The Ultimate Backpacker’s Guide to Barcelona on a Budget

The Ultimate Backpacker’s Guide to Barcelona on a Budget

Barcelona is a city bursting with life, history, and culture, all on a backpacker’s budget. This guide is more than just tips; it’s a deep dive into the essence of experiencing Barcelona on a limited budget.

When I was 23 years old, I made the exciting decision to make Barcelona my home. Over six wonderful years, this city has taught me about its culture and lifestyle. My salary was a cute 1.100€/month and this is all I had to live life in this epic city. At one point, I had a total of -12€ in my bank account. That didn’t stop me from having a memorable night out with my friends.

Therefore: You do not need lots of money to make the experiences and have the time of your life. You need the right attitude, sense for adventure, and the right information to enjoy Barcelona at its fullest. I will help you with all this!

In this guide, I’m excited to share with you all the insights and tips I’ve gathered. You can enjoy the stunning architecture by Gaudí to lively streets and delicious tapas. This guide is your key to experiencing it all. Whether you’re solo, with friends, or your partner, this guide is tailored for backpackers and budget travelers. For the ones with the bigger wallet, click away and leave the cool stuff for us.

Welcome to the ultimate backpacker’s guide to Barcelona on a budget.

Travel Costs: Detailed Breakdown

Suggested Daily Budgets

  • Low – €40 to €60
  • Middle – €60 to €150
  • High – more than €250

Detailed Breakdown


Prices can vary based on location, amenities, and time of year. Private rooms in hostels start at around €50 per night.

  • Low – a bed in a shared dormitory:  €15 –  €30 per night.
  • Middle – budget hotels and Spanish pensiones: around €60 per night for a double room, €70 for a studio (low season).
  • High – 5 Star Hotels and Luxury Apartments: €150+ per night.

Public Transportation

  • Single metro/ bus ticket: €2.40
  • T-10 ticket (10 rides):  €11.35 offers better value. Cannot be shared.
  • Bike Rentals: Daily bike rental rates start at around €10 to €15.
  • Taxis: Starting fare is around €2.50, with rates of about €1.15 per km.


  • Museums and Attractions: fees ranging from €5 to €25. Planning visits around free entry days or purchasing a Barcelona Pass for discounts and free entries can reduce costs.
  • Tours: Free walking tours are available on a tips-only basis. Specialized tours are around €25 to €40.


  • Low – tapas, menú del día: €6 – €15
  • Middle – Mid-range restaurants: €20 – €30
  • High -High-end restaurants: €50+

Cheap food (tapas, panaderias)

  • Low – tapas in national chain (100 Montaditos) or sandwiches in a panaderia (bakery) or cheap bar: around €3
  • Middle – tapas in a local bar: €4 – €10
  • High – Good tapas in upscale areas: €8+


  • Low – Espresso at a local bar: €1 – €1.50
  • Middle – Cappuccino or latte in a cafe: €1.50 – €3
  • High – Specialty coffees or in very touristy areas: €3.50+

Beer & Wine

  • Low – At a local bar or pub: €2 – €5. (ask for the house wine)
  • Middle – In a mid-range restaurant or trendy bar: €5 – €8
  • High – Craft beer or special vintage wine: €9+

Explore Barcelona: Things to Do

Must Do’s

Barcelona is filled with iconic sights, many of which can be enjoyed without spending much, or anything at all. Here’s how to experience some of the city’s best attractions on a budget:

  • Gaudí’s Works: While some of Gaudí’s buildings have entrance fees, you can admire the exteriors of famous works like Casa Batlló and Casa Milà for free. For Sagrada Familia, visiting the outside is also free and offers plenty of stunning views. I highly recommend entering the Sagrada Familia. It is so worth it! This is the one monument I highly recommend to invest in the entrance fee. I never saw any special online deals or prices. The cheapest rates are usually on the official website of Sagrada Familia.
  • The Gothic Quarter: Walking through the Gothic Quarter doesn’t cost anything. Lose yourself in its narrow medieval streets, discover hidden squares, and enjoy the ancient architecture. Free walking tours are available, which operate on a tips-only basis.
  • Park Güell: The monumental zone of Park Güell requires a ticket, but the surrounding park area is free to enter. It offers many beautiful paths, viewpoints, and the chance to see some of Gaudí’s work from the outside.
  • Magic Fountain of Montjuïc: A must-see spectacle, the Magic Fountain show combines water, light, and music. It’s completely free and operates on specific evenings, depending on the time of year.

Free things to do in Barcelona

Barcelona offers a wealth of activities and sights that cost nothing but are rich in experience:

  • Beaches: Spending the day at the beach is one of the best free activities in Barcelona. Barceloneta Beach is the most famous, but you can find quieter spots further from the city center, like Bogatell or Mar Bella.
  • Museums: Many of Barcelona’s museums offer free entry on certain days or times. For example, the Museu Picasso is free every Thursday afternoon and the first Sunday of each month.
  • Parc de la Ciutadella: It’s free to enter and is perfect for a picnic, a leisurely walk, or simply enjoying a sunny day. The park also hosts the city’s zoo and the Catalan Parliament, which are sights in themselves.
  • Street Art: Explore the neighborhoods of El Raval and Poblenou to see some incredible street art. It’s an open-air gallery that’s completely free.
  • Hiking in Collserola: For nature lovers, Collserola Park offers numerous hiking and biking trails with fantastic views over the city and the Mediterranean.

I have collected more free things to do in Barcelona here.

Free Museums in Barcelona

The city is full of interesting museums, and many of them you can visit for free on Sunday after 15:00 (3pm).

  • Maritime Museum
  • Picasso Museum
  • MUBHA (History Museum)
  • Music Museum
  • Natural Science Museum

Also MNAC is also free each first Sunday of the month.

Day Trips and Outdoor Adventures

Barcelona’s prime location in Catalonia offers an abundance of affordable day trips and outdoor activities that allow you to explore the region’s natural beauty and diversity. From mountain hikes to quaint coastal towns, there’s something for every type of adventurer.

Montserrat Mountain

  • Why Go: The serrated mountain of Montserrat, with its stunning monastery and breathtaking views, is perfect for both culture enthusiasts and hikers.
  • Getting There: Take a train from Barcelona’s Plaça Espanya to Montserrat-Aeri or Monistrol de Montserrat, then choose between a cable car or a rack railway to reach the monastery.
  • What to Do: Visit the Benedictine abbey, see the Black Madonna, and explore the hiking trails surrounding the area.


  • Why Go: Sitges is a beautiful coastal town known for its pristine beaches, lively nightlife, and the annual Carnival.
  • Getting There: A short train ride from Barcelona Sants or Passeig de Gràcia stations will get you to Sitges in about 40 minutes.
  • What to Do: Relax on the beaches, stroll through the charming old town, and visit the Cau Ferrat Museum.


  • Why Go: This ancient city is famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture, colorful houses along the Onyar River, and significant Jewish heritage.
  • Getting There: Direct trains from Barcelona take you to Girona in about 1.5 hours.
  • What to Do: Walk along the city walls, explore the Jewish Quarter, and visit the Girona Cathedral.


  • Why Go: A city rich in Roman history, Tarragona offers ancient ruins, a beautiful old town, and lovely beaches.
  • Getting There: Regional trains from Barcelona to Tarragona take about an hour.
  • What to Do: See the Roman amphitheater, stroll through the historic center, and visit the Tarragona Cathedral.

Hiking in the Pyrenees

  • Why Go: For the more adventurous, the Catalan Pyrenees offer stunning mountain landscapes and a range of hiking trails for all levels.
  • Getting There: Reach the Pyrenees by train or bus to towns like Ripoll or Puigcerdà, or consider renting a car for more flexibility.
  • What to Do: Enjoy hiking, skiing (in winter), and visiting charming mountain villages.

Costa Brava

  • Why Go: Renowned for its rugged coastline, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque villages, Costa Brava is a paradise for beach lovers and hikers alike.
  • Getting There: Buses and trains can take you to various towns along the Costa Brava, such as Blanes or Tossa de Mar. For more flexibility, consider renting a car.
  • What to Do: Explore hidden coves by kayaking, walk the Camí de Ronda coastal path, and visit charming towns like Cadaqués.

PortAventura World

  • Why Go: Just south of Barcelona, PortAventura World offers thrilling rides and attractions across its theme parks, making it an ideal destination for families and adventure seekers.
  • Getting There: Direct trains from Barcelona to PortAventura Station, or consider the dedicated bus services.
  • What to Do: Experience the roller coasters and attractions in PortAventura Park, cool off in Caribe Aquatic Park, or step into the world of cinema in Ferrari Land.

Skiing in Andorra

  • Why Go: Andorra, nestled in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the region.
  • Getting There: While Andorra doesn’t have its own airport, buses run regularly from Barcelona to Andorra during the ski season. Renting a car is another option for more freedom.
  • What to Do: Hit the slopes in resorts like Grandvalira or Vallnord, enjoy après-ski activities, and explore the duty-free shopping in Andorra la Vella.

Tickets you have to pre-book

If you want to do sightseeing in Barcelona, then this is a must-read too. You need to pre-book Sagrada Familia Tower and Park Güell before! These are the two only sights you should pre-book as soon as you can:

1. Sagrada Familia (Visit the Towers)

There is always a long queue for entering Sagrada Familia. You could easily end up queuing up to 2 hours.

Therefore: I highly recommend climbing up the towers. It is impressive, you have a panoramic view over the city and you see so much more of the Sagrada Familia. Once you go up or down the towers, you will notice so many more details.

How to book the towers? You can book the entrance ticket along with your tower visit. There is usually only 1 tower open for a visit since they are still working, so this always changes.

Money-Saving Tip: Find the cheapest tickets on the official website of Sagrada Familia.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona from the outside

2. Park Güell (13€ only)

There is a limited entrance now to see the main area of Park Güell. It is limited by people per entrance, and it is usually sold out for the next 7 days (except these 8am spots nobody wants…).

You can also enter for free when the sun sets and 20 minutes before closing. I personally do not like this. So many people do exactly that. Yes, you save the entrance fee of 13€ for the ticket, but suddenly you have to fight for your iconic photo.

Money-Saving Tip: Get the cheapest tickets for Park Güell on the official website.

Limited entrance area of Park Güell

Where to Stay: Accommodation Guide

Finding the perfect place to stay is crucial for any trip to Barcelona. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a group of friends, the city offers a variety of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. Here’s a guide to help you find your ideal base in Barcelona.


Barcelona’s hostels are not just about saving money; they’re about community, comfort, and uniquely experiencing the city. Here are some top picks known for their excellent value, prime locations, and sparkling atmospheres:

  • Kabul Party Hostel: Located in the heart of La Rambla, ideal for those looking to be in the middle of the action. Known for its lively bar and social events, it’s perfect for meeting fellow travelers.
  • Casa Gracia: Situated at the top of Passeig de Gràcia, this hostel blurs the lines between luxury and budget. With beautifully designed spaces and a plethora of social activities, it offers a chic yet affordable stay.
  • Generator Hostel: Combining affordability with style, located in the Eixample district, this hostel is close to many architectural wonders and offers both dorms and private rooms, catering to a range of preferences.
  • Sant Jordi Hostels: With several locations across the city, Sant Jordi Hostels are known for their clean facilities, friendly staff, and excellent social atmosphere, making them a favorite among backpackers.

Read here my guide to best hostels in Barcelona.

Alternative Budget Accommodations

For those seeking a bit more privacy or a break from the hostel scene, Barcelona offers plenty of budget-friendly hotels and guesthouses. Additionally, staying in a residential neighborhood can provide a more authentic experience at a lower cost.

  • Hotel Market: Located near Sant Antoni Market, this hotel offers stylish rooms at budget prices, with the added bonus of being in a foodie paradise.
  • Praktik Bakery Hotel: For something unique, stay in this hotel with an in-house bakery. Enjoy the aroma of fresh bread, combined with cozy, well-designed rooms and a central location.
  • Hostal Girona: In the Eixample district, this guesthouse resides in a historic building, offering simple, clean rooms with a touch of Catalan Modernism charm. It’s a quiet retreat after a day of exploring.
  • Safe and Affordable Areas: Consider staying in neighborhoods like Gràcia for a bohemian vibe and local feel, Poble Sec for affordable dining options and proximity to Montjuïc, or Sant Antoni for a hip, less touristy experience.

Tips for Choosing Accommodation

  • Book in Advance: Barcelona is a popular destination. To secure the best rates and availability, especially during peak seasons or events, make sure to book your accommodation well in advance.
  • Location Matters: Consider staying close to a metro station for easy access to the city’s attractions. Barcelona’s public transport system is efficient and can save you time and money.
  • Read Reviews: Always check recent reviews for insights on cleanliness, safety, and the overall experience. Sites like Hostelworld,, and TripAdvisor are valuable resources.

Find a full list and compare all hostels in Barcelona on Hostelz. This website is a price comparison, and it helps you save easily money. It is super helpful!

Whether you choose the social atmosphere of a hostel or the quiet comfort of a budget hotel, Barcelona’s diverse accommodations are sure to provide a welcoming place to rest and recharge during your adventures in this city.

Best Hostels in Barcelona: Yeah Hostel with a Roof Top Terrace

Eating and Drinking

Barcelona is a paradise for food lovers, offering a diverse culinary scene that caters to all budgets. By exploring local markets, taking advantage of set menus, and knowing where to find the best deals, you can savor the flavors of the city without splurging.

Water: Tap water in Barcelona is safe to drink. Save money by asking for “agua del grifo” (tap water) instead of bottled water in restaurants.

Share Dishes: When dining out, especially at tapas bars, consider sharing dishes to try more flavors and save money.

Avoid Tourist Traps: Restaurants and bars directly on main tourist streets like La Rambla tend to be overpriced. Venture a few streets away to find better deals and more authentic experiences.

Special Hostelgeeks Tip:

Always check Google Reviews before dining at any restaurant or bar in Barcelona. This quick check can prevent surprises, like being served a more expensive item than you ordered. I have seen this scam numerous times with more expensive wine bottles! Reviews can guide you to reliable spots with good service and fair pricing, ensuring a pleasant dining experience.

Affordable Eats

  • Tapas on a Budget: Many tapas bars offer delicious small plates at reasonable prices, allowing you to sample a variety of dishes without overspending. Look for bars off the beaten path rather than in tourist-heavy areas. Some places offer a “tapas + drink” deal during happy hour.
  • Menu del Día: This is your best friend for a hearty lunch. Many restaurants offer this set menu for lunch, typically including a starter, main course, dessert, and a drink, ranging from €10 to €15. It’s not only affordable but also a great way to experience local cuisine.

Local Markets

  • La Boqueria: Perhaps the most famous market in Barcelona, located on La Rambla. While it can be touristy, there are bargains to be found. Enjoy fresh fruit juices for a couple of euros, or grab a selection of fresh fruits, cheeses, or cured meats for a picnic. Early mornings are the best time to avoid crowds and get the best deals.
  • Sant Antoni Market: Less touristy than La Boqueria, this market offers a genuine local experience. You’ll find excellent produce, meats, and seafood at lower prices. It’s also surrounded by small eateries where locals enjoy budget-friendly meals.
  • Mercat de la Concepció: This market in the Eixample district is known for its beautiful flower stalls, but it also houses an array of food vendors selling high-quality ingredients. Grab some fresh bread, cheese, and ham for an affordable and delicious meal.

Type of food that is generally cheaper

  • Street Food and Takeaway: Barcelona has seen a surge in street food vendors and takeaway spots, offering everything from bocadillos (sandwiches) to empanadas, at wallet-friendly prices. Explore areas like El Raval and Gràcia for the best finds.
  • Cook Your Own Meals – at the Hostel: One of the smartest ways to save on food while traveling is by choosing a hostel with a kitchen. Cooking your own meals, even if it’s just for breakfast or a simple dinner, can significantly cut down your expenses. Barcelona’s markets, such as La Boqueria and Sant Antoni, offer fresh, local ingredients at lower prices than you might find in supermarkets. Experiment with cooking local Catalan dishes or stick to your comfort foods. Either way, you’ll find that sharing a meal with fellow travelers in the hostel kitchen isn’t just budget-friendly; it’s also a great way to make new friends.

Where you can find the most affordable groceries in Barcelona

Wanna cook at the hostel? It is a great idea to save money – and make new friends. However, if you go to the wrong supermarket, it will be expensive. Let me tell you the cheapest supermarkets, where you will find also quality ingredients:

  • Mercadona: one of Spain’s leading supermarket chains, known for its extensive selection of quality products at competitive prices. There are plenty of them all around the city.
  • Dia: prominent discount supermarket chain in Spain, appealing to budget-conscious shoppers with its affordable range of groceries and household items. The stores offer weekly deals on a variety of products.

Cheap Drinks and Nightlife Spots

  • Bar Hopping in El Born: This trendy area is filled with bars offering affordable drinks and a lively atmosphere. Look for bars with special offers or happy hours to enjoy the nightlife without a hefty bill.
  • Beach Bars (Chiringuitos): While generally pricier, some beach bars offer drink specials at sunset. It’s a perfect way to enjoy the beach vibe and meet new people.
  • Student Bars: Areas near universities, like the Eixample district, have bars that cater to students with cheaper drinks and a relaxed atmosphere.

Best Food Tour in Barcelona

How to get around

Getting around Barcelona is both an easy and exciting part of the journey. Public transport is very convenient, so do not hesitate to use it. But please, please, be aware of your belongings in crowded areas and the metro, as there are many pickpockets trying to get your wallet (and phone). Here’s your essential guide to moving around Barcelona.


There is no better way to absorb the essence of Barcelona than by walking its streets. Meandering through the Gothic Quarter, with its narrow medieval alleyways, or strolling along the boardwalks of Barceloneta Beach, you’ll see not only the buildings and the people but appreciate also the sun on your cheeks. Plus, it’s free, allowing you to save your euros for a well-deserved tapas treat later.


Cycling in Barcelona is not just a mode of transport; it’s a way to feel the city’s pulse, with dedicated bike lanes and routes like the one leading to the enchanting Parc de la Ciutadella or the architectural wonders of Passeig de Gràcia. It’s eco-friendly and it gives you flexibility.

Important: Barcelona’s bike-sharing program, Bicing, is only for residents. Worry not, you’ll find numerous bike rental shops where you can rent a bike for around €10-€15 per day.

Metro and Buses

Barcelona’s public transport is efficient, extensive, and relatively easy on the wallet. The metro and bus network will connect you seamlessly to all major attractions. Reaching iconic spots like the Sagrada Familia, Las Ramblas, and Park Güell is a breeze with both metro and bus options. Personally, I always lean towards the metro; I find it faster and more efficient since it’s not affected by traffic. However, some of my friends favor the bus, as they enjoy taking in the views of Barcelona during their ride.

To save money on transport, you can get: 

T-Casual ticket: This ticket provides 10 journeys across buses, metros, trams, and suburban trains, gifting you 60 minutes of city exploration upon each validation. Seamlessly hop from one mode of transport to another as you walk around Barcelona’s streets. While its predecessor, the T-10, allowed for shared adventures, the T-Casual has embraced a more solitary journey, making it a personal ticket that cannot be shared.

Hola Barcelona Travel Card: unlimited rides over a few days—ideal for those who want to cover a lot of ground without the legwork.


The Night Bus Network

For the night owls and those enchanted by Barcelona’s nightlife, you’ll love the public transport schedule.

The metro opens every day from 5am to midnight. On Fridays, it is open from 5am to 2am. And Saturdays, it is open all night. When the metro closes. The NitBus, Barcelona’s night bus service, operates routes that cover the city and its suburbs, ensuring you can dance till dawn and still find your way back to your hostel.


Scooters offer a thrilling way to navigate Barcelona. Rental services are abundant, and zipping through the city on two wheels offers a freedom unlike any other. Just be sure to wear a helmet, understand the local traffic laws, and proceed with caution—Barcelona’s streets are as busy as they are beautiful.

Best time to visit Barcelona

Barcelona is fantastic all year round, but depending on what you’re looking for, some seasons might suit you better than others.

  • High season: from June to August. This is the best time for beach lovers and those looking to enjoy the city’s nightlife and festivals. However, it’s also when prices peak, especially for accommodation.
  • Shoulder season: spring (March to May) or fall (September to November) is perfect if you enjoy mild weather. It’s not too hot yet, ideal for exploring the city on foot without the summer crowds. Plus, accommodation prices are generally lower than in the peak summer months.
  • Low season: Winter (from December to February): is cooler and has the least tourists. While it might be too cold for the beach, the city’s Christmas markets and decorations add a unique charm. Plus, you’ll find the lowest prices for accommodation during this season.

Calendar of Events

Barcelona’s calendar is packed with events and festivals, some of which you won’t want to miss (or you might want to avoid as accommodation prices go really high).

  • La Mercè (September): The city’s biggest street party with free concerts, fireworks, and cultural displays.
  • Primavera Sound (end may- early june): big music festival that has become a staple in the international music festival scene.
  • Sónar (June): A world-renowned festival of music, creativity, and technology, attracting electronic music fans from all over.
  • Sant Joan (June): Celebrate the summer solstice with fireworks, bonfires, and beach parties.
  • Carnival (February/March): Just before Lent, Barcelona streets fill with parades, costumes, and festivities.
  • Christmas Markets (December): Experience the festive spirit at the Fira de Santa Llúcia and other markets.

Backpacking Essentials & Safety Tips

Safety tips for Barcelona

I have to include this one because I want you to be safe! Barcelona is a safe city, but there are many pickpockets. Barcelona is a welcoming city, but like any popular tourist destination, it has its share of scams and safety concerns. Here are practical tips to help you stay secure and enjoy your Barcelona adventure worry-free.

You don’t have to worry about physical abuse (generally speaking!). You’ve to watch out for your belongings. Especially in the downtown area, you will notice pickpocketing is an issue.

Here’s a condensed guide to keep your belongings secure and enjoy your visit worry-free:

  • Mind Your Belongings: Always keep your valuables close, particularly in crowded downtown spots where pickpockets thrive.
  • Beach & Bar Caution: Never leave items unattended. If you’re at the beach, ask nearby groups to watch your things or ensure one of your party stays with your belongings.
  • Stay Alert on Las Ramblas: This popular area is notorious for pickpockets. Avoid distractions from strangers that seem overly friendly or invasive.
  • Metro Awareness: Busy metro stations are hotspots for opportunistic theft. Keep bags in front of you and stay mindful during boarding or disembarking.
  • Buses Over Metro: For safer travel, buses tend to be less prone to pickpocketing incidents compared to the metro.

Remember, the key to avoiding theft is awareness, not paranoia. Enjoy capturing your Barcelona memories but do so smartly.

A Tradition of Safety: My friends and I have navigated Barcelona without incident by following these simple tips. I encourage you to do the same and maintain our tradition of safe and enjoyable travels in this city!

Watch Your Belongings: Pickpocketing is common in crowded tourist spots, beaches, and public transport. Always keep an eye on your possessions, use anti-theft bags or backpacks, and consider wearing a money belt for valuables.

Know Emergency Numbers: Familiarize yourself with local emergency contacts. The general emergency number in Spain is 112, which can be dialed for police, fire, or medical assistance.

Cultural Respect: Understanding and respecting local customs and laws can also keep you out of trouble. For instance, drinking alcohol in public places (outside of designated areas like bars and restaurants) is illegal and can result in fines.

Common Scams and Theft Tactics in Barcelona

Be Scam Aware: Be cautious of common scams targeting tourists, such as the ‘friendly’ stranger offering to help with directions or unsolicited offers of help at ATMs. Always be wary of distractions that could be a setup for theft.

  • The Distraction Technique: A common method where thieves work in teams; one distracts you by asking for directions, showing you a map, or even pretending to spill something on you, while another takes the opportunity to pickpocket you.
  • The ‘Found’ Ring Scam: Someone might pick up a ring off the ground, claiming you dropped it, and then ask for money as a reward for finding it. This scam is a distraction to either pickpocket you or guilt you into giving money.
  • The Fake Petition: Scammers, often pretending to be deaf or mute, ask you to sign a petition. While you’re distracted, they or their accomplices might steal from you. They may also insist on a donation for signing.
  • Overly Aggressive Vendors: In crowded tourist areas, some vendors may become aggressive in trying to sell you something or put it directly in your hand. While you’re distracted, an accomplice might attempt to steal your belongings.
  • The ‘Broken’ ATM Help Offer: A scammer offers to help you with a supposedly malfunctioning ATM, watching as you enter your PIN and then using a skimmer to capture your card information.

Local Customs and Etiquette

Understanding and respecting the local customs and etiquette in Barcelona can greatly enhance your travel experience, fostering smoother interactions with locals and a deeper appreciation for Catalan culture. Here are some tips and insights to help you navigate social situations gracefully and communicate more effectively.

  • Greetings: A friendly “hola” (hello) and “adiós” (goodbye) go a long way. When meeting someone for the first time, a handshake is common. Close friends may greet each other with a kiss on each cheek.
  • Meal Times: Meal times in Barcelona and the rest of Spain are later than what many travelers might be used to. Lunch is typically around 2 pm to 4 pm, while dinner is often from 9 pm onwards.
  • Tipping: Tipping is appreciated but not as customary or expected as in some other countries. For good service in restaurants, rounding up the bill or leaving 5-10% is a kind gesture.
  • Respect Siesta Hours: While the concept of siesta is fading in larger cities like Barcelona, some smaller shops still close in the early afternoon. Be mindful and check business hours, especially when planning visits to local establishments.
  • Dress Appropriately: When visiting religious sites or attending formal events, dress modestly out of respect for local traditions.

Useful Catalan Phrases

While Spanish is widely spoken in Barcelona, Catalan is the co-official language and deeply ingrained in regional identity. Learning a few basic phrases can show respect for the local culture:

  • Hello: Hola (same as in Spanish)
  • Goodbye: Adéu
  • Please: Si us plau
  • Thank you: Gràcies
  • Yes/No: Sí/No
  • Excuse me/Sorry: Perdó
  • Do you speak English?: Parles anglès?

By following these cultural etiquette tips and embracing local customs, you’ll not only enrich your own travel experience but also contribute positively to the communities you visit. Barcelona is a city with deep historical roots and a lively contemporary culture, and approaching it with respect and openness will undoubtedly enhance your journey.

Tapas Tour Barcelona

Things Not to Do in Barcelona

While Barcelona is a city of freedom, certain behaviors and practices are frowned upon or outright prohibited. Being mindful of these can help ensure that your visit is enjoyable for both you and the city’s residents.

Respect Public Spaces

  • Public Drinking and Cleanliness: Barcelona has strict regulations against drinking alcohol in public places like streets and squares. This law aims to maintain public decorum and cleanliness. Always dispose of your trash properly to keep the city clean, especially on beaches and in parks.

Be Mindful at Beaches

  • Appropriate Attire: It’s important to wear suitable clothing when leaving the beach area. Walking shirtless or in swimwear, such as bikinis or swim trunks, through the city streets, in restaurants, or on public transportation, is frowned upon. Locals and authorities expect visitors to dress modestly once off the beach to maintain the city’s decorum.
  • Activities like bringing glass bottles, and playing loud music are prohibited to ensure a pleasant environment for everyone.

Follow Rules Around Major Attractions

  • Respecting Cultural Sites: When visiting major tourist attractions like La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, it’s crucial to follow guidelines set for visitors. This includes not climbing on structures, respecting roped-off areas, and keeping noise to a minimum to preserve the integrity of these cultural treasures.

Street Vending and Buying

  • Unauthorized Zones and Counterfeit Goods: Buying from street vendors in unauthorized zones can lead to legal issues for both the seller and the buyer. Many of these goods, especially counterfeit items, are illegal. The city has been making efforts to combat illegal street vending to protect both tourists and the local economy.

Noise and Nighttime Conduct

  • Respecting the Peace: Barcelona’s local ordinances enforce noise levels in residential areas, especially at night. Being excessively loud, hosting parties in vacation rentals, or causing disturbances can lead to fines and strained relations with local residents. It’s essential to be considerate of the neighborhood’s peace, especially in the late hours.

Resources and Planning

These applications are designed to simplify your travel arrangements, enrich your city exploration, and guarantee an unforgettable journey.


  • Couchsurfing: For those looking to save money and meet locals, Couchsurfing connects travelers with hosts in Barcelona who are willing to offer a free place to stay.
  • Hostelworld: The go-to platform for backpackers and budget travelers, Hostelworld showcases the best hostels in Barcelona, complete with ratings, reviews, and social spaces to meet other travelers.
  • from hotels to apartments, with detailed descriptions, photos, and user reviews. Its filtering options make it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Hostelz: Similar to Trivago, this platform lets you compare hostels (only hostels) so you can decide the best place to stay.


  • TMB App: The official app of Barcelona’s public transportation system. It provides real-time bus and metro information, route planning, and service alerts.
  • Barcelona Metro Map: A simple yet effective app providing a clear and interactive metro map to help you navigate Barcelona’s subway system efficiently.
  • Bicing Barcelona: For those who prefer cycling, this app offers information on Barcelona’s bike-sharing program, including station locations and bike availability.


  • Moovit. Provides information on public transport arrival times in real-time.
  • Citymapper: An all-in-one transit app that offers detailed journey planning across all modes of transport in Barcelona, including real-time departures and disruption alerts.
  • Google Maps: Essential for navigation, Google Maps offers detailed maps, walking directions, and public transport routes, making it easier to find your way around Barcelona.

Tours and Activities:

  • BCN Visual: This augmented reality app brings Barcelona’s history to life by overlaying historical images of the city onto your current view, offering a unique way to explore.
  • The Fork: Discover and book the best restaurants in Barcelona, often with discounts. It’s great for finding local dining spots based on user reviews and ratings.
  • Barcino 3D: With this app, you can travel virtually back to the last years of the 3rd century AD to fly over it and discover all the remains and buildings that are still preserved while you walk through its streets.

Language and Communication:

  • XE Currency Converter: real-time currency conversion.
  • WhatsApp: Widely used in Spain, WhatsApp is essential for communicating with new friends, contacting tour operators, or booking services during your stay.
  • SpanishDict: A handy translation app that can help you overcome the language barrier, offering instant translations for Spanish words and phrases.
  • Bumble: a social and dating app that empowers users to make meaningful connections across three different modes: Date, BFF, and Bizz.
  • WiFi Finder: Helps you locate free Wi-Fi spots across Barcelona, ensuring you stay connected without eating into your data plan.

Conclusion: Your Budget-Friendly Barcelona Adventure

As you prepare to dive into the dynamic life of Barcelona, remember that this city is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be uncovered, all within reach of a backpacker’s budget. From wandering through the historic alleys of the Gothic Quarter to basking in the sun at Barceloneta Beach, Barcelona is set to enchant you without demanding a fortune in return.

At Hostelgeeks, we understand the essence of backpacking is to explore, discover, and participate in new cultures without spending excessively. Barcelona exemplifies this spirit, offering a wealth of activities, sights, and culinary delights that can be enjoyed on any budget. Whether it’s savoring tapas, marveling at Gaudí’s architectural wonders, or simply soaking up the city’s bustling atmosphere, your adventure in Barcelona promises to be rich in experiences, not expenses.

So, pack your bags, set your budget, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in Barcelona. The city awaits with open arms, ready to offer you stories worth telling and memories to cherish—all within the means of a savvy backpacker. Here’s to your Barcelona adventure, where every euro stretches further, and every moment is a step into the heart of Catalan culture.

Safe travels, and see you in Barcelona!

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