If you haven’t been before, Spain is a beautiful country. It is vibrant, offers a ton of tasty food, and possibly one of the cheaper Western European countries to visit. The plan was to meet Paul’s parents in Barcelona for our Royal Caribbean cruise but we decided to come early to do some exploring on our own. The cost breakdown below is only for the 2.5 weeks we spent on our own. I’m happy to report we finally came in UNDER BUDGET! All amounts expressed in CAD.
Food – $24.84
Spain is renown for its cuisine and tapas and we made a conscious decision to fully immerse ourselves in the country’s gastronomic culture. We couldn’t afford to dine in the company of Michelin stars but we tried our best to eat where the locals eat.
Whenever we wanted to be kinder to our wallets, we picked eateries that offered free tapas with our drink orders (bottled water counts too!). This is actually NOT the norm except in a few cities like Granada. For 4 Euro we could get a pint of beer plus a small plate of calamari, or a prosciutto sandwich.
In Madrid, we found El Tigre, which gives off an insanely energetic college vibe. We went twice and came out absolutely stuffed. Not exactly fine dining but very filling. In Granada we visited Los Diamantes twice. They are quite generous with their free seafood tapas.
We were able to recoup some costs in Quentar where we cooked every meal for 5 days.
Accommodation – $18.54
We stayed in pensions throughout Spain and opted for the private room with shared bathroom option. This is essentially the same as staying in hostels and usually better located in the city. By the time we wrapped up in Granada, Paul and I were feeling “city’d” out and wanted to see the country. Luckily Quentar (essentially a skiing town) was a 30 min bus ride away and we decided on an AirBnB suite for $50/night.
We also took 2 overnight buses which meant we saved on 2 nights of hotels.
Activities – $5.13
Our spending on activities in Spain was surprising low.
This is because many of the sights we went to see were free: fountains, parks, churches, various ethnic districts, etc.
We did find out that in Seville, certain sights are free on various days of the week. So it would be worthwhile to do a bit of homework and plan your visits around those freebie days.
Travel – $5.38
We relied on the bus network to get around Spain. We went from Madrid to Seville, Seville to Granada and from Granada to Barcelona. Average ticket price was around $30/ea so not too bad. If you have extra funds or are tight on time, there is always the train or fly.
Other Travel – $1.31
Mainly city transport and taking public transit from the airport into the city. The cities we visited were all very easy to navigate and we didn’t have to take a taxi once. Great money saver!
Other – $0.21
Overall, I thought Spain was an affordable place to visit. The free tapas helped saved money as well as free attractions. We did treat ourselves to several nice meals but I think it is part of the experience of visiting a country like Spain. Additionally, we were lucky in that our guesthouse in Madrid was very central and most of the sights were a 30 min walk away.