barcelona cheap things to do, barcelona things to do
Barcelona is, hands down, one of the coolest cities I have ever visited. This was my fourth trip there and Warren’s first (we spent a week in Spain before going to Morocco). I was so excited to show him why I fell in love with the city. Unfortunately, we arrived during an unseasonably cold snap so my visions of beach lounging quickly dissipated. Luckily, Barcelona is home to some lovely and unique sights that are virtually free.
When I backpacked around Europe in my younger days, bargain traveling was a necessity. Now it’s just plain fun, mostly because I live for the thrill of finding awesome things on the cheap (this explains my thrift store addiction). So, in no particular order, here are five amazing and cheap (or free!) things to do in one of my favorite cities, lovely Barcelona.

1. Parc Guell (free!) – Designed by the ridiculously imaginative Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi, Parc Guell is a maze of undulating mosaics, grottoes, and quiet pathways. While Parc Guell’s main entrance (pictured above) is constantly packed with tourists, there are smaller, less densely populated paths that lead through the beautifully forested inner park. And you definitely need to climb to the very top in order to see the gorgeous view of Barcelona and the ocean. 

Parc Guell Barcelona
Totally worth it, right? Barcelona is right on the water, which leads to the second awesome and free thing to do:
barcelona beach, beach towns barcelona
2. The Beach (free!) – We managed to score a few hours of sunshine and spent them reading on the beach and eating sorbet. There are a ton of (mostly man made) beaches  a short walk from downtown. If you have an extra afternoon or so, definitely take a bus out to some of the pretty beach towns–we spent a night in Badalona (metro accessible). I also love Sitges, which is known as “Ibiza in miniature.” It is also where I saw a man dressed in nothing but a Speedo ribbon dance for two straight hours. 

la sagrada famila barcelona

3. La Sagrada Familia Exterior (free!) – Okay, La Sagrada Familia is insane. From a distance it appears to be melting but it is actually totally jam packed with sculptures and pieces of flair. Gaudi also designed this basilica and there is always construction going on. It is pretty expensive to go inside and climb (but worth it if you can spare it and wait the eons it takes to get inside) so this time we just examined it from the outside. There is a lovely park with a perfect view. I imagine it would be even more perfect if you brought a picnic lunch here.  

barcelona flamenco shows

4) Flamenco (affordable, if you don’t get dinner) – There is always a flamenco show happening somewhere in Barcelona. It’s kind of like hardcore clogging with lots of clapping. And the skirts are ruffly works of art. While the dinner and show option is pricey, if you just do the show, you’ll be set back $15-20. Not too shabby for two hours of live music and dancing. 
flamenco shows barcelona
Plus, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get pulled onstage to dance. Notice how seamlessly Warren blends in with his jeans and flip flops?
hot chocolate and churros
5. Churros and Hot Chocolate (cheap) – Barcelona loves chocolate so much they have an entire museum dedicated to it, Museu de la Xocalata, which always seems to have impressive chocolate sculptures on display. But you can go pretty much anywhere to have churros and delicious, rich, thick hot chocolate. It’s basically chocolate fondue, which is to say, it’s awesome. 
caelum barcelona hot chocolate
Since it was pouring rain, we ducked into one of the classier (but still affordable) hot chocolate establishments–Caelum. The basement is a renovated medieval Jewish bath house. It oozes charm and romance, plus there are rows after rows of delicious pastries (the almond cake is my favorite). Caelum’s hot chocolate was stellar. Truly. Dark and fragrant, it took a good half hour to savor since it was so gloriously rich. 
patatas bravas
*Bonus Cheap Awesome Thing – If you’re in Barcelona, or anywhere in Spain, please do yourself a favor and order patatas bravas, a delicious potato tapas dish served with a lightly spiced tomato sauce and mayo. Over the course of a week, we probably devoured ten pounds of this. So good. So cheap. Perfection. 
To cut down on costs even more, we used Airbnb with great success. We absolutely loved Ramiro and his place just off La Rambla. In short, you can fill your Barcelona adventure with tons of awesome things and not break the bank doing it.  Plus, you might get as good at selfies as I have. Jealous?
barcelona arc triomph

I am participating in Wanderlust Wednesday hosted by the lovely Casey of True Colors. Click below to see amazing European adventures!

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  1. says

    VERY jealous! Thanks for letting me live through you! What a fun time…and your commentary on Warren dancing made me laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great pictures, can't wait for more.

    • says

      Warren dancing is enough to make anyone laugh ๐Ÿ™‚ We'll be sharing more over the next few Mondays. Get ready for a log of pictures of sand and camels!

  2. says

    No video/photo of the man dancing in a speedo? You've got to have that tucked away somewhere. Please post how to make those potatoes. They look super yummy.

  3. says

    Your blog is just so lovable…every word you write makes me happy. I love the pictures from Spain and the way you described it. Like Tess said, I love the commentary about Warren dancing. And the food descriptions made me hungry. The mental image of a man dancing in a speedo for two hours may have curbed my appetite, though…hee hee! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can't wait to hear more!

  4. says

    sayin hi from the link-up. PATATAS BRAVASSSSS… We had that EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT while in Barcelona. I seriously miss it big time. Oh and bomb dot com Sangrias.

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