You can expect Madrid to carry a heftier price tag than some other Spanish cities, but it's no London either. When it comes to lodging, food and attractions, prices in Madrid run the gamut. The beauty is that there's something in the city to fit every budget.
Expect to Spend: Madrid
Basic Hostal and Hotel Rates
While, in general, hotels in Madrid can be extremely expensive, basic hostals and hotels in the city are quite reasonably priced. They're much more reasonable, in fact, than equivalent accommodations in that other huge urban Spanish tourist destination, Barcelona. Expect to spend between €68 and €83 for a reasonable hostal and between €70 and €150 for budget and moderately-priced hotel room in Madrid.
Basic Meal Costs
Madrid boasts a wide wealth of dining options, and prices vary enormously. At upscale tourist restaurants in Madrid, as in upscale restaurants in other world-class cities, expect very high prices. On the flip side, you can find all sorts of affordable dining options. Taverns and family restaurants are good places to find deals. A three course meal at a restaurant will cost between €15 and €60 per person, including drinks and tip. (Tips should not exceed 10%.)
Keep your eyes peeled at lunch and dinner for menus del dia, set meals that can make dining very affordable. Keep in mind that bottled water at restaurants is often more expensive than a glass of house wine. Otherwise, Madrid has a variety of local fast food tapas restaurant options that won't hurt your wallet. Last and not least, if money is tight, eat your tapas at the bar rather than at a table. Prices are slightly cheaper if don't sit down.
Regarding that key first meal of the day, first check to see if breakfast is included in the cost of your hotel stay. If it is not, opt for a cheaper café style breakfast as opposed to the breakfast provided at extra cost by the hotel. Always remember that supermarkets are your friends. Scout your neighborhood for supermarkets and stock up on bottled water, fruit and more substantial snacks.
Museum entrance charges in Madrid are very reasonable. Expect to spend between €3 and €6 for adult admission to most of the major attractions. One notable exception is admission to the Palacio Real, which runs an atypical €10 (€6 reduced). See more detailed museum admissions information in our Madrid Budget Tips section.
Nightlife and Entertainment Costs
For entertainment, Madrid offers dance halls, tascas, cafés, theaters, movie houses, music halls and nightclubs. Tickets to dramatic and musical events can range between €6 and €50 and admission to nightclubs begin at €5 and top out around €12. Your cover always comes with a free drink. Bars and lounges generally have no cover charge. Drinks range from €2 and €12 depending on establishment type. In upscale Madrid cocktail bars, expect the sorts of prices for drinks that you'll find in other major metropolitan cities.
These prices are somewhat ridiculous, which is why locals more often than not party in the streets, in the unique Spanish habit known as the botellón.
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