It’s the end of the month. Your electricity and water bills have just arrived in the post. The advertising agency still hasn’t processed your invoice. Your family is visiting. You’re in the red… Fear not—here are our tips for where to head when you need to enjoy Barcelona on a budget.
Vintage fashion: If you’re in need of a new look, have a rifle through the rails of affordable clothes at one of the many Humana charity shops. You’ll also be supporting an alternative economic model that aims to combat waste and poverty.
Bountiful bazars: From kitchen utensils to exotic potted plants, anything you need to satisfy your domestic needs can be found at incredibly affordable prices inside these labyrinthine shops dotted throughout the city.
Culture club: Every first Sunday of the month, the majority of the city’s attractions and museums are free. Many museums also offer other free-entry deals at weekends.
Menú del día: For as little as €5-€6, lots of restaurants offer this life-saving lunch combo, which can include a starter, main course, dessert, and a drink.
City celebrations: Barcelona is a place of riotous festivals and exuberant carnivals, neighborhood assemblies and open-air concerts. There’s never a quiet day in the social calendar—start planning now.
Hit the club early: If you can handle rocking out on an empty dance floor, being an early bird will mean you’ll skip the queues and the crazy entrance fees.
Walk this way: The city is a living museum of Modernist and Contemporary architecture. Look beyond the touristy neighborhoods and explore the breadth of Barcelona—Besòs, Sants, Vall d’Hebron, and more are calling.
Back to nature: Visitors to Barcelona may notice that the city is filled with plazas but almost no parks. Yet the city is circled by two stunning green spaces: Visit the Collserola mountains, taking the Carretera de las Aguas route, or explore Montjuïc’s views and attractions.
Cheap eats: Stroll along Carrer de Blai in El Poble-Sec—a paradise for tapas lovers—and get pinchos for €1.
The Magic Fountain: This spectacle of color, music, and light is a highlight of any visit to Barcelona. Check the schedule online before you go, as its operating hours vary.
Lingo link-ups: Language exchanges throughout the city and free Catalan courses are a great way to learn how to speak like a local.
The sound of music: Barcelona is a hub for musical talent—look out for vermut musicals (live music enjoyed with a selection of vermouths) or live concerts in venues such as La Rouge, Soda Acústic, or 23 robadors. For a drink or a small fee, you can see phenomenal bands and there’s always a great choice of genres.
Screen time: With FilmoTeca de Catalunya’s Filmo 10 deal (10 movies for €20), you can catch tremendous film series. Also, watch out for free screenings at the multiple film festivals held in Barcelona.
Market leaders: Barcelona is a city of markets, from the sprawling Encants flea market to the tourist-thronged La Boqueria. Pack your tote bag and bargain radar, and get moving.
Community service: Join your local neighborhood’s ecological consumption cooperative, and get your weekly basket of fresh, affordable, and healthy food.
Meetup: Whether you want to establish the alternative trip-hop trio you’ve always dreamt of, or you’re hoping to learn Mandarin, use the app to find people who share your interests (even the most esoteric ones!).
Public sports: Ditch the expensive gym membership and explore all the free facilities near you.
Photos: Welcome to the Jungle
Barcelona-based journalist, author, and sustainability consultant
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