Baring My Budget: Madrid and Barcelona

May 15, 2008

in Budget, Cheap Activities, Drink, Europe, Food, Free Stuff, Lodging, Museums, Public Transport, Spain, Travel, Web Tips

A nine-day trip to four Spanish cities, including airfare to/from the UK, for under 150 euros? I’ll show you how after the jump.

Itinerary: I arrived and spent half a day in Valladolid before continuing on to Madrid. Five nights in Madrid. Flew from Madrid to Barcelona Girona; immediate transfer to Barcelona, where I spent three nights. Spent one day exploring Girona, where I spent the night before my flight to Newquay.

Transportation Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

+ Flight from London Stansted to Valladolid: 1.51 euros
+ Bus from Valladolid Airport to town: 3 euros
+ Bus from Valladolid to Madrid: 12.27 euros
+ 6 days of public transport in Madrid: 16 euro
+ Flight from Madrid to Barcelona Girona: 1.51 euros
+ Bus from Girona to Barcelona: 12 euros
+ T-10 transport card for Barcelona: 7.20 euros
+ Train from Barcelona to Girona: 5.90 euros
+ Bus from Girona to airport: 2.15 euros
+ Flight from Girona to Newquay: 1.51 euros

Subtotal: 63.05 euros

Food and Drink Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

+ Groceries in Madrid: 27.88 euros
+ Ice cream: 2.30 euros
+ Sunday restaurant lunch: 16 euros
+ Tea in a cafe: 3 euros
+ Groceries in Barcelona: 17.65 euros

Subtotal: 66.83 euros

Admissions Fees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Madrid
+ Museo Sorolla: 1.20 euros
+ Fundacion Lazaro Galdiano: 2 euros
+ Botanical Garden: 1 euro

Barcelona
+ Sagrada Familia: 5 euros
+ Fundacio Miro: 6 euros

Subtotal: 15.20 euros

Other Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

+ luggage check, Valladolid bus station: .70 euros

Subtotal: 0.70 euros


TOTAL: 145.78 euros

That doesn’t include all of the freebies I took advantage of:

+ nine nights free accommodation with three different Hospitality Club hosts

Valladolid
+ peacock hunting and puddle jumping in the Campo Grande

Madrid
+ two visits to Museo del Prado
+ three visits to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
+ a walking tour with my host through Retiro Park and Madrid’s center
+ art exhibition in the Crystal Palace
+ tracking down Gaudi architecture around the city
+ a walking tour in my guidebook, followed by people watching on Plaza Colon
+ a long walk through the Eastern Gardens, with a picnic and sunbathing in the Rose Garden

Barcelona
+ ambling along Las Ramblas, watching street performers
+ Park Güell and the amazing city views from the Hill of Three Crosses
+ a midnight moped ride through the city with my host

Girona
+ getting lost in the shops lining the narrow streets of the city’s romantic old center
+ enjoying the sunset behind the mountains as viewed from the city’s ancient wall

This trip followed my typical no-budget rules: free accommodation, ride public transport (€6.50/day), eat groceries (€5/day), do lots of cheap or free activities. With a daily budget of 15 euros, you can easily “splurge” on a cafe or a museum entrance every day or one sit-down restaurant meal on the trip.

Stay tuned next week for my on-the-ground tips for no-budget travel in Spain, when I’ll announce the winners of the Spanish segment of the Reader Tips contest.

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Wondering where else in Europe you can travel so cheaply? Check out my other budgets:
Baring My Budget: Malta
Baring My Budget: Stockholm
Baring My Budget: Hamburg
Baring My Budget: Venice
Baring My Budget: London
Baring My Budget: London, Take 2

{ 5 trackbacks }

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 christinegilbert 05.16.08 at 2:27 am

Wow, interesting post…. I’ll be in Madrid this summer, will definitely be looking out for some of these freebies…

2 Rob in Madrid 05.17.08 at 1:20 pm

I have some friends visiting who on a budget I’ll forward this to them. As well I posted the whole article to MardridMan

you can find it here

Madrid Man BB

3 Suz 05.27.08 at 7:02 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your “bearing my budget’ entries are always such a pleasure and so inspiring for me to read! I’m truly going to get to do Europe sooner than I thought by following your lead!

4 poetloverrebelspy 06.03.08 at 3:27 am

Find this post and others on European travel featured in the June 2008 Carnival of Europe, hosted this month at Heather on her Travels.

5 poetloverrebelspy 07.01.08 at 12:40 pm

Find this post in the Destinations Carnival #2, hosted by Vacation Tips Blog.

6 sharon 07.24.08 at 2:39 pm

hey!! pls help me out where did you book your flight tickts madrid to barca .help help pls!

7 poetloverrebelspy 07.25.08 at 1:34 am

I got mine on RyanAir. Check Which Budget for more possible carriers.

8 purple 08.06.08 at 9:38 pm

Great blog! Stumbled on this by accident – now bookmarked :)

I’ve tried booking the cheap Ryanair offers before, but they are never available at weekends when I fancy doing a quick hop over to mainland Europe. You have to be so flexible with your dates to get a good bargain. Better start saving up that holiday entitlement now…

9 Kane 08.18.08 at 3:04 pm

My experience of visiting Madrid was from the point of view of hiring a car. We hired one for ten days, we saved quite a bit of time and convenience getting here and moving on. It was a great trip, my partner and I are thinking of revisiting soon.

10 MadridMan 11.14.08 at 9:50 pm

Truth be told (and it’s no secret), Madrid and Barcelona are BOTH expensive – Barcelona being somewhat more expensive.

But, as you keenly comment, “good deals on meals” CAN be had.

While most of the lunchtime “Menú del Día” (“Menu of the Day”) are between 8 and 10 Euros, you can often find (even) smaller bars serving this lunch at 7.50 or even less. Generally speaking, the further you get from the more touristic Old Town the better your chance to get cheaper meals – and sometimes you only have to walk 10 or 15 minutes to get there!

I discovered a bar in my neighborhood which has a FULL (AND FILLING!) “Menú del Día” for ONLY 6 Euros! That included a choice of one of four 1st course plates, one of four 2nd course plates, one of 4 desserts, bread, a very small salad, and an entire bottle of red house wine. The place itself is in a working class neighborhood, has paper table covering, paper napkins, well-worn plates and glasses, and the service and owners is ALL SPANISH. I always leave very full, somewhat light-headed from the wine, and just a bit embarrassed for paying so little for so much good food.

Saludos, MadridMan

11 Elena 01.03.09 at 4:54 pm

MadridMan, thanks for the info! Where exactly is this bar with the 6 euro filling meals in Madrid?

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