Congrats! You’ve booked your ticket to Barcelona. What now? Maybe you are visited from across the world, or from a neighboring country, either way, some Barcelona hacks to save you money would be helpful I’m sure. Who doesn’t like to save a few extra bucks on their holiday? In our quick Barcelona tourist guide
, we´ll throw in some time-saving tips as well, for those who want to maximize their short stay in the city!
Barcelona Money & Time Saving Tips
Barcelona is easily walkable, and all the main tourist attractions are in the city center, which means reaching them on foot isn’t difficult. You can also register to use the Bicing, public bicycles throughout the city, however, you do need an NIE (resident identification). If you’re coming as a tourist and end up staying for an extended period of time, registering for an NIE will allow you to access many of the city’s services, Bicing is just one example. For those staying for an extended period, this may be one of your best options for affordable transport.
Not staying for long?
Don’t worry, you can hire a bike for as little 7 euros a day, or better yet, take a city bike tour
and hit all the best Barcelona sites!
In some cases, if the weather is bad, you're short on time or are staying outside of the center, it’s best to use the Barcelona public transport system.
There’s plenty of options for getting around in the city: Metro, Bus, Tram, Funicular.
Hack #1 - Buy a T-10 ticket
Ten journeys for just over 10 euros! You can use your ticket in Zone 1, which as of this year has been extended to more towns and cities outside of Barcelona. The T-10 multi-person ticket is valid on all the forms of transportation mentioned above. Within 1h 15 minutes, if you switch to a different mode of transport, and you will only be debited for a single journey. Note, you can only take up to 3 modes of transportation; once you hit the 4th, you use up another trip. As a note, your T-10 can be used for travel with RENFE or FGC Trains, outside of the city, as long as you are in Zone 1.
Yes, you can buy a 1-Day or Mulitple Day transport pass at any Metro station, but honestly, the T-10 is the best value for money you’ll find.
Also, don’t buy a single ticket. Roughly, the cost of 4 single tickets equates to the price of a T-10 (10 tickets). Note: You cannot buy a T-10 ticket on the bus, therefore, if you forgot to buy in the train station, and newsagent, or tobacconist, you will need to pay the single ticket fare if you want to enter the bus.
Hack #2 - Public Transportation to/from the Airport
Even if you have the money to spend, the connection from the airport to the city is so good that there’s really no need to call a cab, unless of course, you have a lot of luggage you can’t carry alone. Although a cab may be the quickest option, it only beats the train by a few minutes.
Save money from the airport by taking the train or metro from Terminal 2 to Sants Station. Alternatively, the Aerobús leaves from both T1 or T2, taking you straight to Plaça Catalunya in roughly 35 minutes. The most hassle-free option is with the bus.
If you want to take the milk run into the city, use your T-10 and hop on bus #46 to Plaza España. It’s not a quick route (expect around one hour), but you’ll get to pass by some of the small towns near Barcelona.
Hack #3 - Invest in Skip-the-line tickets
Barcelona can become insanely chock full of tourists all trying to visit the same attractions as you. Don’t want to wait for hours in line? You don’t have to! When you buy your tickets to all the top Barcelona attractions, invest in fast-track tickets, museum passes, and discount cards, all of which save money and time.
La Sagrada Familia Tickets - Fast Track Entrance
To help enrich your experience of the top sites in Barcelona, and also some of the more hidden spots, we’ve included the following resources:
Hack #4 - Enjoy what’s Free
There are several things to do in Barcelona that are free, here are a few of the top suggestions:
- The Magic Fountain: Watch the free water show, Barcelona’s version of the icon water show held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Check the Magic Fountain schedule ahead of time!
- Visit La Boqueria Market: The largest, most colorful, and well-known market in Barcelona. If you love market hopping, the Barcelona Market Scene is one to hit up.
- Check out the View: Climb to the top of Montjuic, The Bunkers de Carmel, Tibidabo, or Collserola to enjoy the whole of Barcelona.
Hack #5 - Seek out cheap eats!
Finding good food in Barcelona isn’t difficult, but then again, finding a bad restaurant in Barcelona serving mediocre food isn’t either. In general, seeking out cheap and tasty grub near the main tourist sites like la Sagrada Familia and other main attractions is nearly impossible. For this reason, we suggest the following money-saving food tips:
- Menu del Dia: Normally, Monday - Friday, between 13:00 and 15:00 most restaurants advertise a 3-course set-menu for anywhere from 8-15 euros.
- Venture off the grid: Areas like Raval, Sant Antoni, Poble Sec (Carrer Blai), and Sants are some of the top city center neighborhoods offering the best value for the price when it comes to food.
- Eat in: Shopping for groceries in another country can be an adventure of its own. The most affordable supermarkets in the city include Lldl, Mercadona, and Carrefour. If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or like to eat ecologically you can shop at any one of the following supermarkets, however, they aren’t cheap: Bio Space, Veritas, OBBIO (My favorite), and Organic Market.
If you do find yourself near one of Gaudi’s masterpiece works, or visiting a tourist hotspot in the city, have no fear, we have also put together a list of the Best Affordable Eats near all the main hotspots.
Additional Helpful Barcelona Hacks
Hack #6 - Choose wisely where to stay
Haven’t booked accommodation yet and are wondering where to stay in Barcelona? Here are the best city center neighborhoods to pack it in for the night, based on your travel style/companion.
- Sightseeing: Home to all the main attractions, Eixample is the perfect mix of hustle & bustle with a calm and local feel.
- Budget Travel: The most affordable zone for accommodation is often Raval or Sants. Best of all, the food is cheap too!
- Solo Travel: Looking to meet people on your trip so you don’t have to explore on your own the whole time? Barceloneta, near the beach, is the perfect place to mix & mingle.
- Couples: Gracia is a favorite for couples! The once, small town, is home to a mix of cozy cafes, trendy shops, and romantic squares. There are plenty of romantic spots in Barcelona to enjoy with your partner, and Gracia is one of them.
- Party Feels: Looking for an action-packed time in Barcelona, stay in El Gothic to feel the city’s heartbeat.