I went on a free-and-easy two-week trip with my wife to Barcelona, Marrakech and Lisbon.
Somehow we did something that we had never done before in our previous trips – logging all our expenses.
I thought this information might have some value for people who are thinking about the costs of going to Europe.
Of course the style of travel varies but nonetheless this article could still be a good reference point. All expenses have been converted to SGD based on the rates we were offered.
I have only included key expenses that most travelers would need to commit to.
I will explain the details of the breakdown at the end of the article.
We bought promotional priced return tickets from Singapore Airlines to travel from Singapore to Barcelona. I used miles to claim for the cost of one ticket. So the total cost was only S$871.90 for the two of us.
We also bought travel insurance from FWD at a total cost of S$112.
To save on accommodation costs, we used Airbnb for the entire trip.
We found a place about 20 mins from the city centre (Catalunya) by metro and paid S$274.22 for 4 nights.
We also bought a SIM card for S$24.45 (50 mins call and 2GB data) to stay connected on the go, so that we can use Google Maps for navigation.
Our Barcelona Itinerary
Travel Expenses within Barcelona
As the metro is quite well connected in Barcelona, there was no need for us to take cabs. We bought 4-day passes for metro rides at a total cost of S$92.91. Yes, metro rides aren’t cheap in Barcelona.
Ciudad Condal Restaurant – for good tapas
Jon recommended Ciudad Condal Restaurant and it was indeed good and popular.
We didn’t order any tapas on the first trip and it cost us S$31.70 for 3 salads, 1 coke and 1 beer. Oh my, the Estrella Damm beer was awesome.
The second time we went back to the restaurant, we spent S$94.54 as we ate a lot of tapas!
La Paradeta – for seafood
Jon also highly recommend the seafood restaurant, La Paradeta.
There are many branches but we walked to the one near the cathedral. We over-ordered and couldn’t finish.
We had a crab, mussels, prawns, tuna, lobster bisque and calamari for S$88.38.
Quite a steal if we compare the price to what we can get in Singapore.
If you loves markets like me, a touristy Boqueria market is worth a visit.
Taking a walk around the Gothic Quarter was free!
La Sagrada Familia
One of the places which most people would go to in Barcelona would be to visit La Sagrada Familia. It is a Catholic cathedral designed by the legendary Gaudi.
There are specific timings to enter the monument so it is better to book the tickets online rather than to buy at the counter. We were turned away and asked to come back many hours later.
So we booked online at a cost of S$48.90 and only waited for 40 mins, getting the next immediate time slot.
And yes, it was worth a visit.
The highlight of Barcelona for me was Montserrat Monastery.
It was a distance away from the city and up a mountain.
We had to purchase train tickets and a cable car ride (you can choose a tram if you are scared of heights) to get there.
To and fro tickets for two cost us S$70.09. But it was worth it.
The place is huge and you can hike up if you want to.
There is a hotel and a hostel at the monastery, but we are not sure how much it would cost. Tourists who want to see the sunrise, probably have to stay there.
We got tired and saw a cafe / restaurant overlooking the mountains.
We knew we got to go there and take a rest. Bread, coffee and beer cost us S$10.68.
The view was free (or priced in).
Our Marrakech Itinerary
I always wanted to visit Marrakech because it seems so magical.
We decided to skip the rest of Spain and booked a flight from Barcelona to Marrakech instead. We wanted to spend at least 3 days in a place to truly experience it, and that meant we couldn’t visit many cities. Hence, we decided to go for quality rather than quantity.
We took a budget airline, Ryanair, from Barcelona to Marrakech and it cost us S$176.71.
The airport was rather new and clean. There was no magical feeling at all.
On the way out there were people giving out free SIM cards. We took them and went out to the counter to top up. It cost S$16.30 for 5GB data but I couldn’t remember the talktime.
There was no metro nor Uber at Marrakech. So we arranged with the Airbnb host to provide airport transfer for S$24.23.
The magical feeling hit me the moment we went out of the airport.
Marrakech really looked different.
We stay in a Riad which is a private house with a courtyard. I love it. It feels so serene and yet the layout is so functional.
The light coming through to the courtyard triggers an indescribable feeling.
How I wish we have houses like this in Singapore. It cost S$172.26 for 3 nights.
Food selection in Marrakech was limited.
Their local cuisine consist mainly of bread, tajine, grilled meat and mint tea. Expect to pay at least S$25 for two.
We walked through the winding streets every day.
It was easy to get lost if you do not have GPS to guide.
But after walking once or twice it was quite easy to recognise certain landmarks and streets.
The old Medina is filled with shops. They named the marketplace ‘Souks’.
We went to try the hammam or more commonly known as turkish bath.
It was an interesting experience. We got into a sauna and were given a good scrub after we perspire. Our dead skin exfoliated with all the scrubbing. It was painful at times. Then we were treated with a cold shower. The massage wasn’t anything memorial.
So I would suggest to go only for the hammam and save the money. We paid S$146.85 for two.
Our Lisbon Itinerary
Our last destination was Lisbon.
We took an Air Portugal flight which cost us S$354.03.
The cost of accommodation was S$222.31 for 4 nights.
The SIM card was the most value for money. We paid S$16.30 for 10GB!
The metro is not as well networked as Barcelona. There were no metro stations at the most popular places of interest and we have to either take bus or train to get there. We spent S$34.23 on metro and bus rides. Train rides were separately charged.
Sight-seeing / Food
Time Out Market
One of the tourists we met at Marrakech recommended us to go to the Time Out Market. It has a variety of international food.
It was a nice place but maybe we ordered the wrong stuff as the food weren’t nice at all. And Portugal beer sucks.
We spent S$72.37 on steak, cod fish, egg tarts, traditional fish cakes, beer and soft drinks.
We visited one of the major monuments, Jeronimos Monastery, for S$32.60.
This was where Vasco De Gama spent the night before becoming the first European to reach India by sea.
Today his body lays in the Monastery.
Portugal had an illustrious history of maritime expedition and that was how some places like Brazil, Malacca and Macau ended up with Portuguese roots.
One can relive their glorious days through these monuments.
Pasteis de Belem
If there’s only one thing you can do in Lisbon, you must go to Pasteis de Belem to try their egg tarts.
You must eat on the spot while they are hot.
It was said that the recipe originated from the Jeronimos Monastery.
1 egg tart costs about S$1.80. They sell truckloads of it.
Lisbon has an arty farty area known as the LX Factory.
There are restaurants, cafes, furniture, decorations, bookstores, retro items and many I-don’t-know-what-else stuff for you to browse.
My wife wanted to take a boat ride along the Tagus River and there were plenty of vendors to choose from.
It was difficult to schedule the trip as the weather wasn’t good while we were there.
We managed to get a go ahead on our last day in Lisbon. The captain told us he had no customers for two weeks because of the bad weather and rough seas. He gave us a discount but it still cost us S$130.40 for about 2 hours ride.
It was a nice experience besides the cold weather.
We exchanged stories about the history and life in Lisbon and Singapore, while enjoying the great views of the river banks.
Return Trip Expenses
We took a budget flight with Vueling from Lisbon to Barcelona for S$144.37.
We decided to stay close to the airport since we had to leave the very next day.
We used Airbnb again and paid S$67.73.
2-Week Europe & Africa Travel Cost Breakdown
Finally, we have come to the breakdown of our expenses for the entire trip:
Altogether, we spent S$4,492.65 for the two of us to travel to the 3 cities (Barcelona, Marrakech and Lisbon) for 2 weeks.
We over-estimated our expenses and had about 1,000 EUR left after the holiday.
We are not budget nor luxurious travellers.
I believe our expenses should be average.
How about yours?
Share your experience in the comments below, so we can help those who are preparing for a trip.