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

Should you visit Bern or Madrid?

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

Should I visit Bern or Madrid? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.


Bern is a cultural, historic, and charming city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.


Madrid is a compact, friendly, and authentic city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's also known for food, shopping, and museums.

Bern and Madrid: Pros and Cons

  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities

Is there more to do in Bern or Madrid?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Madrid than Bern, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Madrid is more popular for its food, nightlife, music, shopping, and big city activities, while Bern is known for its museums, historical sights, and impressive beauty. Madrid is more touristy than Bern and is popular for its art and architecture, its tapas and culinary scene, and its lively flamenco dancing. It is also home to The Prado Museum. Bern is popular for its well-preserved old town and its reputation as the home of the Lindt chocolate factory.

How is Bern different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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


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

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Bern. The city is filled with architecture and charming character. While you're in town make sure you visit the Einstein Museum, the Clock Tower, and the Bern Cathedral.

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 Bern or Madrid? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Madrid is renowned for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

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.

Bern has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. The city has cozy cafes, high end fine dining, traditional eateries, and modern venues.

Is Bern or Madrid Better for Nightlife?


Madrid is a well-known place for nightlife. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for nightlife and partying.

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.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Bern. There are bars, Irish pubs, and clubs around town.

Is Bern or Madrid Better for Music?


Madrid is renowned for live music. However, Bern is not a live music destination.

Madrid is a world class music destination. 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.

Bern is not a live music destination.

Is Bern or Madrid Better for its Old Town?


Bern is a great city for its historic old town. However, Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Bern is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. The charming old town is filled with quaint alleys and sandstone buildings. It's a compact area that flows down a hill to the River Aare.

Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Bern or Madrid?


Madrid is renowned for shopping. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping opportunities.

Madrid is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. 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.

Bern is well-known for its shopping. The old town is filled with boutique shops and unique markets. The main shopping streets are Spitalgasse and Marktgasse and popular items to buy include jewelry, art, and watches.

Is Bern or Madrid Better for Families?


Kids will enjoy a visit to either Bern or Madrid.

Bern is a very family-friendly place to visit. This charming town has riverside parks and pools, a zoo, a waterpark, and kid-friendly museums that the whole family can enjoy. You can also visit nearby Gurten, a mountain with tobogganing, concerts, and a mini ski resort.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Madrid is very family-friendly. 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 Bern or Madrid Better for Couples?


With fun activities for couples, both Bern and Madrid make for a excellent place to visit.

Bern is a very popular place to visit for couples. With charming restaurants, a beautiful rose garden, and nice hotels and spas, this town makes a beautiful romantic getaway.

Madrid makes for a fun place to visit for 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.

Is Bern or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Both Bern and Madrid are excellent destinations for backpackers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Bern. Like most of Switzerland, prices are a bit high, but there are some hostels and free activities that backpackers and budget travelers can enjoy.

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

Is Bern or Madrid Better for Students?


Madrid is renowned for students. However, Bern is not popular with students.

Many students frequent Madrid. 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.

Bern is not popular with students.

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


Madrid is renowned for its public transit. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for times when you don't have a car.

Madrid has a great public transit system. The system includes the Madrid Metro, buses, and a light rail system.

The public transit in Bern can get you around easily. There are trams and buses that run around town.

Is Bern or Madrid a more walkable city?


Madrid is renowned for its walkability. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its high level of walkability.

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

Bern is a very walkable city. It's fun to explore the old town on foot. It is compact enough to that you can see all of the highlights in a few hours.

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

Should I spend more time in Madrid or Bern?

How long in Bern or Madrid?

In either Bern or Madrid, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Madrid than Bern because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Bern, and 2-5 days is enough time in Madrid.

Couples should spend more time in Madrid than Bern. 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 Madrid than Bern 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 Madrid.

  • How many days in Bern or Madrid? Ideal Length of Stay
    Bern 1-3 
    Madrid 2-5

One day in Bern or Madrid?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Bern. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

Madrid is a big city destination where you can fill many days. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

A weekend in Bern or Madrid?

Bern 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.

Madrid is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Five days in Bern or Madrid?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Bern. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Madrid is a compact big city where you can fill many days. This city offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

A week in Bern or Madrid?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the charming destination of Bern. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

The friendly city of Madrid offers shopping and museums. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

Which place is cheaper, Madrid or Bern?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Bern is $261, while the average daily cost in Madrid is $147. 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 Bern and Madrid in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bern $168
    Madrid $83
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bern $336
    Madrid $166
Compare Hotels in Bern and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Bern 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 Bern

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: Bern Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Bern $35
    Madrid $20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bern

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bern:

  • Private Transfer From Bern To Basel With a 2 Hour Stop in Olten: $269
  • Private Transfer From Bern to Zurich, English Speaking Driver: $228
  • Private Direct Transfer From Bern to Basel: $213

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Madrid

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

  • Taxi Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Madrid

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

  • Madrid Barajas Airport: Transfer to/from Atocha Bus Station: $7.53
  • Madrid Barajas International Airport - Private Arrival Transfer: $22
  • Hotel Madrid City Private Transfer To Madrid Barajas Airport: $26
  • Private One-way Airport Transfer (Madrid Airport To/From Madrid): $28
  • Private transfer: Madrid City Center to Barajas Airport (MAD): $29
  • Private transfer: Barajas Airport (MAD) to Madrid City Center: $29
  • Madrid Barajas Airport Private Transfer To Madrid City: $32
  • Private Transfer from Madrid Airport to Madrid Hotels: $38
  • Private Transfer from Madrid Hotels to Madrid Airport: $38
  • Madrid Airport (MAD) to Madrid - Arrival Private Transfer: $42
  • Madrid to Madrid Airport (MAD) - Departure Private Transfer: $42
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD) - Madrid City: $42

Is it cheaper to fly into Bern or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid and Bern 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 Meals for one day
    Bern $63
    Madrid $36

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bern

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bern.

  • Bern Food Market: Brunch & Local Food Tour: $65

Typical Food Prices in Madrid

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

  • Coffee
  • Ice Cream
  • Kebabs (for 2)
  • Croissant
  • Lunch at Airport (for 2)

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: $38
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $38
  • 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 Tipsy Tapas Tour with Dinner and Drinks: $43
  • Skip the Line: Flamenco Show with Dinner and Workshop in Madrid Ticket: $49
  • Flamenco Show at Corral de la Morería in Madrid with Optional Dinner: $55
  • Spanish Tortilla Cooking Class and Brunch with Bottomless Wine: $57

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Bern $35
    Madrid $36

Tours and Activities in Bern

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Bern are as follows:

  • 007 Elegance:Exclusive Private Tour to Schilthorn from Bern: $651
  • Alpine Heights: Small Group Tour to Jungfraujoch from Bern: $672
  • Bern Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Walking Tour: $7.00
  • Bern Highlights Small-Group Walking Tour with a Local: $161
  • Bern Historical UNESCO Old Town Private Tour: $167
  • Bern Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $60
  • Bern Old City Walking Tour: $477
  • Bern Old Town - Private Historic Walking Tour: $538
  • Bern Private Walking Tour: $337
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $4.39
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Bern Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.00

Tours and Activities in Madrid

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

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.23
  • Tour Madrid of the Austrians Old City: $3.28
  • Literary Quarter Tour: $3.29
  • Guided tour of the Madrid of spies: $3.29
  • Free Tour - Majestic Madrid: $3.29
  • Escape Game and Tour: $4.31
  • Ticket Entrada al Museo del Turrón de Madrid: $5.39
  • Mapfre Foundation Entry Ticket: $5.39
  • Private Audio Guided Walking Tour in Madrid: $5.47
  • Manzanares River’s Story: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Madrid: $5.99
  • Manzanares River’s Story Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • 360 Virtual tour of Ancient Renaissance Madrid: $6.00

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Bern $28
    Madrid $21

Typical Alcohol Prices in Madrid

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

  • Beer
  • Drinks and Tapas (for 2)

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: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $19
  • Wine Tasting near Plaza Mayor: $22
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $22
  • Wine Tasting Experience: $50
  • Wine Tasting in Madrid Experience: $50

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Bern and Madrid, we can see that Bern is more expensive. And not only is Madrid much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Madrid would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Madrid and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Bern would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bern than you might in Madrid.

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

Which is Bigger, Bern or Madrid?

Madrid has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Bern. When comparing the sizes of Bern 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.