Who loves to travel AND save money? Everyone? Me, too! Despite being a capital city of one of the largest European countries, I found Madrid to be a very affordable city for tourism. There are a few tips and tricks you’ll want to know, though. Here are the best ways to save money in Madrid, Spain!
You Can Visit the Museo Nacional del Prado FREE
It’s true! The world famous Prado Museum is completely FREE the last two hours of the day, every day. Check the website to see the opening times for your dates. Head over that way about half an hour before the FREE admission start time, and get in line! You’ll be directed to the ticket window, but don’t worry, the tickets are FREE!
Admission during regular hours is €15 per person, so this is a significant savings, especially if you’re traveling with others. You’ll see some of the most famous works in the world. Be sure to look for the bust of Queen Isabella II. It’s made entirely of marble, but you’ll swear that the veil is real! FYI: No photos are allowed in the museum at any time.
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Madrid
Visiting Templo de Debod is Always FREE
Wait, there’s a 2200-year-old Egyptian temple in Madrid? Yes! It was rescued from being flooded by Lake Nasser in the 1960s, and given to Spain in gratitude for its help in saving this and other temples that would have been lost to the lake.
Visiting is completely FREE, but it’s small in the main structure, so only 10 people are allowed inside at a time. There is a line (thankfully in the shade!), and guards will let you know when you can go inside. You will definitely want to go upstairs to see the display about this and other temples that were saved from Lake Nasser, so don’t skip it!
Keep reading: The 10 Best Things to Do in Madrid, Spain
Spend a LOT of Time in El Retiro Park for FREE
We loved Retiro Park! It’s Spain’s version of Central Park in New York City, and it’s beautiful. There are exhibits to see, beautiful architecture to admire, miles and miles of trails to traverse, and more! It’s like an oasis right in the middle of the hustle and bustle. If you need a quiet moment, a safe place to workout (who needs roads to cross and cobble stones to fight on a run?), or just need some green space, this is spot for you.
Read next: The Best Apps for Active Travelers
Las Ventas Museum is FREE
Some say that you’ll only understand Spain if you understand bullfighting. I’m not sure that’s 100% true, but it’s truly an important part of Spanish history and culture! The tour of the stadium is €14.90 and includes the audio guide, but if you’re not that interested, you can visit the museum for FREE! Just walk around to the back of the stadium, and you’ll find it there. You’ll have to leave your bag in a locker, and they do not allow phones or cameras in the museum itself, but it’s well worth a visit if you’re even just a little bit curious.
Get the details: How to Visit the Las Ventas Bullfighting Ring and Museum in Madrid
The Row Boats at Retiro Park are Only €6
Did you know you can take a row boat out on the Estanque Grande de el Retiro pond at Retiro Park? You can! I would expect to pay at least €20 for this experience, maybe even that much per person. But it’s only €6 per boat! How’s that for a cheap date, right? Steve and I spent the full 45-minutes out there, and we had the best time! The boats are very easy to maneuver, and we saw people doing all sorts of things in them, like switching sides and standing up, without ever seeing one tip over, so go out and have fun!
Read on: The Ultimate Travel Couples Bucket List
Grab a Quick Lunch at Mercado San Miguel
We learned this tip just days before our trip, and it’s quite possibly the most important one! We ate lunch here every day of our trip because it was right in the middle of everything we were already doing, and there were so many options! You want to try tapas but your travel buddy wants empanadas? You want to try the local fresh fruit, but your friend would rather have the perfect little pastries they saw in the case by the door? You can have it all!
Try anything, or as many things, as you want. You could come back every day (like we did!) and try something different every time. Best of all? It’s some of the most affordable food you’ll find. There is no table service, so no extra fees there, plus it’s just generally cheaper than restaurant fare.
Keep eating: The Best Places to Eat in Madrid, Spain
The Metro and Train are Both Very Inexpensive
I was very impressed with how efficient and affordable the public transportation was in and around Madrid. We took the train from the airport right into the city center for under €7 (together; not €7 each!). We also rode the Metro from Old City Madrid to Las Ventas, then took the Metro again from the historic city center back to the airport. Even with the price of a reusable Metro card and two fares to both destinations, we couldn’t believe how inexpensive it was. Definitely use the Metro or train without fear of breaking your bank!
Read next: What to Know Before You Visit Spain
Need more? Check out all you need to know on my dedicated Spain Page!
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