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. That´s when the Spanish perspective on living by relaxing and enjoying life stands out most. Giving the country so much character, clearly a perfect place to spend time as a visitor. Giving you a welcome escape from your hectic life.
Spain is beautiful, diverse, and among the cheapest Western European countries to visit.
Spain on a Budget – Backpacking
Make sure you arrange the specific paperwork you need ahead of time. You might need a Visa or ETSA document so check this carefully. Visamundi can help you process online before you travel and offer service in different languages for all destinations. Not getting the right documents on time could be an expensive mistake to make if you are planning long haul travel or are expecting to be away for several weeks or months.
European residents are spoiled for choice when it comes to budget airlines. They 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 the total fee may exclude charges like airport taxes and baggage allowance. If you’re coming from outside of Europe, international flights are generally the cheapest around if booked three months prior to your departure date. Try buying the seats separately, use different devices to see if there is any price differences before finalizing your booking. You may be surprised.
Mobile phone Charges
Avoid nasty surprises from your mobile operator after weeks travelling abroad. If you get an International SIM Card you can use internet when abroad and without extra charges.
Its a good idea to minimise the amount of luggage you take with you. Packing a Practical Backpack will be useful during the intial flight but also over the entire trip. This will make it easier to move around different locations on buses and trains too. If you have bulky or heavy luggage it will slow you down and also could mean extra fees throughout your trip.
If you are on a Budget then hiking and outdoor activities are a great way to fill up a morning or a whole day. One of the more popular hikes in Spain is the Caminito del Rey, in Malaga province. You can book a guided walk through this dramatic gorge but it´s not good for those scared of heights.
Do ensure that there is availability on the day you plan to go. Passes are limited due to the narrow corridor through the rock gorge. Numbers are limited to ensure safety measures and enough space is left between visitors.
Budget Accommodation in Spain
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 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 couch surfing.
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.
Meals on a Budget
The biggest meal of the day for the Spanish is lunch. So eat a light breakfast and have a hearty lunch since dinners tend to quite late. (between 9.30pm and 11pm. When you’re out for lunch, be sure to ask for the “menu del dia”–most dishes will cost you just €7 to €9 on the menu of the day.
The best choice for evening is a few glasses of wine or beer with tapas or sharing dishes known as raciones.
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 a 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, see my updated list of daily expenses in Spain.