Wander Or Bust: Barcelona, Spain
Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown.
They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, and where they took that amazing Instagram that got them ~maximum exposure.~ The internet is full of travel advice, but none from women just like you. Read on for the tips no one else gives you, and when in doubt, get on the plane.
Here's Tanya Ghahremani's Wander Or Bust guide to Barcelona.
My Name: Tanya Ghahremani
What I Do: Associate Lifestyle Editor, Bustle
Where I Live: Manhattan, New York
Where I Went: Barcelona, Spain (as part of a larger two-week trip around Europe).
How Long I Stayed: 5 days, 4 nights
My Spending Style: Occasionally indulgent. I don't throw money around, but I will definitely splurge on more than a few expensive things on a vacation.
Where I Got My Recommendations:
Friends, online — none of us had been to Barcelona before, so we were really intent on figuring out what exactly it was we wanted to see there for sure.
Exchange Rate At Time Of Travel: $1 USD = €.84 EUR
What That Looks Like IRL: $50 USD = €41.96 EUR
Preferred Payment Method: Cash and credit.
We each had about €200 in cash, but we had taken that out specifically so we would be able to pay for activities we had signed up for that only accepted cash: a paella-making class and taxes for our AirBnB. For food and other activities, we used our debit cards.
Phone Bill: For Barcelona, I paid $40 total for use of phone and data during the four days I was there.
Mode of Transport: Airplane and car.
My two friends and I were in Paris prior to Barcelona, so we actually rented a car in Paris and drove south through the French countryside. We dropped the car off at a French town near the Spanish border, Perpignan, and then took a two-hour bus to Barcelona.
It cost more than we thought it would! On top of the $650 flight, the car cost about $70 per person. We didn’t realize that gas would be as expensive as it was. We spent about $60 each on gas. Our bus ticket from Perpignan to Barcelona was around $20.
Extra Costs: No, we walked from the bus station to our AirBnB.
Transport Total: $800
We were in an Airbnb in the neighborhood of Barcelona. I absolutely loved the area — we were across the street from the cutest restaurant where I had the best glass of sangria of my life, and we were a short walk from La Sagrada Familia. It was so quaint and central to everything.
Location: City center, which was important to us as first-time visitors.
Price: $80/night — I was traveling with two friends, so that kept costs down. Plus, the AirBnB was a two-bedroom, so there was a lot of space for us.
Extra Costs: Most AirBnBs require you to pay taxes upon arrival in cash, and in our case, we had to pay a $12 charge each for a 10 p.m. check-in (aka, a late check-in).
Would I Recommend It To Someone Else:
Absolutely. The flat was beautiful, and the neighborhood was both safe and lively. It’s worth keeping in mind that our flat was on the third floor of the building — and there’s no elevator — but, being from New York where walk-ups are common, none of us minded.
Accommodation Total: $300 for the four days we were there.
Breakfast-Lunch Cost: $12/day
Barcelona was actually quite cheap! We probably paid 10€ ($11.92 USD) each for breakfast and lunch together.
Dinner Cost: $30/day
Again, not much! Generally around $30. We went out to one “nicer” dinner during our stay, so that brings the average total up, but it was still probably around $48 each.
Average Total Cost: $42
Tip Situation: Tipping isn’t as common in Spain, but we still made sure to leave at least 5 to 10 percent for our servers. You just have to be sure to ask them to add the amount to your card whenever you’re paying your bill unless you have cash, because there’s no spot on your receipt to write in a tip.
Barcelona is interesting when it comes to food. People commonly eat brunch later in the day, and then after a midday nap, they often eat dinner as late as 10 p.m. before going out to a bar or lounge around 1 a.m. Coming from the U.S., this was a bit of an adjustment for us, but we ended up enjoying it. I think the biggest hurdle we ran into was many places closing for about three hours in the middle of the day for lunch, and the lack of late-night food delivery options.
Favorite Restaurant: Brunch & Cake
Without a doubt, it was this amazing brunch restaurant we went to (as the name suggests) — there was an hour-long queue outside, but it was worth it. We ordered so much food, but it was so worth it.
Location: C/Enric Granados, 19 Barcelona
There was one dish that had guacamole in a syringe that you could push out onto your food! That alone is amazing!
Food Total: $180
People love to go out in Barcelona, but they go out late. We’re not as accustomed to this, so it was strange to go to a bar at 11 p.m. and not see anyone else in there — I kid you not, at one point, we went to a bar that was empty until 1 a.m. on the dot. People really shift their days later and they stick to it. That said, there’s a certain charm to it; the one night we did go out late, we went to a club on the beach called Opium, and it was a fun experience. I’m not normally a clubber, so it was a different thing for me, but I had a good time.
What People Wear Out:
People dress pretty casual — Barcelona is very much a seaside town, and that’s reflected in people’s outfits. Think loose-fitting, effortless dresses and tops.
Average Cost Of A Pint: $2-$3
I don’t drink beer, so I stuck to red wine — but that was incredibly cheap. It was about $2.50 a glass, sometimes less.
The bar/restaurant across the street from our AirBnB was lovely — a pitcher of Sangria was 7€ (under $8.50) total and they gave us free shots to celebrate our arrival in Barcelona!
Extra Cost To Know About: It’s not different than other places — just consider extra money you might need for a cab or Uber home.
Last Call: Around 5 a.m., but it’s not uncommon for people to start heading home around 7 a.m. As for us, during our one late night, we left the club at about 3 a.m.
Average Total Cost Of A Night Out: $25 between drinks and cabs.
Cheapest Bar I'd Actually Go Back To: Pippermint
We went to one bar called Pippermint that had massive drinks meant for sharing — we got one mixed drink that was about a liter in size to share between the three of us, and for the glass as big as my entire head, we each paid about $9.50.
Going Out Total: $60 — it was pretty cheap to go out!
What I Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Worth It:
The paella-making class we took cost $46, and it was well worth it. It’s run by this retired teacher from Barcelona named Marta out of her flat in Eixample, and it’s literally three hours of learning how to make paella and then eating said paella. She was so sweet, and I really did learn a lot! Apart from the 20 minutes or so one of my friends and I got stuck in the tiny elevator in her building (and apart from when we had to literally crawl out of the elevator because it was stuck between floors), it was the best experience of the trip.
What I Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Not Worth It:
I’m glad we bought tickets to La Sagrada Familia to go inside, but I don’t think it was anything spectacular. I probably don’t need to go back, if I ever visit Barcelona again.
What I Spent Little Or No Money On That Was Awesome:
I bought a small tin of Spanish paprika, which is integral to most Spanish recipes, to use when I cook at home. It’s delicious, and considering it was a recommendation from the woman who taught the paella-making class that my friends and I took, it’s meaningful, too.
Favorite Thing I Did, Regardless Of Cost:
We also did the standard tourist trip to Park Güell — which was beautiful!
Hidden Gem I Found:
The small side-streets around the Gothic Quarter felt like massive hidden gems — everywhere you turned looked like a postcard!
The Photo I Took That Got The Most Attention:
It was actually a selfie I took on our first day in Barcelona while we were exploring the neighborhood around our AirBnB! I really liked the lighting that day, so I just took it for myself, but ended up posting it the next day. Maybe it’s because you can really see how happy I am in the photo, and how much I loved Barcelona.
Excursions/Extras Total: About $120 between the above activities and other misc. tourist fees. Well worth it!
General Shopping: About $60!
I didn’t shop much, but I did get a couple of items of clothing for myself.
I brought back a bag of Cheetos that are shaped like little ghosts, because they’re Cheetos shaped like little ghosts. America, why is this not available here?!
Souvenirs/Shopping Total: $60
Best Barcelona Hack:
Walk everywhere, if you can. We didn’t take the metro once, because the entire city is so walkable, and the weather is perfect for just being outside. Enjoy the city, and explore as much of it as possible.
Advice For Anyone Traveling Alone:
Barcelona is an extremely friendly city, so don’t be afraid to meet people and go out on your own. Be safe, and have fun!
Total Trip Cost: $1,520
Worth It? More than worth it. I’d go back in a heartbeat.