A city in Spain known for stunning architecture and delicious tapas, Barcelona is a semi-affordable city for Europe that can be visited with a budget of $80 to $140 a day.
My 4-day trip to Barcelona, Spain cost a total of $721. Here, I share my Barcelona travel expenses, cost per day and budgeting tips. I also outline where and how much cash is needed in Barcelona.
- Is Barcelona Expensive To Travel To?
- About My Barcelona Trip
- Total Cost for a Barcelona Trip: $721
- Cost Breakdown for Barcelona
- Do You Need Cash in Barcelona?
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Is Barcelona Expensive To Travel To?
💰 Barcelona is an expensive city for Spain, but semi-affordable for Europe. Comparing Spain’s top two destinations, Barcelona is on average more expensive than Madrid, the capital, and is a bigger tourist destination. You can expect to spend approximately $150 per day in Barcelona and $120 per day in Madrid for a mid-range budget traveler. Barcelona is still on average cheaper than European cities like London, Paris, Venice and Edinburgh.
🎒 A budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $80 per day or $560 for one week of travel in Barcelona, not including flights. To travel on a budget in Barcelona, you can:
- Stay at a hostel for $25 a night
- Eat and get groceries at the Barcelona’s markets (e.g., you can get $1-$2 fruits at Mercado de La Boqueria, which is cash-only)
- Ride Barcelona’s extensive metro transportation and consider getting the Hola Barcelona Travel Card which gives you unlimited public transport rides for 2-5 days
- Take free walking tours around Barcelona; a few tour companies offer these
💳 A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $150 per day or $560 for a 4-day trip in Barcelona, not including flights.
About My Barcelona Trip
To give context to the expenses below, here’s what you need to know about my trip to Barcelona:
🗓️ 4 days. Most people recommend spending 3 days in Barcelona. I spent 4 days there, which gave me enough time to see some of the top attractions, do a day hike and have some downtime.
☀️ High season. The most popular and crowded time to visit Barcelona is during the summer from May to September. I visited in May, so I went during the start of the peak season.
✌️ Solo traveling. Unlike most of my other trips, I traveled to Barcelona solo, so I wasn’t able to split accommodation, transportation or food costs with anyone.
💰 Mid-range budget. I don’t aim to travel on a budget, but I’m thoughtful about how and where I spend. I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler and these expenses reflect that.
⏰ Last minute. I booked my trip at the last minute (1 to 1.5 weeks in advance) while traveling in Europe, so my accommodation and flight expenses are higher than normal.
Total Cost for a Barcelona Trip: $721
I spent $721 in Barcelona during my 4-day trip.
All costs listed in this post are per person and in USD, converted from the Euro ($1 USD equaled €0.92 at the time of writing).
USD is not widely accepted in Spain, so you will have to pay in Euros. Some big hotel and merchants may accept USD.
Cost Breakdown for Barcelona
Here are my Barcelona travel expenses by category:
|Cost||% of Total Cost||Cost Per Day|
|⭐ Entertainment & Shopping||$85||12%||$21|
Cost per Day in Barcelona: $155
If I include my flight costs, my Barcelona trip came out to $180 per day.
A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $150 per day in Barcelona. This is generally someone who is not staying in hostels or luxury hotels, eating at $ to $$ restaurants and paying for experiences even if they’re pricey (but not booking private tours).
Flight Costs to Barcelona: $100
My last-minute flight (booked 1.5 weeks in advance) from Rome, Italy to Barcelona was $100.
Flights between the EU nations are relatively inexpensive (<$100). A one-way flight from Italy to Spain can range from $20-$100, so I booked a plane ticket that’s on the higher end. You can expect to pay an average of $500 for a flight from the east coast of the US to Spain.
Accommodation Cost in Barcelona: $215
Average cost of accommodation in Barcelona: $54/night
Here are some of my accommodation details that may have impacted the cost:
- Booked on Airbnb where I had a private room with a lock and shared a bathroom with 4+ other visitors, including the hosts.
- Traveled during peak season and booked at the last minute (1 week in advance), so it was difficult to find any mid-range accommodations for less than $100.
- Stayed in the popular and happening Gothic Quarter area, which also made the price higher. I would have paid less had I been willing to stay in a less central area.
The cost of accommodation in Barcelona will vary between the low and high seasons, but on average, you can expect to pay ~$70 for a mid-range accommodation.
Food Cost in Barcelona: $261
- Average cost of food in Barcelona: $65/day
- Least expensive meal: $13 lunch at Agüelo013 tapas restaurant
- Most expensive meal: $65 dinner at Capet, a Michelin Guide restaurant
- Unique cocktail bar: $17 at Dr Stravinsky
You can expect to spend ~$50 per day on meals if you’re not eating on a tight budget or at high-end restaurants in Barcelona. Compared to cities in the US, Barcelona has a lot of Michelin-star restaurants that are more affordable on average.
It’s very common and popular to eat tapas, traditional small plate specialties, in Barcelona. Vinitus is one of my favorite tapas restaurants and I spent on average $30 per meal there. The portions are on the larger side and I prioritized trying different tapas, so my cost would have been closer to ~$20 per meal had I been traveling with someone else.
Transportation Cost in Barcelona: $60
- My average cost of transportation in Barcelona: $15/day
- The average cost of a Barcelona metro ride: $2.60
- Round-trip metro tickets to Montserrat, including round-trip cable car ride: $35
Barcelona has an extensive metro system that you should take advantage of. A single ride costs $2.60 (or €2.40) and a T-Casual Card, which covers ten rides, costs $12.25 (or €11.35) or ~$1.23 per ride.
Riding the metro is significantly cheaper than calling an Uber or taxi. For example, a metro ride to the Barcelona Airport costs $5 while an Uber ride costs ~$30.
Activities and Tours Costs in Barcelona: $85
Average cost of activities in Barcelona: $21/day
|La Sagrada Familia entrance ticket||$28|
|Walking tour of Gothic Quarter||$15|
|Casa Batlló entrance ticket||$31|
La Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s #1 attraction, so if you visit during the high season (May to September), make sure to book tickets more than a week in advance and expect long lines. You can pay for a tour to skip the line.
This Barcelona travel guide outlines an active 4-day itinerary that incorporates a day hike.
Do You Need Cash in Barcelona?
Yes, bring a small amount of cash to Barcelona. Barcelona has a good credit card infrastructure, but you’ll need cash for small purchases.
Here are some tips on using cash and credit cards in Barcelona:
- Tip #1: You need to exchange USD for Euros. USD is not widely accepted in Spain, so you will have to pay in Euros. Some big hotel and merchants may accept USD.
- Tip #2: Tipping is not expected in Barcelona, but appreciated. You should only tip for great service and even then, it’s not obligatory. Many restaurants take credit cards and you can add the tip to the bill by asking the waiter/waitress.
- Tip #3: Very few places are cash-only, so carrying ~$20 worth of cash is sufficient. During my 4-day trip in Barcelona, the only places where I had to use cash were at:
- Markets (e.g., the popular Mercado de La Boqueria is cash-only)
- Small cafes where the purchases had a credit card minimum (e.g., coffee)
- Tour guide tips
If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
More Barcelona Travel Guides