Barcelona for £300
In a previous edition, we praised the Gaudi-designed Parc Guell as one of the Flexicover team's favourite city parks. If that piqued your interest, we'd like to suggest how to see it without spending a small fortune.
Indeed popular European cities like Barcelona offer plenty of opportunities for low-cost, no-hassle city trips that need just a day of annual leave and a minimal spend.
By taking a few leaves from the locals' book and forgetting about the frills, it's easy to take a budget short break. Here's our how to guide to enjoy a thrilling but thrifty few days in the Catalan capital.
As it’s a major European hub, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to flying to Barcelona and more choice means competitive prices. Whether from London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool or Glasgow, it’s possible to fly with a low-cost carrier from £30. Plus if you can fit everything you need for your trip in a carry-on bag you’ll avoid having to fork out extra for hold luggage. If your budget extends to it, you could splash out a little extra for British Airways. Their return flights start from £50 though be warned that, for those in economy on short haul flights to and from Heathrow and Gatwick, BA has stopped serving complimentary meals on board.
It’s possible to go dirt-cheap in Barcelona; as a backpacker favourite, hostels are plentiful and there’s an extensive choice of Airbnb options too. Yet even for traditional options costs are reasonable. Hotels are cheaper than in many other places in Europe and its excellent metro system means you don’t have to stay in the heart of the city to make the most of it, especially as it runs all night on Saturdays. Try the Blanc Guesthouse in the sophisticated Sarria-Sant Gervasi district for a comfortable sojourn. Two nights sharing a double room including breakfast will set you back £70 each, and even if you’re on your own, it’s only £14 more for single occupancy.
As a haven of the most delicious tapas and seafood, we’d strongly suggest blowing a good portion of the budget on food. £15/€16 will buy a set menu and drink at the contemporarily designed La Pubilla or the always-heaving Cal Boter. Or take a walk around the seafront area of La Barceloneta with its many seafood cafes where you can eat well for a tenner, like the renowned Can Mano or Filferro which specialises in local cuisine. Budgeting for snacks (churros anybody?) and three lunches, there’s £60 left for two evening meals, which is ample as light tapas is the preferred option, given dinner is fairly late. Try El Xampanyet, which boasts its own homemade cava or Rita Blue for a lively atmosphere.
It’s important to have some fun money, as there’s so much to do in Barcelona. While the architecture and views can be admired with a free walking tour, some attractions have a small cost attached to them. So whether it’s heading to the top of Gaudi’s spectacular church La Sagrada Familia, catching a concert in the musically rich city or enjoying the rides on the antique fairground of Tibidabo, don’t scrimp on the aspects that make Barcelona memorable. £80 is plenty for that and any unspent budget can be offloaded while roaming the La Boqueria market on Las Ramblas.
To give those back home a taster of Barcelona, save a final £20. There are plenty of apt gifts, even if a cost-saving lack of hold baggage means that stocking up on Cava is a no go. Footie fans might appreciate FC Barcelona memorabilia, while art lovers will adore anything Gaudi-related. Meanwhile foodies can pick between Turron (Catalan nougat), paella spices or even chorizo. For an unusual souvenir, why not seek out a Caganer: traditionally a figurine of a man, er, doing his bathroom duties, it is customarily found in Christmas nativity scenes, but has been expanded to be sold all year, with personalities like Tin Tin, Donald Trump and Michael Jackson moulded into this unfortunate position. Certainly a talking point for any mantelpiece.
Wherever you head to this year, whether it’s on a short trip or an extended break, it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.