A Travel Price Comparison for Spain Madrid vs. Barcelona for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Music

Should you visit Madrid or Barcelona?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Madrid and Barcelona can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Madrid

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

Barcelona

Barcelona is a colorful, laid-back, and historic city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. Many visitors also come here because of it's amazing beauty. Other reasons to visit include beaches, shopping, and museums.

Madrid and Barcelona: Pros and Cons

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


How is Madrid different from Barcelona?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Madrid or Barcelona better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Spend time exploring the sights and museums in either Madrid or Barcelona.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Madrid. 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.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Barcelona are among the most recognizable in the world. Architecture and history all contribute to the city's impressive sights and museums. Famous landmarks include the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Casa Milà, and the Palace of Catalan Music.

Madrid
Barcelona


Is Madrid or Barcelona better for Food?

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at great restaurants in both Madrid and Barcelona.

Many restaurants in Madrid have been singled out for their culinary prowess. 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.

Eat your way through Barcelona, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. With easy access to fresh produce, there are many food markets around town. You'll also find great fresh local dishes at the many restaurants. Make sure you try the paella, croquettes, and Jamon Iberico.

Madrid
Barcelona

Is Madrid or Barcelona better for Nightlife?

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find comparable options between Madrid and Barcelona.

Madrid is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. 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.

Barcelona has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. The city offers an amazing nightlife at a much more affordable price than many places in Europe. There are beach parties, boat parties, and bars that stay packed late into the night. The city also hosts many street fiestas and music festivals.

Madrid
Barcelona

Is Madrid or Barcelona better for Music?

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

Madrid is known as a music capital around the world. 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.

Live music, and music in many other forms, is everyone in Barcelona Popular music venues include Tablao de Carmen, Razzmatazz, and Jamboree.

Madrid
Barcelona

Is Madrid or Barcelona better for Shopping?

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

People travel from around the world to go shopping in Madrid. 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.

The abundance of shops in Barcelona make it a world-class shopping destination. Head to Portal De L’Angel, Rambla de Catalunya, or Passeig De Gracia for some of the city's best shopping districts.

Madrid
Barcelona


Is Madrid or Barcelona better for Families?

Both Madrid and Barcelona are fun to visit with kids.

Madrid is a very family-friendly destination. 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.

Barcelona is a very kid-friendly city. Check out the Magic Fountains Show near Plaça d’Espanya, wander through the aquarium, or sample some chocolate at the Chocolate Museum. There are also many great parks and playgrounds around town.

Madrid
Barcelona

Is Madrid or Barcelona better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

For backpackers, both Madrid and Barcelona are fairly comparable places to visit.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Barcelona. There are many hostels around town, each with its own personality. Many of the hostels also organize activities or dinners for guests so it's easy to meet other travelers.

Madrid
Barcelona

Is Madrid or Barcelona better for Students?

For students, both Madrid and Barcelona are fairly comparable places to visit.

Madrid is a very popular city 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.

Barcelona is a very popular place to visit for students. This is a popular study abroad destination and you'll find international students from around the world. It's a beautiful city with plenty to see and do.

Madrid
Barcelona

Is Madrid or Barcelona better for Public Transit?

Madrid and Barcelona both offer public transit to get you around.

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

Public transit in Barcelona is top-notch. There's a metro, bus, and tram system that navigates the city.

Madrid
Barcelona


Is Madrid or Barcelona a more walkable city?

Madrid and Barcelona are similar when it comes to 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.

Barcelona is a very walkable city. The city is more spread out than some other major European cities, but there are many plazas and outdoor areas that are fun to explore on foot. The city has designed "superilles," which are areas where car traffic has been directed around pedestrian-friendly plazas so visitors can explore, relax, or play.

Madrid
Barcelona

Should I spend more time in Barcelona or Madrid?

How long in Madrid or Barcelona?

Both Madrid and Barcelona have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Barcelona than Madrid.

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


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

One day in Madrid or Barcelona?

People visit Madrid because there is so much to do. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Many travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the big city destination of Barcelona. 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.

A weekend in Madrid or Barcelona?

People visit Madrid because there is so much to do. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Barcelona 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.

Five days in Madrid or Barcelona?

People visit Madrid because there is so much to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this city makes for a great vacation. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer.

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


A week in Madrid or Barcelona?

Madrid is a popular choice for travelers. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Many travelers enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the colorful big city of Barcelona. 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.

Which city is cheaper, Barcelona or Madrid?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Madrid is €107, while the average daily cost in Barcelona is €123. 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 Madrid and Barcelona in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Madrid 59
    Barcelona 75
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Madrid 118
    Barcelona 150
Compare Hotels in Madrid and Barcelona

Looking for a hotel in Madrid or Barcelona? 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 Madrid


Hotels in Barcelona


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.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Madrid 15
    Barcelona 15
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 Madrid airport MAD to city centre: $9.41
  • Ultra - Madrid Private Airport Transfer from city centre to Madrid airport MAD: $9.41
  • Hotel Madrid City Private Transfer To Madrid Barajas Airport: $29
  • Private Airport Transfer: Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD) to Madrid: $29
  • Private Airport Transfer: Madrid to Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD): $29
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Madrid City to Madrid Barajas Airport: $31
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Madrid Barajas Airport to City: $31
  • Madrid Barajas Airport Private Transfer To Alcorcón, & cities close to Madrid: $33
  • Madrid to Madrid Airport (MAD) - Departure Private Van Transfer: $34
  • Madrid Airport (MAD) to Madrid - Arrival Private Van Transfer: $34
  • Madrid Barajas Airport Private Transfer To Madrid City: $34
  • Premium Private Transfer from Madrid Airport to Madrid Hotels: $37

Typical Local Transportation prices in Barcelona

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


  • 10 Trip Metro Ticket
    7.80
  • Airport Bus
    5.00
  • Metro
    2.10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Barcelona

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Barcelona:

  • Private 5 days in Barcelona with private transfers and private tours: $1,524
  • Private 5 days in Barcelona with tours and transfers and pick up and drop off: $1,213
  • Private Round-Trip transfer from Barcelona Airport or Barcelona city to Andorra: $876
  • Private 3 days in Barcelona with private tours and transfers: $796
  • Montserrat Monastery Tour & Hot Air Balloon Flight, Including Transfer, Lunch, Photos, Cava: $791
  • Private Transfer & Tours to Andorra from Barcelona 10 Hours: $597
  • Barcelona city or airport to Andorra Private Transfer: $564
  • Private Transfer from Barcelona travel to Andorra: $554
  • Transfer Barcelona-Madrid: $531
  • Private Round-Trip Transfer to Montserrat from Barcelona: $529
  • Private Transfer: Andorra to Barcelona City or BCN Airport by Luxury Van: $522
  • Barcelona city to Andorra Private Transfer: $520

Is it cheaper to fly into Madrid or Barcelona?

Prices for flights to both Barcelona and Madrid 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
    Madrid 27
    Barcelona 27
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

Typical Food prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of dining costs in Barcelona are as follows:


  • Hot Cocoa & Churro
    4.15
  • Sandwich
    1.70
  • Baguette & Horchata
    3.80
  • Tapas on the beach
    8.28
  • Gelatto
    2.50

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Barcelona

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

  • Live from Potato Gnocchi Online Cooking Class: $23
  • Live from Barcelona to China: Potato Gnocchi Online Cooking Class: $23
  • Barcelona organic dinner in a beautiful rooftop garden: $35
  • Paella Cooking Experience + Boqueria Market Tour: $48
  • Interactive Spanish Cooking Experience in Barcelona: $49
  • Hands-on Brunch Cooking Class with Bottomless Mimosas!: $50
  • Born district food tour and tasting in Barcelona: $51
  • Street Food Tour & Gothic Quater Sightseeing with Local Expert: $52
  • Barcelona Street Food Tour: Local Market & Gothic Quarter with Expert Guide: $52
  • Tasty Barcelona Street Food Tour With Local Market Visit: $59
  • Skip the Line: Flamenco Show and Dinner Ticket: $62
  • 2-Hour Bites & Flavors Private Food Tour: $66

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Madrid 27
    Barcelona 27

Tours and Activities in Madrid

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

  • Prado Museum Self-Guided Audio Tour App: $3.97
  • Madrid's Private Tour with your Family: Highlights & Hidden Gems: $4.04
  • A local's Tuck into the city's history and some tapas on an audio tour: $5.00
  • History Tour of The Town Too High To Die Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.13
  • Let's Tapear! The Madrid Tapas Route Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.43
  • Madrid from the Inquisition to Multiculturalism Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.43
  • Madrid Private Tour: Fun Old Town Exploration Game: $7.45
  • Skip the Line: Museo Lázaro Galdiano Admission Ticket: $8.71
  • Madrid 90 Minutes Kickstart Private Tour: $9.95
  • Skip the Line: Ticket for the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid: $9.95
  • Tours from Home: Intro to Madrid: $10
  • 2 Hours Secrets of Madrid Retiro Park Tour: $11

Typical Entertainment prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Barcelona are as follows:


  • Picasso Walking Tour and Museum Pass
    42
  • Souvenir Gaudi Book
    8.55
  • Admission to Museo Picasso
    6.00

Tours and Activities in Barcelona

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Barcelona are as follows:

  • #1dayBarcelona. 6-Hour Action Packed Private City Discovery Tour: $549
  • 'Game Of Thrones' Small Group Tour in Girona from Barcelona: $125
  • 1 hour private sailing tour: $158
  • 1,5 hour Vermut & Sailing Experience Barcelona with drinks and snacks!: $41
  • 1-hour Private Speedboat Cruise from Barcelona: $372
  • 1.5-Hour Sights of Barcelona E-Bike Tour Led by a Local Guide: $34
  • 2 Hours Private Sailing Tour for Family and Friends: $316
  • 2 Hours Running Tour in Barcelona with Local Guide: $35
  • 2 hour Private Sunset Sailing Cruise Barcelona: $372
  • 2 hour Sailing Cruise Barcelona: $47
  • 2 hour Sunset Sailing Cruise Barcelona: $47
  • 2 hours Exclusive Sunrise Sailing Experience from Port Vell: $335

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Madrid 16
    Barcelona 14
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

Sample the Local Flavors in Barcelona

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Barcelona:

  • Estrella Damm Brewery Guided Tour with Tasting: $9.08
  • Generation Pub Crawl in Barcelona: $19
  • Barcelona Pub Crawl: $20
  • Wine Tasting Experience in Barcelona: $22
  • Opera Samfaina: Food and Wine Tasting Interactive Experience in Barcelona: $26
  • Wine tasting & tapas: $39
  • Barcelona Guided Local Wine Tasting Tour: $44
  • Wine Tasting near Sagrada Familia: $47
  • Home Food and Wine Tasting with Wine Lover: $51
  • Fun Wine Tasting in Barcelona with a Sommelier!: $53
  • Spanish wine tasting in a historic building with a Sommelier: $54
  • Food Tasting Tapas and Wine Tour: $62


When comparing the travel costs between Madrid and Barcelona, we can see that Barcelona 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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Madrid vs. Barcelona Travel Comparison

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