Some of us are fortunate enough to have friends, family or an acquaintance in the city we decide to visit, someone who can take us in, helping to lower the trip’s expenses.
For those who don’t have such luck, here is our guide to a low-cost trip to Barcelona.
Getting to Barcelona
Do your research and compare prices before booking your ticket. Websites like Skyscanner can help you with this task. It also helps to know that there are low cost airlines that fly to Barcelona. The main ones are Ryanair, Easyjet, and Vueling. But be careful when purchasing the tickets – the websites of low-cost airlines are designed to make you accidentally spend money on things like extra luggage or choosing a seat.
If you are coming to Barcelona from another city in Spain, it might pay off to use the bus. The country has an excellent bus service that connects most of the cities, arriving in Barcelona at Estacio de Nord.
The train is another good option when you want to save some bucks. The RENFE night trains are far cheaper than the ones that run during the day, so make sure to check the prices for the later ones.
Services like Bla Bla Car offer travelers the opportunity to share the trip with someone with a car, helping the driver pay for the gas.
Want to save money? Then forget hotels. Look for hostels or pensiones. You can also try websites like Airbnb, where people rent rooms in their houses for affordable prices. If you don’t want to have to pay anything at all for accommodation, try Couchsurfing, a service in which a community of people who offer or receive accommodation from other members for free. Sometimes you get a room, sometimes you get a couch. It’s all about you feel comfortable with.
If you´ve already covered your expenses on your transport and room, next would be your expenses on food and necessities.
Buy yourself a liter bottle of water. Carry it with you in a backpack and fill it up as you go. The tap water in Barcelona is considered safe to drink. With a lot of walking, you will need to hydrate.
Go grocery shopping
Save eating out for the last couple of days so that you know how much money you can really count on and maybe splurge a little. Go to any market and buy your food there. Freshly baked baguettes and fuet (Catalan dried sausage) can go for a quick meal, along with some fruit. Vary things up with some cereal bars, fruit, nuts, cheeses. Some markets sell prepackaged food (salads or sandwiches) for quick consumption.
Want that beer? Avoid buying them at 7/11 type stores or bars, as they are cheaper in supermarkets.
If there is something you plan to do or see, set that amount to the side. To me, the best entertainment is free. Check out the Guia Del Ocio, which gives you the name, place and time of weekly venues from the theater, museum, music, concerts, readings, etc. If not, La Vanguardia prints out a listing of free activities or concerts going on that day. For those who prefer museums, know that most are free on Saturday or Sunday afternoons or the first weekend of the month.
The Tourist Board of Barcelona
offers maps and some guides for free. You can even buy tickets for the advertised venues from their office. Walk right in and take a look.
For some of us, a good pair of sneakers is enough. But all that walking will make you tired. Care to save some strength and invest in a TMB Card? For ten Euros you get ten trips that can be used on the subway, buses or trams.