How to do Barcelona on a budget

Being a student, it’s difficult to find the time and the money for a trip abroad, which is why European city breaks are an absolute blessing. If you’re smart with how you travel, you can sneak a cheap holiday in even during term time!

Barcelona is the ideal destination as it really has it all! Fab beaches, interesting culture, amazing food and friendly locals. Boredom is definitely not an option in the Catalonian capital - perfect for a long weekend getaway! Follow these steps for an affordable, student-friendly holiday to the Med.


Everyone knows that flights to Spain jump up in price as soon as school’s out, make sure you’re travel savvy and plan a weekend away around national school holidays. Comparison sites ensure to find you the best deal from hundreds of airlines and are super easy to use. But make sure you don't go back time and time again as they might bump up the price. Check out our post on cheap flight hacks for more! If you pick the right weekend, flights can work out being under £100 return - not bad for some Spanish sun. Also, forget about hold luggage. If you’re staying away for three or four nights, a big suitcase is unnecessary and expensive. Use a small carry on suitcase and save your pennies for some sangria.

Where to stay

Barcelona is full of plush hotels and 5* accommodation, but who really wants to waste time in their hotel room when you’ve got a city to discover? Make good use of hostels and stay in some of the funkiest places there are to offer. Forget dingy dorms and sharing a bathroom, hostels have been reinvented! Also, did I mention that rooms are available from as little as £20 a night? If you’re a hostel newbie check out the Casa Gracia which offers boutique style rooms. Or perhaps you fancy Sant Jordi Hostel Rock Palace?Famously dedicated to rock music which boasts a rooftop pool, themed rooms and a wicked bar. A Cavern Club themed common room? Yes, please.

Food and drink

Spaniards produce some of the best food in the world, so make sure you don’t waste your weekend eating fast food. For on-the-go food, head to La Boqueria: a famous market which sells some of Barcelona’s best delicacies. The market has a website which means you can check what’s going on before you head over. In terms of eating out for dinner, don’t choose posh looking commercial restaurants over the rustic, local ones. Take the journey down small alleyways because I can assure you that you’ll find the best food eating like a local. When it comes to drinks, little bars like Madame Jasmine on the Ramblas del Raval have super cheap cocktails and Espit Chupitos cannot be missed. (Chupitos is Spanish for shots if that’s your sorta thing.)

What to do

Keeping yourself entertained in Barcelona is not hard. If you’re a beach bum, you can spend your weekend topping up that tan as Barcelona was once voted the best beach city in the world. The Gothic Quarter is not to be missed, and there is always something going on on Las Ramblas. Barcelona’s architecture is all down to Gaudí so make sure you check out his wonderful work at Sagrada Familia. In my opinion, you cannot visit Barcelona without making a stop at Camp Nou, home to FC Barcelona. Even if you’re not a huge football fan, the stadium is spectacular and the tour takes you right down to the dugout- perfect Insta opportunity.

Despite being known as an expensive city, Barcelona can easily be done on a student budget. Many places of interest are free to visit and walk around, and eating like a local will save you loads of cash. If you’re clever with booking flights and sample one of Barcelona's many hostels then you can experience the Catalonian culture without the hefty price tag.

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