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

Should you visit Brussels 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 Brussels 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.

Brussels

Brussels is a multicultural, historic, and cosmopolitan city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Madrid

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

Brussels 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
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities


Is there more to do in Brussels or Madrid?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Madrid than Brussels, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Madrid is more popular for its food, nightlife, and music, while Brussels is known for its museums and historical sights. Madrid is more touristy than Brussels 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. Brussels is popular for its beautiful architecture, grand squares, diverse population, and delicious waffles.

How is Brussels different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Brussels
Madrid

Brussels 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 Brussels. Popular sights include Saint-Michel Cathedral, Place Royale, and the Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts. The city is filled with impressive architecture, fascinating art museums, and innovative science and technology museums.

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 Brussels or Madrid? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Brussels
Madrid

Madrid is renowned for its restaurant scene. Also, Brussels is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Eat your way through Madrid, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. 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.

Brussels has a huge number of terrific restaurants. While the city is most known for its waffles and fries, the diversity of dishes and international restaurant selection continues to grow. There are Lebanese, Japanese, and Indian restaurants among others. Popular local dishes include moules-frites, waterzooi (a stew), and stoemp (made with mashed potatoes and vegetables).

Is Brussels or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

Brussels
Madrid

Madrid is well known for nightlife. Also, Brussels is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife and partying.

Madrid is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. 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.

If you're looking for night time activities Brussels has a few options to choose from. The city's nightlife is quieter and more mellow than some other major cities around Europe. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of dance clubs and bars where you can hang out. Keep your wits about you after the sun goes down as some areas are a bit rougher than others.

Is Brussels or Madrid Better for Music?

Brussels
Madrid

Madrid is renowned for live music. However, Brussels 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.

Brussels is not a live music destination.


Is Brussels or Madrid Better for its Old Town?

Brussels
Madrid

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

Brussels is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. The old town in the city center is where you'll find the greatest concentration of historic sights. The area is surrounded by tree-lined boulevards and is easy to explore.

Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Brussels or Madrid?

Brussels
Madrid

Shopping is a popular activity in both Madrid and Brussels.

Brussels is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. Although it's famous for diamonds, the city also has many shopping streets where you can find designer brands, vintage shops, and other unique boutiques that are fun to explore.

Known for shopping, Madrid draws large crowds to its 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.

Is Brussels or Madrid Better for Families?

Brussels
Madrid

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

Brussels is a very family-friendly place to visit. The city has a number of unique kid-friendly activities including a Mini-Europe Museum, a Comic Strip Museum, and Train World. The city is also a chocolate lover's dream with many factories and chocolate shops around town.

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 Brussels or Madrid Better for Couples?

Brussels
Madrid

Brussels and Madrid both very good destinations for a couple.

Couples visit Brussels frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. From beautiful buildings and museums to shopping, dining, and chocolate shops, there are plenty of romantic spots around town. There's a vibrant nightlife scene and many diverse restaurants that couples can enjoy exploring.

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.

Is Brussels or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Brussels
Madrid

Brussels and Madrid are very good places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Brussels. The city has an active nightlife and a number of hostels that are great for backpackers, but do take note that some areas can get a bit rough at night, so make sure you understand where you are.

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

Is Brussels or Madrid Better for Students?

Brussels
Madrid

Madrid is renowned for students. Also, Brussels is still popular, but not quite as popular for its student-friendly activities.

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.

Brussels is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. The city has a number of universities that attract students from around the world. The multicultural setting is great for students of the world.


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

Brussels
Madrid

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Brussels and Madrid.

Brussels has a great public transit system. Transit options include train, tram, metro, bus, and waterbuses.

Public transit in Madrid is top-notch. The system includes the Madrid Metro, buses, and a light rail system.

Is Brussels or Madrid a more walkable city?

Brussels
Madrid

Madrid is renowned for its walkability. Also, Brussels is still popular, but not quite as popular for its high level of walkability.

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

Brussels is a very walkable city. If you stay in the historical area, it's easy to walk around and many boulevards are being converted to pedestrian areas.

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

Should I spend more time in Madrid or Brussels?

How long in Brussels or Madrid?

In either Brussels or Madrid, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Madrid has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Madrid than Brussels. In general, 1-5 days is a good amount of time for Brussels, and 2-5 days is enough time in Madrid.

Couples should spend more time in Madrid than Brussels. 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 Brussels 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 Brussels or Madrid? Ideal Length of Stay
    Brussels 1-5 
    Madrid 2-5

One day in Brussels or Madrid?

Brussels is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

The city of Madrid offers museums and nightlife. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


A weekend in Brussels or Madrid?

Brussels is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the shopping, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Madrid is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Madrid, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Brussels or Madrid?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Brussels. Don't miss the shopping, as that's what most people do. 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.

Madrid is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Madrid, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Brussels or Madrid?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the cosmopolitan big city of Brussels. 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.

Madrid is a great place to explore. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.


Which place is cheaper, Madrid or Brussels?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Brussels is €137, 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 Brussels and Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Brussels 73
    Madrid 77
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Brussels 146
    Madrid 154
Compare Hotels in Brussels and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Brussels 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 Brussels


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: Brussels Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Brussels 17
    Madrid 19
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Brussels

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


  • Subway Pass
    4.50
  • Atomium train ticket (2)
    8.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Brussels

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Brussels:

  • Private Transfer from Brussels to Amsterdam: $508
  • Brussels Airport (BRU) To Amsterdam: VIP Transfer: $498
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Brussels to Amsterdam by Luxury car: $288
  • Private Transfer From Brussels To Amsterdam, Stop in Utrecht: $284
  • Brussels Shuttle Transfer <-> Disneyland Paris (1 to 8 SEATS): $282
  • Private Transfer from Brussels to Amsterdam By Luxury car: $273
  • Private Direct Transfer from Brussels to Amsterdam: $259
  • Private VIP Transfer to/from Bruges: $248
  • Private Transfer from Brussels to Luxembourg with Luxury car: $236
  • Brussels Private Transfer from Brussels city centre to Brussels Charleroi Airport (CRL): $233
  • Private Transfer From Brussels To Circuit SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS Belgium Luxury car : $193
  • Transfer Shuttle Leuven <-> Amsterdam (1 to 8 Places): $176

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:

  • Madrid Airport MAD Round-Trip Transfer in Private Van: $175
  • Private One-Way Transfer to OR from Madrid Airport with private pick up: $78
  • Arrival Private Transfer Madrid Airport MAD to Avila City by Business Car: $231
  • Arrival Private Transfer Madrid Airport MAD to Madrid City by Van: $73
  • Arrival Private Transfer by Business Car from MAD Airport to Madrid: $53
  • Arrival Private Transfer from MAD Airport to Madrid in a Minibus: $141
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Segovia City by Minivan: $226
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Toledo or Avila by Van: $181
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Madrid MAD Airport to Madrid city by luxury car: $81
  • Arrival Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Madrid in Private Car: $81
  • Arrival Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Madrid in Private Van: $88
  • Arrival Transfer: Madrid Airport MAD to Madrid in Business Car: $77

Is it cheaper to fly into Brussels or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid and Brussels 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
    Brussels 38
    Madrid 34
Typical Food Prices in Brussels

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Brussels:


  • Ice Cream & Macaroons
    4.60
  • Dessert (Turkish Delights)
    4.75
  • Cheese
    5.60
  • Olives and Snacks
    6.98
  • Waffle
    3.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Brussels

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

  • Hard Rock Cafe with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $28
  • Hard Rock Cafe Brussels with Set Lunch or Dinner : $30
  • Chocolate and Beer Food Tour of Brussels: $43
  • City Center Guided Food Tour with Tastings: $60
  • Experience Authentic Belgian Cuisine: Cooking Lesson and Meal with a Ghent Local: $90
  • Food Tour in Brussels - Do Eat Better Experience: $107
  • Secret Food Tours Brussels: $113
  • The 10 Tastings of Brussels With Locals: PRIVATE Food Tour (B-Corp certified): $159
  • Market Tour and Cooking Lesson with a Belgian Gourmet Meal in a Brussels Home: $160
  • Private Food Tour – 10 Tastings with Locals: $165
  • Brussels Private Custom Food Tour with a Local Foodie : $193
  • Private Trip to Bruges & Food Tour with 6 Tastings: $292

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:

  • Torres Bermejas Flamenco Show in Madrid with Dinner, Tapas or Drink: $39
  • Ultimate Madrid Tapas Crawl Food tour: $42
  • 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
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Tour with Dinner and Drinks: $43
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $43
  • Madrid Tapas Dinner Party with Guide: $43
  • San Miguel Market and Street Food Tour: $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.
    Brussels 23
    Madrid 34

Tours and Activities in Brussels

Here are a few actual costs in Brussels for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Beer Tasting Tour in Brussels: $24
  • Brussels Walking Tour with Waffle Tasting: History and Delights: $23
  • Walking Tour with Audio Guide on App: $11
  • Christmas Gems of Brussels - Walking Tour: $263
  • 2 Hours Walking Tour in Brussel: $33
  • 2-Hour Brussels Guided Walking Tour: $11
  • 2-Hour Private Walking Tour in the templar village of Lissewege: $76
  • 2-Hour Walking Tour in Fall and Rise of Art Nouveau: $17
  • 3 Hour Private Bike Tour in Brussels: $201
  • 3 hours Belgian Truffles and Pastries Experience: $70
  • 3-Hours Private Sightseeing Trip in Brussels : $232
  • 4 Hour Private Tour in Brussels : $276

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: $3.25
  • Tour Madrid of the Austrians Old City: $3.30
  • Guided tour of the Madrid of spies: $3.31
  • Literary Quarter Tour: $3.31
  • Free Tour - Majestic Madrid: $3.31
  • Escape Game and Tour: $4.33
  • Ticket Entrada al Museo del Turrón de Madrid: $5.41
  • Mapfre Foundation Entry Ticket: $5.41
  • Private Audio Guided Walking Tour in Madrid: $5.50
  • Manzanares River’s Story: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Madrid: $5.99
  • Manzanares River’s Story Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.44

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Brussels 13
    Madrid 20
Typical Alcohol Prices in Brussels

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


  • Bottle of Wine
    10
  • Beer
    6.00

Sample the Local Flavors in Brussels

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Brussels:

  • Brussels Pub Crawl - Nightlife & Party Experience: $18
  • Pub Crawl and Nightlife Party Experience: $18

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: $9.74
  • 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 Madrid Running since 2005 Bar Exploration: $16
  • Pub crawl & Party Tour Madrid: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid-The Original since 2005-Shots-Fun-Clubs-Dance: $17
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $19
  • Madrid's Live Music Bar Crawl: $21
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $22
  • Wine Tasting near Plaza Mayor: $22
  • Wine tasting in the heart of Madrid: $28


When comparing the travel costs between Brussels and Madrid, we can see that Brussels 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 Brussels Expensive? and Is Madrid Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Brussels or Madrid?

Madrid has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Brussels. When comparing the sizes of Brussels 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.