Low budget holiday in Barcelona
Choosing between the pristine and yet locally dipped Spanish coast and the mesmerizing city of Barcelona can be very difficult indeed. Well, since you have asked, me, I have gone with Barcelona. There's a lot of thought behind that call. For one, Barcelona is very close to the shores and by picking it, you won't be missing out on any of the sand and water. And secondly, the city has just so much to offer that it would be sheer crime to miss it.
Barcelona (Source: Xavi)
Here's what made me opt for the city -
Las Ramblas is one of the main attractions in Barcelona. It's often the first landmark that tourists associate with the city - the central most boulevard that cuts straight through the middle of the Barcelona. The vibrant colors and lively atmosphere is known to be infectious.
Ramble along the city’s most famous avenue with its bird markets, flower stalls, street musicians, mimes, overpriced tapas bars and hundreds upon hundreds of people. But watch out for those pickpockets who are rampant here!
Malabares en Las Ramblas de Barcelona (Source: Kom bo)
Tibidabo is one place that's very hard to miss. No matter where you'll be standing in Barcelona, you'll always be able to see the mountain with the church on top. Tibidabo is the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola at 512 meters. It gives you absolutely fantastic views of the city while rising towards the north west.
On the mountain itself is an amusement park, a telecommunications tower and a Catholic church.The church is called Temple de Sagrat Cor, which is one of the must-see tourist attractions.
Il Tibidabo (Source: Adriano Amalfi)
Visit a flamenco show at Tablao de Carmen in Poble Espanyol, which offers a spectacular flamenco evening. The entrance fee (€35) includes the 1.5 - 2 hour show, drinks and free of charge entrance in Poble Espanyol.
Ride the Cable Way to get from the sea front to Montjuic mountain. €7.50 for one-way ticket. Note that rides on the Montjuic cable are not included in transit tickets like the Barcelona Card.
Flamenco (Source: Budi Akbarsjah)
Indulge the child in you by heading towards the Magic Fountain (Plaza de carles buïgas), a spectacle of light and water mixed with music. The Magic Fountain does not operate on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday´s throughout the year.
You have to gotta go to Celler de Tapas and try their dessert called 'Three Textures of Chocolate with Virgin Oil and Maldon Salt'. A NY Times reader recommends this as the strangest and most wonderful dessert he has ever had!
Menu Sign outside Celler de Tapas (Source: yousoynuts)
Stop by Wawas, a wonderfully charming shop filled with original souvenirs. They have a wonderful collection of postcards and guidebooks that display the beauty and humor behind many things that are quintessentially Barcelona.
Often, in the search for authentic flavors, one loses his way in a new city and lands up paying for overpriced menus while the best joint is always hidden just round the corner. In that light, I have avoided the crowded and expensive restaurants for a couple of real local gems.
Tapas (Source: Jessica Spengler)
If you want to try out and the local fare, there can be no better place than Restaurante Menage A Trois. It is not just the lip-smacking tapas. It is the whole vibe that has got everything right here.
My suggestion: Try out the tapas with shrimp in garlic sauce and patatas bravas.
A visitor comments:
We stayed at an apartment across the alley from this place and ended up eating here twice after smelling the aromas wafting up toward our balcony from their kitchen. Service was laid back but attentive enough and friendly. Food was delicious and reasonably priced. Beer and cava were both cheap and tasty.
Restaurante Menage A Trois (Source: TripAdvisor)
Neighborhood: El Barri Gòtic
Price range: $7-$14
Address and Contact: Carrer d'En Bot 4, 08002 | Tel.: +34 933015542
For something more filling but just as great when it comes to taste and the feel of the local life, go to Pollo Rico. The chicken, for which this place is particularly known for, sits roasting on spits in plain view.
My suggestion: Please do not miss out on the sangria
A diner's review:
This place was recommended to us by the front desk guy at our hotel. I don't think we ever would have found it or ventured in if he hadn't recommended it but it was a find! And I am so glad we went. The spanish style omlette with potatoes was amazing. We got a Lion and one with chorizo. We also got cod with peppers in olive oil with garlic that was just fabulous. The house red was the best I had while in Spain.
pollo rico, Barcelona (Source: TripAdvisor)
Neighborhood: El Raval
Price range: $5-$10
Good for: Local cuisine, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner
Address and Contact: Calle Sant Pau 31, 08001, Tel.: +34 934 413 184
There is no dearth for good accommodation options in Barcelona. Here are a couple of the least expensive and yet comfortable choices:
Vila Universitària offers a homely atmosphere, a top location being in central Barcelona and great amenities. The apartments are kept fresh and the hosts are known to be very gracious. But nothing beats the rock-bottom price.
Very good for family with kids.
This place is impressive!!I
ts beautiful, quiet and a little out of the way, but the easy train ride there is worth it 100%.
Vila Universitaria in Barcelona (Source: Hostelworld)
Rates: The best rates are being offered at the moment by hostelworld at US$39.25 for single privates per night.
Address and Contact: Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 - Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès) | Tel. +34 93 581 70 04
Diagonal Home is another great alternative. Slightly higher in price, it also comes with great service, lovely comfortable rooms, and a great location being close to the beach and city center. The interiors are surprisingly plush and tastefully decorated.
A good hostel in Barcelona, well connected once its in Avgd Diagonal. Recommended
Great place, seems clean and friendly. A 2km or so hike from the train station because we chose to walk. Very pleased.
It was really nice here, we met a lot of friends here. It was a bit like a meeting point for the night, also the atmosphere here is really familiar.
Diagonal Home in Barcelona (Source: Hostelworld)
Rates: At US$52.84 for single privates per night. Bookings and more information here.
Address and Contact: Avenida Diagonal 578, 5th floor | Tel.: ++ 34 629 206 322
Hope this helps. If you'd like to know about anything else, feel free to write back. What about pointers towards the beaches of the city or some day-trips? Maybe the wine country?
Do let me know.
Have a great time!
Sweetooth Heaven, Barcelona (Source: Andrew E. Larsen)
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