In our Go Local Guides, we’ve teamed up with local insiders from popular travel destinations; giving you their money-saving tips on how to get a taste of the places they call home, without breaking the bank.
Travel blogger Vicki Collier gives us her insider tips on escaping the tourist crowds and saving money in the city she calls home.
With its stunning architecture, vibrant food scene and unique Catalonian culture, it’s little wonder that Barcelona is one of the most visited cities on the planet.
The spectacular coastal setting of Barcelona doesn’t cost much to enjoy- and it’s possible to get some salty air in relative quiet. Hire stand-up paddleboards from the super friendly people at Manihi Surf when the tourists crowds have started to thin out. €15.00/£14.15 hour (discounts for all-day or multi-day rentals). Swimming at Club (CNAB) is another way to cool off and avoid tourists (entry €10.00/£9.42 for the day). If the heat and the hordes in the city do become unbearable, do what the locals do and escape on a 20-minute train south to Platja del Garraf beach. It is gorgeous, friendly, relatively tourist-free and the train costs only €5 (£4.72).
It doesn’t have to cost the earth to go to see FC Barcelona – and the famous Camp Nou stadium that is their home. It’s also surprisingly easy to get tickets, starting at around €44 (£41.50). Equally exciting are the women’s team matches – tickets come at a discount (from €3/£2.83) and can be less crowded than the La Liga fixtures. The Camp Nou Tour is a must-do for any football aficionado – buy your tickets online (€35/£33.01) to avoid queues.
Every Barcelona ‘barrio’ has its own market where you can find loaves of fresh bread for as little as €1.50 (£1.41) and cured meats and cheeses. Expect to pay no more than €5 per head (£4.72) for a great day’s provisions. A quiet local favourite is Mercat de La Concepción. Its Eiffel-built steel halls are lined with the best veg, fish and bread the city has to offer. The nearby Bakery Baluard on Calle Baluard is exceptional, with loaves baked in a wood fired oven ranging from €2-7 (£1.89- £6.60).
If riding a concrete wave is your passion then you’ll know that Barcelona is the undisputed capital of European skateboarding. Grab the best coffee in Barcelona from Bar Central (€2.40/£2.26) and spend some time relaxing out the front of the MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona), watching the world’s top skaters surf their turf. On the last Sunday of every month the museum itself is free to enter, as are most of the city’s museums. There are world-class skate spots all over the city, and the local’s relaxed attitude to skating is really refreshing and typical of what makes this place so special. For €14 (£13.20) an hour you can even get a bespoke tour with a local skateboarder!
If you’re feeling energetic, one of my favourite things to do is to hike up the winding hill of Montjuïc to the castle. The walk is quite steep, but you’ll enjoy the most stunning views of the sea and the city – and it doesn’t cost a penny.
Cava and tapas are weaved into the collective psyche of Barcelona and no celebration is complete without them. But you need to get away from the real tourist traps to get the good stuff for the right prices. The more locals in a bar, the better value it usually is. La Vinya del Senyor is a local gem (€3/£2.83 a glass, where in mainstream tourist spots you can pay as much as €8/£7.55). The setting in barrio La Ribera is beautiful - and it’s one of the oldest wine bars in the city. El Vaso Del Oro is another favourite down in the portside barrio of Barceloneta. The wine and tapas are great value. Expect to pay between €3-5 per plate (£2.83- £4.72). But it’s also for the great selection of local and craft beers in this traditional cervecerîa - good value at between €2 (£1.89) for a local lager and no more than €7 (£6.60) for a crafty import. Many lost nights there testify to the Port-side authenticity that exists away from the tourist throng.
Rooftop visit to Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar
Estrella rules the city with its lager
Restaurants and Bars
€1.20 (£1.13) for “una caña”.
Pan con Tomate/Tomaquet, Aioli, Tortilla de Patates
Typically around €5.00 (£4.72)
T-10 travel card (10 trips on the metro)
Zone 1 Metro
Restaurants and Bars
It is not mandatory or expected to tip but appreciated at your discretion
Our insider city guides - packed with tips from locals in the know.