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

Should you visit Dubai or Madrid?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Dubai and Madrid can help you decide which place is right for you.

Dubai

Dubai is a modern, glamorous, and opulent city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Madrid

Madrid is a friendly, authentic, and cultural 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 shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Dubai and Madrid: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Burj Khalifa
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities


Is there more to do in Dubai or Madrid?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Dubai than Madrid. While Madrid is larger than Dubai, Dubai has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Dubai is better known for its skiing, museums, nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and impressive beauty, while Madrid is more popular for its food. Dubai is well known for its luxury shopping, glamorous resorts, city beaches, and ultramodern development style. Also, Dubai is famous for Burj Khalifa. Madrid is well known for its art and architecture, its tapas and culinary scene, and its lively flamenco dancing.

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

How is Dubai different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Dubai or Madrid Better for Skiing?

Dubai
Madrid

Dubai is adequate for skiing. However, Madrid is not a skiing destination.

Locals like to visit Dubai to take advantage of their winter sports. Despite being a desert city, Dubai became famous for its massive indoor ski complex that covers 22,500 square meters. It is located in the Mall of the Emirates.

Madrid is not a skiing destination.


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

Dubai
Madrid

Dubai 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 Dubai. The city's most famous landmark is the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world. Head to the observation deck for stunning views.

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 Dubai or Madrid? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Dubai
Madrid

Madrid is a world-class destination for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Dubai is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Madrid has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. 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.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Dubai makes for a great culinary experience. The national dish in the area is khuzi, or ghuzi, which is a meal of roasted lamb or mutton, prepared with rice vegetables and nuts.

Is Dubai or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

Dubai
Madrid

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

Dubai is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. Frequented by the wealthy and opulent, the city has world class night clubs and DJs that travel from around to world to perform.

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 Dubai or Madrid Better for Music?

Dubai
Madrid

Dubai and Madrid are both destinations where visitors can find amazing live music.

Dubai has become a mecca for musicians from around the world. The city attracts world famous international DJs and musicians giving it one of the world's best music scenes.

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.

Is Dubai or Madrid Better for Resorts?

Dubai
Madrid

Dubai is renowned for its luxury resorts. However, Madrid is not a resort destination.

Dubai is a world class resort vacation destination. Some of the most famous include Atlantis - The Palm, The Four Seasons, and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

Madrid is not a resort destination.

Is Dubai or Madrid Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Dubai
Madrid

Dubai is a city with good options for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. However, Madrid is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

It's fun to get in the water and check out the local marine life in Dubai. One of the best scuba diving spots is Jumeirah Beach.

Madrid is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Dubai or Madrid Better for Beaches?

Dubai
Madrid

Dubai is a city with good options for its beaches. However, Madrid is not a beach destination.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Dubai. There are a number of both private and public beaches in the city. They are almost all man-made, so they are large, flat, and have soft sand. It's also generally safe to swim at most beaches.

Madrid is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Dubai or Madrid?

Dubai
Madrid

If you're looking to go shopping, Dubai and Madrid both offer plenty of amazing spots.

Many people travel to Dubai specifically to go shopping. With its many malls, souks, and shopping areas, this is the place to go for luxury shopping. Popular items to purchase include gold and diamond jewelry, shawls, and Persian rugs.

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.

Is Dubai or Madrid Better for Families?

Dubai
Madrid

You'll find superb kid-friendly activities in either Dubai or Madrid.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Dubai. This city has family-friendly resorts, skyscrapers with spectacular views, and amusement parks that are fun for the whole family. There are also plenty of fountains that the kids can splash around in.

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 Dubai or Madrid Better for Couples?

Dubai
Madrid

Madrid is a great city for couples. Also, Dubai 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.

Dubai is a nice destination for couples. From the spectacular views to the high end resorts, couples can enjoy a romantic retreat to the city.

Is Dubai or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Dubai
Madrid

Madrid is a great city for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Dubai is not known for backpackers.

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

Dubai is not the best destination for backpackers and budget travelers due to its high prices. It is known to be an expensive and not so backpacker friendly city, but there are some hostels around that you can stay at.

Is Dubai or Madrid Better for Students?

Dubai
Madrid

For students, both Dubai and Madrid are amazing places to visit.

Students come from all over the world to visit Dubai. Many major universities from around the world have campuses in this city, making this a top destination for international students.

Madrid is a great destination 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.


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

Dubai
Madrid

Madrid is a world-class destination for times when you don't have a car. Also, Dubai is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its public transit.

With a huge network, the transit system in Madrid can get you around easily. The system includes the Madrid Metro, buses, and a light rail system.

Dubai has a few public transit options. The city's public transportation system includes buses, water buses, a monorail system, and a metro.

Is Dubai or Madrid a more walkable city?

Dubai
Madrid

Madrid is a world-class destination for its ease of walking around. However, Dubai is not known 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.

Dubai is generally not very walkable. It is one of the less pedestrian-friendly cities around the world. There is lots of road work, even in the more walkable areas, so getting around on foot can be challenging.

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

Should I spend more time in Madrid or Dubai?

How long in Dubai or Madrid?

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

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

Couples should spend more time in Madrid than Dubai. 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 Dubai 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 Dubai or Madrid? Ideal Length of Stay
    Dubai 3-7 
    Madrid 2-5

One day in Dubai or Madrid?

Dubai is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Madrid, many people enjoy the live music and food that this friendly big city offers. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.


A weekend in Dubai or Madrid?

Dubai 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Madrid. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Dubai or Madrid?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Dubai. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. 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 fun place to experience. In Madrid, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this big city destination offers. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A week in Dubai or Madrid?

Dubai is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. 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.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the diverse big city of Madrid. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 3-Day Tours from Dubai, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United Arab Emirates, The Best Contiki Tours to Spain, and The Best G Adventures Tours to Spain.


Which place is cheaper, Madrid or Dubai?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Dubai is $248, while the average daily cost in Madrid is $148. 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 Dubai and Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Dubai $170
    Madrid $84
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Dubai $340
    Madrid $168
Compare Hotels in Dubai and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Dubai 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 Dubai


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: Dubai Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Dubai $13
    Madrid $20
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Dubai

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $12
  • Airport Taxi
    $12
  • Sea Taxi
    $0.54

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dubai

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

  • Burj Khalifa: Skip-the-Line Entry, Gourmet Meal, & Transfer: $799
  • From Private Van Transfer in Maybach: $735
  • Private Transfer Dubai Red Dunes Safari & Camel Ride: $300
  • Hot Air Balloon Flight with 4X4 Transfers: $299
  • The Dubai Mall Tour with Private Transfers : $299
  • Fujairah Dam Tour with Private Transfers : $299
  • Helicopter City Tour Dubai With Private Transfers : $286
  • Abu Dhabi City Tour with Yas Island 2 Park Access with Transfers: $285
  • Xline Dubai Marina Shared Experience with Private Transfers: $284
  • Private Half Day 50 Seater Bus Transfer in Dubai with Chauffeur : $279
  • Afternoon High Tea in Burj Al Arab with Transfer: $275
  • Full day Private Transfer From/To Dubai with Driver.: $275

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Madrid

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $28

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: $457
  • Private Transfer from Moratalla to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $273
  • Private Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Segovia City by Van: $270
  • From Hot Air Balloon over Segovia with Transfer: $266
  • Balloon Ride with Transfer Option from Madrid City: $266
  • Private Transfer from Bolnuevo to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $254
  • Private Transfer from La Manga strip dos Mares to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $237
  • Private Transfer from La Manga Club to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $227
  • Private Transfer from Corvera Golf Resort to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $218
  • Private Transfer from Cieza to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $205
  • Private Transfer from El Verger to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $191
  • Private Transfer from La Torre Golf to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $182

Is it cheaper to fly into Dubai or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid and Dubai 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
    Dubai $56
    Madrid $37
Typical Food Prices in Dubai

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


  • French bread
    $0.95
  • Sumo salad in Dubai Mall + Juice
    $10
  • Lemon Mint Tea
    $4.36
  • Coffee & Cake
    $6.53
  • Smoothie
    $5.45
  • Shawarma
    $1.91

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Dubai

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

  • Premium Dinner Cruise Al-Seef: $12
  • Dhow Dinner Cruise with International Buffet in Dubai: $14
  • Scenic Dhow Cruise with Buffet Dinner and Live Shows: $14
  • Dubai Dhow Cruise Dinner in Deira Creek: $15
  • Romantic Sightseeing Dhow Cruise Dinner: $15
  • Dubai Dhow Cruise Dinner Al Seef Creek (Multicusine): $15
  • DUBAI DHOW CRUISE DINNER AL SEEF CREEK: $17
  • Romantic Dhow Cruise Dinner in Dubai Creek: $17
  • DUBAI BEST DHOW CRUISE DINNER AL SEEF: $18
  • Dhow Cruise Dinner Dubai Creek with Buffet Dinner: $18
  • Cruising With Dinner And Live Shows At Dubai Creek: $18
  • Dhow Cruise Tour with Dinner in Deira Creek - Dubai: $18

Typical Food Prices in Madrid

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


  • Coffee
    $2.18
  • Ice Cream
    $3.26
  • Kebabs (for 2)
    $17
  • Croissant
    $1.63
  • Lunch at Airport (for 2)
    $17

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Madrid

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

  • Madrid Sunset Walking Tour with Optional Flamenco Show and Dinner: $26
  • Paella and Sangria Workshop with Dinner and Drinks: $43
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $48
  • Tapas Crawl Food Tour with 6 Tapas and 4 Drinks: $48
  • Tapas Dinner Party Food Tour with Guide: $48
  • Drunken Tapas Food Tour with Dinner in Madrid: $48
  • Tipsy Tapas Food Tour with Drinks and Food: $51
  • The Authentic Morning Madrid's Food Tour: $60
  • Opera and Zarzuela Show and Dinner: $62
  • Tapas Crawl in Madrid Historical Quarter for Lunch or Dinner: $64
  • Iberico Ham and Spanish Wine Small-Group Food Tour: $64
  • San Miguel Market and Street Food Tour: $64

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Dubai $19
    Madrid $37
Typical Entertainment Prices in Dubai

For Dubai, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Visit to the Dubai Museum
    $0.82

Tours and Activities in Dubai

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

  • 60 Minutes Dubai Yellow Boat Marina Tour: $78
  • Abu Dhabi Private Tour with Ferrari World Entry Ticket: $98
  • Abu Dhabi Private tour with professional drive : $289
  • Burj Khalifa At the Top & Sky Views Ticket: $167
  • Burj Khalifa Observation deck Dubai Admission Ticket : $71
  • Burj Khalifa Tour - Top Sky Ticket 124, 125 & 148 Floor Level Access : $165
  • DXB Tour and Aquaventure water park & lost Chambers PRIVATE tour: $215
  • Dibba Full Day Cruise Trip: $191
  • Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo Explorer Tickets: $95
  • Dubai Autodrome Experience: $84
  • Dubai City Tour + Burj Khalifa + Dubai Frame + Desert Safari (one day tour): $271
  • Dubai Luxury Yacht Hourly Rental Experience: $128

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
  • Prado Museum and Madrid Royal Palace Morning Guided Tour: $72
  • Ávila & Segovia Day Tour from Madrid: $164
  • 1 Hour Private Tuk tuk Tour in Madrid: $99
  • 1 hour tour in Madrid in Tuk Tuk through the best of the city: $138
  • 2-Hour Patisserie Experience for Dessert Lovers: $61
  • 2-Hour Tour of the Madrid of Mysteries: $14
  • 2-Hour Walking Tour on the History of Islamic Medieval the origins: $39
  • 2.5-Hour Evening Tapas Tour through Madrid: $38
  • 3 Hours Walking Tour in Madrid: $272
  • 3-Hour Private Tour of Madrid by Bike: $40
  • 3-Hour Tapas Walking Tour of Madrid Food and Drink Included: $94

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Dubai $23
    Madrid $21
Typical Alcohol Prices in Dubai

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Dubai:


  • A Couple Drinks
    $25

Sample the Local Flavors in Dubai

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

  • Pub Crawl Nightlife Tours: $66
  • Pub Crawl Nightlife Tour: $67
  • Pub Crawl Private, Birthdays & Corporate Events: $110

Typical Alcohol Prices in Madrid

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


  • Beer
    $5.44
  • Drinks and Tapas (for 2)
    $14

Sample the Local Flavors in Madrid

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Madrid:

  • Pub Crawl with Tapas and VIP Club Entry: $9.78
  • Visit to the Winery with Wine Tasting and Appetizers in Navarra: $12
  • Guided Bar Crawl with Drinks and Nightclub Entry: $16
  • Guided Pub Crawl Madrid Experience and Club Entry: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid Running since 2005 Bar Exploration: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid & Party: $17
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $19
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $22
  • Wine Tasting Experience with 4 Spanish Wines: $26
  • Wine Tour with tasting in the Natural Park of La Mata: $38
  • Wine Tasting Experience: $50
  • Wine Tasting in Madrid Experience: $51


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Dubai and Madrid, we can see that Dubai is more expensive. And not only is Madrid much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Dubai is in Middle East and Madrid is in Europe, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. 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 Dubai would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Dubai 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 Dubai Expensive? and Is Madrid Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Dubai or Madrid?

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