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Barcelona on a Serious Budget: One day on less than €20

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Enjoy Parque Güell in Barcelona for free. Photo: Kole //
Enjoy Parque Güell in Barcelona for free. Photo: Kole //

By Regina W. Bryan in Barcelona—

Barcelona on €20 a day? It is not easy, but let me tell you, it can be done! Here’s the Cheapo guide how to go super shoestring in the Catalan Capital city.

1. Sleep super cheap.

Unless you have friends in Barcelona, you are going to have to pay for somewhere to sleep, which could be around €20 at Hostal Malda, the cheapest place in town. Unfortunately, you just spent your daily budget. However, this is a guide to €20 a day apart from accommodations. Read on…

2. “I’ll just sleep on the beach and save money…”

Yeah, I’ve heard that one before. Don’t sleep on the beach because A) You WILL be robbed (I know of several people who have been) and B) you might get run over by the sand-cleaning tractor that sifts the beach in the mornings.

3. Do FREE stuff, skip the expensive museums.

You can kiss goodbye trips to Casa Batllo (€18) and La Sagrada Famila, which both have steep entrance fees. Instead, see them from the outside, which is still impressive, or skip them and head straight for these cool freebies:

Parque Güell: Free and fabulous park by Antoni Gaudi. Hands-down one of the best sights to visit on a sunny day. Bring water and a snack, as there is not much up there (and what is up there is expensive). Cost: €5 or so in bus / metro fare. Safety note: Stay off the back trails if you are alone.

Beach Babe: Head to the beach. It’s FREE! Go with a friend so that you can take turns swimming. Never leave your belongings unattended at the beach. Better yet, take nothing of value. (P.S. I don’t swim at Barceloneta Beach, but other people do. It’s up to you.) Here’s our overview of Barcelona’s beaches.

Catalunya Caixa Casa Mila: Free Museum in one of Antoni Gaudí’s most fanciful buildings. Open daily. This does not get you into the Gaudí part, but into the rotating expositions. I love this place, and go frequently because of the high quality shows put on there. Check out their Web site for more information.

4. Eat at bakeries, avoid restaurants.

Are there more bars or bakeries in Barcelona? This is a chicken-and-egg question that is impossible to answer. Eat breakfast and lunch at a bakery and save big on euros. You can get a large sandwich and a coke/water/whatever for about €5 to €6. Many cafes and bakeries run breakfast specials where you can get a coffee and croissant for less than €3. Here’s a list of our favorite bakeries in Barcelona.

5. The kebab is your friend.

For a filling dinner, head to one of Barcelona’s 200,000 kebab stands or restaurants and have a filling meal for €5.

6. Enjoy a cerveza in the plaza.

So far we’ve spent €3 on breakfast, €6 on lunch, €5 on dinner, and €5 on bus fare up to the park.

If you skip the park and stay central, walking to your destinations, then you still have €6 to buy a couple beers off street vendors or from the grocery store. On summer nights there is nothing wrong with sitting in a plaza and sharing a bottle of wine or a couple cervezas. In fact, lots of locals do it, and you might end up meeting some interesting people.

7. Other euro-saving tips in Barcelona:

* Book at a hostel with a kitchen, like Pension Mari-Luz, and buy fresh bread and cheese. Make yourself some sandwiches and save on food.

* Buy a large gallon of water and fill up your water bottle throughout the day.

* Stay central so you won’t have to pay cabs and bus tickets. I recommend the Barri Gotic or Raval for being central.

* Barcelona has lots of free stuff going on in its parks in the summer. Many nights in July and August there are free concerts in Ciutadella Park, for example.

Your money-saving tips for Barcelona

Have more suggestions for ways to save euros while visiting Barcelona? Share with us in our comments section!

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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