Howdy all and it’s time for another challenge, we have $200 and 48 Hours in the glorious Spanish destination city of Barcelona! The rules, as if you needed reminding, are simple – we fly in on the Saturday morning, early as we can, and then we fly out on Sunday evening or night. That means we need one night’s accommodation and can therefore have the bulk of our money to spend on sites, activities, souvenirs and more!
The city this time around is Barcelona, on the Mediterranean Coast, where the architecture of the likes of Gaudi astounds and amazes, views from the hills play at the heart strings and La Rambla bustles and hustles with tourists. Well, it did when I visited two years ago now – less so in 2020 and 2021. Here’s hoping for a return in 2022 to something resembling normal in this amazing Spanish city and indeed in much of the world!
Where will we Stay?
As always, the main thing to nut down to control our budget, which I think promises to be very tight this time around, is the accommodation. Usually I look at a cheap single option and a hostel option, but for Barcelona I actually am just going to look for a hostel bed because I think we are going to need as much of the $200 for sight-seeing. They use the Euro in Spain, and at the exchange rate of this day I am writing this post, the rate is around 169 Euro for $200USD. For reference I stayed at the Hotel Arc La Rambla back in 2019. Read about that stay HERE. I didn’t pay this price but a quick look on booking.com had it at round 100 Euro per night. I used a combination of frequent flyer points and cash to pay. Will confess I’m surprised it’s that expensive these days. Having said that it was a very comfortable 3-star hotel with a great bathroom and a reasonably spacious room.
Also for reference – getting to and from Barcelona is NOT included in the budget!
It looks like a dorm bed, in Summer at least, will set you back from 20 to 30 Euros on average. I have chosen the Itaca Hostel because Hostel World is rating it at 9.9 out of 10, and it is 0.5km from the ‘city centre’, which when you only have a couple of days in a place is really important. There are plenty of options though. This one is 27 Euro for a dorm bed, so we are already down to 142 Euro for everything else.
The ‘Hola Barcelona’ card has a 48 hour option which costs 16.30Euro. We are down to 125.70 Euro left. It will be well worth it, it will get you to and from and the airport for starters which will be the longest trips you’ll probably need to take on the metro. But also you can use the buses as well, which can be handy.
The problem with Barcelona now is that with a little over 125 Euro, we have to try and see as many sights as we can and that is going to be hard. Because also – we need to eat!
Filling Our Tummies!
So Barcelona is not a particularly cheap place to eat. The good news is that we are staying in a hostel, so I am going to recommend SELF-CATERING this time around. The supermarket prices are not outrageous, and so by heading to a supermarket to get ingredients to cook yourself a cheap evening meal won’t destroy the budget. I’m sure for less than 10 Euros you could buy enough to whip up a great pasta, with a drink on the side as well. Make some rolls for lunches otherwise I fear you are going to be restricted to the Golden Arches to keep your lunch prices down. I did find a little bakery in the middle of town actually where I got a cheapish lunch – a couple of empanadas for maybe 6 – 7 Euros. It’s tricky but it can be done.
But let’s be realistic, we should treat ourselves to one decent meal with a glass of wine. We’re still going to need to be stingy – but 25 Euros is enough for maybe three tapas and a glass of wine. Tapas are small dishes, and one usually eats with a few friends and has a little of various dishes. So we’ll say 25 Euro for one meal, and 20 Euro for self-catering. We have 80 Euro left for sight-seeing and whatnot. It may sound like plenty, but I’m about to show you that that isn’t necessarily so…
Seeing the Sights!
Okay, let’s get serious. There are some AMAZING things in Barcelona you simply MUST see. I draw your attention firstly to the most famous church in all of Spain, the Gaudi-designed Sagrada Familia. This was always my number one motivation to visit Spain. It’s honestly an incredible building, massive, tall, and you MUST go up one of the towers. The basic adult entrance price is 26 Euros. And doing some research right now it seems the towers may not be open, as the option to buy that ticket did not appear on the website. Which might be just as well, as it’s already 26 Euros, and we are quickly down to 54 Euros left. However, when the towers are open (I suspect it’s a Covid thing) it’s another 6-8 Euros I think.
So after that, where to? Well, I think the next top sight in Barcelona is the Picasso Museum. His brilliant work I think is a must-see. The good news is it’s only 12 Euros. That takes us to 42 Euros.
Now there is so much to see and do in Barcelona, and what I’m going to recommend heading up to the Castle Montjuic. Not only do you get a great view of Barcelona, but you reach it by this cable car thing which is really cool. The Funicular (cable car) is around 11 Euro one way, or 16.50 return. The castle costs 5 Euro. I would recommend taking the funicular up, seeing the castle – the views are much more worth the trip than the castle itself – and walk down to save on the return fare. So it’s a total of 16 Euro, meaning we have but 26 Euro left.
So some options for our final 26 Euros. You could go an see a Flamenco show, that would be my recommendation. And I would recommend going to see one at the Palau de la Musica Catalana.