Ahh, Barcelona—the hip mecca for both backpackers and college-abroaders. Even so, as one of Europe’s top spots, it can be tough to dig into the scene without digging into your pockets. Luckily, we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to take some pressure off your wallet without missing out on all those romantic, Spanish vibes.
Getting Around Barcelona
When you land in a major metropolitan area, a good first step is to figure out how to get around. Cabs? By foot? Barcelona has a pretty extensive metro system to take advantage of. It will obviously beat the standard cab fare, but you can take it a step further. Head to the website and check out their discount rates; try the Hola BCN card for multi-day, travel-friendly rates (the cheapest is just over $4 for 2 days of transit).
Español: Tapas en un establecimiento de Barcelona (España) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Where to Eat in Barcelona
People travel with their stomachs. “Where should we go for dinner?” “Is there a good coffee spot around here?” When in Barcelona, do as the Barcelonans do. And that means tapas.
For tapas-inspired sandwiches, swing over to El Filete Ruso and its seriously scrumptious selection of Spanish-style burgers and concoctions. To appease that sweet tooth, head to Artisa. This quirky café is highly rated on TripAdvisor and offers sweet crepes (like sugar lemon) and almond-honey chocolates, among a ton of other things.
What to See in Barcelona
A good way to hit the ground running when you’re trying to absorb a new city’s culture is to check out its museums and galleries. Plus, they’re usually fairly affordable or even donation-based. It’s really a win-win. The Centre de Culture Contemporania de Barceolona tops our list at only about $7 for admittance. The CCCB curates mod culture with rotating photo exhibitions, tastemaker presentations and music/installation art.
English: Neogothic-style bridge by architect Joan Rubió over Carrer del Bisbe (Bishop’s Street) in Barcelona, linking the Palau de la Generalitat (Catalan Government Seat) with the Casa dels Canonges (residence of the President). Català: Pont neogòtic entre el Palau de la Generalitat i la Casa dels Canonges, Barcelona (Catalunya). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Of course, if you really want to save some cash, the lofty $0 it will cost you to stroll these colorful streets looks pretty good on your trip-budget ledger. The famed Gothic Quarter sits proudly at city center with architecture that nods to both the Roman Settlement and the moderista, Art Noveau movement. And with almost a dozen World Heritage sites city-wide, traipsing around will prove very fruitful.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
All of this spells a pretty long day. So, where are you going to hang your hat and rest up for the next afternoon jaunt? While there’s no universal trick to scoring extra cheap hotels (despite what online travel agencies say), Europe is famed for its surprisingly comfortable hostels. Hostels to avoid are usually easy to spot (like the ones promoting meth addiction seminars). Hasperia Sport sits somewhere between a hostel and a hotel with private room options and an Internet center to track down your next-day itinerary. In a city like this, it will more than suffice as basic (but charming) sleeping quarters.
We’ve covered only a fraction of what you can do on a budget in Barcelona. Be sure to check out the local tourism website for from-the-source recommendations. But remember: staying on a travel budget is easiest when you actually make a budget. So pick your price-limits and daily allowances and stick to them. Happy travels!
Savannah Marie is a travel enthusiast and writer for her blog, Mixios. When she isn’t writing or traveling the world, she is walking a trail with her favorite yellow lab, Remington, baking something delicious, or reading a classic novel.