Barcelona is one of Spain’s most expensive cities, and people often find they spend more than they had bargained for. But, it is possible to do Barcelona on the cheap, and many don’t realise just how many ways there are to save money in the city.
Here’s our top 10 tips!
1. Take the train from the airport, instead of a taxi.
A taxi from the airport to the centre of Barcelona will cost well over €30, a ridiculous and unnecessary fee! The cheapest way to get into the city is by taking the train from the airport’s train station.
The station can be found in Terminal 2 and there are plenty of signs towards it. If your flight comes in at any other terminal, there are free buses between terminals.
Buy a T-10 metro ticket from the station (you can even use the machines for this) and take the train to either Sants, or Passeig de Grácia station. Here, you can change onto the metro line and then get off at the nearest stop to where you’re staying.
Only two trains leave the airport station, and you take the one on the left hand side of the platform. The train on the right goes the opposite direction and is the one you will use when you return to the airport using the train for your flight home.
2. Make use of the city’s public transport.
Barcelona is one of the best connected cities in Spain and making the most of its public transport will guarantee you save money on your visit.
The Metro is the quickest way around the city, and the trains are regular and cleaner than most undergrounds. With your T-10 ticket you can travel on the metro for 10 journeys, a journey starting when you go through the turnstiles and ending when you leave the underground. Any line changes you make still count as the same journey, as long as you do not leave the underground.
With the T-10 ticket, each journey costs just over €1, whereas a single journey without a T-10 ticket costs at least double this. You can also share the ticket with multiple people, just make sure to check how many journeys you have left before you leave your friend at the bus stop!
Bus and Tram
Your 10 journeys with your T-10 ticket can also be used on the buses and trams. We especially recommend using the night bus in the early hours as the metro stops at midnight Monday-Thursday, and at 02:00 on Friday. There are however trains all night on Saturdays.
We suggest downloading the TMB app which gives you all the information about times and routes of Barcelona’s public transport systems.
As well as to and from the airport, you can use the overline trains (El Renfe) to get around the city and make day trips outside of the centre. You can use your T-10 ticket if the destination is in Zone 1 of the city, or you can buy single journeys cheap at the station if you want to go further out.
3. Visit museums for free.
On the first Sunday of every month, many museums open their doors for free. This is the best way to find out more about the city without spending any unnecessary pennies. Try and research which museums have interesting temporary exhibitions before you come to Barcelona. If you’re stuck, you can read our museum guide here.
4. Avoid La Rambla.
Eating or shopping on La Rambla is arguably the worst thing you can do as a tourist. The prices are almost triple what they would be elsewhere, and the quality of the produce really isn’t what you pay for. Instead, head off La Rambla and explore Barcelona’s side streets where there are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
We know it’s tempting to stay on La Rambla, but we can’t recommend strongly enough just how many other much nicer places there are in the city just steps away from this street.
5. Walk more.
Despite how it may seem, Barcelona is actually quite a small city and most of its neighbourhoods are within walking distance of each other. It will take you just seconds to cross from El Raval to the Gothic Quarter, and under ten minutes to walk from Eixample into El Born. Public transport and your own two feet are definitely the best and cheapest ways to see the city.
6. Eat smart.
The best way to save money is by cooking yourself and Barcelona’s food markets are some of the most amazing places to buy fresh produce and get your senses tingling! If you don’t want to cook on your holiday, it’s easy to save money by eating smart in the city.
Have your main meal for lunch at around 14:00 like the locals do. You can enjoy a three course meal (menú del dia) for as little as €10, including a drink. Most restaurants offer a menú del dia and the food is usually traditional, made fresh, and always delicious! We’ve written a guide to our favourite menus in the city.
Don’t be taken in by the delicious bakeries around every corner, and head to Café 365 for homemade cakes and pastries for as little as €1! They’re our favourite food chain in the city!
7. Fitness for free.
We understand if excersize is the last thing you want to do on your holiday, but if you want to stay in shape when you’re over here, the cheapest way to do this is by running. There are plenty of routes around the city including along the beach and through the slightly wider streets of Eixample. You can also get the train to Collserola Natural Park (Zone 1) and run along the mountain trails.
8. Spend savvy.
Barcelona is one of the best places to go shopping, but it’s also one of the best cities for second hand markets and vintage clothing. Every weekend there is a different market in the city, be it an everything for €1 market, a €5 or under market, or other vintage and flea events. You can find some amazing one off pieces this way and save yourself a ton of money at the same time.
9. Meetups and Events.
There are always free meetups and events in the city, you just have to find them! Facebook is the easiest way to do this and you can find events by filtering the location to Barcelona, or the neighbourhood that you’re staying in. You can also find free drinks coupons and discounted club tickets this way.
10. Book in advance.
Everything is cheaper in advance, so we recommend looking at flights and accomodation for next summer, now!
We hope these tips save you money on your trip to the city, just make sure to pick up some Milka from duty free on your flight home!