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Study Abroad Blog

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Savvy Spending in Barcelona: How to Experience A Lot While Spending A Little

When studying abroad in Barcelona, it is almost impossible not to fall in love with the land of endless sunshine and adventure.  With its incredible food scene, close proximity to the beach, vibrant culture and nightlife, it is very easy to get swept up in the excitement.  For those of us traveling on a college budget, these expenses can quickly pile up.  Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the thriving atmosphere of Barcelona without breaking the bank!

Take advantage of Barcelona’s beautiful outdoor spaces

There are a number of parks, beaches and landmarks that are free to enjoy and feature some of the most exquisite views of the city.  Parc de la Ciutadella is the perfect green escape for leisurely walks and afternoon picnics to wind down after a hectic day.  Grab some bocadillos from the nearest café, round up your friends and sit in the grass for a good time.  If you’re in search of some peace and quiet, explore the gardens of Montjuïc to get killer views of the city without spending a dime.  On sunny days in Barcelona--and there are plenty--head down to the beach for a dip in the ocean!

Soak up the Museum Culture

Barcelona is home to some of the best museums in the world, and a majority of them offer FREE admission on the first Sunday of every month!  See Pablo Picasso’s eclectic work at the Museu Picasso in the lively quarter of el Born, or get your dose of contemporary art at the MACBA in the creative El Raval neighborhood.

Put on your Walking Shoes

If you want to save money on transportation, walk!  Fortunately, Barcelona is such a beautiful city that it is best explored on foot.  Everything is well-connected, and walking allows you to see so much more of the city than if you opt for the underground metro. You never know what cool buildings and unforgettable sights you might run into along the way.  I found so many of my favorite restaurants, hidden squares, and colorful street art when I wandered through the narrow streets of each barrio.  Plus, the weather is almost always beautiful, so it’s nice to grab some fresh air!  If you still want to take the metro, I would recommend purchasing the T-10 pass.

Celebrate like a Local

One of the perks of Barcelona is the constant buzzing energy and liveliness of the city.  That means there is ALWAYS something to celebrate here.  There are so many public events going on in the city throughout the year, and so many of them are free!  One of my favorites was La Mercè, one of the largest street festivals held in Barcelona at the end of September every year.  The entire city transforms into a blow out celebration featuring free concerts, light show displays, and even the famous Castellers!

Stay in the Know

Discover the secret activities and hidden events of Barcelona with this helpful website that provides an endless list of free things to do within the city.  From movie screenings to concerts, this site has something for everyone.

Sierra N. is a CEA Alumni Ambassador.  She studied abroad in Barcelona in the Fall of 2016 and is currently a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

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