A Travel Price Comparison for Spain Malaga vs. Madrid for Food, Nightlife, Music, and Backpackers

Should you visit Malaga or Madrid?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Malaga and Madrid. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Malaga

Malaga is a beautiful, friendly, and welcoming port city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, live music, and food.

Madrid

Madrid is a cultural, diverse, and compact 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 live music, food, and shopping.

Malaga and Madrid: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Good for shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities


How is Malaga different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Malaga or Madrid Better for Food?

Malaga
Madrid

Both Malaga and Madrid offer a number of unique restaurants to choose from.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Malaga. Head to any of the local food markets and seafood shops to try local cuisine. Also make sure you try tapas and a filling Andalusian breakfast.

For foodies, Madrid is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. 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 Malaga or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

Malaga
Madrid

Both Malaga and Madrid are comparable when it comes to partying.

Malaga is a world class party destination. The city has some of the most active nightlife in Europe. There are plenty of opportunities to party in Malaga and you'll find the most vibrant nightlife in the Centro Historico.

Madrid is a must-see 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 Malaga or Madrid Better for Music?

Malaga
Madrid

Both Malaga and Madrid offer a variety of live music venues.

The music scene in Malaga is very popular with diverse venues. The city has venues that offer pop, rock, blues, soulful, and more. Some of the most popular include ZZ club, Clarence Jazz Club, and Velvet Club.

Madrid has become a mecca for musicians from 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.

Is Malaga or Madrid Better for Shopping?

Malaga
Madrid

Madrid is generally considered to be a more popular shopping destination.

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.

Malaga has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are a number of shopping areas in the city with both local boutiques and name brands.

Is Malaga or Madrid Better for Families?

Malaga
Madrid

Both Malaga and Madrid are family-friendly destinations.

Malaga is a family-friendly place to visit. The city has castles that you can explore as well as a waterpark.

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 Malaga or Madrid Better for Couples?

Malaga
Madrid

Malaga and Madrid both fun destinations for a couple.

Malaga makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. It has a beautiful coastline and a rich history that makes it unique.

Madrid makes for a fun place to visit for 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 Malaga or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Malaga
Madrid

Both Malaga and Madrid are popular destinations for backpackers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Malaga. From an endless supply of hostels to plenty of opportunities to meet other backpackers, this is a very backpacker friendly area.

A large number of backpackers visit Madrid, as it is a very popular port city for budget travelers. The many hostels around town make it easy for backpackers to find affordable accommodation while also meeting other travelers.

Is Malaga or Madrid Better for Students?

Malaga
Madrid

Malaga and Madrid are both good destinations for students and younger travelers.

Many students visit Malaga. The city has many opportunities to learn Spanish. It's also an affordable city with a young population and a lively atmosphere that appeals to international students.

Many students frequent 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 Malaga or Madrid Better for Public Transit?

Malaga
Madrid

While Malaga and Madrid both provide public transit, overall the system in Madrid is considered to be better.

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.

Malaga has some public transit options. There is an efficient bus system as well as a light metro system.


Is Malaga or Madrid a more walkable city?

Malaga
Madrid

Malaga and Madrid both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Malaga is a very walkable port city. It has a very compact and walkable historic center with most of the tourist attractions easily accessible on foot.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Madrid. 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 Malaga?

How long in Malaga or Madrid?

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

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


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

One day in Malaga or Madrid?

Many travelers enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the destination of Malaga. 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 Malaga or Madrid?

Malaga is a great place to explore. Don't miss the nightlife, as that's what most people do. 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 Malaga or Madrid?

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

Many travelers enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the welcoming destination of Malaga. This port 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 diverse 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 Malaga?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Malaga is €106, 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 Malaga and Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Malaga 54
    Madrid 59
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Malaga 108
    Madrid 118
Compare Hotels in Malaga and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Malaga 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 Malaga


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: Malaga Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Malaga 25
    Madrid 15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Malaga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Malaga:

  • Private 5 days in Malaga - Private tours and arrival and departure transfer: $1,695
  • Private Transfer from Málaga to Faro (FAO) Airport: $909
  • Departure Private Transfer Malaga Airport AGP to Seville Airport by Luxury Van: $742
  • Private Transfer: Malaga Airport (AGP) to Malaga: $622
  • Private Transfer: Malaga to Malaga Airport (AGP): $622
  • Malaga Airport: Cadiz, Jerez, Chiclana & Rota private arrival transfer: $614
  • Departure Private Transfer Malaga Airport AGP to Seville SVQ by Business Car: $611
  • Private Transfer from Malaga Airport (AGP) to Huelva: $552
  • Private Transfer from Malaga Airport (AGP) to Sanlúcar la Mayor: $486
  • Private Transfer from Malaga Airport (AGP) to Cádiz: $475
  • Private Transfer from Malaga Airport (AGP) to Novo Sancti Petri: $464
  • Private Transfer from Malaga Airport (AGP) to Retamar: $443

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Malaga or Madrid?

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

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


  • Breakfast for 2
    8.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Malaga

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

  • Sardines Espetos Cooking Workshop: $73
  • Malaga Food Tour - Do Eat Better Experience: $86
  • Sardines On Skewers Cooking Class in Malaga: $111
  • Malaga Sunset Cruise and Restaurant Dinner: $112
  • Málaga Swim Cruise with Tapas Dinner and Flamenco Show: $128
  • Malaga Catamaran Cruise with BBQ Lunch and Port Restaurant Dinner: $146
  • Malaga Market Visit and Cooking Class in Malaga Countryside House: $149

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.
    Malaga 25
    Madrid 27
Typical Entertainment prices in Malaga

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


  • Entrance to Castillos
    7.10
  • Concert
    31

Tours and Activities in Malaga

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

  • 1 Hour Malaga Panoramic Segway Tour: $39
  • 1-hour Segway Tour in Malaga: $28
  • 1.5-Hour Roman Theater and Alcazaba Castle Walking Tour: $16
  • 2-day Granada, Toledo & Madrid Tour from Costa del Sol: $311
  • 2-hour E-bike Tour of Malaga: $30
  • 3 Hours Malaga Tapas Crawl Tour: $83
  • 4-Day Morocco Tour: Fez, Meknes, Rabat and Tangier: $671
  • 5-Day Morocco Tour: Casablanca, Marrakech, Meknes, Fez and Rabat from Malaga: $677
  • 6-Night Morocco Tour from Fez, Meknes, Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier: $899
  • 7-Day Morocco Tour from Costa del Sol: Fez, Meknes, Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier: $899
  • 8 Days Morocco Tour From Spain: $1,460
  • 90min Segway Small Group Tour in Malaga: $34

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

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Malaga 18
    Madrid 16

Sample the Local Flavors in Malaga

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

  • Malaga Nightlife - Pub Crawl Tour with Skip-the-line Club Access: $26
  • Frigiliana Small-Group Hike and Wine Tasting Tour from Malaga: $49
  • Muscatel Winery Tour and Wine Tastings from Malaga: $75
  • Malaga Tapas and Wine Tour: $81
  • Flamenco, Tapas and Wine Tour: BEST OF Málaga in one evening!: $108
  • Private Ronda Wine Tour with Tapas Including a Visit to Ronda: $404
  • Ronda Private Full Day Wine Tour with Tapas: $406
  • Malaga Shore Excursion: Panoramic Buggy Tour with Wine Tasting in a Historical Cellar: $481

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 Malaga 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.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Share This Page
Pin This Page
Malaga vs. Madrid Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.