Spain on a Budget – Tips & Breakdown

As one of Europe’s top travel destinations, Spain isn’t the most backpacker or budget friendly place. However, with a little bit of planning and a lot of patience, it is entirely possible to do this in a budget that is likely to be quite easy on you than you’d imagine. 

WE DID THIS AT INR 1,29,000 PER PERSON (INCL FLIGHTS). HOW, YOU ASK?!

FLIGHTS & VISAS

  • We found our flight directly from Bangalore at a decent price of INR 36,000 per person return. This was via a flat INR 10,000 off offer on MakeMyTrip app to promote its app sales. We’ve talked about a lot of flight hacks in our ‘travel advice’ section here.
  • Update: Air India has launched a direct flight from Delhi to Madrid, starting December 2016. Being a direct flight, the current rates are as low as INR 33,000 per person. 

ACCOMMODATION

  • If you’re a solo traveler, make use of Spain’s excellent hostel network. A dorm bed is as low as 15 Euros a night in most places, including the capital. 
  • As a couple, AirBnB is the best choice for you in Spain. We found the cheapest deals on AirBnB as opposed to Booking.com . While we stayed in extremely basic apartments, we received a lot of love from all our hosts and got an insight into Spain that most hotels couldn’t have provided. 

TRANSPORT

  • Every town and city in Spain is quite well-connected by public transport. All across our journey, we got into a cab only once (as we got super late for our flight while enjoying a lazy lunch) and relied completely on local buses and metros. Unlike in India, the prices for a journey are fixed irrespective of your first/ last destination.
  • In both Barcelona & Madrid, you can get a 10-journey pass from a vending machine in Metro stations that is applicable on both buses & metros. You can in fact use the same pass twice (by just handing it back over the gates) if there are two of you. At 9€ in Barca and 12€ in Madrid, it will save you a good 100€ on transport.
  • Renting a car is a cheaper alternative to taking fast-speed RENFE trains, especially if you’re a couple or traveling in a group. This is particularly true for your journey between Cordoba – Sevilla – Granada, as the fast speed trains work out to significantly more than the prices offered for rental by Avis or EuropCar.
  • Along the way, we met a few travellers who used BlaBlaCar to good effect. Apparently, Spain happens to be one of the few nations where the ride-sharing app works successfully. A journey between Sevilla and Granada that costs you 25€ per person can be reduced to as much as 10€ if you succeed in securing a ride via BlaBlaCar.
  • Flights within Spain are cheaper than their high-speed trains. We used Vueling for a couple of lengthier internal travels and managed to secure flight tickets for two at a combined price cheaper than a single person’s ticket via high-speed train. Needless to say, it is a good idea to book it 3-4 months in advance as their LoFare promos usually run out quickly!

ATTRACTIONS

  • In every city or town that you will visit, you’ll be urged by the desire to visit all popular monuments/ sites. Over our journeys, we’ve learned that this can eat up your budget before you know it. For eg, we skipped getting inside the Sevilla Cathedral and traded it for a free walking tour that was being conducted by a local tour agency that gave us more insights on the Cathedral (and every brick of it!) than we could have learnt by going inside. Some times, a great view from the outside and a good guide to speak to can work much cheaper.
  • On the same lines, if you do love your sight visits, then read up on its website for the ‘free entry’ times as most places in Spain offer free entry on a particular day of the week and time. Mezquita, for example, is free before 9:30 AM on all days, and costs 8€ otherwise.

FOOD

  • Spain isn’t exactly a budget destination when it comes to food, especially with its high quality standards that do not allow for street-food. We ended up spending a lot more on food than we’d initially planned for, mostly thanks to the culinary delight that Spain is! So, be prepared to spend a bit on the higher side while in Spain. 
  •  Bocadillos (large hot dogs essentially) that come filled with prawns or pork or anything else you’d like, is a brilliant 3€ alternative to eating in sit-down hotels.
  • Almost all Spanish restaurants have a ‘Menu of the day’ (Menu Del Dia) that includes a starter, a main course, and a dessert for a fixed price (usually 8-12€) which is an absolute steal. The only trick is sometimes you have to ask for it in Spanish.

There you go – a few practical tips to ensure minimal financial burn as you waltz your way through the gems of Spain.

 

2 thoughts on “Spain on a Budget – Tips & Breakdown

  1. I like that you pointed out that Spain has really good public transportation. My fiance and I are trying to plan our honeymoon. We are thinking about going to Spain, but we don’t really want to drive. So, it is good to know that we could get everywhere with public transportation.

    1. Emily,

      Spain for honeymoon is a great idea. Public transportation is spectacular in every part of the country. We used rome2rio effectively to learn about the best way to get from place to place. Let us know if you need any other help with planning your Spain trip 🙂

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