Explore 4 Cities in 4 Days on a Budget
My goal this year was to explore the different parts of Spain. I figured May was the best time to go because the weather is perfect. In the summer, temperatures can reach well over 100℉. My gf Ava and I decided to book tickets when we found amazing deals on Vueling.com. It was my first time staying in a hostel and using a cool app called BlaBla car which I will explain later.
Tips: Bring cash because half of these places I went to didn’t accept credit cards. Also the city buses we took accepts cash only. Wear comfortable shoes/sandals because all the cities we went to had cobblestone side streets.
Travel Cost Breakdown:
Flight from Barcelona (BCN) to Granada (GRX): $30 on Vueling
AirBnB in Granada for 1 night: $60
Bus from Granada to Málaga: $13.30 with Alsa Bus
Hostel in Málaga for 2 nights: $44.14 – Lights Out Hostel
Train from Málaga to Seville: $38 (Roundtrip) – with Renfe
BlaBla Car from Málaga to Marbella: $10 (Roundtrip)
Flight from Málaga (AGP) to Barcelona (BCN): $56 on Vueling
1st Stop: Granada
Temperature in May: 77℉ and sunny.
We stayed in the area near the Catedral De Granada and it was perfect. If you decide to stay in the area of Sacromonte be prepared for a hike. From the airport, there is an Alsa bus that will take you to the center for 3€.
The Alhambra – If you plan on going you MUST book your tickets in advance. I booked a month before and the tours I wanted to go to were booked full so the only ticket available was the Generalife Garden tickets. Click here to buy your tickets direct. When you book, it asks for your passport/id information (they didn’t check at the door) and you have to choose your allotted time slot. The gardens were magical! You can get to Alhambra by taking the local C3 bus for 1.50€. Or you can walk there but it will be a bit of a hike. If you want to take a taxi, the base rate starts at 1.62€.
Outfit: Woven Lace Top @ Midi Skirt from boohoo.com – 30£. Click here
Another thing to see is the Granada Catedral – dress appropriately if you want to go inside. Entrance fee is 5€.
Did you know that many restaurants here in Granada offer free tapas when you order a beverage? With that being said we went bar hopping and spent around 5€ for the both of us and by the 3rd stop we were full. Here are some bars that I suggest that won’t break your wallet:
La Riviera – order a drink and choose which free tapa from the menu
Bar Poe – order a drink and choose which free from the menu
Bodegas Castaneda – order a drink and they will bring you a free tapa
Bar Los Diamantes – order a drink and they will bring you a free tapa
Flamenco dancing originated from the south of Spain. We watched a beautiful dance in a cave up on the hill. The show cost 22€ and includes a free sangria drink. There’s really no public transportation that can take you up there so we took a cab which only cost 5€.
Museo De La Zambre – The show starts at 9:30pm and there are no bad seats.
2nd Stop: Málaga
Temperature in May: 73℉ and sunny.
The next day we took a bus from Granada bus station (1.50€ to get there by local city bus from city center) to Málaga. I pre-booked the tickets on Alsa.com and it was $13.30. The only problem is I had a hard time using my credit card from America. For some reason they only take local credit cards so I had to use my Spanish ATM card. The bus was pretty packed as well so I recommend going the day before or early in advance to purchase your bus ticket in person. The comfortable ride was about 1h45min. Ava and I decided to stay at a hostel because we figured – why waste money on a hotel when we’re only going to be there to sleep? Hotels were going for $80/night + tax and this particular hostel Lights Out Hostel was around $18/night + tax. I use the website hostelworld.com to book. This hostel was a 20 minute walk from the bus station.
Tips for staying at a hostel:
- Bring your own towel. I bought this travel towel from amazon.com and it works lovely! If you forget your towel, the hostel can lend you a towel for an extra fee.
- Bring your own lock! Under the bunk beds were storage spaces to keep your belongings.
- Ear plugs is a must – I shared a room with guys that SNORED so loud. Thank god I had these.
- Bring sandals for the shower. Need I explain more?
Once we checked in and changed, we took a walk down to the beautiful Calle Larios which is great for shopping.
We went to the Alcazaba of Málaga. There’s also a combined ticket for the Gilgrafaro but we came too late they wouldn’t let us see that. Tickets to Alcazaba 3.50€ which you can purchase at a ticket machine at the entrance. There was no line when we got there so I don’t think you need to purchase tickets in advance.
Outfit: Bohemian Maxi Dress from dresshead.com – $8.99 USD. Click here.
We walked along the beach and stumbled across the Gran Hotel Miramar and went up to the rooftop to take in the scenic views and drink overpriced beverages.
If you need a taxi the base rate here starts at 1.49€.
3rd Stop: Seville
Temperature in May: 85℉ and sunny.
We decided to take a day trip to Seville which only cost $38 for a 2.5 hour roundtrip ticket on Renfe.com. This was our favorite city because everywhere we went, we were surrounded by beautiful architecture and mother nature.
Did I mention that Game of Thrones was filmed at Alcázar of Seville? It’s the scene of Gardens of Dorne. With that being said, BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE. We didn’t and we had to wait in a long line in the hot sun. General admission tickets was 11.50€ but you can purchase your tickets here. It’s worth it to pay the extra money to skip the line.
Check out Plaza Españya and watch live street flamenco.
Metropol Parasol: 3€ entrance fee to go to the top.
Outfit: Floral Print Bralet & Midi Skirt from boohoo.com – 20£. Click here.
4th Stop: Marbella
Temperature in May: 73℉ and sunny.
This was our last day and the flight wasn’t until 9:30 pm. Our dilemma that we had to figure out was how to get to Marbella and back in time to catch our flight back to Barcelona. I searched bus routes but the one I saw left late morning and I wanted to get there early. Then the bus from Marbella to Malaga was going to cost us 30€ each for a 45 minute ride. That’s when the bf mentioned BlaBlaCar.com – a carpooling/ride share app. The website is available in certain countries and luckily Spain is one of them. Everything was in Spanish but I managed to sign up/register with no problems and I found the perfect ride. We were to leave Málaga bus station at 8:30 am and come back at 4:30 pm which gave us a solid 7 hours to explore. Guess how much it cost? 5€ per person each way! Shout out to our driver Juan for being so amazing.
Málaga bus station has lockers for storage and the price of 3.50€ for the whole day. It’s accessible between the hours of 6:00 am till 1:00 am. We were able to fit 2 carryon size luggage and 2 backpacks in that locker.
We were dropped off at the Marbella bus station. From there we took a taxi (base rate starting at 3.17€) to Puerto Banús which cost about 12€. It really felt bougie and everything there is expensive.
We took a few photos and then took a taxi to Old Town Marbella (12€) I’m in awe of this area. Narrow beautiful streets filled with flowers and quaint terraces. Ava and I were in love with this area.
If you’re searching the typical photos of Marbella, google these locations and you will stumble across these instagram worthy photos:
Casa Bar Bartolo – We found this cute restaurant with nicely priced tapas – around 2€-3€. After many photos and roaming around the streets of Marbella, we met up with Juan the BlaBlaCar driver and headed back to the Málaga bus station. We changed into our airport clothes and took a bus to the airport (3€). So long South Of Spain! It’s been truly a remarkable journey!
Outfit: – Floral Mid Length Strapless Dress from dresshead.com – $5.99. Click here.