Updated: Aug 25
One of my followers asked if it was possible to do Barcelona on a shoe string budget, not only is it absolutely possible, but here is exactly how to have a champagne ( or really nice Cava if we're being geographically correct) weekend on a beer budget!
We're going to start off where all trips to Barcelona should, La Sagrada Familia. Forget buying tickets to go inside, forget viewing it from hotel terraces, LSF is just as awe inducing from the parks that surround it and one of the best pictures of it is from behind the lake on the Nativity facade side.
Run from the over priced bars and restaurants that surround the Cathedral as fast as you can. Instead either grab a beer for a few euros at, Chill Bar http://www.chillbarcelona.com on Calle Provenca just a two minute walk away and still have a view of LSF from the little terrace.
Alternatively if you want to save your money for those Barcelona nights, pop into the supermarket, Caprabo also on Provenca just a few steps from Chill. Grab some beers or an infamous pre made, and probably quite shit but in a fun holiday way, Don Simon Sangria for a couple of Euros and you're set.
Take a wander down to Passeig de Gracia to see Casa Mila and Casa Batlló just a few mins walk from each other but be sure to dodge the cafes and restaurants on PDG itself which can be pricey.
The metro and buses in Barcelona are a super easy way to get around, easy to navigate and MUCH cheaper than the London Underground. If you plan on using it over the weekend grab a T Casual ticket which buys you ten journeys and works out great value for money.
If you're heading to the beach, plan in advance. The little supermarkets (which are aimed at tourists) right next to the beach are often extortionate. Pop into a nearby Lidl/Cabrabo/Consum etc first and stock up with water and cold drinks for your day.
Time for lunch, but don't want to shell out for a restaurant? Grab a picnic from a supermarket , the majority of supermarkets have super affordable pre made salad boxes, with cutlery included in the packaging, grab some olives and nice bread to make it more fabulous and a bottle of cava (which can be as cheap as ¢3 (that's supposed to be a euro sign I can't find the real one on my new lap top!) for something really quite drinkable. We have tonnes of Lidls in the centre of Barcelona, something I haven't seen in other big cities, which have amazing fresh bread, pastries and empanadas for a few cents (woohoo).
Now you have your picnic head to Parque de la Ciutadella and enjoy an afternoon of drinks in the sunshine and taking selfies next to the golden fountain! You can also rent one of the little boats and float around the lake with a cava feeling boujee for just a few euros!
Getting ready to go out.. we're working on a budget here girls so our pre drink game has to be on point. The great news is booze is an absolute bargain here so we can go out out on the tightest of budgets. A litre of Larios gin is 9 -10 euros in most Supermarkets and you can grab a bottle of Pink Gin for around the same. Make sure you grab a bag of ice and some tonic too, along with some plastic glasses, you're going to need them later.
For an even cheaper option (hear me out) you can explore the delights of ´Tinto de Verano´
it tastes a LOT better than it sounds and is total summer holidays when you're 16 vibes. All you'll need is a cheapish bottle of red, some ice, and a bottle of Fanta limon. I know, I know, sounds disgusting, remarkably it is not it also has a total cost of less than a fiver!
Now you're ready for your night, pack up your remaining drinks and hit the beach, make sure you take something to sit on that's small enough to fit into your bag for later.Tonnes of people head to the beach in the evening after work or to meet friends, lots of people bring speakers and drinks and there's a real party vibe.
For post beach plans drop me a comment or message for personalised suggestions to suit the vibe you’re looking for!
Another lovely idea for the perfect Barcelona evening on a budget is to hike up to the top of Montjuic (or take the 150 bus if you're not feeling energetic). Take some snacks and drinks and meander down through the gardens taking in the views as you go. The views from each side of the mountain are truly breathtaking. You want to aim to reach the steps of the National Art Museum of Catalonia about an hour and a half before sunset.
Grab some cold beers or waters from the sellers, find a comfortable spot, get your www.glovoapp.com and order yourself the takeaway picnic of dreams. Use the carpark to the right of MNCA as you face it as your delivery address ( Carrer del Mirador del Palau Nacional, 2) and message on the app to ask them to call you as they arrive. Run down to pick it up and enjoy dinner with one of the best views in Barcelona. Remember to request cutlery when you make your order.
Whilst the water show at Font Magica is spectacular I equally recommend heading down there on a night when there isn't a show on for a more peaceful experience, it's easier to get a seat, a view and have some space to enjoy away from the crazy crowds that gather on show nights.
To finish your evening walk over to the viewing spot to the left as you face MNCA, where you'll find amazing views over the whole city and if you're lucky your very own concert from one of Barcelonas amazing buskers. Our number one favourite to serenade us as we sip a beer and watch the city sparkle is Oscar J Lyons, check out his insta / send him a message to see when he's playing up there https://www.instagram.com/oscar.j.lyons/?hl=en but there are plenty of amazing alternatives if you can't catch him.
Bunkers del Carmel is another amazing, and completely free, way to do sunset. Hop on the V19 bus and ride is all the way up to Bunkers. Take a picnic blanket with you, some drinks and snacks and find the perfect spot to watch the sun go down over the city.
To save money on restaurants download The Fork https://www.thefork.com a handy booking app which also shows you restaurants that have up to 50% discount depending on the day and time you want to go.
When it comes to accommodation the one thing Barcelona lacks are great, affordable airbnbs. To rent your house out here for less than 3 months you have to have a tourist licence which is expensive and difficult to secure. When I was first coming to the city for a few weeks at a time almost all the experiences I had with renting apartments on airbnb and bookings.com were super disappointing and expensive for what you got. Try Facebook groups or the website https://badi.com where people sublet their rooms or apartments as they travel. Otherwise check out Barcelonas fabulous hostels or accommodation rented out by the universities when it isn't term time!
Sporty but your hotel doesn't have a gym? Don't worry, we have tonnes of free gyms right on the beach in Barcelona. The best is the Nike Training Outdoor Project between Somorrostro and Sant Miquel Beaches. Avoid like the plague at mid day as it's far too hot. Early mornings are quietest.
I help this little guide is helpful if you have any questions don't hesitate to drop a comment below or a message through my website or instagram and I´ll be in touch.
Ciao Bye, Sam x