It took me two trips to realise that Barcelona is so much more than the beach and Sagrada Familia.
Deep down the city is a collection of neighbourhoods in which a mixture of international communities give spice and life to an already electric atmosphere as created by the many Catalan’s that live there.
Of all the reasons to visit, meeting the locals in Barcelona is top of my list and every time I visit from now on I’ll be looking to find some accommodation that’s within the best neighbourhoods – but how to find cheap accommodation in Barcelona?
Luckily, I think I have it all sussed out.
Below are a number of options that every type of traveller can use to spend their budget in the smartest way possible. With apartments for couples, hotels and hostels for solo travellers, and a number of houses to rent for families; there’s something for everyone.
Try house sitting
By far the cheapest way to stay anywhere is to start house sitting, and in Barcelona it’s becoming more of a popular option for home owners in the city for when they take their holidays through the year.
For the small price of joining a house sitting website like Trusted Housesitters you can apply to watch over the houses or pets of home owners the world over, and live rent-free in their property in return for watching over their home and beloved pets.
It’s an incredible win-win offer.
The home owner wins by getting the added security by having someone in their home whilst they’re on holiday.
You win by being able to stay in a fantastic city like Barcelona, pretty much for free.
I promise that once you start house sitting, you’ll find it hard to stop.
Rent an apartment in Barcelona
It’s easier than ever to find apartments for rent for holidays and extended breaks, both in Barcelona and across the world.
You can either choose to book directly with holiday apartment rental company and have the whole process be as simple as choosing an apartment and paying the deposit, or you can be a little more adventurous and save yourself a little money.
By searching on local Spanish websites such as Loquo, Idealista, and Pisocompartido you’ll should easily find a number of single and multiple room apartments to rent at both by week and by month amounts.
As these websites are usually used by a combination of locals and expats in Barcelona, the process of short-term renting is highly common. Because of that, the process is also quite easy too, so don’t be worried if it takes a few attempts at contacting people or agreeing anything – it’s perfectly normal.
Remember that every minute taken is another Euro saved.
For a longer list of websites take a look at my Slow Travel Guide to Barcelona on other blog.
Stay with a local
The most memorable experiences over my time travelling have been because of the people I’ve met along the way, especially in the case with locals.
In particular, staying with locals can provide you with the most interactive travel guide that you can get your hands on. They’re full of all the best recommendations and travel tips, and they never go out of date and need to be replaced like printed books do!
Staying with a local in Barcelona is easily something you can do, though as with many cities the option of a homestay is slightly reduced.
My top recommendation would be either Couchsurfing, or airbnb.
If you’re not already familiar with Couchsurfing then allow me to explain:
Couchsurfing is a website that connects locals from around the world by offering the free exchange of a bed to crash on whilst travelling in another persons home town.
For example: I’m travelling and I search the website for hosts in Barcelona who are vegan. I scroll through the list and find someone who I think would be great to learn from, or to hang out with, and I send them a request. They accept it, and I get to stay on their sofa or spare bed for the duration of my stay.
It’s a free service and there’s no obligation that if you stay on someone’s sofa, that they must stay on yours in return. Each host gets to decide who and when they allow "surfers" to say.
It’s one of the original templates from which the "Sharing Economy" was born.
Top Tip: Barcelona is an incredibly popular city, so finding a host in the centre can be tricky. Instead, search for host a little further out and take public transport into town. You’ll be much luckier finding a host, yet will have a better experience than in a hostel.
One website that did exceptionally well from the "Sharing Economy" movement was airbnb, an apartment sharing and holiday home rental site that’s unlike all the others.
The reason why it’s so different is that it borrows the idea of locals sharing their apartments with strangers, but with a financially security involved.
airbnb hosts either rent you their spare room or entire apartment for the duration of your stay, much like an older fashioned bed & breakfast, but for a fraction of the cost.
The number of cheap apartments to rent in Barcelona on the site is incredible and the prices are typically around two thirds the price of renting either a private apartment or standard hotel room.
If you love the sound of Couchsurfing, but you want to try something a little more mature, be sure to check it out.
Find a cheap hostel in Barcelona
Much like every other major European city, cheap hostels are widespread in Barcelona.
Every neighbourhood has a budget hostel to choose from, and even with the increased number of luxury hostels in the city, you can still find accommodation that’s affordable.
I’ve asked a number of my travelling friends for their chap hostel recommendations and between them and my own findings we’ve chosen the following as the best:
- Generator Hostel Barcelona
- Kabul Backpackers Hostel
- Pars Tailors Hostel
- Sant Jordi Sagrada Familia Hostel
Spend Your Time and Not Your Money
With Barcelona becoming one of the most visited cities in the world it’s important to start searching for your choice of cheap holiday accommodation as soon as you’ve purchased your flight or bus ticket to the city.
So stop dawdling, and start booking!
Do you have a favourite place to stay in Barcelona?