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A Budget Travel Guide To Barcelona

Tamara Kiewiet

It’s a cold, hard fact: money doesn’t grow on trees. Sometimes traveling requires counting the pennies and keeping an eye on your expenses. Luckily this doesn’t always mean having to miss out – with the help of our guide, get to know the endless opportunities Barcelona has to offer for those traveling on a budget!

Learn The Basic Rules Of Budget Travel

The basic rules can be caught in three words; wander, prepare and picnic. These three principles will help you cut on your expenses. The streets of Barcelona have so much to offer. Just wander around. Explore the idyllic streets of Barri Gotico or Gothic Quarter, stroll along Las Ramblas, find a perfect spot on a bench on one of the squares and watch the buzzing crowd pass by. Take your time to relax and enjoy the Mediterranean scenery. Prepare well by reading up on (nearly) costless activities and seasonal celebrations. This will help you to avoid unpleasantly expensive surprises. And prepare for the perfect beach picnic, instead of spending your entire budget on tapas for breakfast, lunch and diner.

Find The Best Spots For Grocery Shopping

Of course, some shopping needs to be done before going to the beach to enjoy the picnic. Try to avoid Barcelona supermarkets located near typical tourist attractions, not just because there are incredibly crowded, but also because of the relatively high prices. Opt instead to shop at one of the smaller independent food shops you can find on nearly every corner of the city, perfect places to find fruit, vegetables and other vegetarian products at a bargain. The other option is to head to one of the local markets, known as mercats in Catalan, and get the full experience of shopping like a local. If the crowds of the world-famous Mercat de la Boqueria are too much for you to handle, opt instead for the lesser well-known Mercat de Santa Caterina or Mercat de Sant Antoni, to name just a few of the main ones around town.

Explore Low Cost Ways Of Traveling Through Barcelona

Barcelona, being a comparatively small city, does not need to swallow a major part of your travel budget. The city offers a lot of creative and sustainable means for traveling. Your most profitable and at the same time most sustainable way of transport is attached to your own body. Your feet will take you anywhere. Without question, there are more efficient options. Public transport is well-organized and truly affordable. Buying a ten-way ticket is the best option, if you intend to use public transport over five times during your stay. You can buy the T10 transport ticket at every metro stop. Are you more of an outdoor person? Rent a bike at Green Bikes Barcelona for just € 1.50 per hour or € 10.00 for a full day.

Discover The City’s Amazing Amount Of Free Culture

Prepare for a not so lazy Sunday afternoon: from 3pm to 8pm all city-run museums are free to enter. This includes the magnificent Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, MUHBA Museu d’Història de Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and Museu Picasso. Besides an amazing amount of museums, Barcelona is crammed with architectural gems. Most of them have entry fees, but the mind-blowing facades are free to admire. Take for instance Gaudí’s impressing pieces of workman-ship on the Passeig de Gràcia or the ever enchanting La Sagrada Familia. Brilliant film-makers have already been seduced by Barcelona’s romantic atmosphere; pay a visit to the top film-sets that will take you beyond the city’s beautiful veneer.

La Sagrada Familia | Courtesy of Tamara Kiewiet

La Sagrada Familia | Courtesy of Tamara Kiewiet

Make The Most Of Your Rainy Days At The Cinema

Culture does not stop at film-set admiration. Barcelona’s movie scene brings some fascinating options for a entertaining movie night. The ultimate cinematic experience starts as soon as you walk through Phenomena’s doors. It’s the new way of experiencing modern blockbusters as well as the classic and epic films which the new generations have been missing out. And on Thursdays, the Short Cut Cine Barcelona hosts a different kind of movie experience. You get to watch the best short films and animations from around the world, while meeting locals and other internationals. An ideal and social way of watching films. The shown films will be in English, Spanish and Catalan with subtitles. So it’s not just fun, but also good for your language skills. Get the best of all worlds in this exciting mixture just for five euros. Not just for rainy days, but also a pleasant pastime for a more quiet night out.

Short Cut Cine Barcelona, Carrer de la Paloma 5, Barcelona, Spain

Phenomena Experience,

Discover Restaurants For A Small Budget

One of the most popular dining traditions in Spain is the perfect solution for travelers with a small budget and a large appetite. Choose tapas if you want to try a little bit of everything. Ideal if you’re traveling by yourself or if you want to share some of the most savory dishes with travel companions. Charming little tapas bars can be found in every part of Barcelona. The beloved Carrer de Blai in the neighborhood of Poble Sec, with its terraces in the middle of the long pedestrian road, is home to many  affordable tapas and pintxos bars. Most restaurants close after lunch for a siesta and reopen for drinks and dinner around 7pm.

Explore The Endless Possibilities Of Barcelona’s Nightlife

Barcelona is paradise on earth for budget friendly bars without entrance fees. There something in it for everyone, with a bizarrely popular scene for cervesa artesanna or craft beer and on the other hand Mexican restaurants like Rosa del Raval, serving stunning cocktails two for one. Start grabbing shots for merely two euros or enjoy liters of sangria for just a few coins. You do not have to leave the heart of the city to find the party heavens of Barcelona. El Raval and the Gothic Quarter are two of the neighborhoods with awesome bars and also offering great value for money. Get to an early start if you feel like dancing your shoes off. If you show up early (before 1am) and well dressed at the fancy clubs on the Barceloneta boulevard you can usually get in for free. Walking around that area during the day, looking a little lost, might also do the trick. Most clubs hand out flyers for free entrance or drinks.

Discover Street Art Through Free Walking Tours

Walk around the beautiful neighborhoods of Barcelona, look closely at the decorated walls and notice this city is one big gallery for contemporary art. Street artists have formed the face of today’s streets. Let the guides from Barcelona Street Style Tour take you through the alleys of various districts. Dig deep into the treasuries of street art and find out about the graffiti movement in Barcelona. On the tour, guides also point out galleries, boutiques and a few local bars worth visiting. All these amazing places have (at least) one thing in common; their strong ties with Barcelona’s appealing street art scene. The tours will cost you as much as you value it. The quality of the tours are high, because the guides are entirely depending on tips from their crowd.

RAI - Recursos d'Animació Intercultural | Courtesy of Tamara Kiewiet

RAI – Recursos d’Animació Intercultural | Courtesy of Tamara Kiewiet

Get The Perfect Cultural Experience From Local Theater

Fascinating entertainment can be found at RAI – Recursos d’Animació Intercultural, for those who want to emerge into Barcelona’s local affairs. The cultural center for performing arts brings local art and theater for just a few euros. They have been out there on the theater field for 20 years. Shows are performed in Spanish or Catalan, don’t be afraid of feeling a little dazzled amidst the Catalan audience. The ultimate local and low budget theater experience in Barcelona.

RAI – Recursos d’Animació Intercultural,  +34 932 681 321


Benefit From Free Internet Access in Barcelona

No one wants to come home to find their phone bill has reached enormous proportions. You can avoid this by using the city-wide free WiFi. Find a sign with a huge W, these mark the access points that are spread through out the center of Barcelona. First you can read up on all your missed messages and emails. After that, your next step is to check the guide to free events in Barcelona. They have a large overview with culture related categories. Check out the exhibitions, screenings, music related topics, performing arts events, outdoor activities and workshops or www.forfree.cat.


By Tamara Kiewiet