I tried to save on a city break in Spain – the results

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The price of a European city break can quickly soar once you’ve paid to explore attractions or eat a nice restaurant. I wanted to see if I could save money on attractions and food on a city break in Barcelona, Spain, by using some classic travel hacks.

Eat out at lunch

A meal out in a touristy city like Barcelona could burn through your holiday budget in a flash. Experts recommend eating out at lunch to save money.

Many Spanish restaurants have a ‘menu del dia’ which is a set lunch menu served during the day for a cheaper price than in the evening.

For example, La Palmera, a family restaurant in the heart of the city, serves a six course tasting menu with additional desserts and a drink for just 29 euros (£25) from Tuesday to Friday at noon.

In the evening at the same restaurant, tourists can expect to pay around 14 euros (£12.41) for a starter and 19 euros (£16.84) for a main.

It’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for good ‘menu del dia’ deals as this can be a great way to save on your eating out budget.

Many Spanish restaurants don’t have a website, or might not advertise the lunch deal on it, so you might have to keep your eyes peeled as you explore.

Buy tickets online

One of Barcelona’s top attractions is Casa Batilo, one of Gaudi’s incredible architectural masterpieces.

I found that I could save money by booking a ticket online as well as ensuring I got entry to the popular attraction.

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The attraction’s information page states: “Buying tickets at our ticket offices is more expensive due to handling fees. The cheapest option is to purchase tickets via our website.”

If you book your tickets online, you’re also guaranteed entry to Casa Batilo on the day and time you want to visit.

Even if the attraction doesn’t offer a discount for online buyers, you might be able to skip the queue, saving valuable holiday time.

If you are purchasing tickets online, try to use a currency card if the transaction is in euros, so you don’t end up with any unwanted charges.

City passes

Tom Thoms, founder of Mallorca Info, told Express.co.uk: “For saving on days out, consider purchasing a city pass or tourist card. These cards offer discounts on attractions and public transportation, and some even include free admission to top sights.”

Like many European cities, Barcelona has a city pass option for tourists looking to visit a lot of its attractions.

The Barcelona Card costs from 47.70 euros (£42.25) and includes free travel on public transport and free admission to many of Barcelona’s museums including the Picasso Museum and the Music Museum. Holders can also get discounts on other attractions including Casa Batilo.

To work out if the city pass is a good deal for you, you’ll need to think about what you’re planning to visit. If you want to explore as many of the city’s museums as possible, the Barcelona Card could definitely save you money. This is also true if you plan to take public transport around the city.

If you like to walk everywhere and only want to see a couple of attractions, it might not be the best choice. It’s a good idea to weigh up the cost difference and if you decide to go for it, you can also save 10 percent online on the Barcelona Card.

Free deals

Tom added: “Look for free or low-cost activities such as parks, museums, and local events to help stretch your travel budget.”

Barcelona has plenty of free attractions to explore, from churches to the beautiful Ciutadella Park.

However, tourists can also visit some paying museums without charge if they visit on a Sunday. I found I could visit the Picasso Museum for free on Thursday afternoons from 4-7pm or on the first Sunday of every month. The city also offers deals for students, senior citizens and children.

There are definitely plenty of ways to save money on a city break but it does take a bit of pre-planning. If you’re willing to spend a bit of time browsing, you can definitely save money with a city pass, buying tickets online and eating out at lunch.

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