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)

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. Good advice! We’re in Catalonia at the moment and your figures sound spot on. Trains vary a lot in price, with stoppers being much cheaper. Barcelona to Tarragona direct costs €33. On a slower, regional train it’s €7.50.

    Also, toll roads add to the cost of travelling by car. By law though there has to be a free alternative. You can spot a toll road as it’ll begin ‘AP’, like the AP-7 that runs along the east coast.

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  2. Great tips! Just an addition under “food”. If you’re in Granada (city and province) tapas are free with the purchase of a beverage. So you can eat dinner for about 1-2 Euros.

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    • Thanks Sam, same is the case in Madrid… gotta love it!

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  3. I am going to Spain for three months to live with a host family and teach English as a second language. Then, I am going backpacking through Morocco, the UK, Europe, and Israel for 7 months. This is my college gap year. I am wanting to start a travel blog though – how do you really make a blog stand out? Anyone have any cool ideas? Or a blog site they recommend? I am thinking about making one with word press.

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  4. I love that. I too am a writer who travels. I think it’s much more interesting to follow someone’s personal journey rather than read about the “Top 5 things to do in Spain”.

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