Sangria, beaches, soccer, and tapas are just a few of the things that come to mind when people think of Spain, though it’s so much more. Spain is one of the top travel destinations in the world and, with so much to offer, it’s easy to see why. But, just how much does it cost to go to Spain? Read on to find out.
For the purpose of this article I’m going to suggest a 2-week itinerary in Spain; 14 days and 13 nights. Please note that this guide is based on the costs for a single person, so if you are going as a couple you will need to double this estimate (except for accommodation).
|Food and drink||$520|
The above estimate is in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Gold Rewards Card gives you a signup bonus of up to 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $300 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees, a sign up bonus worth $250 and it comes with airport lounge access.
Spain has a couple of major international airports that you can fly in to: Barcelona and Madrid. There’s no real advantage or disadvantage to choosing one over the other, so I recommend choosing based on your chosen itinerary and costs. Some people choose to fly into one major city and out of another e.g. Barcelona and Madrid since it’ll save them a little bit of money on backtracking.
Spain is technically a year-round destination, though most people will choose to visit from Spring-fall as winter can be dreary. Unsurprisingly, summer and holidays (such as Easter) see the highest prices in airfare, so if you can try to book around these peak times to save on cost.
The average cost of a roundtrip flight from North America to Spain will be around $550.
Being such a popular holiday destination, Spain has plenty of accommodation options for all budgets. There are tons of great hostels for solo travellers looking to meet people or backpackers, as well as high-end five-star luxury properties. That being said, prices will also vary depending on where you are visiting in Spain, for example, accommodation in Barcelona will be more expensive than in comparison to accommodation in smaller towns in the countryside.
The estimate I’m using in this article ($140 per night) is based on pricing for mid-range hotels in Spain’s larger, more popular cities. With that being said, you can easily increase or decrease this part of the budget depending on where you’re staying.
Looking for some recommendations? Consider the following:
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. For example, Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite Mastercard since it typically has a sign up bonus of $250 when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership. This card does have an annual fee of $150 but it’s normally waived for the first year so you’re getting $250 for free. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $650.
Getting around Spain is pretty easy. Some people choose to rent a car and drive around the country since it’s a great way to explore and it allows for a lot of freedom. It’s definitely something to consider if you are comfortable driving abroad.
Most people, however, choose to rely on trains and public transit which is what I’m using in this estimate. Spain, like many other European countries, has a good train and bus network that make it easy to get to the main destinations. Spain’s national train network is called RENFE but there is also a high-speed train called AVE (Alta Velocidad) which is better for the longer journeys. It is recommended to book online in advance as some trains do require seat reservation and it will save you money by booking early.
For those who are really on a tight budget, you can use the bus network. It’s much slower than trains but also cheaper. Buses are also more convenient for reaching smaller, rural destinations if you are looking to get off the main tourist trail.
Pricing on local transport in Spain will vary depending on how much you plan on moving around and the route you are planning to take. If you plan on travelling a lot by train, consider getting the RENFE Spain Pass. There are options for 4-10 journeys and a 6 journey pass which is currently 275 euros. Once in the cities, you can use the city buses/metro or your feet to get around.
Spain has so much to see and do that it’s easy to spend all your money on attractions. Unfortunately, for most of that, it’s not realistic so you will want to do a bit of advanced planning to make sure that you hit the highlights and the things you are most interested in. It’s strongly advised for you to buy tickets online in advance since you get a discount and you get to skip the lines.
In Barcelona, the top attractions include:
Madrid also has some great attractions you’ll want to check out including the Royal Palace, but many people use the city as a base to do day trips such as:
If you are big into museums and attractions, I definitely recommend considering getting City Passes where applicable. The upfront cost seems pricey but when you break it down, you really are getting a great deal.
Another great way to see cities on a budget is to consider taking a walking tour. Many cities offer ‘free’ tours where you leave a tip (around 10 euro) at the end which is a good way to get your bearings when you first arrive and learn a little about the history as well.
You might also want to consider doing the hop-on-hop-off tours in the larger cities. It’s a great way to get around and see the sites. You can often get just a one-day pass or a pass that’s good for a few days so you can really make the most of it.
Food and drink
One of the highlights of a trip to Spain is the food and drink. From fresh seafood to famous Iberico ham, tapas, sangria, and wines you’ll want to try it all. Of course, this can get pretty expensive but there are a few ways to help cut down on food costs as well.
The first and most obvious tip is to avoid eating in busy tourist areas. Try to find smaller spots in more local areas for better prices (and, quite honestly, better food). You can always find recommendations online or ask at your accommodation for local suggestions.
Another idea is to get simple food for breakfast and lunch, then splurge on dinner (or splurge on lunch and go basic for dinner). There are tons of markets, small sandwich shops, and cafes where you can get a bite to eat for under 10 euro.
Tapas (small dishes) are also worth taking advantage of. Portions are pretty generous and, in some bars, you get free tapas with your beer and wine.
With that in mind, here’s what you can expect to pay for daily meals in Spain:
- Breakfast – $7
- Lunch – $10
- Dinner – $20
That works out to $37 a day, but remember, this is an average price. I don’t expect you to actually go to restaurants every day so you’ll likely spend less. That said, there will be times where you splurge at a restaurant which is why you want to have a rough number to work with.
Insider tip: Spaniards eat both lunch and dinner much later than North Americans do, so try to keep to the local schedule so you can have a more authentic Spain experience.
Whether you consider yourself to be a shopaholic or not, it’s always a good idea to have a little extra in your budget for random spending. This could be for souvenirs, taxi rides, or maybe even just a glass of sangria on a patio one afternoon.
Although buying Iberico ham may be tempting, don’t forget that your home country may have laws about bringing food back home.
I recommend allocating at least an extra $100 to your budget for random spending purposes.
So, how much does it cost to go to Spain? Well, based on my estimate a 2-week vacation in Spain will cost you about US $3,690. If you don’t want to travel around the country, you can read my cost guide to Barcelona.
Spain is a great travel destination and, for savvy travellers, can actually be a very affordable place for a vacation in Europe. Plus, you can use my tips and tricks listed throughout this article to help stretch your dollar even further. Other destinations also worth considering include Croatia, Italy Austria, Germany, Cyprus, Malta and France.