Travel

How to Enjoy Barcelona on a Tight Budget

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Written by Michaell Walling

Barcelona is every backpacker’s dream. A cosmopolitan vibe packed into a small city center makes it super easy to get around all the main tourist sites on foot. The Catalonian cuisine is to die for and the tapas culture means it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Hostels are around every corner and brilliant bars too. Whilst it’s still not hard to spend a fortune on a vacation in Barcelona, all of these facts mean that it’s totally possible to see the best of the city on a shoestring.

Stay at The Rodamon Hostel

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There are plenty of luxury hotels in Barcelona; 5-star extravaganzas that will cost you a fortune. Many people associate hostels with the other end of the scale. Cheap bedrooms and cockroaches. What those people don’t realize is that Barcelona boasts plenty of upscale hostels that feel like a hotel atmosphere, but with a budget price.

The Rodamon Hostel is one of them and it’s located slap bang in the city center. You’re a two-minute walk from some of the most iconic buildings in the city, the Casa Batllo and Casa Mila, so you’re certainly not missing out on location. The building itself is truly beautiful, a 19th-century townhouse with oodles of character. You can choose from private or shared rooms, with facilities working the same. The beds are clean and cozy, but the real draw here is the amazing common areas. There are a couple of big lounges, fitted with comfortable sofas, board games and everything you need to relax. The piece de resistance is the enormous roof terrace, with sweeping views across the streets below. Take a bottle of wine up here and get to know Barcelona from the sky.

Enjoy Luxury For Less at La Boqueria

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Eating cheaply is the biggest challenge with any holiday, but in Barcelona, it’s a little easier. The tapas culture here means that you can enjoy snacks very cheaply, or sometimes even free when you’re buying a drink. La Boqueria is a spectacular spot to visit, even if you’re not eating. The market hall is absolutely enormous and filled with sellers of trinkets and food alike.

In this guide, we’re heading straight for the food, but do make time to pick up some souvenirs if you’d like to. The food stands here are numerous, some are expensive, some are very reasonable. The Jamon Iberico is delicious but pricey, so too are the fresh fish stalls. Instead of these, head to the stalls serving tapas. They’ll usually have little barstools outside and you’ll be able to tell how expensive the tapas is by the length of the stick in it. The longer the stick, the costlier the tapas. Expect traditional tortillas, pinchos, croquettas, and small open sandwiches to be some of the cheaper items. Fill up here and then it’s on to the next part of the itinerary.

Park Guell is Free If You Know How

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Park Guell is home to some of Gaudi’s most revered pieces. The park itself is free to visit at any time, but the Monumental Zone is ticketed. This zone is where Gaudi’s works lie and, as such, it is the most breathtaking bit of the park. Whilst tickets aren’t very expensive anyway, there’s nothing like a freebie. If you visit the park late in the evening then the gates will be open and you won’t have to pay.

During the summer aim to visit around 7 pm and in the winter any time after 5:30 pm. Bear in mind that the park is not well lit at all, so you might have to scoot around the Monumental Zone quite quickly. With that said, visiting the park as the sun sets is a wonderfully romantic experience that seems much more intimate than sharing it with hundreds of other tourists during the daytime.

Play The Night Away At Casino Barcelona

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Once the night has drawn in and you’ve seen all there is to see of Park Guell, it’s time for something a little more modern. Casino Barcelona is a beautiful venue in the marina which makes the perfect spot for a flashy night out. You’ll need a few tricks up your sleeve if you’re going to fully enjoy the experience on a budget, but that’s where we come in.

The first tip is to limit your spending on the games available. Whilst it’s easy to find bonuses and deals for online gaming using sites like CasinoSmash, physical casinos tend not to be so generous with their offers. Dedicate five or ten euros to gaming and, if you still want to play some more when that’s over, login and play online instead. There are bars within the casino complex that are more than happy for you to do this and use their wifi.

Bargain Like a Local

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It’s nice to be able to spend the final day of your weekend purchasing some souvenirs to remind you of your adventures. It’s obviously not possible to do this completely free of charge, but there are some places to avoid and some places to head to.

One of the best things you can do to ensure you aren’t overcharged for your souvenirs is to learn a little Spanish. Not only is it respectful to talk to people in their own language, but if you get really good then you might get the local prices. Particularly along Las Ramblas, the vendors are likely to inflate their prices for tourists. If you catch them out with impeccable Spanish then you could get the local price, which could be half as much.

Of course, Las Ramblas isn’t the only place where you can get your hands on a great souvenir. The artist’s quarter is full of beautiful things, all made by hand. Naturally, some of them are a little more expensive than what you might find on Las Ramblas, but they’re usually of a much higher quality. Whilst searching out the cheapest option might save you money, sometimes it’s worth splashing out a little more on something really special.

About the author

Michaell Walling