Barcelona is by far my favorite city we visited in Spain. Of course, this fun, trendy city also comes with a price…and it’s not a cheap one! Of the 6 cities we visited in 8 days on our road trip through Spain, we spent the most money on our Airbnb in Barcelona alone. As a result, we wanted to be able to enjoy the city without spending too much more. Especially because it was our first stop and we wanted to make sure we left enough cushion in the bank for the rest of our trip. Here’s how we got the best of Barcelona on a budget:
Book an Airbnb right in the heart of Barcelona
We could not have picked a better location to stay. Our spot was right in the heart. So much so that it wasn’t even accessible by car. Of course, our GPS didn’t pick up on this and we attempted to follow the instructions all the way to the apartment’s front door. My husband, (an inexperienced city driver) too prideful to hand over the wheel and too flustered to listen to any advice, drove us straight into an alley only meant for those on foot. We were stuck for a good 30 minutes while pedestrians huddled around, some trying to help, some just acknowledging our shitty situation. After this first painful hiccup though, we parked our car in a garage and thankfully didn’t have to move it the rest of our time there.
Yes, we did spend a little more to be in the center and we did have to pay to park our car in a garage. However, walking around aimlessly was the best way to get a sense of it all! We crossed several major sites off our list just on our tipsy late night walks. We didn’t need to throw down on Ubers and it was easy to buy groceries to cook being so close to the markets.
Book your tops rather than trying every touristy thing on Tripadvisor
When we were planning this trip I was overwhelmed with excitement to do every last thing Barcelona offered. Then I had to step back once I realized that realistically we didn’t have the time or money to go all out. We choose one Flamenco show and one general site seeing tour that banged out all the main sites to see. We booked the Flamenco show for after dinner and drinks on our first night. It could not have been a better way to start our trip! It was short and sweet and afterwards we walked around the nearby city square which was absolutely stunning at night. It was a perfect way to compromise feeling exhausted after traveling but super excited to be there.
If we were to do it again, I’d probably book the tickets to Sagrada Familia as well. We visited the outside mid-day. At that point it was too late to book the tour because the lines were enormous and the tickets were outrageous. The outside was so gorgeous I immediately regretted not being able to see more.
Barcelona Hop-on, Hop-Off
I know this is extremely touristy, but it’s a great way to see everything from east to west Barcelona when you’re tight on time. We got off at two stops: Park Guell and Casa Batllo where we grabbed a quick coffee. Everything else we were okay just driving by.
Free things to do in Barcelona
The most obvious way to do any city on a budget is researching free things to do! We took advantage of the free part of Park Guell. Although there isn’t a ton to see here without paying for the tour, it’s a nice walk with pretty views of the city, Spanish guitarists playing, and you can get a neat pic with La Croix if you aren’t terrified of a little height like I am.