the first Sunday of the month or free every Sunday afternoon. Check when there's free entry or discounted entry and you could save a lot of money!

Overall budget for your Spain trip

The budget of each traveler will vary depending on where they go and what they do. A backpacker won’t spend the same amount as someone looking at cruises or exclusive beaches. However, everyone can save a bit of money on travel.

On average, someone traveling alone spends an average of €75 ($91 USD) per day. You can bring this number down if you do CouchSurfing, staying a people’s houses for free.

If you travel as a couple, you’ll spend less for rooms as you can share. This tends to bring the price down to €65 ($79 USD) per person per day.

That said, some can spend up to €250 ($304 USD) per day whereas others can live off €40 ($48 USD) per day. You can find plenty of money saving tips on budget travel sites. Even if you're really frugal, you can travel the world without breaking the bank and Spain is a great destination for sightseeing on a budget.

spanish beach
Make sure you budget for visiting the top attractions! (Source: Riciardus - Pexels)

Learn Spanish before visiting Spain

Are you ready to head to Spain? You might have some rusty Spanish from junior high stuck to your mind but, if you want to get around and really experience Spain like a local would, you need to have at least some knowledge of Spanish.

The tutors at Superprof are here to help you! We have a wide network of Spanish tutors that are ready to share not only their language skills but also their culture with you.

If you are intrigued and want to learn more about Spain, their traditions and get some tips, you could look for a native tutor who can teach you the language, show you some local expressions and customs and also give you some tips for your trip!

Finding the right tutor for you depends on your objectives and your Spanish level but once you have these objectives clear, everything else will come smoothly.

Do you already speak some Spanish or are you starting from zero? Do you want a native tutor or not? Do you want to take online Spanish classes or would you rather do them in person? How much are you willing to pay to learn Spanish?

All of these are questions you need to ask yourself in order to be prepared for your search. When you have a bit more clarity about what you need and what you expect from your tutor, it will be easier to select the right one from our pool of options.

Check out their profiles and look at their experience, diplomas, bio and of course, don't forget to read other students opinions. Reading what other people think of the teacher's lessons is a great way for you to actually imagine what it might be like to take classes with him or her.

You might also consider asking for an interview session before you commit to anything. This first session is a great way for you to get to know your tutor and understand his or her method and how you can best work together to achieve your goals.

If what you want is to learn conversational Spanish to get around with locals in Spain, make sure to look for a tutor that has a true feeling of Spanish culture so that you can start practicing before your trip.

The key in finding the right tutor is doing your research and really putting in the work to make sure you are contacting the right person for you. You need to clic with them and trust that they will get you where you need to be to reach your objectives.

Once you find the right person for you, it's time to hit the books and practice. You will reap your rewards once you are in Spain and realize that getting around and connecting with local people is much easier thanks to your knowledge of the language!

Spain is an exciting and vibrant country and, with the right planning and budgeting, you will surely have the experience of a lifetime.

¡Buen viaje!

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