You probably read our post earlier this week on tips for seeing Spain on a student budget. So, now that you know how to travel around Spain on a student budget we’re filling you in on cities in Spain that you can see on a student budget.
There are so many things to love about Spanish culture. From the enticing music, to the welcoming locals, to the rich cuisine, Spain always remains a popular destination for European travelers. But as a college student without a substantial or consistent source of income, navigating through a country with so much to offer can be overwhelming. When should you save money? When should you splurge? To help ease the tension that accompanies budgeting a vacation, here are some tips to help you make the most of these popular Spanish cities while sticking to a student budget.
As the capital of Spain, Madrid represents a metropolis filled with history, beauty, and bustling city life. While some attractions cost money, such as touring the massive and majestic Royal Palace, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Madrid on a budget. For example, rather than paying the heavy fee to enter the Palace, simply admiring the building from the outside and strolling through the Palace Gardens can be just as fulfilling.
Similarly, most parks and gardens in Spain are free of charge. Definitely spend some time in Madrid’s famous Parque Retiro, a huge public green space that is home to numerous monuments, statues, lakes, ponds, and the gigantic glass masterpiece known as The Crystal Palace.
Madrid also represents an important center of history and art, and hosts numerous famous museums that can be accessed for free with proof of student ID. An essential stop for any student traveler in Madrid is the Museo Nacional Del Prado, one of the world’s most prestigious and celebrated art museums. Here you can envelop yourself in jaw-dropping works of art without even spending a dime (or a Euro).
Discounts can be hidden anywhere throughout the city, so be sure to check with the locals where to find them. Some places even offer discounts to everybody, including the El Tigre restaurant in Madrid, which brings a complimentary plate of tapas with every round of drinks. If you seek out discounts such as these, you can easily enjoy Spain’s capital city on a budget.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Barcelona is sure to be high on any traveler’s destination list. A major reason why so many tourists flock to this sunny, Catalonian city is to experience the architectural genius of Antoni Gaudí. His work is absolutely one of a kind, so it is necessary to admire some of his most famous buildings even though most have an entrance fee.
The Sagrada Familia looks like something out of a crazy fairy-tale, and paying 15 euros to enter is absolutely worth it. Also worth paying an entrance fee is Park Guell, a spacious, hilly park filled with colorful tile mosaics, flower gardens, and eccentric house designs.
Other works by Gaudí are scattered throughout the city, including Casa Batiló and Casa Milá. If you are an avid fan of architecture, you may want to pay to explore the interior of these buildings as well. But to save money, you can always simply admire these unique buildings from the outside.
Barcelona is quite a big city with so much to offer, so it may be wise to purchase a T10 metro pass. This allows you to enjoy 10 metro journeys for only 10 euros, which can be useful if you get tired of walking or want to venture to less central areas of the city. Here are some tips for how to see Barcelona for less than $100.
Located on the southeastern coast of Spain, Alicante is an incredibly gorgeous city with so many free activities to enjoy. Right in the middle of the city lie two old castles sitting atop small mountains, where you can embark on a hike to enjoy sweeping views of the city and the ocean. Castell de Sant Ferran is a great spot to watch the sunset, and you can also explore the entirety of the huge Santa Bárbara Castle for free.
After hiking, you can easily soak in the warm, Mediterranean sun by relaxing on the beach or meandering down the Alicante Marina. Both of these are also free to access, but it can be wise to avoid the expensive beachside restaurants and bars and search for food somewhere quieter in the city streets. But luckily, both mountains, castles, the beach, and the marina are all centrally located, so anything can be reached on foot and public transport is not necessary at all.
This small city is a much less popular tourist destination, but is no less culturally enriching. Also residing in southeast Spain, Murcia is slightly more inland than Alicante, but can be reached easily by bus from most major cities. The fact that coach bus tickets normally cost no more than 10 euros is also a plus.
Murcia’s most famous attraction is its Cathedral. This stunning religious building reveals hints of Gothic and Baroque architecture, and is completely free to explore. It is also located right in the middle of the city, and is surrounded by an endless supply of other beautiful churches and monuments.
While eating out in restaurants every night can be tempting while traveling, this lifestyle does not adhere to a student budget. Luckily, most Spanish cities have a large Central Market, and Murcia’s definitely does not disappoint. Most markets serve an abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables, and you can always walk out with overflowing bags of produce for only a couple euros total. In addition, markets usually have stalls selling home-cooked pastries and breads, buckets of nuts and dried fruits, incredible artisan cheeses, and sometimes even ready-made meals of paella or pizza. Rather than paying for an expensive sandwich in a cafe, you can easily buy an entire loaf of fresh bread and a block of cheese for much cheaper. Markets are basically heaven for budget travelers who want to experience amazing local food without spending a fortune.
As Spain’s third largest city, Valencia is the home of paella, the beach, and magnificent architecture. A great way to enjoy Valencia is by walking, running, or biking through the massive stretch of lush green garden that curves around the entirety of the city center. Some activities may cost money, including touring the Botanic Gardens or climbing the Old Towers residing throughout the city, but both of these are only a couple euros at most, and are definitely worth it.
A must-see area of Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences. If you are a huge fan of marine science, paying to enter the museums and attractions here may be worth the money. But simple walking around the area and admiring the unique, modern architecture surrounded by turquoise pools may be sufficient.
This small, historic Spanish city can be accessed by bus or train for Madrid and other nearby cities. Again, public transport within Spain is always very affordable, so I highly recommend making a day trip to Toledo. The majority of Toledo is simply a maze of winding alleyways, complete with cobblestone streets, Medieval architecture, and influences of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths. An entire day in Toledo can easily be spend getting lost in the scenic streets and absorbing the history that thrives around every corner. Unless you’re planning on paying the entrance fee at the El Greco museum, the architecture and natural beauty of this mountainous town will be enough to entertain you without cost.
Near the busier streets of the city, many locals visit the street markets to buy extremely cheap clothes, books, food, and trinkets. If you are looking for authentic but affordable souvenirs, this is the place to do so.
Not only can you see these Spanish cities on a student budget, you can get a discounted flight to get there as well. So what are you waiting for? Make Summer Sixteen one to remember.