Budget Travel, Saving Money

Where to Stay in Barcelona on a Budget

Where to Stay in Barcelona

Where to stay in Barcelona? Though it is a somewhat small city, this is still a big question! In this post I cover the expenses during my first month traveling around the world full time.

Backstory: How I Ended Up in Barcelona

At the end of 2018, I spontaneously quit my job to travel. I had no idea how long it would last. Though I did have an inkling that it was going to be for more than the “month or so”, that I was telling my friends and family….  It’s now been a  year and a half. Whoops.

Long story short, I decided on Barcelona because it was the cheapest one-way flight from San Francisco. It cost me just under $300, which I paid for using points from my Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit card.

 If you are interested in hearing all of my juicy travel and personal finance stories, be sure to subscribe!

where to stay in barcelona flight ticket
Here is a screenshot of the cost of my ticket from San Francisco to Barcelona! It was just under $300… and then I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve Sign Up Bonus to pay for it.

Where to Stay in Barcelona by Neighborhood/ Attractions

Before we can settle on where to stay in Barcelona, we have to pick a neighborhood! When I went to Barcelona for three weeks in January of 2019, I was able to visit almost every part of the city. Each of them had their own special flavor.

The best thing about Barcelona is that public transportation is excellent. It is very easy to visit most of the neighborhoods. Even if you are staying on the other side of the city!

Here is a summary of the vibe of my favorite areas and their top attractions.

Le Eixample

Le Eixample contains some of Gaudi’s most famous works. If you are in Barcelona, you must see his Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and Casa Mila. It also has a poppin’ LGBTQ scene which is cutely referred to as Gaixample. Le Eixample is known for its modernist architecture, extravagant houses, and upscale shopping. 

It is also the location of one of the hostels that I stayed at during my trip, the Black Swan Hostel. The hostel is close to the Arc de Triomf and Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella. This is hands down one of the most beautiful parks I’ve been to!

 Barri Gothic

The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is home to the Cathedral, Plaza del Rey, and St. Juame’s square. All of the architecture here is really neat (gargoyles!), but it is very much a touristy area. That means that this location, like much of Barcelona, has pretty high levels of petty theft. 

I took an excellent walking tour of the Gaudi buildings that started in this neighborhood, you can read about it in my Black Swan Barcelona Hostel Review.


If you would like to stay near the beach, then this is the place for you!

There are lots of seaside restaurants and a nice shopping mall at the end of the pier. This is where the port of Barcelona is located and some sort of circus (Circ Historic Raluy).


This neighborhood is on the mountainside and has amazing views of the city. It is a much quieter area and is fairly removed from the main attractions. This would be great for when you get tired of the crowds and want to get a bit of exercise walking around. It is located pretty close to another hostel that I stayed at, Harmony Hostel.

Where to Stay in Barcelona by Accommodation Type

The best way to save money when visiting Barcelona is by traveling during the offseason! I heard from a college friend that she was shocked about how cheap Europe was during the winter. And now I can confirm that it is a fact.

Budget Hack: Travel in the offseason

When I looked at hostel rates just a few months later during the summertime, prices were at $25+ per night! So you can save at least 50% by visiting Europe in the summer. You also have the luxury of changing hostels on a whim because you don’t have to worry about securing a room, just book the day of!

I spent most of my time at Harmony Hostel and the Black Swan Hostel because I loved their proximity to public transportation. Not only are hostels super cheap, but they are also a great way to meet people and be close to the action.  But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t take a look at Airbnbs and hotels just in case I felt fancy!

Where to Stay in Barcelona: Hostels

During January, most of the hostels in Barcelona were only $10- $12 a night. And the dorm wasn’t even full! On a monthly basis, that comes out to around $300-$360. That is half the amount I was used to paying for my closet-sized apartment in the Bay Area!

The best part? A lot of these hostels had kitchens so that you could cook your own meals and some would offer free/cheap breakfasts. I was living in luxury since my last place had no kitchen and a communal hallway bathroom!

Total Hostel Cost: $300-$360 per month (in winter)

Where to Stay in Barcelona: Airbnbs

Before I got to Barcelona, I was planning on staying in an Airbnb. It was my first time solo-traveling abroad because during my first trip abroad I stayed with my cousin in Paris. The thought of a hostel was still very new and overwhelming to me.

For my first nights in a new country, I didn’t want to have to share a room with strangers! So I booked an Airbnb and figured I would either extend or switch to a hostel after I got used to my new surroundings.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out right before I was meant to arrive. I had to scramble for something new last minute! Luckily for you, that means I have a pretty solid estimate of what an Airbnb might cost since I tried booking one!

The rate for a very standard, boring, private room in a shared apartment came out to about $120 a week. You could easily get a cheaper rate by booking for a month or by being further away from the center of town.

Total Airbnb Estimate: $20 a night; $480 a month (winter)

Where to Stay in Barcelona: Hotels

This is another one that varies wildly based on location and how luxurious you are feeling. From what I recall, a standard room in a hotel could run you between $50-100 per night.

I was always lurking on the Hotel Tonight App to find a good deal, but it’s hard to find something you’d consider a bargain when your hostel is only $12! That being said, Hotel Tonight is great for travelers that prefer hotels because they offer discounted rates by helping hotels book their empty rooms last minute.

You get to see the best deals by being close by and can score some crazy good deals. I’ve used this app a couple of times before in Los Angeles, and the quality of the rooms are a little hit and miss. But the quality of the deal is always on point for the location!

Total Hotel Estimate: $1,500-$3,000 per month (winter); $50-$100 pernight

Useful Budget Tools for Planning Where to Stay in Barcelona.

Here are some of the tools that I used to help me get an idea of what my budget would be like based on my own spending preferences.

Cost of Living Estimates

With any cost of the living estimator, always keep in mind that it is just a guess based off of user aggregated data. I like to look at the estimates from multiple different sites to get a better idea of the true range of costs for a certain location.

Based on your spending habits, your budget may end up being way less or way more than these calculators might lead you to believe. I also recommend looking up a city that you are familiar with to see how accurate the data might be on each site before you look at new destinations.

Nomadlist: This site is simply fantastic because you can find places to visit based on very specific criteria that goes beyond the cost of living. Very few sites put together information on safety for women, LGBTQ+, and children, which is why I appreciate Nomadlist.

Numbeo: I like this site because it breaks down costs into universal examples by showing rates for common goods (McDonald’s meal, pair of jeans, milk, etc.). It will also breaks down the cost of living by comparing cities to each other with percentages.

MyLifeElsewhere: Allows you to compare your current city to the costs of a different location. This site also compares the size and quality of life for different cities, states, and countries.

Thanks for reading my article about where to stay in Barcelona! I hope you found this guide useful for planning your next trip to Spain. If you would like to see more tips like this one, be sure to subscribe.

Kathryn Rucker is a sales consultant and content writer. With 7+ years of sales experience, she is passionate about helping businesses and individuals grow their sales pipelines by improving their online presence.

She has been traveling full-time since 2018 thanks to the location and financial independence she has gained from her business, Kat Rucker Consulting Group. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Kathryn Rucker is a sales consultant and content writer. With 7+ years of sales experience, she is passionate about helping businesses and individuals grow their sales pipelines by improving their online presence.

She has been traveling full-time since 2018 thanks to the location and financial independence she has gained from her business, Kat Rucker Consulting Group. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Disclosures and Disclaimers: The above references an opinion and is for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be investment or insurance advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for your financial planning. Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are ads/affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission (thanks!). Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Tagged ,

2 thoughts on “Where to Stay in Barcelona on a Budget

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.