Why you should visit Madrid instead of Barcelona


Spain is blessed with lots of beautiful cities, but Madrid and Barcelona are undoubtedly the two largest and most popular. These glistening cities offer wildly different experiences, though, and it can be tough when it comes to deciding which to visit.

We obviously adore Madrid and, while we understand Barcelona is an incredible city with lots to offer, we would love to welcome you to our city! Here’s a look at the six top reasons you should visit Madrid instead of Barcelona.

Top Reasons to Visit Madrid Instead of Barcelona

Madrid is a stunning city and we believe it edges Barcelona in a few key areas. Here’s a closer look at where Madrid comes out on top:

#6: Stunning Parks and Outdoor Areas

The Spanish capital might lack a connection to the sea but it makes sure that its residents and visitors get to make the most of the beautiful weather. You will find that there are many beautiful parks and gardens to explore in the city.

These parks and gardens are maintained very well and you’ll love the opportunity to breathe some fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. These parks are evenly spread throughout the city too – meaning that you’ll never be far from one.

The jewel in the city’s crown, the Retiro park, is stunning and incomparable to anything in Barcelona (note we have a segway tour that’ll take you around it in style!).

Reasons to visit Madrid instead of Barcelona - open spaces and parks

Of course, Madrid is renowned for its plazas and public squares too. Be sure to read our piece on the best plazas in Madrid!

#5: Better Value for Money

When you’re on vacation, you want your money to go as far as possible. Madrid offers the better value for money when compared to Barcelona. This means that you can eat and sleep for cheaper – and with the money you save you could even consider extending your trip!

As you can see from this calculation from Numbeo, Madrid is significantly cheaper in a range of areas including consumer prices, rent, dining, and more. There are a few reasons for this difference in price – a big one is the demand from the number of tourists, which leads us onto our next point…

#4: Less Touristy

Barcelona is a beautiful city that is renowned for its architecture, nightlife, and stunning beaches. These attractions mean that in 2016, a staggering 32 million visitors passed through Barcelona to get a piece of the action.

By comparison, Madrid welcomes a much lower average of six million tourists each year (and they’re spread out over a larger space). This means that tourism is much more sustainable in Madrid and authentic experiences are just around every corner. It also means that tourists can expect a warmer welcome in Madrid when compared to Barcelona.

Many of Barcelona’s restaurants and businesses have pivoted to cater to an international audience and while that’s great in some respects, it does mean that more authentic experiences are difficult to find.

#3: Famous Art Museums

While Barcelona has diverse and unique cultural experiences to offer its visitors, Madrid’s art scene is world-famous. You’ll enjoy some amazing experiences here and the “Golden Triangle” of art museums provides enough beauty to last a lifetime.

These museums house the most significant Spanish art created over the past 500 years by key artists like Goya and Velázquez. Whether you’re traveling alone, with a partner or a wider group, you’ll have some truly unforgettable experiences.

The three museums are the Prado, Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. If you adore art, you’ll truly be in heaven while exploring in the Spanish capital.

#2: Native Spanish Is Spoken

Do you fancy yourself pretty decent when it comes to Spanish? Are you perhaps looking to sharpen your skills and make the most of the lessons you’ve taken? You might find that Madrid is more appropriate than Barcelona if you love the language.

Barcelona has two official languages: Spanish and Catalan. While the residents there are often more than happy to accommodate and speak in Spanish, you may find that the presence of Catalan can throw up some boundaries.

Of course, English is more widely spoken in Barcelona too because of the high levels of tourism. You might find that most people will simply prefer to speak in English and you might miss the opportunity to sharpen your Spanish.

Reasons to visit Madrid instead of Barcelona - native Spanish

#1: Authentic Food Is Everywhere

Spanish food is absolutely exquisite with many of world’s best restaurants being in Spain. You’ll find a rich tapestry of flavors just waiting to be discovered and we’re absolutely certain you’ll head home with a new favorite dish. We haven’t even mentioned the beautiful wine, either, which can easily rival those bottled in France.

Given that Madrid welcomes fewer tourists each year, you’ll find that the authentic restaurants are easier to find than in Barcelona. The restaurants in the Catalan capital cater to a more international audience and while it’s still remarkably delicious, you might find that authentic Spanish options are more difficult to find.

Madrid has over 10,000 restaurants, for example, while Madrid has just over 6,000. This means that you will find it much simpler to make a decision that you’re happy with.

Enjoy a Madrid Segway Tour

As you can see, there’s a lot to love about Madrid! We really believe that to get the most from the city, you should enjoy a Segway tour (check out our five reasons to see Madrid on a Segway).

Looking to explore Madrid the original way? Learn more about our top-rated Segway tours in Madrid today!

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