Barcelona on a budget: 5 wallet-friendly tips that any cheapo will love

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The attractive Barcelona beaches are still free to enjoy. Photo: Regina W Bryan
The attractive Barcelona beaches are still free to enjoy. Photo: Regina W Bryan

Compared to Stockholm, Zurich or London, Barcelona is a relatively inexpensive destination. But when you compare it to a city like Seville in the south of Spain, the prices of everything from restaurants to hotels can feel exorbitant. But it’s our job to help keep your costs low, so you can visit Barcelona no matter what your budget is. Check out these tips and save your euros for more wine and tapas.

1. These boots were made for walking

A subway ticket in Barcelona will cost you about €10 for 10 rides, and the metro system is efficient and a pretty good deal compared to other cities. But you can do even better. Save that cash and get around on your own two tootsies like the locals do. Barcelona is a great walking city, and there’s no better way to explore the local neighborhoods. Plus, skipping the metro will not only save you euros, it will also help burn off extra calories you’ve gained guzzling wine and spearing tapas.

Hostal Fernando

Hostal Fernando is a great budget choice with affordable double and triple rooms. Photo: Regina W Bryan

2. Stay cheap, stay central

In order to be able to walk everywhere, you’ll need to stay in a centrally located hotel. You would think that it would be hard to find a budget room, but we have a great list of options. The Gothic Quarter or L’Eixample are your best bets for proximity to popular sights. If you want really central, try Hostal Fernando right off La Rambla for an easy downtown location. They have a super cheap hostel area as well as affordable private rooms.

3. The sea is your (free) swimming pool

Guess what? The beaches are still free. Amazing but true. Now, those lounge chairs they put out are not free, so avoid those. Bring your own towel and a book, and you’re all set. Swimming is good in Barcelona from May to October, so don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, even if you come during the shoulder season.

Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella is an oasis for a fun (and very cheap) picnic. Photo: Regina W Bryan

4. Picnic in the park

Most parks are also still free to enjoy for visitors in Barcelona, with the exception of Park Güell, which now charges for €8 admission to tourists. Luckily, Parc de la Ciutadella in the center of the city, where the zoo is located, is a lovely place to explore on a sunny afternoon by yourself or with a group of friends. And it won’t cost you a dime. Bring a picnic and chill in the grass like a true Barcelona citizen. Once you feel that sun shining on your face, you won’t feel guilty at all for skipping a few museums. You can always save those for a rainy day.

5. Bakery goodness for less

To create that picnic in Parc de la Ciutadella, you’ll want to stop into one of the zillions of bakeries around Barcelona. Some are better than others, but most all sell sandwiches, bread and croissants stuffed with savory and sweet fillings. You can get lunch at a bakery for around €5 while eating at a restaurant will usually cost you €10-15. Still hungry? Check out these 18 eating tips for eating like a local Barcelona.

More Barcelona budget information

Remember, Barcelona doesn’t have to be expensive. Going into all the museums and touristy sights (which can be fun to experience) add up fast. Wander and window shop, or spend some time on the shoreline to save big. For more tips on saving, read additional coverage on Barcelona from our EuroCheapo experts.

About the author

Regina W Bryan

About the author: Regina W.Bryan is a Barcelona-based freelance writer and photographer. When not eating tapas and exploring Europe, she is tending her balcony veggie garden and practicing Catalan. For more of her thoughts on Spain, check: www.regwb.com and www.thespainscoop.com.

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