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

Should you visit Madrid or Rome?

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 Rome 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 is a cultural, diverse, and compact city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. Other popular activities here include nightlife, live music, and food.


Rome is a ancient, archeological, and bustling 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 and Rome: Pros and Cons

  • 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
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Colosseum

Is there more to do in Madrid or Rome?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Rome than Madrid. While Madrid is larger than Rome, Rome has more sights and attractions for tourists. Rome is more touristy than Madrid and is popular for its iconic archaeological sites such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, as well as its gelato, Italian cuisine, and strong religious roots. Also, Rome is famous for The Colosseum. Madrid is well known for its art and architecture, its tapas and culinary scene, and its lively flamenco dancing.

The Colosseum
The Colosseum

How is Madrid different from Rome?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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


Rome 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 Rome from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The historical sights around the city are among the most impressive in the world. Almost anywhere you look you'll find a notable landmark but some of the most famous include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, and the Roman Forum.

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 Madrid or Rome? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at world-class restaurants in both Madrid and Rome.

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. 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.

Eat your way through Rome, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. Homemade pasta, fresh sauces, and fine wine all make the food scene among the best. Also make sure you try the gelato.

Is Madrid or Rome Better for Nightlife?


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

Rome is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. You'll find a huge concentration of bars and clubs in the Testaccio area. There are late night clubs with salsa dancing, merengue, and live DJ's spinning every type of music.

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 Madrid or Rome Better for Music?


Madrid and Rome are both destinations where visitors can find world-class 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 Rome Popular music venues include Live Alcazar, Atlantico Live, and Beba do Samba.

Is the Shopping Better in Madrid or Rome?


If you're looking to go shopping, Madrid and Rome both offer plenty of world-class 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 Rome make it a world-class shopping destination. For the biggest brand names, head to Via del Corso, which is near the Spanish Steps. Popular items to buy include Italian ceramics, shoes, leather goods, and jewelry.

Is Madrid or Rome Better for Families?


Both Madrid and Rome are great 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.

Rome is a very kid-friendly city. What kid wouldn't be thrilled to be surrounded by pizza and spaghetti restaurants? In addition to kid-friendly food options, there are also a number of great activities that the whole family can enjoy including exploring the Colosseum, taking a gladiator class, and eating gelato.

Is Madrid or Rome Better for Couples?


Both Madrid and Rome are great destinations for a couple's getaway.

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.

Rome is a very popular place to visit for couples. With many beautiful buildings, world class restaurants, and world renowned sights, this city makes a great romantic destination.

Is Madrid or Rome Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


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

Many backpackers frequent Rome. Backpackers will find no shortage of hostels where they can stay, particularly near the main train station where accommodation is particularly cheap (but not always the best quality).

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 Madrid or Rome Better for Students?


For students, both Madrid and Rome are world-class 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.

Rome is a very popular place to visit for students. The city is a popular study abroad destination and you'll find plenty of international students here.

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


Madrid and Rome both offer world-class 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 Rome is top-notch. There's a metro system, trams, and a comprehensive bus system that goes around the city.

Is Madrid or Rome a more walkable city?


Madrid and Rome are world-class 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.

It is easy to get around Rome on foot. You'll find many of the most popular sights in a compact area that's easily explored on foot. Do watch out for traffic, which can be a bit chaotic at times.

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

Should I spend more time in Rome or Madrid?

How long in Madrid or Rome?

Both Madrid and Rome have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Rome than in Madrid. Usually, 2-5 days is a good amount of time for Madrid, and 3-7 days is enough time in Rome.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Rome 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 Rome.

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

One day in Madrid or Rome?

Madrid is a big city destination where you can fill many days. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

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

A weekend in Madrid or Rome?

Madrid is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Rome 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 Rome?

Madrid is a cultural big city where you can fill many days. This city offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

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

The diverse city of Madrid offers shopping and museums. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. 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.

Many travelers enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the bustling big city of Rome. 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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Contiki Tours to Spain, The Best G Adventures Tours to Spain, The Best Luxury Tours to Italy, and The Best Budget Tours to Italy.

Which place is cheaper, Rome or Madrid?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Madrid is €136, while the average daily cost in Rome is €170. 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 Madrid and Rome in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Madrid 77
    Rome 89
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Madrid 154
    Rome 178
Compare Hotels in Madrid and Rome

Looking for a hotel in Madrid or Rome? 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 Rome

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: Madrid Hotel Prices and Rome Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Madrid 19
    Rome 21
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Madrid

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

  • Taxi Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Madrid

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

  • Private One-Way Transfer to OR from Madrid Airport with private pick up: $78
  • Arrival Private Transfer Madrid Airport MAD to Madrid City by Van: $71
  • Arrival Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Madrid in Private Van: $83
  • Arrival Transfer: Madrid Airport MAD to Madrid in Luxury Van: $87
  • Departure Private Transfer Madrid to MAD Airport in a Minibus: $137
  • Departure Private Transfer from Madrid to MAD Airport by Van: $69
  • From Madrid Airport: 1-Way Private Hotel Transfer: $81
  • From Hot Air Balloon over Segovia with Transfer: $266
  • Hotel Madrid City Private Transfer To Madrid Barajas Airport: $26
  • Madrid Airport (MAD): Private Transfer to Madrid: $176
  • Madrid Airport One-Way or Round-Trip Transfers: $59
  • Madrid Airport Private Arrival Transfer: $45

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Rome

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

  • Metro Ride (for Two)
  • Train to the Airport
  • Taxi to Airport
  • Bicycle Rental (Full Day)

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rome

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Rome:

  • Rome Airport: Round Trip Transfer to Venice Cruise Port: $4,068
  • Trieste Port: One-Way Private Transfer to/from Rome Hotels: $2,568
  • Fiumucino Rome Airport (FCO): 1-Way Transfer To Trieste Port: $2,568
  • Luxury Private Transfer Siena to Rome Fiumicino Airport: $986
  • Luxury private transfer Siena to Rome Ciampino airport: $948
  • Private luxury transfer Siena to Rome city center: $948
  • Luxury van transfers: Rome Airport: $921
  • Private Transfer from Amalfi to Rome or viceversa: $775
  • From Sorrento: Private Transfer to Rome or Vice Versa: $742
  • Verona Airport (VRN) : One-Way Private Transfer to Ravenna: $715
  • Sorrento to Rome 1-Way Private Transfer: $672
  • Private Transfer from Naples to Rome or viceversa: $629

Is it cheaper to fly into Madrid or Rome?

Prices for flights to both Rome 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 Meals for one day
    Madrid 34
    Rome 47
Typical Food Prices in Madrid

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

  • Coffee
  • Ice Cream
  • Kebabs (for 2)
  • Croissant
  • Lunch at Airport (for 2)

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Madrid

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

  • Tipsy Tapas Food Tour with Drinks and Food: $27
  • Drunken Tapas Food Tour with Dinner in Madrid: $33
  • Tapas Dinner Party Food Tour with Guide: $34
  • Tapas Crawl Food Tour with 6 Tapas and 4 Drinks: $36
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $42
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Tour with Dinner and Drinks: $43
  • Madrid Tapas Dinner Party with Guide: $43
  • Paella and Sangria Workshop with Dinner and Drinks: $48
  • San Miguel Market and Street Food Tour: $53
  • The Authentic Morning Madrid's Food Tour: $60
  • Opera and Zarzuela Show and Dinner: $62
  • Madrid San Miguel Market and City Center Street Food Tour: $63

Typical Food Prices in Rome

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

  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
  • 4 Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Cafe e doce
  • Pizza (Fast Food)
  • Sitdown Lunch (for Two)
  • Cheese and bread
  • Espresso
  • Dinner

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rome

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

  • Award-Winning Roman Food Tours: $16
  • Eat Pasta in Rome, Testaccio - Self-Guided Walking Food Tour: $17
  • Tasty Trionfale Farmers Market Food Tour and Local Wines Tasting: $26
  • Hard Rock Cafe Rome with Set Lunch or Dinner: $30
  • Rome City Center Largest Farmers Market and Street Food Tour : $32
  • Wine Tasting and Food Tour at Vatican and Trionfale Farmers: $32
  • Vatican Street Food Tour around the Biggest Fresh Market in Rome: $32
  • Food Tour of the Vatican with Farmers Market and Wine Tasting: $32
  • Tipsy Food Tour: $33
  • Guided Food Tour with Drinks Included in Rome: $34
  • Dinner in Carbonara,Amatriciana,Cacio&Pepe e wine tasting : $35
  • Drunken Night and Dinner with a Local Guide: $36

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Madrid 34
    Rome 36

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
  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • Guided tour of the Madrid of spies: $3.28
  • Madrid Mountains Free Walking Tour: $3.28
  • Wonders of Madrid Walking Tour: $4.33
  • Marvels of Madrid Walking Tour: $4.33
  • Secrets of Madrids Walking Tour: $4.33
  • Escape Game and Tour: $4.33
  • Madrid Old Town & Hidden Gems Walking Tour: $4.33
  • Ticket Entrance to the Madrid Nougat Museum: $5.42
  • Mapfre Foundation Entry Ticket: $5.42
  • Private Audio Guided Walking Tour in Madrid: $5.45

Typical Entertainment Prices in Rome

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

  • Rome Museum Vaticano (for 2)
  • Coliseum Tickets (for Two)
  • Roma Pass
  • Hop on Hop Off Bus (All Day)
  • Segway Tour

Tours and Activities in Rome

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

  • Borghese Gallery Skip-the-Line Ticket & Golf Cart Ride: $56
  • Castel Sant Angelo Skip the Line Tickets: $39
  • Colosseum & Ancient Rome Tour: $80
  • Colosseum Arena Floor Guided Tour with Ancient Rome Access : $195
  • Colosseum Arena Floor with Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Tour: $74
  • Colosseum Tour With Kids: $195
  • Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Tour: $185
  • Complete St Peters Basilica Tour with Dome Climb and Crypt: $43
  • Cruise into Rome?! Full-Day Rome Discovery from Civitavecchia : $96
  • Doria Pamphilj Gallery Entry Ticket : $43
  • Electric - Bike 3 hour Tour : $56
  • Exclusive Private Golf Cart Tours Rome : $216

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Madrid 20
    Rome 18
Typical Alcohol Prices in Madrid

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

  • Beer
  • Drinks and Tapas (for 2)

Sample the Local Flavors in Madrid

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Madrid:

  • Madrid's Live Music Bar Crawl: $6.50
  • Pub Crawl with Tapas and VIP Club Entry: $9.75
  • Madrid Pub Crawl with VIP Club Entrance: $11
  • Visit to the Winery with Wine Tasting and Appetizers in Navarra: $12
  • Pub crawl & Party Tour Madrid: $14
  • Pub Crawl Madrid Running since 2005 Bar Exploration: $16
  • Guided Pub Crawl Madrid Experience and Club Entry: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $19
  • Wine Tasting Experience with 4 Spanish Wines: $26
  • Wine Tour with tasting in the Natural Park of La Mata: $38
  • Wine Tasting Experience: $50
  • Toledo Day Trip with Winery Visit and Wine Tasting: $56

Typical Alcohol Prices in Rome

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

  • Bottle of Wine
  • Pint of Beer
  • Beer

Sample the Local Flavors in Rome

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

  • Trionfale and Prati Food and Wine Tasting Tour: $31
  • Vatican Food and Wine Tasting Tour next to the Sistine Chapel: $32
  • Trionfale Farmers Market and Vatican Quarter Food and Wine Tour: $32
  • Bar Crawl with Local Guide & Drinks: $53
  • Roman Night Life and Burlesque Show Tour: $54
  • Guided Wine Tasting Experience in a Roman Vineyard: $54
  • Local Wine Tasting: $60
  • Small-Group Exclusive Winery and Wine Tasting Tour in Frascati: $60
  • Pasta Making Class & Wine Tasting in a Trasteve Villa: $68
  • E-Bike Night Tour with Food and Wine Tasting: $75
  • Wine Tour in Romes Historic center: $75
  • Italy in a Glass - Wine Tasting and Food Pairing Tour in Rome: $77

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Madrid and Rome, we can see that Rome 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 Rome would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Rome 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 Madrid Expensive? and Is Rome Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Madrid or Rome?

Madrid has a larger population, and is about 22% larger than the population of Rome. When comparing the sizes of Madrid and Rome, 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.