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

Should you visit Paris or Madrid?

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

Should I visit Paris or Madrid? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Paris

Paris is a iconic, bustling, and energetic 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 shopping, museums, and theater.

Madrid

Madrid is a compact, friendly, and authentic city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. Other reasons to visit include food, shopping, and museums.

Paris and Madrid: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Eiffel Tower
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 Paris or Madrid?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Paris than Madrid. While Madrid is larger than Paris, Paris has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Paris is more touristy than Madrid and is known for its world-renowned cuisine, iconic landmarks, trendsetting fashion, and dynamic markets. It is also home to The Eiffel Tower. Madrid is popular for its art and architecture, its tapas and culinary scene, and its lively flamenco dancing.

The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower

How is Paris different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Paris
Madrid

Paris 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 Paris from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. One of the most world famous landmarks is the Eiffel Tower. The city is also home to the world renowned Louvre, Notre-Dame, and Palais Garnier Opera House. In addition to the many iconic sights, there are beautiful buildings and hidden gems throughout the city.

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 Paris or Madrid Better for Theater?

Paris
Madrid

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

Visitors will find world class theater shows, plays, and musicals in Paris that are not to be missed. There are world class theaters as well as smaller local venues where you can enjoy a show.

Madrid is not a theatre destination.

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

Paris
Madrid

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Paris and Madrid.

For foodies, Paris is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. There are countless local restaurants, markets, and patisseries to explore. Make sure you try the steak tartare, pate, and macarons.

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.

Is Paris or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

Paris
Madrid

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

Paris is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. Head to Pigalle or the Latin Quarter for some of the city's best nightlife. There are all-night parties, cabarets, and exclusive night clubs that you can experience.

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 Paris or Madrid Better for Music?

Paris
Madrid

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

Paris is known as a music capital around the world. Some of the most famous music venues include Le Pop In, La Mécanique Ondulatoire, and Les Disquaires. You'll also find many small bars where you can enjoy live music in a quaint setting.

Live music, and music in many other forms, is everyone 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.

Is the Shopping Better in Paris or Madrid?

Paris
Madrid

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

People travel from around the world to go shopping in Paris. Some of the best areas for shopping are Boulevard Haussmann and the Grands Boulevards, the Marais, and Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysées. The city is iconic for its fashion scene and world class shopping venues.

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.

Is Paris or Madrid Better for Christmas?

Paris
Madrid

Paris 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 Paris. The city of lights really proves itself around the holiday season. In addition to checking out the Christmas lights, it's fun to go window shopping or check out one of the city's Christmas markets.

Madrid does not offer Christmas activities.


Is Paris or Madrid Better for Families?

Paris
Madrid

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

Paris is an extremely popular city to visit for families. Check out Jardin du Luxembourg, or one of the city's many playgrounds. Also grab a treat at one of the city's many patisseries. And of course, there's Disneyland Paris.

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 Paris or Madrid Better for Couples?

Paris
Madrid

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

Paris is a great city for couples, as it has plenty to offer. A city filled with romance, you really can't find a more ideal destination for a European honeymoon or a couple's getaway.

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 Paris or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Paris
Madrid

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

Many backpackers frequent Paris. It's a big city, so it's easy to get lost in the chaos, but there are many hostels and other backpacker hangouts around town.

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 Paris or Madrid Better for Students?

Paris
Madrid

For students, both Paris and Madrid are terrific places to visit.

Many students frequent Paris. The city is one of the most popular destinations for international and study abroad students.

Students come from all over the world to visit 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 Paris or Madrid Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Paris
Madrid

Paris and Madrid both offer terrific public transit to get you around.

The thorough and effecient public transit system of Paris can take you anywhere. The city's metro system is very comprehensive. There's also a bus system that you can use to get around.

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

Is Paris or Madrid a more walkable city?

Paris
Madrid

Madrid is terrific for its walkability. Also, Paris is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its high level of 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.

Paris is a very walkable city. Some streets can feel a bit overwhelming, but there are many parts of the city that are easily explored on foot.


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

Should I spend more time in Madrid or Paris?

How long in Paris or Madrid?

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

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

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

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


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

One day in Paris or Madrid?

Paris 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.

In Madrid, many people enjoy the live music and food that this cultural big city offers. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Paris or Madrid?

Paris 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Madrid. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Paris or Madrid?

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

Madrid is a fun place to experience. In Madrid, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this big city destination offers. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.


A week in Paris or Madrid?

Paris 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.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the compact big city of Madrid. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Historical Tours in France, The Best 10-Day Tours in France, The Best Contiki Tours to Spain, and The Best G Adventures Tours to Spain.


Which place is cheaper, Madrid or Paris?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Paris is €232, 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 Paris and Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paris 151
    Madrid 77
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paris 302
    Madrid 154
Compare Hotels in Paris and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Paris 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 Paris


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: Paris Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

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

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


  • Metro
    6.40
  • Train from Airport
    9.00
  • Metro tickets
    6.80
  • Train
    20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Paris

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

  • Versailles: Skip-the-Line Day Tour & Transfer from Paris: $2,593
  • Private Transfer to or from Toulouse: $1,404
  • From Le Havre/Honfleur: Private Transfer to Versailles: $1,403
  • Private Transfer to or from Strasbourg: $972
  • Private Transfer to or from Lyon: $972
  • From Le Havre to Paris or back: private one way transfer: $772
  • Private transfer Château Chantilly van 7 places 5H: $463
  • Private Transfer from or to Beauvais Airport: $429
  • Charles De Gaule Airport Private Transfer: $275
  • Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Round Trip Transfer to/from Paris: $275
  • Private Transfer Paris Return or Return Charles de Gaulle Airport: $275
  • Private One Way Paris Airport (CDG-ORLY) Transfer Sedan From or To Paris: $270

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:

  • Segovia: Full-Day Tour with Transfer to and from Madrid: $454
  • Private Transfer from Moratalla to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $273
  • Private Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Segovia City by Van: $269
  • From Hot Air Balloon over Segovia with Transfer: $265
  • Balloon Ride with Transfer Option from Madrid City: $265
  • Private Transfer from Bolnuevo to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $254
  • Private Transfer from La Manga strip dos Mares to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $237
  • Private Transfer from La Manga Club to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $227
  • Private Transfer from Corvera Golf Resort to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $218
  • Private Transfer from Cieza to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $205
  • Private Transfer from El Verger to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $191
  • Private Transfer from La Torre Golf to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $182

Is it cheaper to fly into Paris or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid and Paris 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
    Paris 41
    Madrid 34
Typical Food Prices in Paris

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


  • Ice Cream
    8.00
  • Breakfast
    7.00
  • Breakfast for 2
    30
  • Dinner on River Cruise
    86
  • Dinner
    57
  • Cheese
    13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Paris

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

  • Authentic Indian Dinner in Paris : $50
  • Paris Capitaine Fracasse 3 Course Seine River Dinner Cruise: $52
  • Paris : Seine River Bistronomic Dinner Cruise: $59
  • Seine Cruise Departure from Pont Alexandre III with Dinner Included: $61
  • Seine River Panoramic Views Dinner Cruise: $67
  • No Diet Club - Paris : Night food tour - Montmartre: $68
  • Paris en Scene 3 Course Seine River Dinner Cruise: $68
  • 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise with Bistro Dinner: $68
  • Le Marais Guided Food Tour with Tastings: $69
  • 7th Arrondissement Guided Food Tour: $75
  • Paris : Seine River Dinner Cruise with live singer: $76
  • Paris - Pastries and Tragedies Food Tour in Montmartre: $76

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:

  • Flamenco Show with dinner, drinks and optional class: $38
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $57
  • Tapas Dinner Party Food Tour with Guide: $57
  • Tapas Crawl Food Tour with 6 Tapas and 4 Drinks: $57
  • Drunken Tapas Food Tour with Dinner in Madrid: $57
  • Authentic Morning Food Tour: $59
  • Dinner-Show La Circa de Marta Cariño! en el centro de Madrid: $60
  • Tipsy Tapas Food Tour with Drinks and Food: $61
  • Zarzuela Opera and Dinner at La Castafiore Restaurant in Madrid: $61
  • Opera and Zarzuela Show and Dinner: $62
  • San Miguel Market and Street Food Tour: $64
  • Tapas Crawl in Madrid Historical Quarter for Lunch or Dinner: $64

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paris 77
    Madrid 34
Typical Entertainment Prices in Paris

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


  • Louvre Entry for Two
    18
  • Admission to Pantheon
    5.00
  • Catacombs (2)
    23

Tours and Activities in Paris

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

  • Île de la Cité: Guided Tour + Sainte-Chapelle Fast Track Entry: $75
  • Audio-Guided Montparnasse Tower Tour with Priority Admission: $37
  • Day Tour- Normandy Omaha Beach - Cemetery - Cider Tasting: $286
  • Guided Eiffel Tower Tour and Boat Cruise River Seine Sightseeing: $83
  • Guided Tour to Montmartre & Sacré-Cœur Chronicles: $54
  • Paris Boat River Seine Cruise Sightseeing TICKETS: $22
  • Paris City Center Self-Guided Walking Tour : $11
  • Paris Private Walking Tour With A Professional Guide: $268
  • Paris Sightseeing Tour with Seine River Cruise from Disneyland®: $94
  • Skip-the-Line Paris Catacombs Special Access Tour: $131
  • Versailles Palace Skip the Line Small Group Guided Tour: $75
  • Île de la Cité, Latin Quarter & Seine River Cruise: Private Tour: $155

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: $94
  • Prado Museum and Madrid Royal Palace Morning Guided Tour: $72
  • Ávila & Segovia and Alcazar Day Tour from Madrid lunch included: $164
  • 1 Hour Private Tuk tuk Tour in Madrid: $99
  • 1 hour tour in Madrid in Tuk Tuk through the best of the city: $138
  • 2 Hours Private Tuk tuk Tour in Madrid: $165
  • 2-Hour Patisserie Experience for Dessert Lovers: $61
  • 2-Hour Tour of the Madrid of Mysteries: $14
  • 2-Hour Walking Tour on the History of Islamic Medieval the origins: $39
  • 2.5-Hour Evening Tapas Tour through Madrid: $38
  • 3-Hour Private Tour of Madrid by Bike: $40
  • 3-Hour Tapas Walking Tour of Madrid Food and Drink Included: $94

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paris 24
    Madrid 20
Typical Alcohol Prices in Paris

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


  • Wine
    14

Sample the Local Flavors in Paris

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Paris:

  • Paris : Châtelet to Grands Boulevards Guided Pub Crawl : $14
  • Pub Crawl with Shots and Nightclub Entry: $15
  • Châtelet to Grands Boulevards Guided Pub Crawl: $16
  • Private Pub Crawl Châtelet Tour: $22
  • Private Tour of the Grands Boulevards Pub Crawl: $22
  • Latin Quarter Guided Pub Crawl to Bars and Clubs: $24
  • Paris Gin Craft Distillery Tour and Tasting: $26
  • Vineyard tour and wine tasting in Davron: $32
  • French Rosé Wine Tasting in Paris: $44
  • Wine Tasting in Paris right next to Père Lachaise & l'Atelier des lumières: $50
  • Wine tasting Paris Saint Germain des Pres: $52
  • Cheese and Wine Tasting Experience in Montmartre: $52

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 Madrid Erasmus & International Meet and Party: $6.05
  • Original Pub Crawl With VIP Club Entry: $9.72
  • Madrid Pub Crawl with VIP Club Entrance: $11
  • Visit to the Winery with Wine Tasting and Appetizers in Navarra: $12
  • Pub Crawl Madrid's Night time: $15
  • Guided Pub Crawl Madrid Experience and Club Entry: $16
  • Guided Bar Crawl with Drinks and Nightclub Entry: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid Running since 2005 Bar Exploration: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid & Party: $17
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $19
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $22
  • Wine Tasting Experience with 4 Spanish Wines: $32


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


Which is Bigger, Paris or Madrid?

Madrid has a larger population, and is about 46% larger than the population of Paris. When comparing the sizes of Paris 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.