In Barcelona, it’s not easy to stay indoors and lay low when you are trying to be careful with money. There’s a massive amount of things happening all over the city all the time, culminating in an awful lot of temptation. This guide should appeal to anyone who wants to go out and enjoy Barcelona without wrecklessly frittering their money away.
Barcelona is full of bakeries where you can get something cheap and tasty for breakfast. Bocadillos (baguette sandwiches) filled with ham, cheese, tuna and a range of other fillings are a great way to fill a hunger hole, for just a few euros. Get a croissant for an even cheaper but tasty treat. A café con leche (coffee with milk) shouldn’t set you back much more than a meagre 1.60 euros. Usually there are tables and seating, or you can buy to go if you are in a rush to get to the beach or park! In the latter case, a good idea is to buy a baguette for lunching/picnic–ing later in the day. You can find some packets of meat or cheese to make sandwiches. Thrown in some snacks and drinks (cans of beers are super cheap) and then split the cost among friends. You should be able to get what you need for around five euros.
Head to the beach
When the sun is shining, which it usually is, surely one of the most enjoyable and cheapest ways to spend the day is on the beach. Pack a book, games, sun cream, picnic (as above) and you are pretty much set for the day. Barceloneta is extremely handy and you can probably get there walking, depending on where you are coming from. However it can get very crowded, particularly in the height of summer. I strongly recommend heading to a beach outside Barcelona, and you can do this without even spending too much. Going south, you can get to Castelldelfels and Sitges for the price of a metro ticket, and in fact if you have a multi-journey metro ticket, you can use it for the journey to those destinations.
…or the park
Another perfect place to enjoy sunshine, picnic and company on a budget is at the Ciutadella park. There is lots of space to lay down, mess around and watch the world go by. There is always a great atmosphere at the weekends. Go with friends, music, cold drinks, snacks and activities (e.g. slack line, football or whatever you and your friends can provide).
Another nice place for relaxing alone or with friends is up on Montjuic, in one of the peaceful and pretty gardens.
For something more active…
If you want to do something more energetic without notching up on transport costs, Barcelona is a unique city in that it offers the opportunity to hike in the hills without leaving the city. To get to Tibidabo walking, the only costs you will incur is the cost of transport (train or bus) to base of the hill and the cost of water and snacks. You can really enjoy a taste of nature, as you work your way up the paths, which weave and wind their way up to the cathedral at the top. The hike up takes approximately 1 ½ hour, so do make sure you take water and decent shoes!
Barcelona is a city rich in architecture, art and culture, most of which can be appreciated from the street without the need to pay any entrance fees. You can get to most places of interest on foot; although you are likely to cover a lot of ground you probably won’t notice it (until the end of the day when you suddenly feel exhausted!) as it’s so pleasant and there’s so much to take in along the way.
My personal favourite and fun way to eat on a budget is to go to a Pinotxo bar. Calle Blai in the Poble Sec neighbourhood is famous for being lined from end to end with bars offering 1euro pinotxos. Most are decent, with some definitely better quality than others. These type of bars can also be found all over Barcelona. Pintxos are basically little tapas, served on bread with a stick. You pick what you want and at the end pay for however many sticks you have. This is a fun and cheap way to end your budget day out!