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There are two aspects of traveling in Barcelona that are particularly hard on the pocketbook: hotels and eating out. (EuroCheapo already has you covered on the cheap hotel front.) Even though Barcelona offers a fair amount of cheap eateries, eating out three times a day adds up. Instead of hitting up a café or restaurant, consider buying a few meals at the grocery store.
Making good use of the local grocery
Even if you don’t have a kitchen at your hotel or hostel, the grocery store can still be a good option. Simply buy ready-made snacks and drinks, or grab some plastic cutlery and some paper plates and head for the park.
Although this last week (September 2009) has been stormy in Barcelona, the weather is usually sunny regardless of the season, so eating on a bench or having a simple picnic in the city center is totally realistic.
Some foods you might look for at the grocery store include: ready-made sandwiches (ham and cheese, tuna, egg, etc.), bottled gazpacho, bottled yogurt (to drink, like a smoothie), bags of olives, chips and dips, sliced Spanish hams and cheeses, ready-made salads, and fruit.
Pick up the basics at the supermarket, then head to a bakery for fresh baguettes and croissants (perfect for breakfast).
Three central Barcelona supermarkets
In the center of the city, it may be hard for the untrained eye to find the grocery stores hidden among the sea of touristy restaurants. Here are three suggestions:
Rambla de los Estudios, 113
Located on the Rambla, Carrefour is one of the most complete supermarkets in town, and it’s also cheap. You’ll find ready-made goods at the front of the store.
El Corte Ingles
It doesn’t look like a grocery store, but go down to the “-1″ level of this department store on Plaza Cataluña and you’ll find a full-service supermarket with local and international products.
Calle Jordi De Sant Jordi 1
Meaning “good price” in Catalan, Bonpreu is true to its name. The supermarket is the smallest of the three, and offers local products and, usually, a bakery.