A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Athens vs. Madrid for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Backpackers

Should you visit Athens or Madrid?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Athens and Madrid. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Athens

Athens is a energetic, historic, and ancient city. It's a large city with plenty of activites for visitors as well. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Madrid

Madrid is a diverse, compact, and friendly city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. It's also popular because of the live music, food, and shopping.

Athens and Madrid: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for shopping
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights


Is there more to do in Athens or Madrid?

You'll generally find more things to do in Madrid than Athens. Madrid is bigger than Athens, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Madrid is better known for its music, shopping, and big city activities, while Athens is more popular for its museums, nightlife, historical sights, and impressive beauty. Athens is well known for its ancient temples and landmarks as well as its influence as the birthplace of democracy. Madrid is well known for its art and architecture, its tapas and culinary scene, and its lively flamenco dancing. Also, Madrid is famous for The Prado Museum.

How is Athens different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Madrid and Athens. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Athens or Madrid?

Athens
Madrid

Athens is renowned for its historical sights. Also, Madrid is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its sights and museums.

Travelers visit Athens from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. As a historical capital of the world, this city has countless museums and archeological sites including the famous Acropolis, the National Archaeology Museum, and the Ancient Agora.

Madrid offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are a number of cultural sights in the city including Museo Nacional del Prado, the Royal Palace and Gardens, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.


Is the Food Better in Athens or Madrid? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Athens
Madrid

Dining out at restaurants in both Athens and Madrid can be an enjoyable experience.

Eat your way through Athens, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. Make sure you try the souvlaki, moussaka, and dolmades at any of the many local restaurants throughout the city.

For foodies, Madrid is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. The city has a mix of flavors that come from all of Spain. There are amazing markets where you can grab a meal or snack. There are also many high quality restaurants around town where you're guaranteed a good meal. Local favorites include roast suckling pig, Spanish omelette, and meat and chickpea stew.

Is Athens or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

Athens
Madrid

Athens is renowned for nightlife. Also, Madrid is not as popular, but is still a nice city for nightlife and partying.

Athens is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. There are all-night dance clubs as well as local bars and chill live music venues.

Madrid offers plenty to do in the evening. Many tourists and international students hang out in the Huertas area, while Malasaña has a bohemian, hipster vibe with small clubs that play indie music. Chueca is a fun area that's known for being gay-friendly with many good bars. Finally, you'll find that the area around Avenida de Brasil is where famous DJs often perform.

Is Athens or Madrid Better for Music?

Athens
Madrid

Madrid is an unbeatable place for its music scene. However, Athens is not a live music destination.

Madrid has become a mecca for musicians from around the world. Rock, jazz, and flamenco are all popular in the city. Some of the most well known music venues include Sala Caracol, Sala Clamores, and Costello Club.

Athens is not a live music destination.


Is Athens or Madrid Better for its Old Town?

Athens
Madrid

Athens is renowned for its historic old town. However, Madrid does not have a historic old town.

The old town of Athens is one of the most recognized in the world. The city's "historic triangle" is between Syntagma, Omonia, and Monastiraki Squares. This area is also at the political and financial heart of the city.

Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Athens or Madrid?

Athens
Madrid

Madrid is an unbeatable place for its shopping areas. Also, Athens is not as popular, but is still a nice city for shopping.

Many people travel to Madrid specifically to go shopping. Gran Vía is a main thoroughfare in Madrid that is also popular for shopping. Calle Fuencarral is where you'll find the fashion shops and Calle Preciados is a fun pedestrian area to explore.

Athens is a great destination for shopping. Most neighborhoods have a shopping street but head to Ermou Street for some of the city's best shopping.

Is Athens or Madrid Better for Families?

Athens
Madrid

Both Athens and Madrid are very good family-friendly destinations.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Athens. With its rich history, beautiful outdoor activities, and kid-friendly food, Athens is a fun place to explore with the whole family.

Madrid is a very family-friendly place to visit. Kids love splashing around at Madrid Río, taking a ride on the cable car (Teleférico), and exploring the city's many parks and playgrounds. There's even a maze at Sabatini Gardens. Restaurants around the city are also very kid-friendly.


Is Athens or Madrid Better for Couples?

Athens
Madrid

Madrid is great for couples. Also, Athens is not as popular, but is still a nice city for romance.

Madrid is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. Fun and romantic activities around town include taking a boat ride at Casa de Campo, riding a bike in one of the many parks, and enjoy dinner and show in the evening.

Athens is a nice destination for couples. The city is historical, fascinating, and romantic, making it a beautiful place to explore as a couple.

Is Athens or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Athens
Madrid

Athens is renowned for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Madrid is not as popular, but is still a nice city for backpackers.

Many backpackers frequent Athens. The city has long been established as a backpackers destination with budget friendly food and plenty of hostels around town.

Madrid is a great city to visit for backpackers. The many hostels around town make it easy for backpackers to find affordable accommodation while also meeting other travelers.

Is Athens or Madrid Better for Students?

Athens
Madrid

Madrid is an unbeatable place for its student-friendly activities. Also, Athens is not as popular, but is still a nice city for students.

Madrid is a very popular place to visit for students. With several great universities, this city is popular with international and study abroad students. The city also has a diverse population and an active nightlife that appeals to students.

Athens is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. International students will appreciate the rich history, archaeological ruins, and unique opportunities that are available here.


Is Athens or Madrid Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Athens
Madrid

Madrid is an unbeatable place for times when you don't have a car. Also, Athens is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its public transit.

Visitors in Madrid can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. The system includes the Madrid Metro, buses, and a light rail system.

Public transit in Athens is fairly effecient and thorough. The city's metro system has 3 lines that connect to bus, tram and commuter rail lines.

Is Athens or Madrid a more walkable city?

Athens
Madrid

Madrid is an unbeatable place for its ease of walking around. Also, Athens is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its walkability.

Madrid is a very easy city to get around on foot. Most tourists stay in the central part of Madrid where it's compact and relatively easy to walk to most tourist sights.

Athens is very walkable. You'll find the city's most walkable area's in the historical heart, where there are many pedestrian only streets and shopping areas.

For even more information, also check out Is Athens Worth Visiting? and Is Madrid Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Madrid or Athens?

How long in Athens or Madrid?

In either Athens or Madrid, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Athens than Madrid because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Athens, and 2-5 days is enough time in Madrid.

Families should spend more time in Athens than Madrid. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Athens, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Madrid than Athens. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Madrid that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Athens than Madrid if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Athens.


  • How many days in Athens or Madrid? Ideal Length of Stay
    Athens 3-7 
    Madrid 2-5

One day in Athens or Madrid?

Athens is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Many travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the big city destination of Madrid. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Athens or Madrid?

Athens is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Madrid is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Athens or Madrid?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Athens. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Madrid. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Athens or Madrid?

Athens is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the diverse big city of Madrid. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


Which place is cheaper, Madrid or Athens?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Athens is €127, while the average daily cost in Madrid is €136. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Athens and Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Athens 63
    Madrid 77
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Athens 126
    Madrid 154
Compare Hotels in Athens and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Athens or Madrid? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Athens


Hotels in Madrid


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Athens Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Athens 27
    Madrid 19
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Athens

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Athens:


  • Airport Bus for Two
    6.40
  • Metro
    1.50
  • Metro
    2.00
  • Metro from Airport to City Center
    8.00
  • Taxi from Airport
    35

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Athens

Also for Athens, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • From Paros: Helicopter Transfer to Greek Islands or Athens: $2,715
  • From Meteora Private Day Trip with Transfer: $1,056
  • From Ancient Corinth Day Trip with Private Transfer: $464
  • Private Transfer to/from Volos: $453
  • From Private Cape Sounion Sunset Tour with Transfer: $302
  • Athens Airport to Kyllini Transfer or from Kyllini to Athens: $294
  • Athens airport to Costa Navarino transfer or Costa Navarino to Athens: $294
  • Athens to Lefkada Private Transfer: $292
  • Athens Airport to Costa Navarino Hotel Private Transfer: $287
  • Private Transfer From Athens To Lefkada: $287
  • Luxury Private Transfer from Athens to Kymi Port: $287
  • Private Transfer From Athens To Meteora - Kalabaka: $277

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Madrid

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Madrid are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    26

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Madrid

Also for Madrid, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Segovia: Full-Day Tour with Transfer to and from Madrid: $453
  • Private Transfer from Caravaca De La Cruz to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $295
  • Private Transfer from Puerto Lumbreras to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $285
  • Private Transfer from Moratalla to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $276
  • Private Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Segovia City by Van: $270
  • Private Transfer from Isla Plana to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $267
  • From Hot Air Balloon over Segovia with Transfer: $264
  • Private Transfer from Mazarrón to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $257
  • Private Transfer from Bolnuevo to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $257
  • Private Transfer from Lorca to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $250
  • Private Transfer from La Manga Puerto Maestre to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $248
  • Private Transfer from Cehegin to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $248

Is it cheaper to fly into Athens or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid and Athens change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Athens 37
    Madrid 34
Typical Food Prices in Athens

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Athens:


  • Ice cream
    3.00
  • Souvlaki
    2.20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Athens

For Athens, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Hard Rock Cafe Athens with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $24
  • Hard Rock Cafe Athens with Set Lunch or Dinner: $26
  • Foodies’ Favorite Food tour: $47
  • Greek Street Food Tour: $48
  • Athens Street Food Tour: Explore City's Iconic Eateries: $50
  • Oriental Kitchen Cooking Classes in Athina: $53
  • Greek Traditional Vegan Cooking Classes in Athina: $53
  • Street Food Tour with Local Guide and 7 Tastings: $57
  • Small Group, Delicious Athens Food Tour: $59
  • Traditional Greek Cooking Class and Organic Lunch on Poros: $60
  • Greek Spirits & Meze, Food Tour in Athens: $63
  • Los Tacos - Vegan Cooking Classes in Athina: $64

Typical Food Prices in Madrid

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Madrid:


  • Coffee
    2.00
  • Ice Cream
    3.00
  • Kebabs (for 2)
    16
  • Croissant
    1.50
  • Lunch at Airport (for 2)
    16

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Madrid

For Madrid, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • San Miguel Market and Street Food Tour: $38
  • Torres Bermejas Flamenco Show in Madrid with Dinner, Tapas or Drink: $39
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $39
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $42
  • Tapas Dinner Party Food Tour with Guide: $42
  • Drunken Tapas Food Tour with Dinner in Madrid: $42
  • Tipsy Tapas Food Tour with Drinks and Food: $42
  • Ultimate Madrid Tapas Crawl Food tour: $42
  • Madrid Tapas Dinner Party with Guide: $43
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Tour with Dinner and Drinks: $43
  • Skip the Line: Flamenco Show with Dinner and Workshop in Madrid Ticket: $50
  • Flamenco Show at Corral de la Morería in Madrid with Optional Dinner: $55

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Athens 36
    Madrid 34

Tours and Activities in Athens

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Athens.

  • Acropolis/Athens Highlights Private Evening Tour (5 hours) from Athens, Piraeus: $94
  • Ancient Corinth Canal Epidavrous Nafplio Private Tour 8Hours: $194
  • Apostle Paul's Footsteps in Athens Christian Private Tour 5Hours: $152
  • Athens Gems & Charms for the First Time Cruiser: $46
  • Athens Private Day Tour Best place to visit: $276
  • DELPHI and THERMOPYLAE: Full Day Private Tour Visit Arachova 8 H: $196
  • DISCOVER ATHENS IN 6HRS Private Tour BEST INTRODUCTION-FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS : $221
  • Delphi full day V.R audio guided tour with entry ticket: $34
  • EPIDAURUS & NAFPLIO : Private Full Day Tour From Athens 6 Hours : $175
  • Essential Athens Highlights Half-Day Private Tour with Flexible Options: $263
  • Food Experience in Athens including Unlimited Lunch : $64
  • Full Day Private Tour Athens & Sounio Temple of Poseidon Sunset : $164

Tours and Activities in Madrid

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Madrid.

  • Madrid Tour and Guided Visit Royal Palace: $77
  • Private Combo Tour Prado Museum and Reina Sofia: $224
  • Skip the Line Guided Tour Royal Palace Madrid: $73
  • Tapas, Taverns & History Tour Madrid: $96
  • Toledo with Cathedral from Madrid Full Day Tour: $136
  • 1-Hour Madrid Segway Tour: $32
  • 1-Hour Private Flamenco Class in Madrid Experience: $45
  • 2 Days Guided Cultural Tour in Madrid Royal Palace and 3 Museums : $210
  • 2 Hours Secrets of Madrid Retiro Park Tour: $11
  • 2-Hour Patisserie Experience for Dessert Lovers: $61
  • 2-Hour Private Walking Tour through the Beautiful Streets of Madrid: $50
  • 2-Hour Tour of the Madrid of Mysteries: $14

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Athens 23
    Madrid 20

Sample the Local Flavors in Athens

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Athens:

  • Polykala Distillery showroom. A125 years of history along with liqueur tasting.: $15
  • Liquer tasting in Polykala's Distillery Show Room in Athens: $18
  • The Original Athens Pub Crawl - Athens Drunk Tour: $21
  • The NightCrawlers | Athens Pub Crawl: $22
  • Greek Wine Tasting: $23
  • Wine Tasting in Athens: $26
  • Bar Crawl with Free Drinks and Club Entry: $29
  • Athens Speakeasy & Alternative Bar Crawl: Discover Hidden Gems: $39
  • Noble Greeks Acropolis Wine Tasting with Private Sommelier: $43
  • Wine Tasting: $43
  • Athens Wine Tasting: $44
  • 1 Hour Private Four Greek Wine Tasting and Food Pairing in Athens: $44

Typical Alcohol Prices in Madrid

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Madrid are as follows:


  • Beer
    5.00
  • Drinks and Tapas (for 2)
    13

Sample the Local Flavors in Madrid

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Madrid:

  • Pub Crawl with Tapas and VIP Club Entry: $9.70
  • Madrid Pub Crawl with VIP Club Entrance: $11
  • Visit to the Winery with Wine Tasting and Appetizers in Navarra: $12
  • Guided Pub Crawl Madrid Experience and Club Entry: $15
  • Pub crawl & Party Tour Madrid: $15
  • Pub Crawl Madrid Running since 2005 Bar Exploration: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid-The Original since 2005-Shots-Fun-Clubs-Dance: $17
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $19
  • Wine Tasting near Plaza Mayor: $22
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $22
  • Wine Tour with tasting in the Natural Park of La Mata: $39
  • Wine Tasting Experience: $50


When comparing the travel costs between Athens and Madrid, we can see that Madrid is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Athens Expensive? and Is Madrid Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Athens or Madrid?

Madrid has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Athens. When comparing the sizes of Athens and Madrid, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.