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

Should you visit Dublin or Madrid?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Dublin or Madrid, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Dublin

Dublin is a laid-back, friendly, and welcoming city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, live music, and food.

Madrid

Madrid is a authentic, cultural, and diverse city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. And you can't forget about the museums, nightlife, and live music.

Dublin and Madrid: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for students
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • 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
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities


Is there more to do in Dublin or Madrid?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Madrid than Dublin. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Madrid is very popular for its food, music, shopping, and big city activities, while Dublin attracts visitors for its museums, nightlife, and historical sights. Dublin is famous for its friendly and social nightlife, its local pubs, and its role as the birthplace of Guinness. Madrid is famous for its art and architecture, its tapas and culinary scene, and its lively flamenco dancing. It is also well known for The Prado Museum.

How is Dublin different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Dublin
Madrid

Dublin 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 Dublin. There are a number of museums around town including the National Museum of Ireland, the Little Museum of Dublin, and the National Gallery of Ireland.

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 Dublin or Madrid? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Dublin
Madrid

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

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Madrid is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. 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.

Dublin is becoming an appealing option for foodies. Seafood has become popular around town, but you can also try traditional favorites like stew, pancakes, or coddle.

Is Dublin or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

Dublin
Madrid

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

Dublin is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. Temple Bar is where you'll find the greatest concentration of pubs and nightlife. The city is among the friendliest and most welcoming, and this is seen even in the vibe around town at night.

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 Dublin or Madrid Better for Music?

Dublin
Madrid

Madrid is terrific for its live music scene. Also, Dublin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its music scene.

Live music, and music in many other forms, is everyone in Madrid 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.

Dublin has a thriving music scene. The best places to hear live music around town are the back street pubs that feature local groups.


Is Dublin or Madrid Better for its Old Town?

Dublin
Madrid

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

Dublin is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. On the south side of the River Liffey are three different historic parts to the city. The Medieval Quarter is the oldest. To the east is Temple Bar, and further east is the Georgian Quarter.

Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Dublin or Madrid?

Dublin
Madrid

Madrid is terrific for its shopping opportunities. Also, Dublin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

The abundance of shops in Madrid make it a world-class shopping destination. 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.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Dublin. Head to Grafton Street to see a number of brand name and local shops. It's a pedestrian street that is fun to wander around.

Is Dublin or Madrid Better for Families?

Dublin
Madrid

Dublin and Madrid are both high quality destinations for the whole family.

Dublin is a very kid-friendly city. Explore the waterways with the viking splash, learn about the vikings at the museum Dublina, or visit any of the other kid-friendly museums around town, or see a show at The Gaiety.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Madrid. 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 Dublin or Madrid Better for Couples?

Dublin
Madrid

Dublin and Madrid are both high quality to visit as a couple.

Couples visit Dublin frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. It's laid-back vibe and countless pubs make it a fun weekend getaway for couples.

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 Dublin or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Dublin
Madrid

Dublin and Madrid are high quality places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Dublin is a great city to visit for backpackers. There are a number of popular backpacker hostels around town. The pub scene is also popular with the young crowd.

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.

Is Dublin or Madrid Better for Students?

Dublin
Madrid

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

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.

It's common for students to visit Dublin. While student accommodation can be a bit expensive in town, the nightlife and social aspect of living in the city center makes it well worth it.


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

Dublin
Madrid

Madrid is terrific for its public transit. Also, Dublin is still popular, but not quite as popular for times when you don't have a car.

The thorough and effecient public transit system of Madrid can take you anywhere. The system includes the Madrid Metro, buses, and a light rail system.

While Dublin offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There is a comprehensive bus system around town.

Is Dublin or Madrid a more walkable city?

Dublin
Madrid

Dublin and Madrid both are first-rate when exploring on foot.

Getting around Dublin on foot is easy. Because it is so compact and flat, it is easy to explore the city center on foot.

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.

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

Should I spend more time in Madrid or Dublin?

How long in Dublin or Madrid?

In either Dublin 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 Dublin. However, 2-5 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

One day in Dublin or Madrid?

Many travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Dublin. 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.

Madrid is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Dublin or Madrid?

Dublin is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the nightlife, 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 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 Dublin or Madrid?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Dublin. Don't miss the nightlife, 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.

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 Dublin or Madrid?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the welcoming destination of Dublin. 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.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the cultural 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Coach Bus Tours in Ireland, The Best Adventure Tours to Ireland, The Best Contiki Tours to Spain, and The Best G Adventures Tours to Spain.


Which place is cheaper, Madrid or Dublin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Dublin is €143, 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 Dublin and Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Dublin 68
    Madrid 77
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Dublin 136
    Madrid 154
Compare Hotels in Dublin and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Dublin 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 Dublin


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: Dublin Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

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

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Dublin:


  • Rental Car for a Day
    15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dublin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dublin:

  • One-Way Private Transfer to Killarney: $786
  • One-Way Private Transfer to Galway: $678
  • One-Way Private Transfer to Cork City: $645
  • Shannon: Private Airport Arrival Transfer to Dublin: $624
  • One-Way Private Transfer to Shannon Airport: $624
  • One-Way Private Transfer to Limerick: $591
  • Dublin Airport:, Executive/chauffeur transfer to Belfast: $573
  • Dublin Glasnevin National Cemetery Audio Tour with Transfers: $344
  • Dublin Zoo Skip-the-line Tickets and Private Transfers: $309
  • Dublin Airport Or Dublin City To Bellinter House Private Chauffeur Transfer: $296
  • Powerscourt Autograph Collection To Dublin Airport Private Chauffeur Transfer: $290
  • Dublin Airport To Arklow County Wicklow Private Car Transfer: $276

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
  • Alcobendas Private Transfer To Madrid Barajas Airport: $26
  • 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 from Madrid MAD Airport to Madrid by Luxury Car: $82
  • Arrival Transfer: Madrid Airport MAD to Madrid in Business Car: $81
  • Departure Transfer from Madrid to Madrid Airport MAD in Private Car: $81
  • Departure Transfer from Madrid to Madrid Airport MAD in Private Van: $88
  • Departure Transfer: Madrid to Madrid Airport MAD in Business Car: $81
  • Departure Transfer: Madrid to Madrid Airport MAD in Luxury Van: $88
  • From Madrid Airport: 1-Way Private Hotel Transfer: $81
  • From Hot Air Balloon over Segovia with Transfer: $266

Is it cheaper to fly into Dublin or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid and Dublin 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
    Dublin 49
    Madrid 34
Typical Food Prices in Dublin

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


  • Lunch Lynam's Pub
    3.95

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Dublin

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

  • Dublin 3-Course Dinner and Live Shows at The Irish House Party: $31
  • No Diet Club - Best Food Tour in Dublin !: $60
  • Dublin Irish Night Show, Dance and Traditional 3-Course Dinner: $61
  • Grand Canal Cruise with Dinner: $73
  • Delicious Walking Food Tour: $81
  • Delicious Dublin Food Tour: $83
  • Private Cooking Class in a Modern Home with Sea Views in Skerries, Dublin: $84
  • Dublin Delicious Donut Adventure & Walking Food Tour: $87
  • Howth Coastal Craft Beer and Seafood Tour: $97
  • Bread, Beer & Bia: Irish Cooking Class & Dinner in Dublin: $100
  • Private Market Tour and Irish Cooking Class in a Modern Skerries Home: $102
  • Irish Craic & Cuisine: Cooking Class & Dinner in Central Dublin: $107

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:

  • Madrid Sunset Walking Tour with Optional Flamenco Show and Dinner: $26
  • Flamenco Show with dinner, drinks and optional class: $33
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $54
  • Tapas Dinner Party Food Tour with Guide: $54
  • Drunken Tapas Food Tour with Dinner in Madrid: $54
  • Tapas Crawl Food Tour with 6 Tapas and 4 Drinks: $54
  • Tipsy Tapas Food Tour with Drinks and Food: $57
  • The Authentic Morning Madrid's Food Tour: $60
  • Dinner-Show La Circa de Marta Cariño! en el centro de Madrid: $61
  • Opera and Zarzuela Show and Dinner: $62
  • San Miguel Market and Street Food Tour: $64
  • Iberico Ham and Spanish Wine Small-Group Food Tour: $64

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Dublin 25
    Madrid 34
Typical Entertainment Prices in Dublin

Here are a few typical costs in Dublin for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Wild Wicklow Tour
    26
  • Guinness Brewery for Two
    27
  • St Pauls Cathedral
    4.50
  • Dublin Writer's Museum
    6.30

Tours and Activities in Dublin

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

  • (Small Group) Shore Tour from Dublin:Dublin Highlights and Glendalough Day Trip: $120
  • (Spanish) Cliffs of Moher and Galway tour from Dublin: $83
  • 2 Hour Guided Adventure of Dublin's City Centre: $18
  • 2-Day Southern Ireland Tour from Dublin:Including Blarney and Cliffs of Moher: $220
  • 2-Day Western Ireland Tour from Dublin:Including Galway and Cliffs of Moher: $220
  • 2-Hour Historical Walking Tour from Dublin : $21
  • 2-Hour Macabre Dublin Walking Tour: $19
  • 2-Hours Indoor Challenge Adventure Experience in Ireland: $31
  • 4-Day Grand Atlantic Rail Tour from Dublin: $1,190
  • 5-Day Tour of West Ireland: Blarney Stone & Cliffs of Moher: $1,472
  • 6-Day Tour of Southern Ireland from Dublin: $953
  • A Unique and Fun 1 Hour city tour of Dublin: $39

Tours and Activities in Madrid

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

  • Madrid Essential: Free Walking City Tour: $1.08
  • Old Town Guided Walking Tour: $1.08
  • Tour Retiro Park - Madrid self-guided tour app: $2.17
  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • Madrid Mountains Free Walking Tour: $3.31
  • Escape Game and Tour: $4.34
  • App self-guided: Tour Madrid Spain: $4.34
  • History & Culture Guided Walking Tour: $5.42
  • Mapfre Foundation Entry Ticket: $5.42
  • Ticket Entrance to the Madrid Nougat Museum: $5.42
  • Wonders of Madrid City Walking Tour: $5.42
  • Wonders of Madrid Walking Tour: $5.42

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Dublin 17
    Madrid 20

Sample the Local Flavors in Dublin

Also in Dublin, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Authentic Brewery Tour: $11
  • Generation Pub Crawl: $15
  • Dublin Epic Pub Crawl: Experience Dublin's pubs and nightlife: $15
  • "Dublin Delight Pub Expedition" Pub Crawl: $16
  • The Dublin Liberties Distillery: Tour with Whiskey Tasting: $18
  • The Dublin Liberties Distillery - Guided Tour and Whiskey Tasting: $19
  • Teeling Whiskey Distillery Tour & Tasting: $22
  • Skip the Line: Teeling Whiskey Distillery Tour and Tasting in Dublin Ticket: $22
  • The Black Experience Pub Tour: $22
  • City Pub Crawl Experience: $24
  • Pearse Lyons Whiskey Distillery Experience: $24
  • Roe and Co Distillery Cocktail Workshop Experience: $27

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:

  • Original Pub Crawl With VIP Club Entry: $9.76
  • Visit to the Winery with Wine Tasting and Appetizers in Navarra: $12
  • Pub Crawl Madrid's Night time: $15
  • Guided Pub Crawl Madrid Experience and Club Entry: $16
  • Guided Bar Crawl with Drinks and Nightclub 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


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


Which is Bigger, Dublin or Madrid?

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