Barcelona on a shoestring: top tips for a budget-friendly weekend
Article updated 15 April, 2019.
Barcelona on a shoestring: we're here to show you that it can be done! Follow our advice for a truly budget-friendly weekend.
Barcelona is one of the most expensive cities in Spain, but it’s still cheaper than many other major European cities, and it’s entirely possible to spend a very nice weekend in the city without breaking the bank. How? Read on to find out!
Super-central youth hostels
There are budget-friendly options within minutes of Plaça Catalunya, at Christopher’s Inn, for example. It’s far easier to get around if you’re based in the centre!
Rent an apartment to save
Travelling as a family or with a group? It’s often cheaper to rent an apartment rather than getting hotel rooms. For more information, see our article on Renting an apartment in Barcelona.
Top tips for transport
Coming to Barcelona by car or car-sharing can be a good way to save money, as long as you don’t have to pay a fortune to park! Thankfully, there are budget-friendly carparks in Barcelona. There’s also the possibility of free parking in the Pedralbes quarter. It doesn’t get cheaper than that!
No car? Read our article on public transport in Barcelona to see which of the many ticket options is best suited to your needs and to buy before you arrive.
The centre of Barcelona is not very big, and in most cases, you should be able to walk from one attraction to the next. On top of being free, it’s a great way to soak up the atmosphere of the city!
Free visits and budget-friendly restaurants
Saturday: the Old Town, nature and live music
The historical centre of Barcelona
The Urquinaona metro station is an ideal starting point for wandering the streets of the quarter. Admire the beautiful Palau de la Música, the charming shops and shady squares. Next, cross over the Via Laietana onto the esplanade in front of the cathedral, and lose yourself in the Gothic quarter. Soak up the area’s special atmosphere as you walk around. Magical!
Once you reach Las Ramblas, stop off at the Boqueria market to admire the displays of fruit and vegetables. Getting hungry? Excellent, it’s lunch time! Try the Romesco, a little local restaurant which is both typical and cheap.
How about a siesta on one of Barcelona’s beaches? Or maybe you’d prefer to go for a walk? In that case, the parc de la Ciutatella, in the heart of the city centre, is the place for you. Otherwise, further out, Montjuïc offers spectacular panoramic views over the city.
Music and festivals
Fan of local events? See our calendar of festes majors in Barcelona for a shot of local culture. Sticking with the same theme, try Gran Bodega Saltó for cheap and tasty tapas in a lively bohemian atmosphere.
In summer, the ciy’s parks play host to free concerts during the Música als Parcs festival.
Sunday: art nouveau, tapas and culture
It would be impossible to visit Barcelona without discovering some of the city’s incredible architecture! Sunday morning is a great time for a free walking tour of Catalan Art Nouveau.
- Barcelona and modernism go hand in hand. If you want to visit at least one site but don’t know which to choose, see our quality/price overview of Barcelona’s architectural attractions. We’re here to help!
Cheap and tasty lunch options
Next, head for Barceloneta, the little fishing village in the city. The fresh fish and seafood are bound to get your appetite up… dive into the authentic Jai-Ca tapas bar or la Cova Fumada for a typical and tasty lunch!
A spot of free culture
Barcelona plays host to a number of museums which offer free entry from 3pm on Sundays. Seize the opportunity to see artworks by Picasso, a photo exhibition, or the ruins of ancient Barcelona!
Finally, how about a guided tour of Barcelona’s street art, through some of the city’s alternative and multicultural quarters? We, for one, loved it!
For a final budget-friendly treat, head for a branch of 100 Montaditos to try one of their huge range of tasty little sandwiches, which won’t come anywhere close to breaking the bank. A perfect end to the weekend!
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