While not the least expensive city you'll encounter, Madrid doesn't have to cost a lot either. A good time is to be had in Spain's capital on any budget.
Madrid Budget Tips
Your loyal editors at EuroCheapo always recommend stopping by a tourist office shortly after arriving in a city. Tourist offices are great places to find out about current happenings, season-specific deals and other good values. Branches of the Madrid Information Tourist Office can be found in several locations.
The Plaza Mayor branch is located at 3 Plaza Mayor and is open daily from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This branch can be reached by telephone at 91 366 54 77.
Another tourist office branch is located near the Prado Museum at Duque de Medinaceli, 2, behind the Palace Hotel. It is open Mondays through Saturdays between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and on Sundays and holidays from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. It can be reached by telephone at 91 429 49 51.
The Chamartin train station branch is open Mondays through Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and Sundays and holidays from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. It can be reached by telephone at 91 315 99 76.
The tourist office at the Puerta de Atocha train station is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. This branch can be reached by telephone at 902 100 007 and 91 528 46 30.
The tourist office at Barajas Airport is located in the international arrivals terminal T1. It is also open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. and can be reached by telephone at 91 305 8656 and at 90 305 86 56.
For more information, visit the official site of Madrid's tourism board.
Admission to popular museums in Madrid:
Prado: €8 (adults)/€4 (reduced)/free (under 18 and seniors). Free admission daily from 6-8 p.m., 5-8 p.m. Sunday.
Museo Arqueológico: €3 (adults, free on Saturday afternoons and on Sundays)/ €1.50 (reduced)/ free (under 18 and seniors)
Reina Sofia: €6 (adults)/€3 (reduced)/ free (under 18 and seniors)
Palacios Real: €10 (guided tour/€8(adults)/€6(reduced)/free (children under 5)
Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales: €5 (adults)/€2.50 (reduced - children 5-16)/free (children under 5)
We do not recommend the Madrid Card, which is quite expensive in the context of Madrid's generally good museum admission prices. For travelers who strongly value convenience over saving euros, the Madrid Card deserves consideration. It costs €49 for 24 hours, €62 for 48 hours, and €76 for 72 hours. You can get a five percent discount on any prices for purchasing online. The Madrid Card offers free admission to 40 museums, free public transportation and unlimited rides on the hop-on-hop-off Madrid Vision tourist bus.
Museums tend to offer certain days or particular hours of the week in which admission is free to everyone (or, in some cases, to citizens of EU member states only). Both the Reina Sofia and the Museo Arqueológico offer free admission to adults on Saturday afternoons and on Sundays.
The Prado is free every evening of the week. Tuesday through Saturday, from 6-8 p.m., and Sunday from 5-8 p.m.. Read our post about free admission to the Prado. The Prado is closed on Monday.
Head to the nearest tourist office, or pick up a Madrid guide at your hotel or hostal lobby, and you'll be sure to find deals for museums and other attractions alike.
Senior discounts exist in Madrid. To obtain some discounts, membership in a particular seniors' association may be required. Members of the American Association of Retired People (AARP) get discounts on hotels, airfares and car rentals. The AARP can be reached in United States at 1-800-424-3410 or online.
Several museums in Madrid offer student discounts. In order to take advantage of such discounts, you will need to have a student identification card. The International Student Identity Card, ISIC, the most widely accepted form of student ID, provides discounts on sights, accommodations, food and transportation. Some places offer admission discounts of between 20% and 50% to ISIC members. All cardholders have access to a 24-hour emergency helpline. In the US call 1-800-223-7986 or visit the ISIC online. Applicants must be degree seekers of a secondary or post-secondary school and must be at least 12 years of age. The card costs US$22 and is valid until the end of the year issued.
For non-students 25 years or younger, the International Youth card, IYTC, also offers many of the same benefits as the ISIC. The card costs about US$22 depending on which city you buy it in, and is valid for one year from the date issue.
Travelers with student cards, such as ISIC and IYTC qualify for big discounts from travel agencies. Most flights from budget agencies are on major airlines, but in peak season some may sell seats on less reliable chartered aircraft.
Other ResourcesFor more tips on keeping your trip to Madrid affordable, check out the sites listed on our helpful links page (including the city's official tourism website). You can also find more tips for planning your Madrid vacation on TripAdvisor and on Rick Steves' Graffiti Wall.
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