Barcelona Travel Guide
Barcelona, Spain has been one of my top most loved travel destinations yet. From the seaside cafes, outdoor markets, and authentic tapas to the rich culture and young energy this city brought me to life the moment I stepped in. It even managed to convince me to extend my trip a day longer so I could enjoy more time basking in the sun and lounging on the beach. I could have used more than one extra day, but I’ll take what I can get!
I spent 4 full days in Barcelona. This was just enough time to explore the best of the city and really get a chance to enjoy it. To actually stop and admire, sit on a bench and people watch without needing to check the time you have to go to the next stop. This is what I love most about travel. The times where I am still and the moment is unplanned. When reality has time to catch up and my eyes are in awe of what I am seeing and experiencing.
If you are a budget traveler, Barcelona is an easy place to spend little each day (or much) depending on your choices. I walked away only having spent an average of 40 euros a day including lodging and treating myself with little treats like churros, hot chocolate, or sangria. My transportation costs were very affordable from Italy with Ryanair airlines (25 euro) and Flixbus (46 euro). I spent under 300 euro for everything and had the time of my life! Totally worth it friends. You can thank me later for helping you settle on your new Summer destination! You’re welcome. 🙂
10 MUST SEES IN BARCELONA
- Open Air Markets – Stop by Mercado de La Boqueria, Mercat de la llibertat, or Mercat del Ninot and enjoy fresh fruits, juices, vegetables, meats, cheeses, seafood and a few tapas to go options! You can get away with spending under 10 euro for a full and satisfied belly. Mercat de la Boqueria is right off the main street called La Rambla so it can get quite crowded with tourists. If you are looking for a less touristy market, cheaper prices and a more authentic experience, I would check out the other two markets about a 30-40 minute walk away.
- Plazas – Definitely make sure to walk through Placa de Catalunya (you can’t miss it), Placa Espanya and Placa Reial (sit at the fountain and take it all in) as well as the smaller ones you pass by while walking through the Gothic Quarter such as Placa de Sant Augusti, Placa de Sant Cugat, and Placa de Sant Felip Neri (Absolute favorite! Fun fact, a scene from the movie Perfume back in the 1980s was filmed here)
- Arc de Triof and Parc de la Ciutadella
- La Catedral – Explore for free from 8:30-12:30pm or 5:45-7:00pm or between 1-5pm by donation.
- Sagrada Familia – One of Gaudi’s masterpieces that began construction back in 1926 but was never finished. Construction began again in 1982 and is estimated to be completed in 2026 to mark 100 years after Gaudi’s passing (only in Europe does it take 44 years to finish one building lol). You can pay 15 euro for a basic ticket to get inside and see the amazing architecture or between 22-29 euro to get the full experience and a view from above the city. The architecture is incredible!
- Bunquers del Carmel – 360 views of the city and FREE! It is a 45 minute hike up hill but you get to see more of the city and passby the cutest doorways and houses on your way up 🙂
- Park Guell and Gaudi’s House Museum – Park Guell was so lovely, beautiful views, and away from tourists. Gaudi’s House Musuem is only 5.50 and an amazing opportunity to see! Lucky you can hit two spots in one area. Woohoo!
- Casa Mila or Casa Battlo – A little spendy to see for general admission at 22 euro for Casa Mila or 23.50 for Casa Battlo, but if you are interested in the works of Gaudi these are a must!
- Barceloneta Beach – I was over the moon excited for a beach day when I visited so this beach was amazing! It is the closest beach to most tourist attractions so expect people to cover the sands, but I enjoyed the action around me as I read, napped, ate and admired this lovely place. Stroll down the pier and snap lots of photos!
WALKS THROUGH BARCELONA
- Start at Placa de Catalunya and make your way down La Rambla all the way to the boardwalk. Follow the path over the bridge near the boat harbor and you will see signs for Barceloneta Beach. My favorite strip is right before you reach the beach. Those narrow streets are full of local culture. I spotted a toilet sitting on the sidewalk (so random lol). These are also great places to stop for a drink, tapas or bite. Far less expensive then the beachside cafes.
- Carrer dels Carders, Carrer de La Princesa and Carrer de Moncada were particularly memorable to me. Vines trelling down balconies, cobble stone streets, narrow alleyways every few steps, old men smoking pipes on benches, boutique shops and plenty of cafes for quick coffee breaks.
- The Gothic Quarter which sits between La Rambla and Via Laietana is amazing! Walk literally everywhere multiple times and it will never get old. Photography heaven right here.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BUDGET FRIENDLY SUGGESTIONS
- Tour with SpongeLife Barcelona! This company offers free tours to view the major sites in Barcelona. Their staff is incredibly fun and helpful, they are more than willing to offer tips on cheap eats, streets to roam, places to see and they have an awesome map of the city with plenty of recommendations by locals to experience during your visit. If you are lucky enough to stay at one of the hostels they partner with, don’t miss the free community dinner each night making typical Spanish dishes or the pub crawl that takes you to 3 different stops in the center with drinks and dancing included. What a steel! I honestly had such an amazing experience and made fantastic friends because of their events each day. Though everything is free, be generous and offer them a tip for being awesome or an over the top amazing review! They deserve it. 🙂 Check out the link here: http://spongelife.com/listing/barcelona-free-walking-tour-by-sponge-life/ for more info or “LIKE” them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/spongebarcelona/
- Hostel 360 Arts and Culture – I paid a total of about 70 euro for 4 nights! The hostel was well maintained and comfortable, there are great hangout areas, good wifi connection, kitchen available for use, people everywhere and computers for research if needed. The staff were also really helpful and available 24/7 for questions or concerns.
- Rent a bike – I am all for renting a bicycle in any new city as a way of transportation! It’s honestly the best and a brilliant way to see the city and reach further areas. I rented from a company just off La Rambla. They charge 12 euro for 8 hours or 16 euro for 24. The woman who owns the business was very kind, spoke English well and provided me with pretty cool maps and bike routes.
- Buy food to eat throughout the day at a market. The food was so good, fresh and inexpensive. What more do you need?
I have to give credit to SpongeLife for giving me these yummy suggestions! Check out La Castel or Joanet for a fresh daily menu with affordable and completely worth it prices! For under 12 euro you get a starter, main course, dessert, and drink and it’s ALLLLL amazing food! Also, make sure to walk along Avinguda del Paral-lel nearby to Placa de Espanya where you will find over 30 different places selling 1 euro tapas! Ummm…need I say more?
There are TONS more things to do, of course but I’m 100% confident this list will give you an amazing experience in Barcelona. Good luck and happy travels!