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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

Planning your weekend in Barcelona: useful tips and tricks for a low-cost trip

Barcelona is always a great idea, a top destination for a weekend abroad to refill your energy, enjoy wonderful architecture and fill your stomach with excellent food!

It's definitely one of my favorite Spanish cities: with its colors it's a magical, welcoming and warm place. There are plenty of things to do and see, it's an ideal city for a trip of a few days: all the main attractions are concentrated in the city center, easily reachable on foot and in a few time. If you are tired and you want to rest for a few hours, the sea of ​​Barceloneta it's so close, as is the splendid Ciutadella Park. If you've never been there, it's definitely time to fix it.

So let's see together how to book a trip to Barcelona on your own, trying to save as much money as possible!

Parc Guell, Barcellona, Spagna

Where to stay in Barcelona

Barcelona House ☆☆☆

We stayed at Barcelona House, a modern hotel located in a small side street of the Rambla, just behind Plaça Reial.

As usual we choose Booking.com and we made a reservation a few months in advance, the price was € 261 in total for 3 nights with a good buffet breakfast included. A little above the average of our standard, but unfortunately we travelled on May 1st (we were supposed to have a concert in the city that day) so I looked for the cheapest accomodation trying to pick the something nice.

The room was spacious and modern, with a nice wardrobe and a bathroom with hairdryer and a giant shower: room makeover, towel change and daily restocking of bathroom products.

The location is excellent: easy to reach if you choose the bus to move from the airport and an excellent starting point for exploring the city. We always walked around the city, often stopping by at the hotel in the evening before going out.

If you don't have a super limited budget, I recommend it!


How to get in Barcelona

Flight

As usual, for the flight we chose Ryanair, leaving from Bologna and arriving in Barcelona El Prat. I made a reservation a few months in advance (in November to fly in May), paying 115 € for two people, only with backpacks: 3 nights are more than enough in Barcelona.

Friday BLQ 16:25 -> BCN 18:10

Monday BCN 19:20 -> BLQ 21:00

Concerning the airport parking we always choose King Parking: we always had a great time. The park is located 5 minutes by car from Bologna airport (but there are also in Milan, Rome and other Italian airports, check the website). Prices are always very affordable, and the shuttle service is always fast and efficient!


How to move in Barcelona

Aerobus: Barcelona El Prat - Barcelona city center

Once we arrived in Barcelona El Prat we reached Barcelona city center by Aerobus: the stop is located immediately outside the airport exit. The journey takes less than 30 minutes and the price is € 10.20 a / r each. It runs approximately every 5 minutes and you can choose to stop at Plaça de Catalunya or Plaça Espanya, depending on where you are staying. Considering where we stayed, the closest stop was at Plaça de Catalunya.

Be careful on your way back to the airportn: Ryanair flies to Terminal 2. If, like us, you get off at T1 by mistake, there is a free Shuttle Bus that will take you from T1 to T2 in 5 minutes.

Barcelona's Metro

Barcelona's Metro connects the various areas of the city very well, it's fast and clean. We are good walkers, we rarely take public transport, so we didn't have a season ticket.

If you are planning to use it often, I recommend the Hola Barcelona Travel Card: it allows you to travel without limits on public transport in Barcelona for a number of consecutive days from the first validation, based on the option you choose. The Hola Barcelona Travel Card allows you to use the Metro, buses (TMB), the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya urban lines (FGC, zone 1), the Montjuïc funicular, the tram (TRAM) as many times as you want, but also the Rodalies de Catalunya lines (zone 1). It also includes the return journey from the airport to the center of Barcelona. The options are as follows:

  • 5 days - 38,20€

  • 4 days - 31€

  • 3 days - 23,80€

  • 2 days - 16,40€

Teleferica del Puerto and Teleferica de Montjuïc

In Barcelona there are two cable cars: both will take you to Montjuïc but one leaves from the port, the second one from the Joan Mirò Foundation, and leads to Montjuïc Castle.

Teleférico del Puerto

Opening hours:

  • from November to February: 11:00-17:30

  • from March to May and from the second half of September to October: 10:30-19:00

  • from June to the first half of September: 10:30-20:00

Prices:

  • a/r 16,50€

  • one way 11,00€

Teleferica de Montjuïc

The cableway route starts at Parc de Montjuïc, near the Joan Mirò Foundation, and leads to Montjuïc Castle. On the way back, the cable car stops at the Mirador de l’Alcalde.

Opening hours:

  • from November to February: 10:00-18:00

  • from March to May and in October: 10:00-19:00

  • from June to Semptember: 10:00-21:00

Prices:

  • a/r 12,20€

  • one way 9,40€


Barcelona Card

The Barcelona Card is a tourist pass for the city of Barcelona, it allows you to access to many activities and museums for free or at a reduced price, as well as free use of the city's public transport (including transfers to and from the airport). Free admission and skip-the-line option is included for example for the Picasso Museum, the Museo Nacional de Arte de Catalunya, the Fundación Joan Miró, Centros del Museo de Historia de Barcelona, ​​Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona, ​​Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona, ​​the Museo Egipcio de Barcelona and many others: see list 2022. The convenience should be evaluated based on what you intend to do and see during your stay in Barcelona: we did not do it since all Gaudi's works are included only with a discount of 2-3 € and public transport is not there. we hardly ever used it.

  • Barcelona Card 72h - 43,2€

  • Barcelona Card 96h - 52,2€

  • Barcelona Card 120h - 56,7€

These are the prices of the Barcelona Card purchased online on the website, where you will also find the child options.


When to go to Barcelona

Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spagna

The weather in Barcelona is truly fantastic: it's a city worth visiting 365 days a year. The beginning of summer and autumn are the best months for Barcelona from a weather point of view, especially May and late September / early October.

In winter, days are always longer than in Italy since Barcelona is much further west and snow is a very rare event. Most of the rain in Barcelona falls in April.

In my opinion, the best month to go to Barcelona is May: the weather was perfect, always sunny but not hot to sweat even though we walked all day, and in the evening with a jacket it was perfect. I had already been there at the beginning of June and it was terribly hot, as well as risking a terrible sunburn!

N.B: Always carry some sunscreen with you and don't forget a hat!


How to save money when in Barcelona

Barcelona is not a particularly expensive city, or at least not one of the most expensive we have been to, but there are some little tricks to save here too: let's see them together!

  • Book in advance and, if you can, avoid national bank holidays;

  • If you are only staying for 2 or 3 nights, travel light and by booking the plane ticket, choose the cheapest option that includes only small luggage (a nice full-sized backpack eg: North Face can carry it safely);

La Pedrera - Casa Milà, Barcellona, Spagna
  • Consider the various options for public transport or the Barcelona Card: if you are planning to use public transport often, I recommend the Barcelona Card which also includes the latter;

  • Book the attractions online: you will save money (on-site purchases are always greater than at least € 3-4 per person) and time by avoiding long queues at the box office, as well as the risk of tickets being sold-out;

  • If you still have your university card, put it in your bag and always choose the student tickets: usually only the registration date (and not the expiry date) is written on the cards, so they are always valid. Just show them on the fly and from afar! This will allow you to further save in addition to those of online purchases, obtaining student discounts;

  • Free entry to Parc Parc Güell: here I'll explain how;

  • Avoid eating on the Rambla, it may attract you to stop for some tapas, but restaurants on the Rambla are real tourist traps: you will spend a lot and it will not be worth it. La Rambla is great for a nice stroll, for nothing else. To find out where to eat in Barcelona click here;

Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcellona, Spagna
  • Take advantage of Barcelona's extraordinary food markets for your lunches or for some tapas: the Mercat de la Boqueria or the Mercat de Santa Caterina are splendid and cheap;

  • An excellent alternative to clubs or restaurants is to enjoy a picnic in Barceloneta or Parc de la Ciutadella: buy food in the markets (even in Barceloneta there is a small but functional one) and enjoy a beer and some Spanish delicious food on the beach or in the beautiful park;

  • Walk !! Barcelona is great, ideal for wonderful walks and above all it's on a human scale! We managed to get around it on foot by planning our itinerary carefully, saving on public transport!

Arc de Triomf, Barcellona, Spagna

Now that we went through each step to plan your weekend trip to Barcelona, ​​all you have to do is decide what to do once there and go for a perfect itinerary!

So, don't miss the other posts dedicated to Barcelona:

Let me know if these tips have been useful to you by commenting below and do not hesitate to contact me for any other information!

See you on your next trip around the world!


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