Colourful street art with Simpsons characters, Barcelona
Colourful Barcelona street art

10 Things You Can Do In Barcelona For Under €15

Ah, Barcelona. It’s possibly the coolest city in Spain, and undeniably one of the most visited destinations in Europe. But the rumours are true; there’s a lot to love about Barcelona.

Famous for its architecture, world-class dining scene and culture, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t get bored in Barcelona.

Check out the whimsical creations of famous Catalonian Antoni Gaudi, or be transported back to the Middle Ages with a stroll through the Gothic Quarter. Ride a cable car up Montjuic for views of the city, or indulge yourself with a trip to Mercat de la Boqueria. Spend your days soaking in the Mediterranean sunshine and Spanish culture; Barcelona has an abundance of both.

Barcelona On A Budget

While Spain can be a budget-friendly destination, Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in the world, and as such prices are a lot higher than what you’d find elsewhere in Spain.

Still, it is possible to visit the city on a backpacker’s budget.

Airbnb’s are a big problem in Barcelona. The city experienced a massive growth in tourism as Airbnb was taking off, and today over one and half million people stay in Airbnb’s in Barcelona annually. To put that in perspective, the city only has a population of 1.6 million. This has put massive pressure on accommodation for locals and seen an increase in prices, especially in coveted areas.

Accommodation, Food & Activities

So while Airbnb can be a good option elsewhere, don’t stay in an Airbnb in Barcelona. I paid €30 per night for a private single room with shared bathroom, and while it wasn’t the nicest guesthouse it was a good budget option.

Food in Barcelona can actually be very reasonably priced, especially if you opt for tapas in local restaurants. Some attractions in Barcelona are a little spensies on a backpacker’s budget (looking at you, La Sagrada Familia), but you’ll find that there’s actually a lot you can do in the city, even on a backpacker’s budget.

Excited? Read on to discover the top 10 things to do in Barcelona on a budget and start planning your own epic adventure!

Blue flags fly between buildings in a Barcelona alleyway
Exploring Barcelona on a budget

Top 10 Things To Do in Barcelona On A Budget

1. Get Lost in the Gothic Quarter

Barcelona is a feast for the eyes (and your Instagram).

It’s a city best explored on foot, which is great because (hello!) walking is free! But walking around Barcelona is also the best way to go as you’re bound to stumble across alleyways, vibrant street art and impressive architecture.

The Gothic Quarter is located in the heart of the old city and is one of the most picturesque neighbourhoods in Barcelona. There’s a few trendy bars and cafes in the Gothic Quarter worth checking out, but the best way to explore is to simply grab your camera and get lost.

Snap photos of the gritty street art and architecture, and don’t forget to look up; laundry hung from balconies adorn the alleyways like bright flags.

While you’re in the Gothic Quarter make sure to check out the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. (Also known as the Barcelona Cathedral). If it’s a hot day make sure to cool off with a scoop or two of gelato at Swiit Ice Cream.

Colourful washing hangs from a balcony in Barcelona
Colourful building with tiger mural in front of pedestrian crossing, Barcelona
Girls hand holds pink and white ice cream cone against street art background

2. Visit the Picasso Museum

Are you an art fan? Even if you’re not, you’ve likely heard of one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century; Pablo Picasso.

If you are a fan, a visit to the Picasso Museum is a great experience. The museum houses over 4000 works by Picasso, most donated by the artist himself.

Not to flaunt my inner Art History nerd, but I had studied Picasso in high school and some had knowledge of the Spanish artists’ works. But still, a visit to the Picasso Museum gave me a new appreciation for his paintings.

The museum explores Picasso’s development as an artist through the years, focusing mainly on his formative works. There are paintings from his days as a student and going into his Blue and Rose periods, but there are little works after 1917 when he started exploring Cubism.

Tickets to the Picasso Museum are  €12 for adults or €7 for reduced tickets, making it one of the top things to do in Barcelona on a budget.

3. Ride a Cable Car up Montjuic

I’ll all about those views, and I love seeking the best viewpoints in any city.

In Barcelona, you should ride a cable car up Montjuic for panoramic views of the city below. The start of the cable car begins at Teleferic de Montjuic, a scenic uphill walk out of town. Sit back and relax as the cable car takes you 750 metres up the mountain, and see if you can spot iconic features below like La Sagrada Familia.

From Teleferic de Montjuic the cable car takes you up to Montjuic Castell. The cable car costs €8.40 for a single ticket or €12.70 for a return ticket.

Cable car makes its way up Montjuic, Barcelona
Ride a cable car up Montjuic for some of the best (cheap) views in Barcelona

4. Relax in Ciutadella Park

Phew, Barcelona in summer is sweltering. Are you dying to escape Barcelona’s heat and humidity? Pick up a pastry or two and head to Ciutadella Park.

I spent an hour or two people watching, reading and enjoying a late breakfast and it was pure bliss. If you’re looking for something more active check out Barcelona Zoo, once home to the famous albino gorilla Snowflake. Ciutadella Park also has a picturesque lake perfect for picnicking, or you can rent a boat and try your hand at rowing.

Ciutadella Park really is a haven in the craziness that is Barcelona, and makes a great break from exploring the city. Plus, it’s free!

5. La Sagrada Familia

It’s one of Barcelona’s most iconic monuments, and you just know I couldn’t make a list of the top things to do without mentioning La Sagrada Familia.

But if you’re planning on visiting in the peak season of July-August, you better be prepared. La Sagrada Familia is one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona, and in peak season it can be hectic. The Basilica has been under construction since 1882 and is still awaiting completion, but it remains one of Gaudi’s most famous works.

When I visited I turned up in the early afternoon expecting to rock on inside and explore. Instead I overhead a ticket collector telling another tourist that there were no tickets available until Tuesday (3 days after my visit).

What?! I did a quick Google search to confirm and it was true. Apart from a €34.50 (with audio guide) slot at 6:30 that evening there were no available tickets.

The outside was an impressive enough sight, but if you’d like to see the interior make sure to book several days in advance. Tickets to La Sagrada Familia start at €17 for a basic ticket. Ok, it’s a little over €15, but I think we can make an exception here.

Photo by Brandon Gurney

6. Park Guell

Park Guell is another of the top things to do in Barcelona, and is also worth exploring.

The public park was designed by Gaudi and built from 1900 to 1914, and today is a whimsical, strange place filled with creatures that ‘demonstrate Gaudi’s passion for nature’.

The park is extremely popular, so again, book your tickets in advance and go early. General tickets to Park Guell start from €10.

7. Wander Las Ramblas

Sure, it’s a massive tourist trap, but Las Ramblas is one of the most famous streets in Barcelona and one of those places you should probably visit. Right?

Las Ramblas is a series of promenades that runs from Placa de Catalunya down to the Columbus Monument at the waterfront. When you take a stroll along it you’ll find an explosion of souvenir shops, caricature artists, cool bars and restaurants.

8. Indulge Yourself at Mercat de la Boqueria

You know me, friend; I love a good food market.

Mercat de la Boqueria, located off the bustling Las Ramblas, did not disappoint. Seriously; the maze-like food stalls contain everything you could want (and more).

Cool off with a fresh strawberry and coconut juice, or munch on a hot-out-of-the-oven empanada. As you wander through the stalls you’ll see cones of seafood, fresh fruit and vegetable stands, delectable Spanish cheeses and fragrant olives. I enjoyed photographing the stalls as much as I did sampling the food, but definitely go with an empty stomach.

Close up of Market entrance with crowds of people coming and going
Girl works at seafood stall in market, Barcelona
Mercat de la Boqueria

9. Relax On One of Barcelona’s City Beaches

Spain in summer is muy caliente and if you’re in need of a dip then one of the city’s beautiful beaches aren’t a bad option.

Barcelonata Beach is one of the most popular, and is an easy walk or metro ride from the city centre. It’s bustling, touristy and overcrowded, but the strip of white sand is lovely and the Mediterranean looked pretty inviting. Plus, a big draw for Barcelonata Beach is the range of different chiringuitos or seaside huts offering a feast of fresh seafood.

For something a little more peaceful head to the family-friendly Nova Icaria Beach, a stretch of white sand that offers ping pong tables and volleyball courts. A 30-minute train ride north of the city, Ocata Beach features pristine golden sand and much fewer crowds.

Huge crowd of people with colourful beach umbrellas on Barcelona Beach
Cool off at one of Barcelona’s city beaches

10. Go For Tapas

Are you the kind of person who has trouble deciding what to eat at a restaurant? Then Spain is for you, my friend. Famous for its tapas dishes, the small plates are best shared with a group of friends.

Still, I went by myself and had a great time sampling 2-3 different dishes at each meal. Patatas bravas (fried potatoes) are always a winner. In Barcelona you should make sure to try pan con tomate, a quintessential Catalan tapa made with white bread rubbed with tomato and drizzled in oil and salt, or chipirones (deep fried baby squids).

Top Tip: want more foodie info? For all your Barcelona food needs make sure to check out the fantastic blog Foodie in Barcelona. From top cafes and gelato to the best tapas, this blog should be your go-to guide for where to eat in Barcelona.

Ok I’m calling it; Barcelona is Spain’s coolest city. There’s a lot to love about Spain, from the picturesque beauty of Girona to the energy of Madrid. But when it comes to culture, architecture and a mouth-wateringly good food scene, Barcelona takes the cake. Make sure to spend a few days exploring Barcelona. There’s so much to see and do, and friend, I promise you’ll never get bored.

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Things to do in Barcelona on a budget
Things to do in Barcelona on a budget

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