A Travel Price Comparison for Spain Marbella vs. Madrid for Food, Nightlife, Music, and Couples

Should you visit Marbella or Madrid?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Marbella or Madrid, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Marbella

Marbella is a high energy, ritzy, and glamorous resort town. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and shopping.

Madrid

Madrid is a authentic, cultural, and diverse city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and live music.

Marbella and Madrid: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities


Is there more to do in Marbella or Madrid?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Madrid than Marbella. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Madrid is very popular for its museums, food, music, and big city activities, while Marbella attracts visitors for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, historical sights, and impressive beauty. Marbella is famous for its luxury hotels, beautiful beaches, and lively nightlife. Madrid is famous for its art and architecture, its tapas and culinary scene, and its lively flamenco dancing. It is also well known for The Prado Museum.

How is Marbella different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Marbella
Madrid

Madrid is a nice place to visit for its museums and history. However, Marbella does not have museums and landmarks.

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.

Marbella does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Marbella
Madrid

Madrid is very popular for its restaurants. Also, Marbella is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Madrid is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. 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.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Marbella area. The area is filled with tourists, so finding an authentic dining experience can be difficult. Several favorite dishes include croquetas, boquerones, and pulpo.

Is Marbella or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

Marbella
Madrid

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

Marbella is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. European tourists flock to the town for its beaches and resorts. The town has a glamorous nightlife scene with exclusive clubs and ritzy cocktail bars, particularly in Puerto Banus and along the Golden Mile.

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 Marbella or Madrid Better for Music?

Marbella
Madrid

Madrid is very popular for its live music scene. Also, Marbella is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its music scene.

With so many music venues, you're guaranteed a show any night of the week in Madrid. 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.

Music is a popular form of entertainment in Marbella. Some of the best music venues include Starlite, Kitch Social Club, and Momento.


Is Marbella or Madrid Better for Resorts?

Marbella
Madrid

Marbella is renowned for its luxury resorts. However, Madrid is not a resort destination.

Marbella is a world class resort vacation destination. From luxury to family-friendly, this area has plenty of resorts to choose from. Popular resorts in the area include Marbella Club Hotel, Puente Romano Marbella, and Don Carlos Resort and Spa.

Madrid is not a resort destination.

Is Marbella or Madrid Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Marbella
Madrid

Marbella is renowned for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. However, Madrid is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Marbella is a world class destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. There are more than 100 dive sights and endless snorkeling opportunities in the area. There are deep offshore reefs that you can explore as well as shallower wrecks and caves.

Madrid is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Marbella or Madrid Better for Beaches?

Marbella
Madrid

Marbella is renowned for its beaches. However, Madrid is not a beach destination.

Marbella is considered to be a world-class beach destination. The area boasts some of the best beaches in Europe. They are hubs of activity with lots of energy, and there are more than 18 miles of sandy beach in the area. Popular options include Guadalmina Beach, San Pedro de Alcántara Beach, and Nueva Andalucía Beach.

Madrid is not a beach destination.


Is Marbella or Madrid Better for its Old Town?

Marbella
Madrid

Marbella is a resort town with good options for its historic old town. However, Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Marbella is a good destination for visiting its old town. Head into the old town to explore a quaint area with small, meandering streets, churches, restaurants, shops, and cafes.

Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Marbella or Madrid?

Marbella
Madrid

Shoppers can find a variety of first-rate stores in both Marbella and Madrid.

Known for shopping, Marbella draws large crowds to its stores. This area attracts vacationers from around Europe and the shopping is some of the best in Europe.

Madrid is a world class destination for shoppers. 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 Marbella or Madrid Better for Families?

Marbella
Madrid

Marbella and Madrid are both high quality destinations for the whole family.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Marbella is very family-friendly. The area has beautiful, family-friendly beaches and many resorts with pools that are great for kids.

Madrid is known to be 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 Marbella or Madrid Better for Couples?

Marbella
Madrid

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

Marbella is a great resort town for couples, as it has plenty to offer. The area has luxury resorts, nice beaches, water sports, golf, and water activities that are perfect for a honeymoon or a romantic weekend or a honeymoon.

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 Marbella or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Marbella
Madrid

Madrid is a very popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Marbella is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

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

Marbella is a good resort town to visit for backpackers. There are a few good hostels in the area for backpackers who want to enjoy this part of Spain's cost. There's also a lively nightlife scene and plenty of opportunities to meet others.

Is Marbella or Madrid Better for Students?

Marbella
Madrid

Madrid is very popular for its student-friendly activities. However, Marbella is not popular with students.

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.

Marbella is not popular with students.


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

Marbella
Madrid

Madrid is very popular for times when you don't have a car. However, Marbella is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Madrid has an effecient and thorough public transportation system which can take you anywhere in the city. The system includes the Madrid Metro, buses, and a light rail system.

Public transit is generally limited in Marbella. There is a bus system through the area, but most visitors prefer to get around by car.

Is Marbella or Madrid a more walkable city?

Marbella
Madrid

Madrid is very popular for its high level of walkability. Also, Marbella is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its ease of walking around.

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.

Marbella is a very walkable destination. The old town is particularly walkable and there are a number of hotels and nice resorts within a short walk of the town along a nice promenade.

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

Should I spend more time in Madrid or Marbella?

How long in Marbella or Madrid?

In either Marbella or Madrid, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Madrid has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Madrid than Marbella. However, 2-5 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

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


  • How many days in Marbella or Madrid? Ideal Length of Stay
    Marbella 2-5 
    Madrid 2-5

One day in Marbella or Madrid?

Many travelers enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the destination of Marbella. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Madrid is a big city with plenty to do. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


A weekend in Marbella or Madrid?

Marbella 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.

Madrid is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Madrid, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Marbella or Madrid?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Marbella. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Most people come for the beaches. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Madrid is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Madrid, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Marbella or Madrid?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the glamorous destination of Marbella. This resort town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Madrid is a great place to explore. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in Spain, The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Spain, The Best Luxury Tours to Spain, and The Best Budget Tours to Spain.


Which place is cheaper, Madrid or Marbella?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Marbella is €117, while the average daily cost in Madrid is €136. 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 Marbella and Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Marbella 61
    Madrid 77
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Marbella 122
    Madrid 154
Compare Hotels in Marbella and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Marbella 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 Marbella


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: Marbella Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Marbella 24
    Madrid 19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Marbella

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

  • From Malaga: Private Transfer Malaga Airport to Marbella: $238
  • Private Transfer from Benaoján to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $216
  • Private Transfer from Sabinillas to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $177
  • Private Transfer from Puerto de la Duquesa to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $177
  • Private Transfer from Manilva to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $177
  • Private Transfer from Estepona to Malaga (AGP) airport: $157
  • Private Transfer from El Paraíso to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $137
  • Private Transfer from Cancelada to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $137
  • Private Transfer from La Quinta Golf Resort to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $134
  • Private Transfer from Guadalmina to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $134
  • Private Transfer from Benahavís to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $134
  • Private Transfer from Atalaya Park to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $128

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:

  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service in Madrid APT-HTL (MAD): $61
  • Transfers Madrid Airport to Madrid Center in Vans up to 7 Passengers: $47
  • Transfer to Barajas Airport from Madrid: $77
  • Transfer in private minivan from Madrid City - Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD): $75
  • Transfer in private minivan from Madrid Airport (MAD) - Madrid City: $75
  • Transfer from the Airport to Madrid: $110
  • Transfer from Barajas Airport to Madrid: $96
  • Shuttle Transfer Arrivals: Madrid Airport to City Center: $141
  • Segovia: Full-Day Tour with Transfer to and from Madrid: $455
  • Private transfer: Barajas Airport (MAD) to Madrid City Center: $29
  • Private transfer from Airport or Train Station to Madrid: $110
  • Private one way Transfer from/to Madrid to/from Segovia: $154

Is it cheaper to fly into Marbella or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid and Marbella 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
    Marbella 38
    Madrid 34

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Marbella

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

  • Food Tour: $88
  • The Mediterranean Diet & Lifestyle Cooking Class.: $182
  • Gourmet Cooking Class & Culture in the rural Montes de Malaga.: $193

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:

  • 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
  • Torres Bermejas Flamenco Show in Madrid with Dinner, Tapas or Drink: $39
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $42
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $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
  • Iberico Ham and Spanish Wine Small-Group Food Tour: $64

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Marbella 19
    Madrid 34

Tours and Activities in Marbella

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

  • Taste of Marbella Food & Market Small Group Tour : $107
  • 2 h Estepona Bay Tour: $47
  • 2 hours Quad Tour in Marbella - 1 quad for 1/2 persons 160€: $177
  • 3-Hour Private Guided Bicycle Tour in Marbella: $54
  • Bike City Tour Marbella: $33
  • Buggy Adventure with Incredible Views of the Sea and the Reservoir: $110
  • Caminito del Rey and Ardales Guided Tour from Costa del Sol: $76
  • Canyoning Experience Near Marbella (Benahavís River Walk): $44
  • Discover Marbella's Old Town with five-star private tour: $99
  • Dolphin Watching Adventure in Estepona Bay: $39
  • Dolphin Watching Tour on Sailboat in Marbella: $105
  • E-Bike Tour through Marbella/ Puerto Banús and San Pedro: $102

Tours and Activities in Madrid

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

  • Madrid Photo Tour with Pro Photographer Lifestyle and Portrait: $83
  • Madrid Tour and Guided Visit Royal Palace: $77
  • Skip the Line Guided Tour Royal Palace Madrid: $73
  • Toledo with Cathedral from Madrid Full Day Tour: $136
  • 1 Hour Private Tuktuk Tour in Madrid: $99
  • 1 hour tour in Madrid in Tuk Tuk through the best of the city: $121
  • 1-Hour Madrid Segway Tour: $32
  • 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
  • 2.5-Hour Evening Tapas Tour through Madrid: $38
  • 3 Hours Walking Tour in Madrid: $271

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Marbella 5.71
    Madrid 20

Sample the Local Flavors in Marbella

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

  • Manilva & Gaucin Wine Tour from the Costa del Sol: $154
  • From Manilva Sunset Wine Tasting Tour with Tapas: $161
  • Ronda Full Day Wine Tour from Marbella: $198
  • From Antequera Wine Tour with Tastings and Lunch: $216
  • From Axarquia Wine Tour with Wine Pairing Lunch: $237
  • Full-Day Private Ronda Wine Tour Experience from Marbella: $265

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:

  • 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
  • Guided Pub Crawl Madrid Experience and Club Entry: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid Running since 2005 Bar Exploration: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid-The Original since 2005-Shots-Fun-Clubs-Dance: $17
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $19
  • Wine Tasting near Plaza Mayor: $22
  • Wine Tasting Experience with 4 Spanish Wines: $26
  • Wine Tour with tasting in the Natural Park of La Mata: $39


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Marbella and Madrid, we can see that Madrid is more expensive. And not only is Marbella much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Marbella would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Marbella 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 Madrid would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Madrid than you might in Marbella.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Marbella Expensive? and Is Madrid Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Marbella or Madrid?

Madrid has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Marbella. When comparing the sizes of Marbella 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.