After two frantic ties, and against all odds, Liverpool and Tottenham meet in the Champions League final in Madrid on 1 June. Getting to the match is becoming tricky as return flights from the UK increase to more than £1300/€1507 (and rising). Hotel prices are also soaring but with a bit of creative planning there are cheaper ways to get there and enjoy your time in Spain at the same time.
A quick look at hotel booking websites reveals a surge in reservations and prices across Madrid for the night of the final as die-hard football fans make a mad-dash scramble to secure accommodation. The city is almost at full capacity and affordable options are dwindling. Three-star hotel rooms in the city-centre that normally cost €50 (£43) per night are going for €1000 (£862).
If you don’t mind a bit of extra leg work, it might be worth considering booking a stay in nearby towns and cities like Ávila, Cercedilla (great for hiking and biking), Cuenca, Segovia, El Escorial or Toledo. Cercedilla, for example, is a one-hour drive from Madrid and rooms for the night of the game are currently going for as little as €86 (£74) on Booking.com.
When it comes to actually getting to Madrid, flights departing from the UK on 31 May or 1 June are either sold out or too expensive. That said, there is money to be saved if you’re prepared to travel when demand is less. “Looking at flight prices, there are flights for under £200 (€232) return if you’re happy to fly out from Manchester on the Thursday and spend five or six nights in Spain and fly back on 4 or 5 June,” says Emma Coulthurst, from holiday price comparison site, TravelSupermarket.
Rather than fly to Madrid, compare the price of flying to a different Spanish airport. You can currently fly to Barcelona from Gatwick on 30 May and back on 3 June for £125 (€145) return but it means spending a night in Lisbon on the way back. Alternatively, there are direct Barcelona return flights from £284 (€329) from Gatwick. You can connect between Barcelona and Madrid on the AVE (high speed) train. Travel time is just under three hours on direct trains.
If the Barcelona route becomes too overwhelmed (many fans might consider that as their Plan B) you can look at making the three-hour train journey from Seville to Madrid. Trains are also only two hours from Valencia but if you have a good bit of time on your hands and really want to save money, consider somewhere further away like Santiago de Compostela. It’s a six-hour train ride but the views and savings are worth it.