After finishing my A-levels, my best friend Lucy and I booked a girls holiday. No, it wasn't to Magaluf or Ibiza. We wanted somewhere that was both cultural, cheap and a good party. After finding flights for a reasonable price, we settled on Barcelona. For around 300 Euros, we stayed in a great hostel just around the corner from La Ramblas, just next to the Metro and within walking distance from all the best night clubs and a short ride to all of the excellent attractions that Barcelona has to offer. We spent a week in the city, beach and parks, managing to find cheap enough places to eat, drink and party. On a budget, we managed to have the best holiday and it's so easy to adapt a trip to Barcelona to your traveling style. There's plenty for families, older couples, friends, everything. I'm definitely planning on taking my parents there in the near future and my own family when I have one. Art galleries, Gaudi, food, anything you're interested in will be in Barcelona and so long as you know where to look, it can be as affordable as you like.
It’s a very nice budget hotel with good sized, modern rooms. Location is convenient, one stop from the Passeig Gracia shopping area, near Plaza Catalunya, the Ramblas and some of Gaudi’s buildings. The staff was really friendly, we had a great time at the hotel.
If you want to have a great time in Barcelona, you need to meet J. and M. They are so knowledgeable about the city and they're friendly and helpful! The location of their apartment is beyond perfect. We literally walked to Las Ramblas in five minutes; the Catalunya metro stop was another five minute walk and it takes you evrywhere. We went to the Gothic Quarter in seven minutes - all you do is cross the Las Ramblas main street and you're there. The beach was a short 15 minute stroll. How much better can it get? I can't get over how wonderful the location was! When I look for places to stay, I'm really picky about cleanliness. Their apartment was above and beyond - extremely clean and chic. The personal bathroom was spotless! To be honest, that room is worth way more than what they are charging and we were so lucky to stumble upon them. For anyone going to Barcelona, this is the only place I would recommend.
Bar Avesta is one of the few Zoroastrian themed bars you'll find the world. It's got a great medieval, cozy type feel to it, with its low wooden beamed ceiling and rustic wooden benches. It is located in a converted wine cellar and as well as serving some of the most delicious tapas in Barcelona, it also serves some of the cheapest shots. The bar also serves the famous drink, leche de pantera, a kind of pink alcoholic milk that is pretty delicious.
Equity Point is a hostel, or albergue as they say in Spanish, where you can have a quiet stay in a two-bed dorm, or, like me, rough it in their huge 12-bed dorms. The service is 24-hour with friendly staff and a lovely terrace bar which overlooks the Passeig de Gracia, and is itself looked over by Tibidabo mountain. This place houses all ages and nationalities, but everyone has a passion for staying in the centre of Barcelona and exploring the day and night life together. The hostel offers guided tours in the day, such as the street art tour or the bike tour for the more adventurous, or you can explore the nightlife on one of their nightly bar crawls. Also, if you're on a tight budget, you can visit the 24-hour supermarket three blocks away and cook yourself dinner in the hostel kitchen. Who says you can't have homemade tapas!
A super cool, hip hostel designed especially for skateboarders. I really loved the cleanliness and social atmosphere, and the bed was super comfortable also. They have a little something for everyone: huge common room, outdoor patio, guest kitchen, free internet, organized parties and more. The design of the hostel is oriented around the skateboarding scene of Barcelona and they have a cool display of vintage skateboards and even a real skate ramp. When I arrived, the staff, super nice, international travelers, gave me an explanation of the city map pointing out cool sites to check out in the city. The map was made by the hostel and even had all the best skate spots in Barcelona marked in cool letters. The staff also helped me several times with directions to bars and even how to get to places outside of the city. Great hostel.
After spending two weeks in arty, alternative Gràcia it’s now my favourite Barcelona barrio. Predominantly a working class area, its residents are largely university students, artists, musicians, and designers, which explains the abundance of art galleries, boutiques, ateliers, and music stores that line the narrow lanes. It’s a living breathing neighbourhood with plenty to do if you like eating, drinking, shopping, and hanging out in cafés, bars, and sunny squares. It’s a good fifteen-minute walk to Plaça de Catalunya, although you can catch the underground train and it’s faster, but this means you’ll rarely see a tourist in Gràcia, which is what I like most about it. It’s not far from posh L’Eixample, where there are chic shops and some of Barcelona’s best restaurants, and it’s close to Park Güell, which is a short hike (or bus ride) up the hill.
Google map: bit.ly/jjAPGY
Most guidebooks will tell you to avoid certain parts of Barcelona during afternoon siesta when everything is closed, but for me this is the best time to wander around the neighbourhoods of Ribera-El Born, Barrio Gótico (Gothic Quarter), Raval, and Gràcia, when the shops and bars are closed and their shutters have been pulled down, because many are decorated with striking street art. While some view street art as graffiti, it’s actually not at all in this case – the owners of the stores actually commission Barcelona’s street artists to paint their shutters and garage doors. If you like what you see, head to the Montana Gallery and shop to learn more about the scene.
In the heart of the trendy neighbourhood of El Born just minutes away from the chaos of Las Ramblas you will find this gem of a pizzeria run by a group of young friendly Argentinians.
The offering consists of a wide variety of delicious crusty deep base pizza by the slice made with quality ingredients. I recommend the pineapple and bacon and anchovy and tomato. They also have savoury tarts and empanadas. Each item costs a very reasonable €1.80.
If you feel like something sweet they have a range of typical Argentinian desserts that are worth a try.
The place is quite small, catering mainly to the locals and is usually always packed- a good thing since pizza is always fresh.
If the weather is obliging you can get take away and have it on one of stone benches outside.
This is simply the coolest hostel in Spain, with edgy urban design incorporating graffiti and comic-book prints, paintbox colours and minimalist chic. It's within easy reach of the beach, but if the weather's less than great it's got free WiFi, CDs, DVDs and even Wii consoles you can use, a huge terrace where you can eat or just drink in the view and, best of all, free use of a nearby swimming pool and fitness centre. All yours for as little as €12 a night – and incredibly that includes a decent breakfast. Oh, and they'll charge your mobile or iPod for you. That's service.
Between the friendly, genuinely helpful and multilingual staff, and the great selection of accommodation (cheap but comfortable hostel / private rooms/private and fully furnished apartments), there really isn't anywhere else I would stay in Barcelona - on a budget of course. From my first stay as a solo traveller, to my last with a group of friends, they made my holidays stress-free and incredibly enjoyable!
This is a treat of a park out of the way in the quiet Horta district of Barcelona. One of the city's oldest, most romantic and unusual parks. The construction began in 1791, and this is certainly somewhere you can "get lost" (in the labyrinth) and escape into your own world.
Pg Castanyers, 1-17, Germans Desvalls, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
+34934 132 400
Google map: bit.ly/r1ViDM
A cool, funky bar which will accept you like a friend, whether you are an aristocrat or an alcoholic (or maybe both!). One of the cheaper bars in Barcelona, it may look a little rough and intimidating from the outside, but inside is a small oasis of calm, where people sit around discussing the days events, catching up with the papers, or simply whiling away a few hours, not doing much at all.
The surrounding area around Placa George Orwell is a little on the 'ghetto' side but on the numerous occasions I have been there I have never felt threatened, or uneasy.
Serves good, cheap food as well.
Carrer d'Arai (Placa George Orwell)
Great priced eco campsite only 1.5 hrs south of Barcelona. Only 20 pounds per night. It's run by a friendly family. Yoga is taught each morning in the flower filled courtyard. Beaches only 12 miles away. A 'get away from it all' holiday with a lot of activities to keep the non-yoga enthusiasts happy too. Castles to explore, beaches to sunbathe on, giant catfish to catch in the river Ebro, hiking in stunning mountains straight out of the front door. The camping facilities are clean and modern in a converted stable. It's only £20 a day too.
A great hostel in the heart of Barcelona. A beautiful modernist building situated on one of the grandest avenues of the city, Passeig de Gracia. In terms of location, you could not get much better. Easy walking distance to all major sites, in particular, Gaudi's Casa Batllo and La Pedrera.
Close to Metro, Passeig de Gracia, Placa Catalunya and Diagonal.
Almost all the major museums in Barcelona offer free admission once a month - almost always on a Sunday and often the first Sunday of each month.
A little research and planning means visitors can save a small fortune while seeing some of the best laid-out museums I've seen anywhere.
I imagine you'd be best asking at the tourist info.
Good at any Carrefour store in Spain, the card allows discounts on certain items. It is especially valuable when purchasing petrol. Complete the on-line application a couple of weeks prior to your arrival - use where you'll be residing in Spain as your address - ask the landlord or hotelier to hold your mail.
OR apply in person at a store's customer service desk.
Online application: https://www.carrefour.es/clubcarrefour/usuario/alta.asp#
Tired of internet cafe costs or poaching a wi-fi signal? Become a member of the Barcelona library and have free access to computers and wi-fi. Membership is free. Complete the online application; choose the library nearest to your stay; pick up your card when you arrive.
application at: gw24-vtls.diba.es/vtls/catalan/requests/carnet.html
home page: www.bcn.es/icub/biblioteques/
Barcelona's Font Magica is by far the best free event I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing - it is simply spectacular. Buy a bottle of wine or a couple of beers, some snacks, pack a blanket if it’s cool, and head to Montjuic to enjoy the fountains lit up like fire and dancing to the music. It may sound a little cheesy, but it’s amazing! From October to April it comes alive on Fridays and Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm and in the summer (May to September) it’s packed with spectators for the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows from 9:00 pm to 11:30 pm. And it’s all free!
Nearest Metro -Placa Espanya.
This is a great value Italian restaurant and pizzeria in the uptown part of Barcelona. The staff are very friendly and the food is authentic.
It's a cosy trattoria and if you want to try an authentic Italian risotto, this is a place to choose.
Av. República Argentina
Tel 93 417 7772
Nearest metro station: Vallcarca (L3 Green) or Tibidabo (FGCC)
Bus stops:17, 22,
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