Beautiful Barcelona on a budget

Published on 16/10/2012 in Holidays in Spain

For our first holiday as a couple I treated my girlfriend for a weekend break in Barcelona. As a pair of recent graduates our first vacation was always going to have to a shoestring affair. Without any contacts in the city and wishing to avoid a communal hostel we were short of ideas where to stay on the cheap. Luckily a friend of ours had recently stayed in Prague and had found a great company called Wimdu, which specialises in private accommodation.  Through this platform anybody can lend out a room in their home, and for the fraction of the price that some of the hotels were quoting in Barcelona.

Barcelona apartmentAfter checking out their website, we decided to rent a room in a beautiful Barcelonan apartment. We had arranged to meet our host at the airport and, despite our flight being delayed last minute by two hours, our host, Florian, was still there to pick us up. He took us to his apartment, right in the centre of the city, which he shares with his wife and young daughter. Once acquainted, the family showed us around their lovely home and to the room that would be our home for the next three nights. The room was even better than it appeared on the photographs, towels and fresh linen had been provided and our hosts were at pain to stress that whatever else we wanted would be provided.

Inside knowledge

Following a quick shower my girlfriend and I were eager to explore the city, but where to start? We had read about all the museums and the best beaches but when we asked Florian which one of these was his favourite he gave us an almost pitying look.  He then invited us to go with his family to the ‘real beach of Barcelona’. Being conveniently located in the heart of the city, it took us just under 15 minutes by local bus to reach this beach. It was spectacular, and looking back it definitely was the best beach we visited on this trip.

The trip continued in this vain throughout the weekend, the advice and tips Florian gave us were invaluable, from small tapas bars to niche museums we always had the inside track on where to go. My personal highlight was visiting the Camp Nou for Barcelona v Sevilla. Florian managed to get us excellent seats behind the goal in the ‘hard core’ section rather than up in the heavens where most tourists tend to end up.

Travel like a local

Whenever we needed great advice, we were pointed away from the cattle herding of modern tourism and towards discovering the real essence of the city. Despite this, we were still able to visit all the places we had highlighted in our guide book, as Florian knew the perfect times to visit to beat the queues.

On returning home, my girlfriend was straight on the Wimdu website to write a glowing review of our host. It was nice to see our money, cheap as it was, go directly to a local. In return he gave us a lovely home which to stay, expert advice and a new friendship.
 

Written by: Joshua Goodwin

About the author:

Joshua Goodwin is an journalism graduate from England currently living in Berlin. He is a keen traveler who loves to explore new cities, particularly in Europe.




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Comments:

nell said:
21 May 2013 @ 11:09

Excelente ubicación, camas cómodas! Starbucks en el vestíbulo! Conectado con el centro comercial Cerca de todas las actividades ....

http://www.daytonabeachquartershotel.com/



Bryan said:
28 February 2013 @ 18:41

Great article Joshua. i think insider knowledge is the best to have before visiting any major city. I think, with the internet now, nobody has an excuse for falling for tourist traps or paying stupid prices. The information is there for the taking! You don't even need a local anymore! I read a book on my kindle called barcelona scams that told me all about things to watch out for and how not to get overcharged etc. I think Ive learned, only idiots pay more :)


Bryan said:
28 February 2013 @ 18:40

Great article Joshua. i think insider knowledge is the best to have before visiting any major city. I think, with the internet now, nobody has an excuse for falling for tourist traps or paying stupid prices. The information is there for the taking! You don't even need a local anymore! I read a book on my kindle called barcelona scams that told me all about things to watch out for and how not to get overcharged etc. I think Ive learned, only idiots pay more :)


Kate said:
21 October 2012 @ 07:47

Airbnb is another site where you can rent a room in private homes cheaply, anywher worldwide.


Kate said:
21 October 2012 @ 07:47

Airbnb is another site where you can rent a room in private homes cheaply, anywher worldwide.


Iberican said:
21 October 2012 @ 00:42

Great article, Joshua,
I have friends who use Couchsurfing and Servas to find places to stay with hosts and give the same in return to others visiting their country. I've never done this but my friends have told me how much their holidays were enhanced by the warm welcome of their local hosts and their invaluable information, so that they enjoyed experiences that they would not have discovered if they had gone as tourists staying in a hotel or apartment.
When I do get around to travelling, I shall defnitely add Wimdu to my list! Had a look at the site and it seems very promising! Very glad that you had such a wonderful time. Many thanks for the article and the link to Wimdu.



Lloyd W J Jones said:
20 October 2012 @ 12:34

What a splendid article that conveys so much attraction for Barcelona - a very vibrant city - but one doesn't have to be a youngster to make a budget excursion. My wife and I - in our seventies - did a similar trip to Valencia. As expats living near Mazarron we bought a Renfe Gold Card(€5.10) entitling us to 40% discount as pensioners on all rail travel. We booked accomodation at a coveniently situated small apartamotel within walking distance of Valencia's main station. We acquired free literature from the station's tourist office, took advantage of the tour buses to stop off at convenient locations, and were able to see so much of the historic centre of the City. Our situation within the old town made many local churches, historic buildings, and museums readily accessable. Our accommodation was self-catering but we found a variety of eating places within easy walking distance of our location. We were able to extend our time in Valencia by vacating our accommodation and leaving our baggage at the Station and departing the City by a late train. Another City worthy of a visit within a budget. Travel well!!


Glynis said:
20 October 2012 @ 11:54

What a lovely article especially as we have come back from our first visit to Barcelona. We had a wonderful time and cannot wait to go back again. This is a super idea for youngsters and the more adventurous wishing to visit a city but for me I do prefer an hotel or apartment.

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