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How much to budget for a trip to Spain?

Contiki travellers in Spain

Budgeting for a trip can make or break a dream trip. For many travellers the first step of planning their next adventure is the managing and mapping out of their travel budget, this can be exciting and ignite the travel bug or be absolutely overwhelming. Since budgeting for your trip shouldn’t take away from the excitement before it even started, we have put together a guide on what to expect when traveling to Spain.

In general Spain is easier on the wallet than many other European countries, aside from the bigger cities like Barcelona or Madrid prices for accommodation, transportation and even different activities and tours can vary greatly depending on the season you are traveling in.

Accommodations in Spain

Accommodation will be a large chunk of your travel budget. Depending on the area of Spain you are in and the time of year you are travelling prices can be quite different, but in the last few years prices for hotels, AirBnBs and even hostels have gone up a lot.

During the summer months a single bed in a hostel in the centre of Barcelona, Madrid or Valencia can be anywhere from €25 up to €70, with Barcelona being the most expensive city on the Spanish mainland. Hostels in smaller and less touristy towns can be slightly cheaper.

If you are looking for hotels, the range becomes even bigger. A double room in a small local BnB can already start at around €60 and go up to €150.

Boutique hotels and more famous hotel chains typically start at around €100 in less touristy places and off-season, and can be as expensive as €200-300 in high season. They do tend to offer a little bit more luxury and comfort though. AirBnBs are an option in a lot of Spanish cities as well, but it’s important to understand the rules in Spain surrounding short-term rentals. Prices of AirBnBs in major cities and good locations can start at around €80 but quickly get up to €100-150 per night including cleaning and service fees as they have to be registered to the government. They will also most likely ask for your passport details in order to register you as a guest in their home and charge you a tourist tax.

If you are looking for a way cheaper or almost free ways to stay in Spain, couchsurfing, housesitting and volunteering in hostels would be additional options.

spain and portugal with Contiki

Image source:Contiki

How to get around Spain?

Public transport in Spain is not only extensive but also very affordable. Most major cities are connected by a high quality train and bus network that makes inter-city traveling relatively easy. In order to get these cheap train and bus tickets you will have to book at least a few weeks in advance or be super flexible. Buses between the major cities usually cost between €10-20 but often take several hours due to the many stops along the way. A faster way of traveling are high-speed trains that connect cities around most of the country, but they will cost you somewhere between €30 and €80 depending on the distance and how long in advance you have booked.

Inner-city transport works fantastic as well. While the bigger cities of Madrid and Barcelona have extensive metro systems, many other Spanish cities have at least one or two metro lines, trams or buses. Most sights are very well connected and a single ride ranges between €1,5-2,5, while day passes cost around €5-15.

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Tapas, paella, churros, and the Spanish nightlife

When it comes to food and drinks, Spain is still incredibly affordable. Eating Spanish meals in small local restaurants doesn’t have to be expensive at all. Spanish breakfast is super simple and either consists of churros con chocolate (fried dough with chocolate), pan con tomate (toast with tomato) or bocadillos (sandwiches), all of which usually cost around €5.

A corto (single shot of Espresso) only costs €1-3, while other types of coffee (with milk, water, double shot, etc.) would range between €2-5.

The best-known foods in Spain are probably tapas, which are small plates of different kind of snacks. In most cities you would be able to find a good restaurant where a tapa costs somewhere between €3-10 and if you order a few to share between a group of you it usually comes out super cheap.

Spanish restaurants usually also offer a “Menu del dia” which is the dish/menu of the day that can cost as little as €12-20 and typically includes two to three courses and a drink. When going to a proper restaurant, the Spanish love paella, fresh seafood and Iberian pork.

If you like to enjoy a nice drink with your dinner, you are looking at spending around €20-40 for a nice dinner out. In some restaurants around the country you can still get free tapas with your drinks, a custom that is slowly dying in the more touristy areas.

A glass of wine, beer or Sangria would cost €2-5 in a lot of local restaurants and then they may bring you a free dish with it, or sometimes just some nuts or olives. In clubs or bars the drinks tend to be a little bit more expensive and your typical long drinks often cost €5-15. Be careful though as they free-pour their drinks.

Contiki group in Spain

Image source:Contiki

Experiencing Spain through their sights and activities

This trip won’t be the trip of a lifetime without the abundance of sights and activities the country has to offer. While you can get a great feel for the city and the Spanish life by strolling through the streets, admiring the old neighborhoods, strikingly beautiful buildings and happy vibe that is life in Spain, a lot of the culture can only be experienced by entering sights and watching shows.

The cities can be explored on your own or on one of the many free walking tours on offer, but don’t forget to tip your guides at the end of the tour. Spain also has amazing fresh markets in most cities that you can visit for free.

But many of the most famous sights and experiences do cost a fee. The Sagrada Familia (€26) and Alhambra (€20) are the two most visited places in Spain, but you shouldn’t forget about other popular sights such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (€16), the Alcazar (€14) and Cathedral (€12) in Sevilla, the Mozquita-Catedral (€13) in Cordoba, the Prado (€15) in Madrid or Casa Battlo (€35,-) in Barcelona.

In addition to the most popular sights, Spain has great shows and tours to offer for an even more in-depth experience like Flamenco shows (€20-40) or food tours (€70-120).

Shopping and souvenirs

If you enjoy a good little shopping spree, you are in luck. Spain is arguably one of the best countries to go shopping in. The streets of small beach towns and big metropolises are lined with souvenir shops if you want to bring back some magnets, tiles or Flamenco fans for your friends and family. But these exact streets are also filled with local fashion boutiques, as well as Spanish and international brands.

Contiki travellers in Madrid, Spain

Image source:Contiki

Travel insurance

One last, but super important part you shouldn’t forget about when budgeting for your trip is travel insurance. Enjoying your Spanish adventures is a lot easier with the peace of mind that if something were to go wrong, valuables get stolen or lost or you need to get medical attention throughout your trip, your travel insurance will kick in.

Make sure your insurance covers extreme activities like rafting, paragliding, surfing etc. if you are planning on doing those on your trip. When booking a Contiki you can easily add travel insurance during the booking process, which will safe you lots of time looking for other companies and comparing their policies. If you are wanting to look at others as well, here are some reputable companies: CoverMore, WorldNomad, Allianz, SafetyWing, etc.

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Also, don’t forget about the small expenses throughout the day, like ice cream, a bottle of water, coffee or Sangria and tips for the waiters in your restaurants and bars, taxi drivers, guides, etc. Tipping is common in Spain but usually relatively little. In a proper restaurant they would tip 5-10%, at a Café or Bar its more like rounding up to the next full Euro. Tipping is not expected, but highly appreciated in the country.

Final budgeting and travel advice

Ultimately the budget you will need for a trip to Spain depends highly on what kind of trip you want it to be and what you want to experience but by taking all the above factors into account most people tend to need around €150-200 per day when staying at hotels. Ferry rides, big nights out or an extensive shopping spree can absolutely increase that needed budget though.

views of Barcelona, Spain

Image source:Contiki

Travelling in Spain with Contiki

As you have probably noticed reading through this article, there is a whole lot that goes into budgeting a trip and especially sticking to said budget. What if I told you, you don’t really have to worry about most of these things at all though and only worry about you, having the best time.

On Contiki, a whole lot of these expenses are already taken care off and you don’t even have to spend your days reading through reviews, trying to get from point A to point B or figuring out what places to see. Contiki has accommodations and transport, some meals and even some tours and sights already covered for you and can guarantee nice hotels and amazing experiences for your stays. Our beloved drivers take you on our coaches into the cities, past famous sights and back to the hotel. Booking that Contiki, doesn’t just save you money, but also time that you can spend making this trip into YOUR dream trip.

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