That’s right. Barcelona. The coolest city in Spain. No, the coolest city in Europe!
In my Rough-guide book (Lonely Planet guides are better but I bought it for 50p off Amazon (bargain!)) it said that Barcelona is no longer the cheap- european city-break that it used to be. In a survey taken in 2010, Barcelona came at 6th place for most expensive city to visit in the EU ( i imagine UK came first ha!). So, if I told you that you can very easily go to Barcelona for 4 days for £120 including flights, accommodation, food, travel expenses to and from airport (in UK* & Barcelona), metro/train/bus travel in BCL and entry to visiting sights – would you believe me?
Yes/no? Here is the lowww – down!
Now, if you’re a non-EU citizen – this is obviously way more expensive. Assuming you’re a non-EU citizen doing a bit of travel/vacationing/semester abroad… You can get cheap flights from sites such as ryanair.com, jet2.com, easyjet.com, and flybe.com. Some of these airlines need 2/3 months in advance for the awesome £4 tickets including tax! Ryanair holds special seat prices all-the-time. Keep your eye for them!
A thing to bare in mind when considering the cheap-ness of your ticket – how expensive will be to travel to that airport? sometimes a more expensive ticket at a closer airport turns into an easier and more finically viable option.
I got tickets for £20 return including taxes from Leeds/Bradford airport. The train was £2.70 with young persons railcard, the bus was £2.50 – I got a ride to the airport, but took public transport home.
Also remember, budget airlines named above will charge you extra for airport check-in instead of online, using a creditcard instead of debit, and having checked in luggage instead of using just hand luggage.
Arriving in Barcelona.
Preperation for cheap-ness is key. Don’t be fooled into thinking it would be easier to find your hotel/hostel via cab. google map it for travel suggestions or look on the accommodation website. Barcelona international airport has great airport transport links. There is the easy – comfortable, reliable train that goes straight from the airport to the center of touristy Barcelona, or 2 bus services you can catch to a metro. each ride, on any service -bus-train-metro os 1.40 euros
Get a T-10 ticket for 8 euros. It allows you 10 rides (duhhh) and as many people you want can use it! There’s no time frame on it . if you think a head – you can get accommodation in the central parts of barcelona – and you can walk most places, so you wouldn’t need to spend 6 euros on an unlimited day pass!
I actually don’t think there is a bad location to get a hostel or hotel in. If there’s lots of you traveling, a hostel or apartment could be great and really cheap. Hotels start from as little as £20 a night per bed on the seafront – of course you could get a 2 double bed room for 2 people and split the price between 4 of you! Easy!
Hostels come in many shapes, locations and style and prices. I stayed in Equity Point Centric, Passeig de Gracia 33. Right outside was the metro and train to the airport. It was also on the equivalent of 5th avenue and about 7 blocks away from the Les Rambles. I could walk to pretty much anything touristy. The hostel was super clean, the staff were fantastic, there was a great bar and free amazing breakfast with FRUIT! not to mention free wifi in the bar area. all from 8 euros a night!
The problem with this area is that food in the evening was expensive, but if you are prepared to wander the small dark alleyways of les rambles alone at night, you will find the most amazing places to eat at cheap prices.
Most hostels do free breakfast, although the quality of the breakfast is often debatable. Some hotels also do complimentary breakfast too. If there’s a big group of you, it’s easy to put money together and buy bread, tomatoes, ham/cheese/ water and that would be lunch sorted. Going to the markets placed around Barcelona makes eating easy and affordable. I often bought fresh fruit that was naturally sweet and made your mouth water for only 2.50 euro. a fresh juice drink comes in at a sexy 1.50 euro. the-best-drinks-ever. you can get fresh baked goods from many bakeries around les-rambles.
Going to the beach? check out the ice-bar! ( a bar made from ice!? nice!) If you’re into seafood- this is your place although you may have to check out which places have the best for price and quality. small tapas bars can be cheap using their offers menu’s. a drink of wine and 3 tapas can cost from as little as 6.50 euros.
Museums and other touristy things.
Getting up early is key for the Cathedrals, and other churches to avoid other tourists and see early mass! There are days where you can get into places for free. Sunday and Wednesday are the free days for most attractions including the contemporary art museum. Taking advantage of these offers can save you about 25 euros. If you’re not wanting to time your itinery around free days or are infact not in Barcelona on a free museum day – an ‘art pass’ costs just 14 euros and is good in every art museum in Barcelona.
My favourite place which is not to be missed was certainly the CENTRE DE CULTURA CONTEMPORÀNIA DE BARCELONA (http://www.cccb.org/en/). which is just around the corner from the Contemporary art museum and design center, next to one of barcelona’s best universities!
Best of the free (super cheap) things!
Park Guell is beautiful and full of Guadi’s vision! The architectural walk up and around Passeig de Gracia is breath taking. The small alley ways around Les rambles will take you to amazing boutiques and cafes which you would have never thought would be lying around there. Near the port you might be able to catch a ride on a yatch if you’re lucky?! The beach is fantastic to think or have a picnic with friends on. Near La Port take in some post-modern architecture and casino’s if you’re into that. Go to the historical and modernist landscapes of the old Olympic stadium and feel empowered and see the amazing views of the city and it’s suburbs! Free days at museums and walking tours! Meet some Barcelona students. Go on a bar-crawl for only 12 euros for all you can drink! try barcelona’s hot chocolates! and sooooooooo much more!
With the few luxury expenses like sketchbooks, pens, soap, postcards and some clothes from H&M (yeah), this brings me to just under £120 for EVERYTHING i did in Barcelona, and you can do it too! Maybe even more cheaper than this… One thing is for sure. Barcelona is like the California of Europe. Beaches, siestas, surf, great food, hills, sun/warmth, and some good musuems – it’s just not to be missed at such a cheap price! Holla