Situated on the banks of the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is one of Spain’s most picturesque cities, and flights always seem to run less than to other Spanish or European cities. There are a number of ways to enjoy the city without overspending, and you just might feel comfortable letting the teenagers do some exploring on their own.
The best way to get to know Barcelona is by walking: through the charming Las Ramblas promenade, 200-year-old Boqueria Market and lesser known churches and museums. Jumping into the sea or taking in the coastline from the expansive beaches and boardwalk are also quintessential experiences. La Barceloneta is a particularly charming seaside nook with fabulous street food and cheap tapas. As central to Barcelona culture as the Mediterranean is, so is the architecture of Antoni Gaudí. His homes, palaces, and apartment buildings are so distinctive, you’ll be able to spot one after just a few days in Barcelona, and walking through the grounds of his Park Güell is free.
Since public transportation in Barcelona is excellent, consider staying in the outskirts of the city if you’d like more affordable accommodations — and book well in advance. All this saving will leave a little extra to splurge on fees to the spectacular Sagrada Família church and other pricey attractions. Entrance to the Picasso Museum is free on Thursday afternoons and the first Sunday of each month.