Spain is a great country for backpackers. The locals are friendly, there’s loads to see for free, and the food and drink is delicious. Granted, maybe the best time to visit Spain is during the summer, the Spanish perspective on living by relaxing and enjoying oneself gives the country so much character that makes it the perfect place to visit any time you feel like escaping your hectic life. Spain is beautiful, diverse, and among the cheapest Western European countries to visit.
European residents are spoiled for choice when it comes to budget airlines. They tend to provide great last minute deals and promotions all year round, but it’s highly recommended that you purchase your ticket ahead of time.
You might want to be careful when booking a ticket with a cheap carrier, as Parking4Less explains that the total fee may exclude charges like airport taxes and such. If you’re coming from outside of Europe, international flights are generally the cheapest around if booked three months prior to your departure date.
One of the more popular hikes in Spain is the Caminito del Rey, close to Malaga. You can book a guided walk through this dramatic gorge to ensure that there is availability on the day you are there. Passes are limited due to the narrow corridor through the rock, to ensure safety for the hikers.
To make the most out of your budget, it’s best to stay away from hotels. Instead, Transitions Abroad says that you’ll want to look at staying at Hostales, Pensiones, or Casas Rurales. Hostales and Pensiones are more like B&Bs rather than hostels, most of them family-run with shared bathrooms and small rooms that go for €40 to €85 a night.
When booking a hostal or pension, consider the star ratings and the location. Ones that are further away from the plaza will be quieter and cheaper. If you’re traveling with a family or group, you also have the choice of casa rurales, which are B&Bs in the countryside that cost €25 to €50 per night for a room or €500 to €1000 for the entire house.
You can also rent out a room in a private home (popular in Barcelona and Madrid) for as low as €15 a night, but your cheapest option will still be couchsurfing.
Transportation on Budget
The train is no longer the cheapest alternative for travel within Spain. According to About Travel, buses are more cost effective and at times quicker than the train. For inner city transport, the metro system is easy to follow and very affordable, but if you will be visiting multiple cities, a car rental might save you more money in the long run.
The biggest meal of the day for the Spanish is lunch, so eat light for breakfast and have a hearty lunch since dinners tend to be expensive. When you’re out for lunch, be sure to ask for the “menu del dia”–most dishes will cost you just a mere €7 to €9 on the menu of the day.
If you plan on seeing a bunch of museums in one day, a discount card can give you free or cheap entry into most places in town, though your better option would be to see what time of day or day of the week that museums are free to check out.
For city-specific budget breakdowns, Young Adventures has a list of daily expenses for more than 30 cities in Spain.