How to save on hotels in Madrid

The view from a hotel in Madrid.

While Spain is certainly a budget traveler’s paradise, room rates in the Spanish capital can cost substantially more than elsewhere on the continent and tend to skyrocket even higher during major events.

So how can you ensure savings on your hotel room in Madrid?

Surprisingly, it’s not as difficult as it sounds when you use our handy tips. The key to getting the best possible deal is keeping a close eye on details like location, how far in advance to book, and the type of accommodations that are available.

More hotel tips for Spain:
• 7 Tips for saving on your hotel in Barcelona
• Hostal? Hostel? Hotel? Understanding Barcelona accommodation options
• Hotels under $100 per night in Madrid

Are you ready to plan a trip to Madrid? Check out current rates for rooms at Madrid hotels and read up on our best advice on how to book a comfortable room for a great price.

1. Always keep location in mind

Madrid is a sprawling metropolis, not nearly as walkable as more compact cities like Amsterdam or Florence. So keep that in mind when booking accommodations — ideally, you want to stay somewhere centrally located. That said, if you’d like a peaceful night’s sleep, stay away from the busy and boisterous streets around Atocha Train Station, Gran Vía, Puerta del Sol, and Plaza Mayor.

2. Stay near public transit

If due to events and availability you have to stay a little further from the center, one thing is key — proximity to public transit. Public transportation in Madrid is fast and cheap, so as long as your hotel is near a bus or metro stop, you’ll be all set. Just try to stay within one zone of the city center for the cheapest price per trip to town and back.

Related: 5 Budget tips for saving on your trip to Madrid

3. Choose your dates carefully

While Madrid is a popular destination year-round, some dates are superior to others when it comes to the price for a night’s stay in a hotel, hostel or pension. In addition to the potential dangers of visiting during peak season (late spring through early fall), booking your trip during popular events like major soccer games and medical conferences can drive up occupancy rates — and prices, too!

Churros Madrid

Skip the hotel breakfast for churros and hot chocolate at the local cafe. Photo: Chris

Unless breakfast is included, plan on heading out for a café con leche and bocadillo de jamón first thing. Paying extra for a desayuno (breakfast) in your hotel is generally a disappointing and overpriced affair. In a nearby bar, you’ll get better food (and coffee) for less.

Related: Cheap Eats in Madrid: How to save on dining and drinking

5. Reserve your accommodations in advance

For the best prices in a central locale, reserving a room far in advance is advisable. This is especially true if you plan to come to Madrid during the busy summer months or are visiting for a major professional conference. If you’re not sure about the deal you’ve found, pay a little extra and book a refundable rate. That way you can check back in periodically for a better offer.

6. Book late… if you dare

If you’d rather wait until late in the game, that’s an option, too. Just remember that last-minute bookings work best online — don’t expect to walk into a hotel the day of and get a competitive rate. If you must walk in, do it earlier in the day. If staff are even willing to check you in late at night, you can expect to pay substantially more than the hotel’s list price.

Related: Search and book the best value hotels in Madrid

Hostal Adriano

We love the style of the affordable rooms at Hostal Adriano.

7. Consider guesthouses, 1-star hotels & hostels

One of our favorite things about traveling in Spain is the wide availability of ruthlessly clean but bare-bones accommodations, even in a big city like Madrid. You may not have an elevator, air-conditioning or a private bathroom, but the euros you save can be spent on churros, fried squid sandwiches and all of the other delicacies the Spanish capital has to offer.

We love Hostal Gonzalo near the city’s best museums or Hostal La Macarena across from Plaza Mayor. Check out our other most popular hotels in Madrid.

8. Don’t bring a car

Parking is scarce in Madrid, and even if you can find it, this just means you’ll be adding to your budget. If you plan to drive into Madrid from elsewhere in Spain, leave your vehicle in long-term parking at the airport and hop the metro into the city — your car will be a nuisance, not an asset for seeing the city. If you plan to rent a car for a side trip from Madrid, grab it from the rental company the day of departure, not a minute before, as again, it’ll cost you time and cash to park it during your stay.

Related: Simple ways to save on your rental car in Spain

Have you been to Madrid? What are your best tips on saving money on accommodations in the Spanish Capital?