How to Plan a Cheap City Break in Spain
When to Go?
If you want to save, you’ll have to travel when demand is lower. First of all check if there are any local events on the dates you’re planning to visit to avoid higher hotel prices. Don’t just think of fiestas such as the running of the bulls in Pamplona (everyone knows that starts on July 6), but also check out the dates of trade fairs and major sporting events if you’re thinking of Barcelona, Madrid or Valencia.
Once you’ve settled on your dates, start to research hotels on sites such as LateRooms or Hotels.com comparing like with like. Don’t be swayed by more stars, as this could just mean that the hotel has conference facilities that you won’t be using (but you will be paying for).
Another possibility is AirBnB; take a look at options for your chosen city from grotty rooms to mansions with everything in-between.
How to Travel?
If you’re driving to your destination, find the cheapest petrol stations or download an app.
If you’re going by train, see our guide on how to find discounts.
Where to Eat?
If you want to try out the local cuisine but are on a budget, use online discount coupon sites that don’t require prepayment. Print out the vouchers before you go, if you change plans you won’t be out of pocket – search by location on Oportunista or UrbanCheck.
If you’re interested in a specific restaurant try Restaurantes.com (available in English) to see if there’s a discount available and reserve without prepaying.
And don’t forget that most restaurants offer a fixed-price Menu del Dia; if the restaurant is a bit more exclusive this many be called “Menu Ejecutivo“.
What to See?
First stop: The local tourist office. It’s always a good place to visit when you arrive and they should be able to inform you about free events.
If you’re going to Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia, pick up some mini cards at your hotel (if they’re not available, try another hotel lobby). Mini cards have special offers and discounts, although some are just informative.
Websites highlighting free events such as Cheap In Madrid and ForFree.cat (Barcelona) can be useful and there are free city tours via Feel the City in Granada, Seville and Madrid. Find more on Google: input your chosen city and “free” or “cheap” and see what turns up!
Under 31’s get discounts with a Youth Card at museums. If you don’t qualify for a Youth Card, check online which days museums have free entry. Families with 3 or more kids should make sure they have the Familia Numerosa card and ask if a discount is available.
You’ll see lots of ads for City Cards, but you’ll have to calculate whether they’re worthwhile (eg Madrid Card or Barcelona Card) – it all depends on your plans.
Visiting theme parks, zoos, or similar can be expensive so check out the offers at Tixalia; no commission and you can change your ticket dates at no cost. Get an exclusive 5% discount with our code TXLMONEYSS20XX.