Romantic Barcelona on a budget

Romantic Barcelona on a budget

Barcelona is an amazing place to be whether you have a little or a lot to spend, but for those cash-strapped couples here’s our best of Barcelona on a budget

1. Picnic at the Magic Fountains

The mesmerising Magic Fountains in Montjuïc Park are one of Barcelona's best tourists spots - what's more, they're completely free. Set to a soundtrack of classical and modern music, the fountains 'dance' in time, swelling, rising and plunging dramatically, spraying those who get a little too close. The powerful jets are also illuminated with changing colours that stand out magnificently against the night sky. There's limited seating near the fountains, but there is a small grassy area which makes the perfect spot for an evening picnic - just make sure you get there early to stake your place!

But before you head to the park, you need to load your bags up with some Spanish treats. La Boqueria market, just off Barcelona's main street La Rambla, is a feast for all the senses. One of Europe's largest food markets, it's easy to get lost as you wind your way past overflowing fruit and veg stalls, vendors selling traditional cured meats as well exotic and speciality foods. There are almost 1,000 stalls here, so you're sure to find something that takes your fancy. Grab some bread, Manchego cheese and somejamón ibérico for a rustic spread.

Need to know: During the autumn and winter the fountains are open Friday and Saturday, from 7pm to 9pm. In spring and summer they run Thursday to Sunday, from 9pm to 11.30pm.

2. Tour the Gothic Quarter

Bursting with history, the Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter is crammed with Barcelona's oldest architecture. A labyrinth of interconnecting, winding streets, it's easy to spend at least half a day here taking in the sights. Lose yourself down narrow alleyways as you stroll past the medieval Plaça del Rei (Royal Palace), the Palatine chapel of Santa Agata, the Cathedral, Temple d'August and other remnants of ancient Barcelona.There are also plenty of pretty squares to wander across and more ice-cream shops than your belly can cope with!

Need to know: Avoid the restaurants that are adjacent to the main sights - they are invariably expensive and not particularly good quality.

3. Hit the museums

Culture and history go hand-in-hand in Barcelona and this is proudly displayed throughout the city's many museums. Those in the know can wangle themselves free entry - simply coincide your visit with one of their on-the-house admission days and you won't have to pay a cent. The Museu Picasso and the excavated Roman ruins at Museu d'Història de Barcelona are both free on Sundays after 3pm. While The Museu Picasso, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, CaixaForum and Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona are also free the entire day on the first Sunday of each month.

4. Walk the sights

Although public transport in Barcelona is relatively inexpensive (€2 for a one-way journey) the majority of its main sights are within walking distance of each other. Start your day early in the northern part of the city at the fantastically colourful and intricately designed Park Güell. The masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi, the park is testament to his vivid imagination - explore mosaic-covered dragons, cavernous spaces and a hypostyle hall, with an impressive 86 columns.

From there make your way south to the infamous Sagrada Familia, another work of wonder by Gaudi. Construction on the Basilica began in 1882 and is, unbelievably, still ongoing. This 131-year labour of love is only expected to be finished in another 30 to 80 years. There is an entrance fee to go inside the building itself, but luckily for budget-conscious travellers, the Sagrada Familia is best viewed from the outside where its dramatic spires and impressive carvings pierce the sky.

Next, take a short walk to Barcelona's most central park, the Parc de la Ciutadella. The 74-acre park contains a zoo, lake, fountain and several museums, and paints a natural floral tapestry. While away an afternoon here, enjoying the impressive Cascada in the northern corner of the park - a waterfall and fountain loosely based on Rome's Trevi Fountain - then hire a rowing boat on the lake for just €6 per couple.

5. Catch a gallery opening

Pick up a few local papers and keep an eye out for exhibition openings in the city centre - an excellent way to hang out with Barcelona's arty set and enjoy a tipple or two for free. Gallery openings almost always offer free beer or wine and occasionally some simple snacks (hello free dinner!). A few of the smaller galleries in the Bohemian areas of Raval and Born regularly host openings; usually on Thursday or Friday evenings.

 

 

 

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