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Barcelona On A Budget

Updated on July 11, 2014

Barcelona is the perfect place to go on holiday if you want guaranteed sunshine, amazing cultural attractions, beautiful beaches and delicious food. You may be thinking 'it sounds too good to be true! I can't afford such a holiday!' well think again! This hub will explain to you how you can have an amazing Spanish holiday without draining your bank.

The walk along Barceloneta beach.
The walk along Barceloneta beach.

Why Barcelona?

Barcelona has things to do for everyone, from sunbathing on beautiful warm, sandy beaches with a glass of sangria or admiring the city's architecture and the incredible works of Antoni Gaudí. A few of my favourite Barcelona attractions are:

  • Sagrada Família - is a large Roman Catholic church designed by Gaudi himself. Construction of Sagrada Família started in 1882 and Gaudí became involved in the design of the church in 1883. At the time of his death in 1926 less than a quarter of the project was complete and it is thought to be finished in 2026.
  • Park Güell - is a beautiful park/garden with architectural elements designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. It is situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona.
  • Las Ramblas - is a vibrant and buzzing avenue which cuts through the heart of Barcelona centre. Stretching over 1.2 kilometres you can visit museums, theatres, watch street performers or shop in La Boqueria Market, one of Europe's largest and most famous food markets.
  • Barceloneta beach - a stunning beach lined with small cafes and restaurants where you can get a glass of sangria and bask in the hot Spanish sun.

Sagrada familia
Sagrada familia

How do I travel cheaply?!

Flight

The attractions I mentioned above sound great, you have been hooked and want to go to Barcelona! But how can you do it on a budget? Well there are a few things that I can suggest to make your holiday cheap without compromising on all the wonderful holiday experiences. Firstly the flight to Barcelona, you will often find that you can get very reasonable plane tickets if you take into account the following things:

  • Book well in advance - tickets get more expensive the longer you leave it before your holiday. If you make sure to book your flight a good few months before travelling to get the best prices.
  • Don't be picky about what company you travel with and make sure to look around - some aeroplane companies will charge a lot more than others so compare lots of different companies to ensure that you get the best price for your travel.
  • Don't travel on a weekend/national holiday - prices tend to go up during periods where the most people are travelling this includes weekends/school holidays/bank holidays etc so try (if possible) to avoid these days to get the best price.
  • Pack light - most aeroplane companies will charge a lot of money for luggage that is over a particular weight so make sure to pack light to avoid unwanted charges!

The view of Barcelona from the plane.
The view of Barcelona from the plane.

Accommodation

Now you have the plane booked you will be thinking about accommodation! Contrary to popular belief you do not have to pay an extortionate amount of money in order to stay in a good location, so long as you take into account the following things:

  • Book in advance - as I have mentioned above try to book the accommodation well before you plan to go so that you get a good place before all of the rooms are taken or the prices go up.
  • Hotel vs Hostel - hostels tend to be a lot cheaper than hotels and you don't necessarily have to compromise on quality. Make sure to search the internet for hostels as you will be surprised at the places you can find tucked away in amazing locations for very reasonable prices.
  • Location vs accommodation - I always think that the location of the hostel/hotel is a lot more important than the quality of the room so try not to be too picky about the accommodation you will stay in. Even if you get a tiny, somewhat dirty room, so long as it is in a good location you will still have an incredible trip, plus it may motivate you to get out of bed and explore the city!
  • Book with a well known/reputable site - this helps ensure that you will get the right prices and will not get scammed out of money or overcharged.

A plaza off Las Ramblas where my hostel was located.
A plaza off Las Ramblas where my hostel was located.

Will you take into account the tips in this hub when booking your next holiday?

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Food

The main tip that I will give you is to not eat out every day as this will considerably increase the price of the holiday. Below are a few tips to keep the food price to a minimum:

  • Find a local supermarket - when you arrive in Barcelona try to find out what supermarkets are near your accommodation and buy essentials there. Get yourself some sandwiches/salad/fruit/cakes and lots of water (especially if you're going in the summer) and it should keep you going for a few days. Make sure to buy nothing that needs refrigerating or will spoil easily, especially if your room doesn't have a fridge.
  • Compare restaurants - when you do eat out my advice would be to compare different restaurants that you see and also look at reviews online. You will often find that in places like Barcelona some restaurants will have 'English prices' (in other words will significantly overcharge you) or will be 'tourist traps' with over priced, bad quality food. To avoid this look at reviews online and try and eat away from the main tourist attractions/streets.

 A stall in La Boqueria Market.
A stall in La Boqueria Market.

For my trip to Barcelona I followed the points that I have written in this hub and had an amazing trip for a very reasonable price! I will share with you the prices of the plane/hostel/food etc so you can use it as a comparison if you book a similar holiday.

Activity
Price
Return flight from/to London
£108
Hostel - double room with shared bathroom
£36 a night
Food from supermarket
About £6 a day for two people
Food out
£16 for starter/main/drink
Tourist attractions/visits
£30
Total for 6 nights: £300
 

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