Doing a little research on Barcelona makes you realize it is not a very cheap city. Museum tickets are quite expensive and eating out gets pricey as well. At first glance, Barcelona on a budget doesn’t look achievable.
Looking on the bright side of things, there is some advice that we can give you if you’re looking to experience Barcelona on a lower budget.
Decide what you really want to visit
Barcelona is full of nice places to visit. It has a lot of museums inside the city, but it also has a lot of other attractions outside the city (1-3 hours by train). So, you might get tempted to add a lot to your list.
You should write down the places that you really want to visit and their cost. Also, search for reviews online to see if the visit is really worth the price. For instance, there are two nice Gaudi houses: Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. While they are both amazing, tickets for each of them cost around 25 euros. Because it was a lot, in the end, we made the decision to visit only one house inside and our choice was Casa Mila, due to its amazing rooftop.
Buy your tickets online
You can take advantage of the fact that you can buy your tickets beforehand, online. This is useful for two reasons: you make sure that you will actually get to see what you want and you pay smaller prices.
For instance, for Casa Mila, you will pay 25 euros at the ticket office, or 22 euros if you buy the ticket online, saving up 3 euros. In the same way, we bought tickets for Sagrada Familia and managed to save a couple of euros. On top of that, we were lucky enough to be able to book tickets for the evening tour when the sunset light going through the strain glass produces some jaw-dropping effects.
Search for combo tickets
You can do a little research to see if there are some combo tickets available. Those are usually a few euros cheaper than buying the tickets separately. Our friends found a deal buying together tickets for Park Guell and a museum they wanted to visit, saving 3 euros.
The combos, however, are for things like visiting a museum and the hop on hop off bus.
Take advantage of the free museum entrance
What you may not know is that many of Barcelona’s museums offer free entrance once a month. You should check beforehand the museums that offer free entrance. A very good article is this one.
At first glance, this is a reason to be happy. In reality, you will have to endure long queue times that sometimes last as much as 3 hours.
However, there are some museums that are not so popular with tourists and waiting in line doesn’t take as much. If you’re in no hurry, these are THE days to visit though.
For instance, we took advantage of this to visit the Maritime Museum. We waited less than 5 minutes to enter there. This was a museum that we otherwise wouldn’t have seen.
Avoid buying souvenirs from crowded places (La Rambla) and try to bargain as much as you can
La Rambla is the place where most people buy their souvenirs from. People who sell their souvenirs take advantage of this by showing big prices to the things they sell. They are, however, very willing to bargain for the price. If you’re good at it, you can try to negotiate for a smaller price.
However, you’ll see that you’ll find most of the souvenirs in other areas, less crowded, and their price is usually smaller.
Walk as much as you can and plan your visits while looking at the map
Although at first glance the metro tickets are not that expensive, getting on and off the metro will end up costing you a lot. Instead, plan your visits ahead and group them by region so that you only need one-way tickets.
Also, walk as much as you can. Barcelona is nice to get to know by foot and you end up in beautiful places that you might otherwise miss.
Hunt the cheap meals
Buy water from the supermarket
First things first, buy water from the supermarket. Buy a bigger bottle of water and transfer it into smaller bottles. This will save you quite some money.
The morning coffee and the breakfast
Hunt the cheapest places with good food. For instance, during the mornings, unless you want to go for a more expensive coffee, I’ll give you a tip – McDonald’s coffee is actually very tasty and the cheapest one.
Also, there are a lot of patisseries and local businesses that have breakfast in the morning and they are not expensive. With 2-3 euros, based on what you want to eat you can have a nourishing sandwich.
All you can eat tip
A nice hint we got from an acquaintance is the “All you can eat” restaurant that is near Sagrada Familia. For no more than 12 euros, you can have a variety of things: from salads to meat, pizza, pasta, water, juice, fruit, ice cream, coffee and dessert. The food is really tasty, we ate there on both our trips to Barcelona.