Madrid on a Budget

Enjoy Madrid on a budget

Traveling in Europe when you’re short on cash can seem quite daunting at first, but after a little research you will see that almost every city can be seen and explored without breaking the bank! To help you get started, here are some things you can see and do while visiting Madrid on a budget!

Eating & Drinking

Spain’s economic crisis has been difficult, and restaurants have had to get creative about their offerings. A few restaurant chains have popped up over the past few years that truly give a lot for your euro! Check out any of these Spanish chains for a cheap, but decent, meal:

100 Montaditos

100 montaditos, or “100 small sandwiches” is a chain restaurant offering exactly what its name implies– a menu with 100 choices of small sandwiches filled with all sorts of meats, cheeses, and even chocolate! The mini sandwiches (montaditos) usually range from about 1.00€ to 3.00€ each, but the real value is in the beer you order with your sandwiches. For every mini sandwich you order, you are entitled to an enormous beer (or other drink) for only a euro more. Better yet, if you go on Wednesdays their entire menu costs only 1.00€ per item– but it gets crowded!

La Sureña

Another popular chain for eating and drinking beer is called La Sureña. Here, you can order a small beer bucket, filled with 5 “mini botellines” (mini bottles) of beer for only 3.00€. If you want to add on a ración (a small plate of food meant for sharing), you can usually do so for about 2.00€ more. Popular raciones include fried chicken with honey mustard sauce or a cone full of boiled prawns.

El Tigre

One of Madrid’s most beloved tapas bars, El Tigre is known for the enormous amount of “free” food that comes when you order a drink. It isn’t a refined place, and will likely be crowded with locals and tourists alike, but if you want to eat and drink cheap in Madrid, this is where you should be!

El Museo de Jamón

Another Madrid based chain is called El Museo de Jamón, specializing in, you guessed it, ham! Here you can buy small beers (called cañas) for only 70 cents and a ham sandwich costs only 1€! It makes the perfect stop for when you have to eat on the run, or you could take your sandwich to go and head over to one of Madrid’s many parks.

Serrano Ham in Aracena, Spain

Cava Baja

Another option for Madrid on a budget is Calle Cava Baja. This famous yet cozy street in Madrid is the perfect place to go for a self-lead tapas crawl. The prices range by restaurant, but there are definitely plenty of deals to be had, and you can find very good wine for under 3.00€ a glass! The street is lined with restaurants, cafés and bars, usually filled with adults of all ages. Menus are in English and Spanish at almost every locale, so it is a welcoming place for all!

Museums

Almost all of Madrid’s museums offer free entry hours, making them the perfect choice for something cheap in Madrid. Whether you prefer modern art or want to learn more about bull fighting, there is likely something for you!

Reina Sofia

Museums as famous as the Reina Sofia are often overlooked when trying to work within a budget price range. Traveling to a city as big as Madrid on a budget can prove to be quite difficult without doing some research beforehand. The Reina Sofia is free on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., on Saturday afternoons (from 2.30 p.m. onwards) and on Sunday mornings (until 2.30 p.m.). It is only 6.00€ to get in any other time though, making it a budget friendly choice regardless!

Reina Sofia Madrid

The modern Reina Sofia Museum.

El Prado

The Prado Museum can be steep when you are on a budget, with general admission at 14.00€ per person. Luckily, there are also plenty of free hours here: From Monday to Saturday, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Sundays and holidays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Museo Taurino

Madrid’s famous bullfighting museum is a fun, cultural exploration with free admission! Go see the bullfighter’s costumes and other relics while tracing this Spanish tradition from its inception to its place in current society. This museum will serve as a perfect intro to bullfighting before you go see the real thing, or as a nice substitution if you prefer to pass.

Cinemas

Cine Doré

The Cine Doré is a landmark in this city from the late 19th century and most certainly a top spot if you’re trying to do Madrid on a budget. It still offers incredibly cheap ticket deals (around 2.00€) to see the classics in a theater with old school charm.

Cine Dore a theater to go to when in Madrid on a budget.

Café Kino

A unique café style movie theater, Café Kino has only 11 seats per show! For only a couple of euro you can see an old movie (the genres vary each day) and grab something to eat– also at surprisingly reasonable prices. You may never go to a mainstream cinema again!

Parks

Madrid is full of parks and green spaces and the best part is that walking through them is completely free! Here are some of the city’s most popular places.

Retiro Park

The Retiro Park is a beautiful place and a must-see in Madrid, on a budget or without one. These gardens used to be royal property, serving as a space for plays and recreation for the likes of Charles II and his family and friends. In the 1700s it opened up to the public and has been a highlight in Madrid ever since. Plus, if you have a little extra cash you can rent a rowboat to float around and relax like a royal.

Retiro Park Lake

Retiro Park is a great place to relax.

Casa de Campo

One of the biggest parks in the city, Casa de Campo is an excellent choice for biking, as you can truly do some exercise. There are bike rental companies all over the city, and for a small fee you can spend the day with a bike and a picnic!

More Madrid Budget Tips

There are plenty of museums, restaurants, parks and theaters that have excellent deals in Madrid, even if they are a little hidden! For more information about current events and Madrid on a budget options check out these websites:

http://www.cheapinmadrid.com

http://www.madridfree.com (In Spanish)

http://www.madriddiferente.com (In Spanish)

What are your favorite things to see and do in Madrid on a budget?

 

Photo credits: jafsegalstevendepolo

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