Whilst Madrid is one of Europe’s cheaper cities, it’s still a capital city and therefore carries a larger price tag than many other destinations on the continent. But the price you pay is worth every penny, as this capital has so much to offer, with its beautiful blend of traditional and modern, Spanish and international, and nature and city. With so much to see and do, you can end up spending more than you expected here, especially when an Erasmus grant will only stretch so far. But there is plenty to do if you’re watching your spending but still want to stay busy in the capital.
Faro de Moncloa
This 92-meter tower is definitely the best viewing point in Madrid. Views stretch as far as the Sierra, with all of Madrid’s landmarks within view.
Rowing boats in Parque Retiro
Whilst this activity does creep over the €5 budget at €6, you can fit 4 in your boat, coming to a healthy €1.50 each. Retiro is huge and can be a bit overwhelming, so this is the perfect way to enjoy the park.
Price: €1.50 (€6 between 4)
Cable Car Ride in Casa de Campo
Another way to get some great views of the city is this teleférico that goes over Casa de Campo: a natural area spanning 1700 hectares. Whilst €4.50 will only get you one way, it gives you the opportunity to explore the wooded greenery of Casa de Campo.
Metro: Plaza de España
Microteatro por Dinero
Get some obscure culture at the Microteatro. Whilst they’re yet to put on any performances in English, it’s the perfect place to ease you into Spanish theatre, with each performance lasting only 15 minutes. There’s a bar that’s serving tapas and burgers, perfect for the 15 minute intervals between each show.
Metro: Callao/Gran Vía
Museo de la Reina Sofia
Although considerably smaller than Madrid’s famed Prado, this museum still has 4 floors stretching over 6 centuries worth of art and history. Its most famed piece is, of course, Pablo Picasso’s Guernica. But don’t miss one of the many old, obscure short-films that are played here on loop.
Price: Free for students, (€10 at the ticket office, €8 online, free after 7pm)
El Lago: Lake and Swimming Pool
Unfortunately, like all of the other outdoor public pools in Madrid, Piscina de Lago is closed for winter (within the first few weeks of September). But during the summer months this is the perfect place to cool off or soak up the sol.
Price: €3.60 euros 15-26 years old (€4.50 euros general admission)
Watch the sunset at Templo de Debod
Whilst Templo de Debod itself can be quite underwhelming, it’s the perfect place to watch that Spanish sun go down. Gather your friends, some beers and enjoy the views and live music always playing there.
Metro: Plaza de España
Royal Botanical Gardens
Situated next to El Parque Retiro (Madrid’s biggest green space), these botanical gardens do charge your entry but it’s definitely worth it to escape the crowds and absorb some nature. Take a look at the 19th century green houses, and enjoy a drink at the garden’s very own café.
Price: €2 for students (€4 general admission)