AAA Travel Tips / How to Experience the Best of Barcelona on a Budget

How to Experience the Best of Barcelona on a Budget

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By AAA Travel Editors
June 08, 2022
Planning a trip to Barcelona? You’re in for a treat! With its relaxing beaches, stunning architecture, rich history and exciting nightlife, there are plenty of good reasons Barcelona is the most popular tourist destination in Spain.
But overseas vacation expenses can quickly add up. Thankfully, there are several ways to enjoy the Catalonian city’s many benefits without breaking the bank. Here are some of our top tips for planning an inexpensive trip to Barcelona.
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Travel During the Off-Season

Like many other coastal destinations, the most expensive time to travel to Barcelona is in the summer. If you visit in June, July or August, you can expect to pay the highest prices for flights, hotels and activities.
During the cooler months though, Barcelona sees fewer tourists and lower prices, making September through April the most inexpensive time to visit. Just realize that the colder weather may keep you from fully enjoying the beaches’ crystal-blue waters.
It’s worth noting that, even in the off-season, traveling during the holidays is more expensive, so try to avoid visiting during Christmas, New Year’s, Spring Break and Holy Week (Semana Santa). And before booking your trip, do a quick Google search to see if any big conferences are taking place at that time, which can also increase travel costs.
Courtesy of Hotel Arc La Rambla

Stay at Inexpensive, High-Quality Hotels

Hotels can quickly become the most expensive part of any vacation. To cut back on costs without sacrificing quality, opt for one of these affordable accommodations.
The Hotel Arc La Rambla near the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi provides rooms that start at $73 per night during the winter months. (All prices, of course, depend on when you visit and how far ahead you book your stay.)
At the corner of Carrer de la Lleona and Carrer d’Avinyó, you’ll find Catalonia Avinyo, where you’ll enjoy comfortable rooms with a modern, sleek design. Rates start at $89 per night in the off-season.
Or, for a pet-friendly stay, consider booking several nights at the Rialto Hotel, where the famous Spanish painter Joan Miro was born. Located 5 minutes from the popular Museu Frederic Marès, this hotel offers affordable rates starting at $109 a night.
If you want to be closer to the gorgeous Barcelona Cathedral, book your stay at the Exe Laietana Palace with nightly rates beginning at $129.
Wikimedia Commons / GFDL/Ralf Roletschek

Enjoy Barcelona’s Delicious Yet Affordable Restaurants

Cooking your own meals during your trip is a great way to save money, which you can do by shopping at one of Barcelona’s many food markets. But don’t forget to leave room in your budget for the city’s fascinating restaurants. If you know where to look, you can find plenty of spots that provide excellent meals and top-notch service at budget-friendly prices.
Els 4Gats, for instance, is a must-visit. This AAA-approved, nouveau-styled restaurant not only serves delectable Catalan cuisine but also boasts an intriguing history. Since its opening in 1897, some of the greatest artists and intellectuals of Barcelona—including Ramon Casas and Pablo Picasso—have met there to drink, argue and discuss their work. Plus, it’s only a four-minute walk from the architectural masterpiece Palau de la Música.
If you want to experience a wide range of traditional Spanish cuisine, make sure you stop by the Poble Espanyol. At this open-air architectural museum, you’ll find a variety of bars and restaurants that offer delectable dishes such as paella, tapas and Canelones. For the best views of the center’s diversely styled buildings, relax and enjoy your meal on one of the nearby terraces.
The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art/Miquel Coll

Experience Budget-Friendly Activities in Barcelona

There are plenty of low- to no-cost sites to explore in Barcelona. No trip to this Spanish city is complete without seeing the Gaudí Fountain, the Barcelona Cathedral, and the famous street of La Rambla. While there, wander the remains of Roman-built Barcino, snap the perfect panoramic photo from atop Collserola Hill, and explore the old medieval shipyard at the Maritime Museum (free every Sunday after 3 p.m.).
If you’re an art enthusiast, you should also visit The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, which features hundreds of beautiful exhibits. On most days, the price of admission is 11 euros, but you can get in free on Saturdays after 4 p.m.
Love to dance? Enjoy professional Tango lessons in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. The lively music, blood-pumping dances and complimentary drinks won’t be the only thing you’ll swoon at—prices for these lessons start at only $22 per person.
You and your family will also enjoy the VR Experience Barcelona, starting at $27 per person. During the experience, game masters will guide you through a fascinating new world. Keep in mind that children must be at least 8 years old to participate.
You can keep up your fitness during your vacation by running. But that wouldn’t be as fun as combining yoga and paddle surfing in a Sup Yoga class, starting at $31 per person. This activity is perfect for small groups or solo travelers looking for an inexpensive way to try something new and stay fit. Participants must be 18 or older.
Afterward, you might want to relax while you explore Barcelona’s beautiful streets and hear about its history. The Barcelona Rickshaw Tour is the perfect way to do this, with tickets starting at $39 per person.
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