Comment j'ai survécu à Barcelone pour 40€/jour

Exploring new places is always the highlight of my year. Nothing is better than experiencing different cultures and making memories, especially if I figure out how to do everything on a budget.

When I tried to estimate what I’d be spending in Barcelona, I created my most impressive travel budget yet. Check out how I only spent 40€ each day in Barcelona and still had an incredible trip.

Une ruelle étroite et pittoresque dans la ville animée de Barcelone, parfaite pour les légendes Instagram.
Une ruelle étroite et pittoresque dans la ville animée de Barcelone, parfaite pour les légendes Instagram.

What is the average tourist spending in Barcelona?

Tourists visiting Barcelona spent an average of €514 or $558 for transportation, accommodation and various daily expenses in 2022. You could easily spend more on travel packages or fancier vacation perks, but $558 is a ton of money. It’s especially a budget crusher if you travel all the time like me.

How I spent 40€ Daily in Barcelona

No matter what I’d be spending in Barcelona, the total cost of my week-long trip had to fit my budget. Instead of going with my usual spending limitations, I decided to see how much I could shave off the final price tag for my vacation. These are the categories I broke down and how I only spent 40€ daily while in Barcelona.

Boarding: Free

You don’t have to pay for a traditional hotel or rental room while you travel. I found a free room in Barcelona by searching for work exchange boarding. A lovely couple who owned a hostel needed help cleaning the bedrooms, bathroom and central kitchen.

In exchange for working four hours each day with one day off per week, I had a free room, local discounts, free laundry services and an entire kitchen at my disposal. Did I mention the free Wi-Fi? 

Sites like Workaway et Worldpackers make traveling on a budget so much easier. They also help people find work exchange housing internationally, so you can go anywhere without paying costly hotel fees.

Meals: $294 for the entire week

My trip lasted seven days, so if I spent 40€ daily in Barcelona, I could afford $294 for the entire week and still have some pocket change left over. I decided to spend it all on food because I didn’t want to miss any of the culinary adventures awaiting me.

Many restaurants, bakeries, and bars offer food extra cheap late at night. If you’re willing to stay up past 11 p.m., you’ll find drinks and food available for €1 or less. Get two slices of pizza or a few hearty croquetas and save the rest in the fridge wherever you’re staying.

I also found budget-friendly restaurants by browsing reviews online. You’ll find prices and menu options listed on restaurant review sites for all kinds of Spanish cuisine. Sometimes, I even join local Facebook or social media groups designed for travelers to find the best deals and secret dining spots you won’t find on major review sites.

If I wanted to splurge on more costly things, like hard beverages, I enjoyed a drink in my hostel room unless there was a €1 special at a nearby bar. I mapped out bars and restaurants according to the reviews and where I stayed. It was much easier to stay on budget if I knew what was nearby and affordable.

Healthcare: free

You might think spending every last cent on food is risky if you’re used to saving money for emergencies on trips too. I had the same feeling. I always set aside some cash to cover required copays if I need emergency care while I’m sick in the U.S. or using health insurance abroad.

The good news is Barcelona doesn’t charge people copays for medical care because most services receive payment from Spain’s public health care system.

Transportation: free

Barcelona is a walkable city, so you don’t have to pay for transportation if you don’t want to. I added walking time to all my plans before leaving home. I didn’t have to rush anywhere to reach certain places on time, which prevented last-minute, stress-induced spending.

If you’d rather pay for some transportation, skip the costly taxi cabs. You can get an e-scooter or use a tourist travel card. The one-time card purchase makes nearly every public transportation free as long as you’re in the country, so it’s a worthy investment if you don’t want to walk everywhere.

Don’t forget to pack a plane-friendly umbrella! Walking everywhere was a big budget saver, but I was so glad I had an umbrella when I woke up to a rain shower. The city only gets around 24 inches of rain annually, but you never know what will happen during your vacation.

I brought a mini umbrella from home so I didn’t have to spend part of my budget on an emergency umbrella after arriving. I’ll never travel without it again!

Le bâtiment de Barcelone est une structure en briques pittoresque, parfaite pour les légendes Instagram.
Le bâtiment de Barcelone est une structure en briques pittoresque, parfaite pour les légendes Instagram.

Entertainment: free

Reduce your spending in Barcelona by making all your activities free. I loved walking to Mar Bella beach to play volleyball with new friends, swim in the ocean and sample some budget-friendly food at beachfront restaurants.

Le Festa Major de Gràcia happened while I was in town, which was a blast. Locals decorated the downtown area and there were free outdoor concerts to celebrate the social festival. Everyone uses the time to make friends with their neighbors, so I met tons of people who made my trip much more fun.

We all got to tour the free museums and parks during the week after strolling through local business booths in La Rambla. You’ve also got to see the historic architecture in La Rambla. The legally protected buildings made me feel like I’d stepped back in time.

You might also want to bring an external battery for your phone. I took pictures of everything from the Gothic cathedrals to the historic Bunkers del Carmel. Going home with so many visual memories made me feel less sad about not leaving with cheap souvenirs. They would have made me spend way more than 40€ daily in Barcelona, so I didn’t bring anything home. Experiences are always better than keychains anyway.

Enjoy your upcoming trip to Barcelona

I wasn’t worried about overspending in Barcelona because I planned everything before my departing flight. Find a way to stay for free by volunteering some of your time and map your food options to take care of the primary spending points for your trip. You’ll have a great time without feeling constrained by a mini budget.

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