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

Should you visit Lisbon or Madrid?

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

Should I visit Lisbon 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.

Lisbon

Lisbon is a picturesque, colorful, and vibrant city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, live music, and food.

Madrid

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

Lisbon and Madrid: Pros and Cons

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


How is Lisbon different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Lisbon or Madrid Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Lisbon
Madrid

You'll find a number of museums and attractions in both Madrid and Lisbon.

With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, Lisbon has many famous sights for visitors. World renowned landmarks include St. George's Castle, Jerónimos monastery, the Belém Tower, Santa Justa Lift, and countless world class museums.

Many visitors head to Madrid specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. 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 Lisbon or Madrid Better for Food?

Lisbon
Madrid

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

For foodies, Lisbon is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. There are many local restaurants as well as food tours and cooking classes that you can enjoy. Make sure you try the local favorites like bacalhau à brás, frango no churrasco, and pastel de nata.

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. Local favorites include roast suckling pig, Spanish omelette, and meat and chickpea stew.

Is Lisbon or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

Lisbon
Madrid

The nightlife scene is relatively similar in Lisbon and Madrid.

The nightlife in Lisbon is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. It is a bustling city with a lot of energy late into the night. There are countless bars, clubs, and music venues that cater to every personality type and style.

Madrid is a world class party destination. 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 Lisbon or Madrid Better for Music?

Lisbon
Madrid

It can be fun to see live music in either Lisbon and Madrid.

Lisbon has become a mecca for musicians from around the world. The local folk music, fado, is popular here, but there are also venues that host almost any other style of music as well.

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 Lisbon or Madrid Better for Shopping?

Lisbon
Madrid

Shoppers can find a variety of stores in both Lisbon and Madrid.

Many people travel to Lisbon specifically to go shopping. For high end shopping, head to The Avenida da Liberdade. It's lined with designer brands and luxury boutiques.

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 Lisbon or Madrid Better for Families?

Lisbon
Madrid

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Lisbon or Madrid.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Lisbon. Popular family-friendly activities include exploring Castelo Sao Jorge, visiting the aquarium, hanging out on the beach, and of course, taking the funiculars.

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 Lisbon or Madrid Better for Couples?

Lisbon
Madrid

With fun activities for couples, both Lisbon and Madrid make for a good place to visit.

Lisbon makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. With it's colorful buildings and dramatic hills, this city offers a truly romantic setting for couples.

Couples visit Madrid frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. 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 Lisbon or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Lisbon
Madrid

Lisbon and Madrid are both good destinations for backpackers.

A large number of backpackers visit Lisbon, as it is a very popular city for budget travelers. Hostels are abundant, and you'll have no trouble finding other backpackers to hang out with. Many hostels even organize activities and group meals for travelers.

Madrid is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. The many hostels around town make it easy for backpackers to find affordable accommodation while also meeting other travelers.

Is Lisbon or Madrid Better for Students?

Lisbon
Madrid

Both Lisbon and Madrid are popular destinations for students.

Lisbon is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. It's a lively city with a lot to see and do for international students.

Students come from all over the world to visit 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.


Is Lisbon or Madrid Better for Public Transit?

Lisbon
Madrid

Visitors will find public transit in both Lisbon and Madrid.

Visitors in Lisbon can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. The metro has four lines that go around the city. There are also trams, buses, and the funiculars.

Madrid has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. The system includes the Madrid Metro, buses, and a light rail system.

Is Lisbon or Madrid a more walkable city?

Lisbon
Madrid

Lisbon and Madrid are similar when it comes to walkability.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Lisbon. There are many walkable areas that aren't too hilly like Baixa, a stretch along the Tagus River, and Belém.

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.

Should I spend more time in Madrid or Lisbon?

How long in Lisbon or Madrid?

In either Lisbon or Madrid, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Lisbon than Madrid because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Lisbon is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Madrid is 2-5 days.


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

One day in Lisbon or Madrid?

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

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

A weekend in Lisbon or Madrid?

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

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


Five days in Lisbon or Madrid?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Lisbon. 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 Lisbon or Madrid?

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

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the 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.

Which city is cheaper, Madrid or Lisbon?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Lisbon is €105, while the average daily cost in Madrid is €107. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Lisbon and Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lisbon 47
    Madrid 59
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lisbon 94
    Madrid 118
Compare Hotels in Lisbon and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Lisbon 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 Lisbon


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: Lisbon Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lisbon 19
    Madrid 15
Typical Local Transportation prices in Lisbon

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


  • Taxi Ride
    6.50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lisbon

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

  • Transfer To or From Paris: $1,709
  • Private Lisbon route: Transfers, city tour and full day Sintra w/ driver & guide: $1,680
  • Transfer 3 legs: Lisbon - Algarve - Porto - Lisbon: $1,443
  • Transfer Lisboa - Barcelona: $1,354
  • Transfer from Lisbon to Madrid (And Vice Versa): $1,300
  • Private ONE WAY transfer from Lisbon to Seville with private pick up & drop off: $1,151
  • Transfer from Lisbon to Sevilha (And Vice Versa): $1,013
  • Transfer To or From Barcelona: $989
  • Seville PRIVATE Transfer from Lisbon with 1 Optional stop in Évora: $886
  • Chauffeur LISBON Private Transfer to SEVILLE (5 to 8 passengers): $886
  • Lisbon to Sevile Transfer: $832
  • Full Day Transfer from Lisbon to Oporto: $809

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:

  • Ultra - Madrid Private Airport Transfer from city centre to Madrid airport MAD: $9.41
  • Ultra - Madrid Private Airport Transfer from Madrid airport MAD to city centre: $9.41
  • Transfer to Lisbon from Madrid with stop in Évora (1hour): $658
  • Transfer to Lisbon from Madrid: $585
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Madrid City to Madrid Barajas Airport: $31
  • Transfer in private minivan from Madrid City to Madrid Barajas Airport: $50
  • Transfer in private minivan from Madrid Airport to City: $50
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Madrid Barajas Airport to City: $31
  • Transfer from/to Madrid Barajas Airport: $55
  • Transfer From Madrid To Lisbon Portugal: $485
  • Royal Palace and Prado Museum – With Transfer Included: $98
  • Round trip transfer in private vehicle from-to Madrid Barajas Airport in Madrid: $63

Is it cheaper to fly into Lisbon or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid and Lisbon 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
    Lisbon 34
    Madrid 27
Typical Food prices in Lisbon

For Lisbon, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Coffee
    2.50

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lisbon

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

  • Virtual Portuguese Cooking Lesson: $31
  • Live Online Cooking Class from Pastel de Nata with Filipa: $39
  • Bohemian dinner party on a beautiful rooftop near the coast: $42
  • 2-Hour Pastel de Nata Cooking Class: $51
  • The magic of Pasteis de Nata cooking class in Lisbon: $53
  • Bitemojo Self Guided Food Tour New To Lisbon: $54
  • Withlocals Your Way: Lisbon Personalised Private Food Tour: $56
  • Pastel de Nata Cooking Class with Local Baker: $57
  • Private Groups: Pastel de Nata cooking class and tasting in Lisbon's pastry shop: $57
  • Authentic Portuguese dinner with a local chef: $58
  • Lisbon Food Tour: $62
  • Lisbon Old Town Food Tour by Sitway: $63

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:

  • Virtual Cooking Class: The Spanish Paella Experience: $24
  • Florida Retiro Dinner Show: $38
  • Murder Mystery Dinner Experience: $49
  • Virtual cooking - spanish "tortilla de patatas": $50
  • Murder Mystery Dinner Experience: $50
  • Flamenco Workshop and Show with Dinner and Drinks: $51
  • Skip the Line: Flamenco Show with Dinner and Workshop in Madrid Ticket: $52
  • Homemade pasta cooking class and lunch in the heart of Madrid: $58
  • Mamaz Social Italian Dinner in Madrid: $60
  • 3-hour Virtual Spanish Cooking Class in Madrid: $62
  • Iberico Ham and Spanish Wine Small-Group Food Tour: $67
  • Authentic Italian Dinner in Madrid: $68

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lisbon 19
    Madrid 27

Tours and Activities in Lisbon

For Lisbon, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Évora and Arraiolos - 8 Hour Private Tour: $183
  • Évora and Megaliths Full-Day Tour from Lisbon: $82
  • 10 Days Private Tour in Portugal from Lisbon: $2,476
  • 10 Hour Private Tour: Lisbon, Sintra, Cascais and Estoril Highlights: $213
  • 2 Day Street Art Private Tour from Lisbon: $933
  • 2 Days Private Tour In the Algarve from Lisbon: $682
  • 3 Days Private Tour In Lisbon: $639
  • 3 Days Private Tour In the Algarve from Lisbon: $886
  • 3 Days Private Tour. Wines and Gastronomy: $980
  • 3 days Escape in Upper Alentejo, away from the crowds , experience authenticy of POrtugal: $2,053
  • 3-Night Private Tour of Lisbon, Sintra, Cascais, Estoril, Sesimbra and Arrábida: $1,086
  • 3-Night Private Tour of Lisbon, Sintra, Cascais, Estoril, Óbidos, Nazaré and Fátima: $954

Tours and Activities in Madrid

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

  • 10 Days Tour Heart of Spain: $1,592
  • 10-Day Andalusia and Morocco escorted tour from Madrid: $1,680
  • 10-Day Guided Tour Morocco and Andalusia from Madrid: $1,709
  • 11-Day Portugal and Andalucia Guided Tour from Madrid: $1,735
  • 12-Day Morocco and South of Spain Tour from Madrid: $1,722
  • 13-Day Mediterranean Capitals Guided Tour from Madrid: $2,114
  • 2 Hour Hidden Oasis Retiro Park Madrid Small Group Segway Tour: $33
  • 2 Hours Secrets of Madrid Retiro Park Tour: $11
  • 2-Day Guided Tour Cordoba and Seville from Madrid: $404
  • 2-Day guided tour Caceres & Sevilla from Madrid by Bus and High Speed Train: $361
  • 2-Hour Patisserie Experience for Dessert Lovers: $50
  • 2-Hour Tour of Prado Museum in Madrid: $72

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lisbon 14
    Madrid 16

Sample the Local Flavors in Lisbon

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

  • 1-Hour Portuguese Wine Tasting Session: $22
  • 3-Hour Portuguese History & Flavors Food & Wine Tour: $30
  • Portuguese Wine Tasting and Cheese Lunch: $56
  • Christ the King and Arrábida Small-Group Tour with Wine Tasting from Lisbon: $58
  • Craft Beer, Port & Wine Tour: $68
  • Food & Wine Tasting Walking Tour: $75
  • Santuário Cristo Rei-Sesimbra-Castle Palmela-Bacalhoa Winery with wine tasting: $81
  • Full-Day Évora Wine Tour: $84
  • Wine Tasting in Lisbon: $87
  • Private Van Tour Arrabida and Wine Tasting: $89
  • Wine tasting Private Day Tour ARRABIDA: $92
  • Van Private Tour Arrábida Wine Tour: $96

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 in Madrid: $15
  • Pub Crawl Madrid by Madpartycrew: $19
  • Wine Tasting near Plaza Mayor: $20
  • Wine Tasting Experience: $32
  • Wine Tasting Experience: $43
  • Madrid Tapas and Mysteries Walking Tour with Private Option and Pub Crawl: $47
  • Wine Tasting and Flamenco Master Class in Madrid: $58
  • Segovia and Spanish Versailles Full-Day Tour with Wine Tasting: $62
  • Old Town Madrid Gourmet Tapas and Wine Tasting Walking Tour: $82
  • Gourmet Tapas & Wine Tasting Experience In Madrid: $91
  • Madrid Tapas and Wine Tasting Tour: $93
  • Madrid Tapas Diaries- A Premium Food & Wine Tour in the old city of Madrid: $123


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

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Lisbon vs. Madrid Travel Comparison

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