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

Should you visit London 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 London and Madrid can help you decide which place is right for you.

London

London is a global, international, and historic 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 theater.

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.

London and Madrid: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights


Is there more to do in London or Madrid?

You'll generally find more things to do in London than Madrid. London is bigger than Madrid, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. London is better known for its museums, theatre productions, nightlife, christmas markets, and impressive beauty, while Madrid is more popular for its food. London is more touristy than Madrid and is known for its international reputation, its world-renowned theater productions, and its many different markets. Also, London is famous for Big Ben. Madrid is well known for its art and architecture, its tapas and culinary scene, and its lively flamenco dancing.

Big Ben
Big Ben

How is London different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

London
Madrid

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

Travelers visit London from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The city has so many iconic sights that we can't list them all, but some of the most famous include the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the British Museum. You can fill many days exploring the treasures found at each of the venues.

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 London or Madrid Better for Theater?

London
Madrid

London is renowned for theatre. However, Madrid is not a theatre destination.

Visitors will find world class theater shows, plays, and musicals in London that are not to be missed. The West End theater district is where you'll find the most popular musicals. Famous theaters include Apollo Theatre, Palace Theatre, and Piccadilly Theatre. There are often Wednesday matinees that are a bit cheaper than the evening shows. You may also be able to get discounted last minute tickets if you're visiting during the less touristy times.

Madrid is not a theatre destination.

Is the Food Better in London or Madrid? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

London
Madrid

Madrid is terrific for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, London 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, London makes for a great culinary experience. Although food here was once the butt of a number of jokes, the restaurant scene has come a long way, and you can find anything and everything around town. Head to Chinatown to try dim sum or hot pot. There are no shortage of Indian restaurants as well. If you want the best food for the lowest prices, your best bet is to get out of the touristy areas and discover where the locals eat. There are also many markets that are perfect for grabbing a unique lunch or snack. Burrough Market has a number of ethnic and seafood vendors as well as fresh produce and snack options.

Is London or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

London
Madrid

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

London is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. Some of the best neighborhoods for nightlife are Camden, West End, Soho, and Shoreditch. There are many festivals, concerts, and shows worth checking out and the nightlife scene is diverse enough that there really is something for everyone.

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 London or Madrid Better for Music?

London
Madrid

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

London has become a mecca for musicians from around the world. Famous music venues include Dominion Theatre, the Roundhouse, and Dublin Castle.

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 the Shopping Better in London or Madrid?

London
Madrid

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

Many people travel to London specifically to go shopping. With so much iconic shopping around town, it's hard to decide where to go. Head to Oxford Street, Regent Street, or Piccadilly Circus for a quintessential British shopping experience.

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 London or Madrid Better for Christmas?

London
Madrid

London is renowned for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Madrid does not offer Christmas activities.

People travel from all around to experience the Christmas season in London. There's Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, outdoor ice skating, and beautiful Christmas lights throughout the city. You can also listen to Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square or see a classic Christmas show.

Madrid does not offer Christmas activities.


Is London or Madrid Better for Christmas Markets?

London
Madrid

London is renowned for visiting Christmas markets. However, Madrid does not offer Christmas markets.

People travel to London specifically to enjoy its famous Christmas markets. The city has many Christmas markets. There is Winter Wonderland Christmas market, Southbank Centre Winter Market, and Selfridges Christmas Market, among many others.

Madrid does not offer Christmas markets.

Is London or Madrid Better for Families?

London
Madrid

London is renowned for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Madrid is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

London is an extremely popular city to visit for families. Whether you do a Harry Potter Tour, take a ride on the London Eye, or enjoy afternoon tea, there are plenty of activities for kids around town. The Harry Potter Studio Tour is fun for everyone, but should be booked well in advance as it sells out. Theatre enthusiasts will enjoy catching a musical in West End and sampling dim sum or a hot pot in Chinatown. There are often Wednesday matinee showings that are perfect for kids with early bedtimes.

Madrid is a very kid-friendly city. 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 London or Madrid Better for Couples?

London
Madrid

London is renowned for romance. Also, Madrid is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its romantic activities.

London is a great city for couples, as it has plenty to offer. With every type of entertainment that you can imagine, this city is the ultimate couple's getaway. There are world class musicals, evening concerts, and restaurants of every style, cuisine, and budget. It's easy for couples to fill days in this vibrant city.

Madrid is a very popular place to visit for couples. 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 London or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

London
Madrid

London is renowned for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Madrid is not as popular, but is still a nice city for backpackers.

Many backpackers frequent London. Although the city is very expensive, it has tons of hostels, affordable restaurant options, and great public transit. There's a huge backpacker network here and it's easy to meet other travelers. The nightlife scene is also second to none.

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

Is London or Madrid Better for Students?

London
Madrid

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

Students come from all over the world to visit London. The city has a number of universities and is a popular study abroad destination. It's also a very diverse city, so international students will feel right at home.

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

London
Madrid

London and Madrid both offer amazing public transit to get you around.

The thorough and effecient public transit system of London can take you anywhere. From the iconic double decker buses to the Tube, there are plenty of options throughout the city.

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


Is London or Madrid a more walkable city?

London
Madrid

London and Madrid are amazing when it comes to walkability.

London is a very easy city to get around on foot. With many walkable areas, it is considered to be one of the world's most walkable major cities.

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

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

Should I spend more time in Madrid or London?

How long in London or Madrid?

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

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

Couples should spend more time in London than Madrid. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in London that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in London than Madrid 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 London.


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

One day in London or Madrid?

London 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.

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 London or Madrid?

London 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 London or Madrid?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in London. 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.

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 London or Madrid?

London is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. 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 friendly 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 place is cheaper, Madrid or London?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in London is £190, while the average daily cost in Madrid is £116. 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 London and Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    London £123
    Madrid £66
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    London £246
    Madrid £132
Compare Hotels in London and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in London 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 London


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: London Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    London £26
    Madrid £16
Typical Local Transportation Prices in London

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


  • Taxi Ride
    £15
  • Heathrow Express
    £18
  • Luggage Storage
    £8.00
  • London Map
    £1.29
  • Oyster Card
    £36
  • Train to Gatwick Airport (2)
    £22
  • Oyster Card
    £27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in London

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

  • Southampton Cruise Terminals: Private Transfer to London: $1,316
  • London Luton Airport (LTN): Transfer to Southampton Port: $840
  • Southampton Port Transfer with Stonehenge stop-over included: $695
  • London Heathrow Airport (LHR): Transfer to Bristol city: $688
  • London Gatwick Airport (LGW): Transfer to Southampton Port: $658
  • Private Transfer London Heathrow Airport to Southampton Port: $583
  • Private Transfer Heathrow to Southampton Cruise Terminal: $570
  • Private Transfer From Southampton Cruise Terminal to London: $570
  • Harry Potter Family Package with Transfers from London: $507
  • Harry Potter Family Package Tickets with Transfer: $507
  • London Stansted Airport (STN): Transfer to Southampton Port: $491
  • Private Transfer London Heathrow Airport to Harwich Port: $445

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Madrid

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


  • Taxi Ride
    £22

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: $455
  • Private Transfer from Caravaca De La Cruz to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $294
  • Private Transfer from Puerto Lumbreras to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $284
  • Private Transfer from Moratalla to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $276
  • Private Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Segovia City by Van: $270
  • From Hot Air Balloon over Segovia with Transfer: $265
  • Private Transfer from Calasparra to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $254
  • Private Transfer from La Manga Puerto Maestre to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $248
  • Balloon Ride with Transfer Option from Madrid City: $238
  • Arrival Private Transfer Madrid Airport MAD to Avila City by Business Car: $231
  • Private Transfer from La Manga Club to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $229
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Segovia City by Minivan: $226

Is it cheaper to fly into London or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid and London 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
    London £34
    Madrid £29
Typical Food Prices in London

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


  • Lunch at Starbucks
    £13
  • Tea
    £6.00
  • Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason
    £39
  • Morning Tea
    £6.35
  • Pastry
    £5.00
  • Sushi Dinner for One
    £18

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in London

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

  • Borough Market Food Tour - Self Guided: $6.59
  • Dinner and Live DJ at A Fancy Restaurant: $17
  • Hard Rock Cafe with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $35
  • Picadilly Circus: Hard Rock Cafe Set Menu Lunch or Dinner: $36
  • Hard Rock Cafe London Old Park Lane with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $38
  • Hard Rock Cafe Piccadilly Circus with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $39
  • Traveling Spoon Nepalese Momos Private Online Cooking Class: $40
  • Notting Hill Self-Guided Food Tour: $62
  • Christmas Tea and Doughnuts: Historic Borough Market Food Tour: $65
  • Tea and Doughnuts: Historic Walking Food Tour of Southwark: $65
  • NO DIET CLUB - Best Food Tour in LDN !: $74
  • Borough Market Flavors of London Food Tour: $75

Typical Food Prices in Madrid

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


  • Coffee
    £1.71
  • Ice Cream
    £2.56
  • Kebabs (for 2)
    £13
  • Croissant
    £1.28
  • Lunch at Airport (for 2)
    £13

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.
    London £33
    Madrid £29
Typical Entertainment Prices in London

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


  • Two Tickets to a Concert
    £83
  • London Symphony Orchestra
    £34
  • London Pass
    £47
  • Comedy Show
    £8.00

Tours and Activities in London

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

  • An Evening in London. Panoramic night Tour by Executive Luxury Vehicle: $232
  • Boogie Shoes Christmas Silent Disco Walking Tours London : $58
  • Boogie Shoes Silent Disco Walking Tour Camden: $64
  • Boogie Shoes Silent Disco Walking Tours Christmas Special: $45
  • David Bowie Golden Years Tour: $32
  • Little Venice and Camden Walking Tour: $97
  • London (Camden Town) Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $12
  • London Covent Garden: Walking Tour with Audio Guide on App: $11
  • London Eye Standard Ticket: $41
  • Madame Tussauds London Standard Ticket: $45
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour Medieval Legends, ghosts and fire: $10
  • Silent Disco Walking Tours West End Boogie Shoes: $45

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
  • Private Combo Tour Prado Museum and Reina Sofia: $224
  • Skip the Line Guided Tour Royal Palace Madrid: $73
  • Toledo with Cathedral from Madrid Full Day Tour: $136
  • 1-Hour Madrid Segway Tour: $32
  • 1-Hour Private Flamenco Class in Madrid Experience: $45
  • 2 Days Guided Cultural Tour in Madrid Royal Palace and 3 Museums : $209
  • 2 Hours Secrets of Madrid Retiro Park Tour: $11
  • 2-Hour Patisserie Experience for Dessert Lovers: $61
  • 2-Hour Private Walking Tour through the Beautiful Streets of Madrid: $50
  • 2-Hour Tour of the Madrid of Mysteries: $14
  • 2-Hour Walking Tour on the History of Islamic Medieval the origins: $39

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    London £15
    Madrid £17

Sample the Local Flavors in London

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

  • Historic Pub Walking Tour of London: $13
  • Camden Pub Crawl in London: $19
  • Shoreditch Pub Crawl in London: $19
  • 2-Hour Haunted Pub Walking Tour: $20
  • Haunted London Pub Walking Tour: $21
  • Central London Pub Crawl: $23
  • 1 Big Night Out Weekday Pub Crawl: $24
  • Craft Brewery Tour with Tasting of 4 Beers: $25
  • Bombay Sapphire Distillery Tour and Cocktail Ticket: $26
  • London Pub Crawl: $27
  • Guided Historic Pub Tour (London): $27
  • Central London Bar Crawl and Nightlife Tour: $29

Typical Alcohol Prices in Madrid

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


  • Beer
    £4.27
  • Drinks and Tapas (for 2)
    £11

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


Which is Bigger, London or Madrid?

London has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Madrid. When comparing the sizes of London 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.