Spain on a Shoestring

4 Girls. 3 Cities. 350 Euros or Less

As language assistants living in Paris we tested our talent for tight budget travel with a one-week adventure in Spain.

First stop: Barcelona (15-hour bus ride: 73 euros)

We toured the city for two days strolling between Gothic cathedrals, Gaudi's mosaics, and sunlit beaches.

Skip the guidebooks

In every city we got a free map and brochure from the tourist office.

Basic is best

Staying in a hostel was what kept us on budget. We paid the 11 euro fee (each person) for a basic room.

Stay in city center

We didn't need to bother with transportation costs, as we were in the heart of the city and were able to walk to most places.

Off to Seville (sleeper train: 34 euros)

We were wooed by the beautiful orange trees and fountains, the fashionable mix of people, and the delicious tapas and ice cream.

Go cheap for one meal a day

We saved during the day so that we could splurge in the evenings. Whether it's eating at a fast-food restaurant or braving it with a hostel breakfast, going budget for one meal a day let us indulge in the culture and nightlife.

Find the freebies

We went to the museums and attractions when their admission was free (often in the evenings).

Next stop: Madrid (TGV train: 41 euros)

Madrid was alive with bustling tapas bars and throngs of young people in the streets. Top that off with Zara, Mango, the masterpieces at Museo del Prado, and unforgettable nightlife.

Go surfing

Couch surfing, that is — it was free and we made a new friend (and roomie). Our host gave up his room for the four of us and showed us some of the local hangouts.

Homeward bound: Paris (Ryanair flight: 60 euros)

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