Barcelona on a budget
Travel February 28, 2020

48 hours in Barcelona (on a budget)

Balmy weather, cobblestone alleys, a few sangrias and a whole lot of tapas. If you’ve got Spain on your Europe agenda be sure to include its cosmopolitan capital, Barcelona. We know Spain’s got a whole lot to offer – so we’ve wrapped up the best of Barcelona to be done in 48 hours. 

Where to stay 

Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is the classic tourist destination, and with good reason. The intricate medieval streets are full of history and dotted with charming bars and artisan shops. But the location generally comes with an inflated tourist price tag so it’s worth checking out nearby spots. Nearby Gràcia area is the perfect alternative for somewhere a little hipster with a slower pace, a village feel and a modern spin on Spanish food. If you’re ready to get amongst the buzz of the Gothic Quarter it’s just a 30 minute walk or 3 minute train. 

How to get around

A lot of Barcelona can be enjoyed on foot, but public transport is a breeze when you need it. A Hola Barcelona Travel Card is a great cost-cutting option, giving you unlimited travel on the metro and buses, and the suburban trains network, including the airport. Opt for 48, 72, 96 or 120 hours.

What to do


A trip to Barcelona isn’t complete without some Gaudi. Save money (and time) and experience the world famous quirky architecture from the outside. Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell are perfect to enjoy in the sunshine and fresh air.

Museums (on a Sunday)

Every Sunday afternoon most state owned museums are free (and all day on the first Sunday of each month). Including the City History Museum, Natural History Museum, Historical Botanical Garden, Contemporary Cultural Centre and Catalan National Art Museum. Picasso Museum (which is also free Thursdays 6-9.30pm) and Palau Güell by Gaudi are free on the first Sunday of each month (but you need to pre-book your free ticket online in advance). Contemporary Art Museum is free Saturdays 4-8pm) 
If your Barcelona trip doesn’t fall on a Sunday, La Virreina Palace (exhibiting contemporary art) and Santa Monica Arts Centre are always free, and located amongst the action on La Rambla. 

Free walking tour

They say nothing is life is free. And they’re kind of right, since tips are given at the end. But walking tours run by locals are a great way to find your bearings and learn the meaning behind all those picturesque locations.

What to eat and drink

Markets and picnics

Visit Mercado de La Boqueria for insta-worthy stalls, fresh produce and tasty snacks. If you prefer a more local experience minus the tourist selfies, try Mercat de Santa Caterina or Mercat de Sant Antoni. Take your market finds to one of Barcelona’s impressive parks for a picnic: Ciutadella, Cervantes, and Palau Reial.

Menu del dia 

Delicious food in Barcelona is easy to find – just avoid La Rambla restaurants where you’ll find inflated prices and less than impressive food. Keep an eye out for menu del dia options for lunch to enjoy a top-notch restaurant meal for the price of a McChicken combo. Available from 1.30pm on weekdays, find the restaurant filling up with locals by 2pm. The three course options will usually be scribbled on a blackboard sign outside, by a chef rushing to the kitchen after an early morning stint at the markets. 


Despite Sangria being quintessentially Spanish, it’s a drink most popular in Southern Spain. Cava is Spanish sparkling wine and the drink of choice in Barcelona. Since Spain is one of the biggest wine-producing countries in the world it’s delicious (and cheap). Find a charming bodega to fill up a jug of cava for pocket change.

Ready to book? Zealy it! With super easy, super fast personal loans you’ll be saying ‘Hola Barcelona’ before you know it.