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

Should you visit Riga or Madrid?

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

Should I visit Riga 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.

Riga

Riga is a charming, unique, and historical city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Madrid

Madrid is a compact, friendly, and authentic 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 food, shopping, and museums.

Riga and Madrid: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • 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


Is there more to do in Riga or Madrid?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Madrid than Riga. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Madrid is very popular for its food, music, shopping, and big city activities, while Riga attracts visitors for its museums, nightlife, historical sights, and impressive beauty. Madrid is more touristy than Riga and is popular for its art and architecture, its tapas and culinary scene, and its lively flamenco dancing. It is also well known for The Prado Museum. Riga is famous for its vibrant nightlife scene, busy old town, and beautiful architecture.

How is Riga different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Riga
Madrid

Riga is a great city for its historical sights. Also, Madrid is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its sights and museums.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Riga. As a capital city with a diverse history, you'll find a number of museums and landmarks in the area. Visitors frequently visit The Freedom Monument, St. Peters Church, the Riga Cathedral, The House of the Black Heads, and any of the many museums around town.

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 Riga or Madrid? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Riga
Madrid

Madrid is a must-visit destination for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

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. 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.

Riga has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. The city offers a great opportunity to try many Latvian specialties including rasol (a potato salad), pelmeni (a Latvian dumpling), and karbonade (kind of like schnitzel). The cuisine is hearty and filling with lots of bread, dumpling, and meats. Riga is also where you'll find the largest food market in Europe, which is the perfect place to wander and pick up some local items.

Is Riga or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

Riga
Madrid

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

Riga is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. Despite being a small city, this capital has gained a reputation for its party atmosphere. The historic center comes to life in the evenings, particularly between Wednesdays and Saturdays. The area is compact enough that you can walk from club to club and prices are reasonable.

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 Riga or Madrid Better for Music?

Riga
Madrid

Madrid is a must-visit destination for its live music scene. However, Riga is not a live music destination.

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.

Riga is not a live music destination.


Is Riga or Madrid Better for its Old Town?

Riga
Madrid

Riga is a great city for its historic old town. However, Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Riga is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. The old town is filled with cobblestone streets and charming architecture. The city is less touristy than many places in Europe so you can usually avoid the large crowds and enjoy a peaceful walk. During the evening you'll find the area turns into an entertainment district with many clubs and bars.

Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Riga or Madrid?

Riga
Madrid

Madrid is a must-visit destination for its shopping opportunities. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping areas.

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.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Riga. Some of the most interesting shopping in the city is in the old town. Prices might be a little more expensive than you expect but it's possible to find some unique items. The city also has many markets, including the largest food market in Europe, which is a must-see.

Is Riga or Madrid Better for Families?

Riga
Madrid

Madrid is notable for its family-friendly activities. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

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.

Riga is a family-friendly city. During the winter months, there are a number of museums that are fun to explore with kids including the Nature Museum, the Railroad Museum, the Aviation Technology Museum, and the Riga Firefighter Museum. There are also several indoor play areas. When the weather is warmer there are a number of outdoor parks and playgrounds to explore.


Is Riga or Madrid Better for Couples?

Riga
Madrid

Madrid is notable for its romantic activities. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for couples.

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.

Riga is a good city for couples to visit. The city has a charming old town that you can explore, taking time to relax in the city squares or sip coffee at a cafe. There are also many nice restaurants that will make for a romantic date night.

Is Riga or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Riga
Madrid

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

Many backpackers frequent Riga. There are many affordable hostels around town as well as restaurants where you can grab a cheap meal. The city offers a great European experience at a fraction of the price of many cities.

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 Riga or Madrid Better for Students?

Riga
Madrid

Madrid is a must-visit destination for students. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its student-friendly activities.

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.

Riga is very popular with students. The city's affordability and vibrant atmosphere make it a great spot for international students. There are many places to hang out and a lively nightlife scene that appeals to young travelers.


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

Riga
Madrid

Madrid is a must-visit destination for its public transit. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for times when you don't have a car.

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.

The public transit in Riga can get you to most places easily. Transportation options include buses, trolleybuses, and trams.

Is Riga or Madrid a more walkable city?

Riga
Madrid

Madrid is a must-visit destination for its high level of walkability. Also, Riga is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its ease of walking around.

It is easy to get around Madrid on foot. Most tourists stay in the central part of Madrid where it's compact and relatively easy to walk to most tourist sights.

Riga is a very walkable destination. The city is small enough that most areas can be explored on foot.

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

Should I spend more time in Madrid or Riga?

How long in Riga or Madrid?

In either Riga or Madrid, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Madrid than Riga because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Riga, and 2-5 days is enough time in Madrid.

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

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

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


  • How many days in Riga or Madrid? Ideal Length of Stay
    Riga 2-4 
    Madrid 2-5

One day in Riga or Madrid?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Riga. 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 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.


A weekend in Riga or Madrid?

Riga is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the nightlife, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

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.

Five days in Riga or Madrid?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Riga. Don't miss the nightlife, as that's what most people do. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Madrid is a diverse 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.

A week in Riga or Madrid?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the charming destination of Riga. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

The friendly 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.


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


Which place is cheaper, Madrid or Riga?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Riga is €104, 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 Riga and Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Riga 53
    Madrid 77
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Riga 106
    Madrid 154
Compare Hotels in Riga and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Riga 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 Riga


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: Riga Hotel Prices and Madrid Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Riga 15
    Madrid 19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Riga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Riga:

  • Riga - Tallin: Transfer and Tour through beautiful landmarks: $494
  • From Private Transfer to Tallinn with Sightseeing: $465
  • From Private Transfer to Vilnius with Sightseeing: $433
  • From Private Transfer to Tallinn: $347
  • Transfer from Riga International Airport to Downtown: $271
  • From Transfer to Tallinn with Turaida Museum Reserve: $233
  • From Vilnius: One-Way Private Transfer to Riga: $184
  • Riga Limo Airport Transfer : $164
  • From Cesis and Sigulda Day Trip with Hotel Transfers: $152
  • Riga Gun Experience: Roundtrip Transfer and 4 Firearms: $136
  • Riga Private Mercedes Benz Airport Transfer: $126
  • Riga Private Mercedes Benz Airport Transfer: $109

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:

  • Madrid Barajas Airport: Transfer to/from Atocha Bus Station: $7.58
  • Private transfer from Atocha Station to Madrid city center: $22
  • Alcobendas Private Transfer To Madrid Barajas Airport: $26
  • Hotel Madrid City Private Transfer To Madrid Barajas Airport: $26
  • Private transfer: Barajas Airport (MAD) to Madrid City Center: $29
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Barajas Airport: $40
  • Private Transfer: Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD) to Madrid: $42
  • Madrid Airport Private Departure Transfer: $43
  • Private Transfer From Madrid Barajas Airport to Madrid: $44
  • Madrid City Center: Private Transfer to Madrid Airport: $50
  • Madrid Airport: Private Transfer to Madrid City Center: $54
  • One-way Private Transfer From/To Madrid Airport: $55

Is it cheaper to fly into Riga or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid and Riga 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
    Riga 33
    Madrid 34
Typical Food Prices in Riga

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


  • Fast Food Lunch
    5.77

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Riga

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

  • Central Market Latvian Food Tour: $42
  • Unique Food Tour: $103
  • Riga Medieval Dinner: $115
  • Medieval Dinner on the 12th Century at Rozengrals: $120
  • Medieval Guided Tour & Three-Course Dinner Experience: $130
  • Cooking Experience with Chef: Learn & Dine: $141
  • Latvian Food: Cooking Masterclass with a Chef: $162

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:

  • Madrid Sunset Walking Tour with Optional Flamenco Show and Dinner: $26
  • Flamenco Show with dinner, drinks and optional class: $33
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $54
  • Tapas Dinner Party Food Tour with Guide: $54
  • Drunken Tapas Food Tour with Dinner in Madrid: $54
  • Tapas Crawl Food Tour with 6 Tapas and 4 Drinks: $54
  • Tipsy Tapas Food Tour with Drinks and Food: $57
  • The Authentic Morning Madrid's Food Tour: $60
  • Dinner-Show La Circa de Marta Cariño! en el centro de Madrid: $61
  • Opera and Zarzuela Show and Dinner: $62
  • San Miguel Market and Street Food Tour: $64
  • Iberico Ham and Spanish Wine Small-Group Food Tour: $64

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Riga 21
    Madrid 34

Tours and Activities in Riga

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

  • 1 Day Riga Sightseeing Red Bus Grand Tour: $28
  • 2 Day Kurzeme Winery Tour: $203
  • 2.5-Hour Riga Cruiser Bike Tour: $41
  • 3-Hour Private Paintball Game Experience in Zīles: $87
  • 5 Hour Shared Tour to Hill of Crosses from Riga: $83
  • ATV Quad Off Road or City Tour in Riga: $143
  • Art Nouveau Walking Tour in Riga: $65
  • Beer Bike Experience : $36
  • Best of Riga Walking Tour: $183
  • Best of Riga Walking Tour - Highlights and Hidden Gems: $66
  • City:canal:tour: $22
  • Crafted Cocktails: A Masterclass Experience: $81

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
  • Old Town Guided Walking Tour: $1.08
  • Tour Retiro Park - Madrid self-guided tour app: $2.17
  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • Madrid Mountains Free Walking Tour: $3.31
  • Escape Game and Tour: $4.34
  • App self-guided: Tour Madrid Spain: $4.34
  • History & Culture Guided Walking Tour: $5.42
  • Mapfre Foundation Entry Ticket: $5.42
  • Ticket Entrance to the Madrid Nougat Museum: $5.42
  • Wonders of Madrid City Walking Tour: $5.42
  • Wonders of Madrid Walking Tour: $5.42

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Riga 20
    Madrid 20

Sample the Local Flavors in Riga

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

  • Riga Pub Crawl Nightlife Experience: $18
  • Old town pub & bar crawl, hidden gems, and local party: $31
  • Pub Crawl in Riga: $33
  • Riga's Old Town Beer Bike Tour & Guided Pub Crawl: $38
  • Pub Crawl- Your best night out in Riga with our local guide! : $39
  • Riga Evening Adventure: Pub Crawl & Games Night: $47
  • Riga Happy Hour Pub Crawl: $54
  • Latvian Wine Tasting & Monk Show: $76
  • Old Town Sightseeing & Latvian Wine Tasting with Show: $98
  • Riga Wine Tasting Session: $104
  • Riga Pub Crawl & Party Bus Tour: $530
  • Yacht Tour with Medieval Banquet and Wine Tasting: $3,367

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:

  • Original Pub Crawl With VIP Club Entry: $9.76
  • 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: $26
  • Wine Tour with tasting in the Natural Park of La Mata: $38
  • Wine Tasting Experience: $50


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Riga and Madrid, we can see that Madrid is more expensive. And not only is Riga much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Riga would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Riga 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 Riga.

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


Which is Bigger, Riga or Madrid?

Madrid has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Riga. When comparing the sizes of Riga 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.