What it Costs: Travel in Spain

I’m continuing in my series of guides on the cost of travel for backpackers after my issues for Argentina and Bolivia were so popular.  This edition is from Europe.  So how much does it cost to travel Spain as a backpacker?  Here’s more or less what if cost me.



I was sorely disappointed with the accommodation I ran into while in Spain.  Most of the backpacker’s hostels were either really bland or extremely loud.  However, the value isn’t exactly terrible.  These are the hostel prices at the places I stayed during my trip:

  • Barcelona (dorm) = 20 Euros a night
  • Madrid (dorm) = 16 Euros a night
  • Seville (dorm) = 17 Euros a night
  • Algercias (private room) = 25 Euros a night


Transport (Long Distance)

The transport system in Spain, as in much of Europe is quite efficient.  However, it can also be a little bit expensive.  In comparison, the trains are much more expensive that the buses although the buses much slower.  If I were you, I’d get myself a Eurail pass as I worked it out to be a massive saver in terms of transport costs.

Generally, I break down how much it costs to get from point A to point B on a per hour basis, I’ll do the same here.  Again, save yourself these crazy prices and just get yourself a Eurail pass.

  • Train: 30 Euros an Hour
  • Bus: 15 Euros an Hour

Another option might be an economy car hire.  The normal car hire Spain route is one that starts in Barcelona and ends in Madrid after two weeks. A car rental of that period will cost about 325-250 Euros plus whatever you spend on fuel.  At the time of research gas prices were about 1.50 Euros per liter.


Luckily for you, the prices of food in Spain are actually quite reasonable.  In fact, if you begin to learn some of the tricks of the trade you won’t have to spend all too much at all.  For example, many people don’t have dinner.  They just simply wander into a bar and eat the free (or cheap) tapas that come along with the cheap beers.  Also, at lunch time seek out the set lunches which are generally great value.

  • Glass of draft beer at a pub: 1-2 Euro
  • Small portion of Tapas at a tapas restaurant: 1.50-3 Euros
  • Set Lunch (starter, main, desert and wine): 8-10 Euros
  • Bottle of local wine: 3-5 Euros



This is where Spain can bite you a bit if you’re not careful.  The museums are quite expensive, and since there are so many good ones in Spain it’s hard not to want to check them all out.  One way around those prices is to buy a city pass for each destination.  Also, don’t bother booking expensive city tours, there are always free walking tours just please remember to tip your guide.

  • Museum Entry: 2-5 Euros
  • Free Walking tour: 5 Euro Tip for a half day
  • Nightclub Entry: 5-10 Euros (possible free with a hostel pub crawl)