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How much does a city-based trip to Spain cost?

Paul RYKENFirst Published: Last Updated: Afford your trip, Spain

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Our daily expenses to explore two famous cities in Spain was USD58.44 / EUR52.04 per person per day. Our budget as always is USD50.00 so we were well over. We spent the whole of April 2019 in Spain, actually a little more: 31 days to be correct.

First, we walked the Camino Portuguese from the Portuguese/Spanish border (19 days). We posted our costs for the Camino separately, to avoid a distortion of the travel costs (one way or the other). The costs shared in this article cover the time we spent in Santiago de Compostela (after the Camino) and in Barcelona (12 days in total).


When reading our travel costs for Spain, please keep the following in mind:


We sourced our accommodation through Airbnb, renting a private room with our own bathroom in our respective host’s home. Both, Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona are popular destinations. Sharing with hosts allows us to stay within budget while not compromising on certain comforts, such as our own bathroom and a kitchen where we can prepare meals. It also allows us to learn more about our destinations through conversations with our hosts.

Accommodation NameCityTypeCost Per Room Per Night
Habitación tranquila y céntrica - Not longer renting on AirbnbSantiago de CompostelaPrivate double room with bathroomEUR29.25
Plaza de Sants - No longer renting on AirbnbBarcelonaPrivate double room with separate bathroomEUR32.05
Santiago de Compostela Airbnb bedroom
You may want to book your stay in Santiago in advance, especially if you visit during busy periods such as Semana Santa/Easter


In Santiago de Compostela, our accommodation was so close to the city centre, that we were able to walk everywhere. The one exception was taking the public bus to the airport (EUR3 per person).

In Barcelona, we could have taken public transport from the airport to our accommodation, but as we arrived just before midnight, we decided to take a taxi – BIG mistake. Apart from the cost (EUR30), our taxi ride experience was atrocious: the driver sped at 120km/h (where 80km/h are allowed) and dropped us 1km away from our accommodation (as he’d gone too far). At the time of our visit, Uber and Cabify were not allowed to operate in Barcelona due to pressure from the Taxi industry on the Catalan government.

Apart from one taxi, we used Barcelona’s excellent public transport system, which makes it super easy to get around. We purchased a T-10 card valid for 10 journeys on any metro, bus, tram or suburban train (not though for the metro trip to/from the airport). Easily purchased from the vending machines in the Metro stations, we were both able to use the same T-10 card at the same time. The 2019 price for one zone (covering all the areas we travelled to) was EUR10.20 (or EUR1.02 per person per trip, including up to 3 changes within 75 minutes).

Returning to the airport for our early morning flight out of Barcelona, we took one of the frequent night buses (again covered by the T-10 card).

The Barcelona Metro is an efficient and cheap way to get around
The Barcelona Metro is an efficient and cheap way to get around

Groceries and Dining

Our choice of accommodation in both Santiago and Barcelona meant that we were able to make our own breakfasts (muesli, yoghurt, fresh fruit and coffee) and cook hot meals every other day – something we had missed when we were walking the Camino Portuguese. When out and about, we alternated between eating out and having lunch packs we had made ourselves.


Santiago de Compostela

We ended our Camino Portuguese in Santiago de Compostela during Santa Semana (the week leading up to Easter). We did this on purpose, to experience the celebrations during this time of year, including the penance processions performed by the Catholic brotherhoods in the streets of Santiago (and all over Spain).

After the Camino, we were a little sore, so decided to pamper ourselves with a one hour massage (EUR35 per person). Besides, because we did not have the time to continue our Camino to Finisterre/Muxia, we joined a bus tour. The day trip included stops in the villages of Pontemaceira and Muros, the Cascada do Ezaro (the only river in Europe reaching the sea as a waterfall) and of course Finisterre and Muxia. We also visited the Pilgrimage Museum (EUR2.40 per adult).


If Santiago de Compostela was a restful time, Barcelona was anything but. Our original 6 full days were reduced to five as we arrived in Barcelona a day late thanks to a flight cancellation.

Since I had never been to Barcelona and Sandra was returning after 20+ years, there were some more touristy activities on our list, including those requiring (at times significant) entrance fees:

And no, we didn’t go into the most famous tourist attraction in Barcelona – the Sagrada Familia. Not because we didn’t want to. We ran out of time and didn’t order tickets early enough. Even seasoned travelers like ourselves can’t always get it right.

While we paid for a few tourist attractions, we also visited quite a few free places, including:

Entrance fees to Gaudi's architecture, including Casa Milà (La Pedrera), can easily burn a hole in your wallet
Entrance fees to Gaudi's architecture, including Casa Milà (La Pedrera), can easily burn a hole in your wallet

Travel Costs Summary Table

EUR per person per day
Leisure ActivitiesEUR12.3324%
Government CostsEUR00%
Total per person per dayEUR52.04

12 nights in Spain: USD1,402.37 / EUR1,248.92 (two people)

Daily Expenses in Spain: USD58.44 / EUR52.04 (per person)

Cash Needs

From a safety point of view, we like to have as little cash as possible on us, yet enough to not feel uncomfortable.

Of the expenses incurred in Spain (visiting Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona), we paid 23% in cash. The biggest cash amount was for our massage in Santiago.

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How do you determine which card is best for your overseas trip? Using the right one can save bank fees and make your travel budget stretch further.

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Feature photo by Daniel Corneschi on Unsplash

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How much does it cost to explore Spain?
How much does it cost to explore Spain?
How much does it cost to explore Spain?
How much does a city-based trip to Spain cost?