A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Shanghai vs. Barcelona for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Backpackers

Should you visit Shanghai or Barcelona?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Shanghai and Barcelona. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Shanghai

Shanghai is a cosmopolitan, professional, and diverse port city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Barcelona

Barcelona is a laid-back, historic, and cultural city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

How is Shanghai different from Barcelona?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Shanghai or Barcelona better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Plenty of people visit the sights and museums in both Shanghai and Barcelona.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Shanghai are among the most recognizable in the world. The city's sights mix culture with modern innovation. From the futuristic skyline and the iconic waterfront area known as the Bund, to the classic Yu Garden, there are a diversity of sights around the city. There are also museums like the Shanghai Museum, which educate visitors on Chinese culture.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Barcelona that are not to be missed. Architecture and history all contribute to the city's impressive sights and museums. Famous landmarks include the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Casa Milà, and the Palace of Catalan Music.


Is Shanghai or Barcelona better for Food?

Foodies will find both Shanghai and Barcelona both to be unique destinations.

Eat your way through Shanghai, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. The city's cuisine has a long history with many distinct traditional dishes. The foods incorporate a lot of soy sauce and sugar and you'll find most dishes are rice based as opposed to using wheat products. Popular local dishes include the famous Shanghai soup dumplings, steamed crab, and braised pork. The city is also famous for its snacks, which can be purchased at one of the many snack houses or street stalls.

Many restaurants in Barcelona have been singled out for their culinary prowess. With easy access to fresh produce, there are many food markets around town. You'll also find great fresh local dishes at the many restaurants. Make sure you try the paella, croquettes, and Jamon Iberico.

Is Shanghai or Barcelona better for Nightlife?

With more options to choose from, you'll find a more vibrant nightlife in Barcelona.

People head to Barcelona just to party. The city offers an amazing nightlife at a much more affordable price than many places in Europe. There are beach parties, boat parties, and bars that stay packed late into the night. The city also hosts many street fiestas and music festivals.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Shanghai. A night out can quickly become very expensive. Many of the venues are spread out so you'll likely spend at least some of the time in a taxi. The Bund is one of the most popular areas for nightlife, but this area also has the most expensive bars and clubs. They often offer impressive views of Pudong and the Huangpu River though.

Is Shanghai or Barcelona better for Shopping?

Both Shanghai and Barcelona are good shopping destinations.

The abundance of shops in Shanghai make it a world-class shopping destination. The city has many large shopping malls with department stores, name brand fashion, and trendy shops. It is also known for its cheap electronics and tailor-made clothes.

Barcelona is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. Head to Portal De L’Angel, Rambla de Catalunya, or Passeig De Gracia for some of the city's best shopping districts.

Is Shanghai or Barcelona better for Families?

Both Shanghai and Barcelona are family-friendly destinations.

Shanghai is a very kid-friendly port city. Of course there's Disneyland, but kids will also enjoy soaking up the city's culture, trying fun new snacks, and exploring the many science and kid-friendly museums. There are also parks and outdoor spaces as well as skyscrapers and towers that offer incredible views of the city.

Barcelona is a very family-friendly place to visit. Check out the Magic Fountains Show near Plaça d’Espanya, wander through the aquarium, or sample some chocolate at the Chocolate Museum. There are also many great parks and playgrounds around town.


Is Shanghai or Barcelona better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Both Shanghai and Barcelona are popular destinations for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Shanghai. The city is expensive, but there are hostels and cheap eateries that make it accessible even for the budget conscious. Business travelers and local workers give the city a more professional vibe during the day, but if you find the right place to stay you'll quickly be able to meet likeminded travelers.

Barcelona is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. There are many hostels around town, each with its own personality. Many of the hostels also organize activities or dinners for guests so it's easy to meet other travelers.

Is Shanghai or Barcelona better for Students?

Shanghai and Barcelona are both good destinations for students and younger travelers.

Many students visit Shanghai. The city attracts international and study abroad students who enjoy its long history and fascinating culture. It's a world financial capital with many businesses headquartered here, so employment opportunities are abundant.

Barcelona is a very popular port city for students. This is a popular study abroad destination and you'll find international students from around the world. It's a beautiful city with plenty to see and do.

Is Shanghai or Barcelona better for Public Transit?

Both Shanghai and Barcelona offer public transit options.

Shanghai has some very good public transit options. There is a metro system as well as buses and taxis which are relatively affordable.

Barcelona has a great public transit system. There's a metro, bus, and tram system that navigates the city.

Is Shanghai or Barcelona a more walkable city?

Shanghai and Barcelona both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Shanghai is a very walkable port city. It's possible to explore the major tourist areas on foot but it can be very hot and humid during the summer months.

Barcelona is very walkable. The city is more spread out than some other major European cities, but there are many plazas and outdoor areas that are fun to explore on foot. The city has designed "superilles," which are areas where car traffic has been directed around pedestrian-friendly plazas so visitors can explore, relax, or play.


Shanghai and Barcelona: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty


Should I spend more time in Barcelona or Shanghai?

How long in Shanghai or Barcelona?

Both Shanghai and Barcelona have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Barcelona than Shanghai.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Shanghai is 2-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Barcelona is 3-7 days.


  • How many days in Shanghai or Barcelona? Ideal Length of Stay
    Shanghai 2-5 
    Barcelona 3-7

One day in Shanghai or Barcelona?

People visit Shanghai because there is so much to do. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

The beautiful city of Barcelona offers museums and nightlife. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Shanghai or Barcelona?

People visit Shanghai because there is so much to do. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this port city has to offer. This port city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Barcelona is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area.

Five days in Shanghai or Barcelona?

People visit Shanghai because there is so much to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this port city makes for a great vacation. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this port city has to offer.

Barcelona is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Barcelona, five days is sufficent for most. The entire area has lots to do.

A week in Shanghai or Barcelona?

Shanghai is a popular choice for travelers. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Barcelona is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Barcelona has to offer. This city offers something for everyone.

Which city is cheaper, Barcelona or Shanghai?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Shanghai is $99, while the average daily cost in Barcelona is $128. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Shanghai and Barcelona in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $70
    Barcelona $78
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $140
    Barcelona $156

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Shanghai $3.35
    Barcelona $16
Typical Local Transportation prices in Shanghai

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Shanghai:


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.88
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.90

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station: $20
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport (SHA): $20
  • Private Transfer: Hotel to Shanghai Stadium (Football Match, League of Legends): $20
  • Hongqiao Airport(SHA)-Hotel Downtown One way Private Transfer: $21
  • Private Transfer to Shanghai Railway Station from City Hotels or Outskirts: $21
  • Panda Transfer: Private Shanghai Airport/Hotel Transfer: $22
  • Private Transfer to Huangpu River Cruise Terminal: $22
  • Private Transfer to ERA Acrobats Show at Shanghai Circus World: $22
  • Private Transfer between Qibao Ancient Water Town and Shanghai City Area: $24
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Maglev Train Station to City Area: $24
  • Private Transfer between Shanghai Pudong New Int’l Expo Centre and City Area: $24
  • Shanghai Maglev Train Station Private Transfer from City Area: $24

Typical Local Transportation prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Barcelona are as follows:


  • 10 Trip Metro Ticket
    $8.13
  • Airport Bus
    $5.21
  • Metro
    $2.19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Barcelona

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Barcelona:

  • Ultra - Barcelona Private Transfer from City Centre to Barcelona Cruise Port: $9.41
  • Ultra - Barcelona Private Transfer from Barcelona Cruise Port to City Centre: $9.41
  • Ultra - Barcelona Private Airport Transfer city centre to El Prat Airport BCN: $9.41
  • Airport Transfers: $20
  • Private Departure Transfer from Barcelona City Center to El-Prat Airport (BCN): $24
  • Private Transfer from Barcelona City to Barcelona Airport: $27
  • Barcelona Airport Transfers: $27
  • Barcelona Airport Transfer: $28
  • Private Transfer from Bcn City Centre to Bcn Cruise Terminal: $29
  • Barcelona Private Transfer from City Centre to Cruise Terminal: $29
  • Private Transfer from Barcelona City Centre to Barcelona Cruise Terminal: $29
  • Barcelona Private Transfer from City Centre to Cruise Terminal: $29

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Barcelona?

Prices for flights to both Barcelona and Shanghai change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Shanghai $19
    Barcelona $28
Typical Food prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of dining costs in Shanghai are as follows:


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.49
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $22
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $7.76
  • Cantelope
    $1.79
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.24
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.48
  • Pastries
    $3.13
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $9.55

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shanghai

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Shanghai.

  • Online Chinese Cooking Class: $22
  • Old Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour: $52
  • 3-Hour Shanghai Summer Night Local Dinner and Shopping Private Tour: $65
  • Private Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with Vegetarian Option: $69
  • Private Authentic Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with a Lovely Local: $70
  • 3-Hour Shanghai City Walking Tour with Dinner: $74
  • Shanghai yummy food tour: $75
  • A Bite of Shanghai Small-Group Food Tour: $80
  • Shanghai Hairy Crab Dinner: $85
  • Shanghai Evening Food Tour/Shanghai tour gastronomico nocturno: $85
  • Night Market & Street Food Tour in Shanghai: $95
  • 3-Hour Flexible Private Shanghai Night Tour with Local Dinner Option: $100

Typical Food prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of dining costs in Barcelona are as follows:


  • Hot Cocoa & Churro
    $4.33
  • Sandwich
    $1.77
  • Baguette & Horchata
    $3.96
  • Tapas on the beach
    $8.64
  • Gelatto
    $2.61

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Barcelona

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Barcelona.

  • Live from Potato Gnocchi Online Cooking Class: $23
  • Live from Barcelona to China: Potato Gnocchi Online Cooking Class: $23
  • Barcelona organic dinner in a beautiful rooftop garden: $35
  • Paella Cooking Experience + Boqueria Market Tour: $48
  • Interactive Spanish Cooking Experience in Barcelona: $49
  • Hands-on Brunch Cooking Class with Bottomless Mimosas!: $50
  • Born district food tour and tasting in Barcelona: $51
  • Street Food Tour & Gothic Quater Sightseeing with Local Expert: $52
  • Barcelona Street Food Tour: Local Market & Gothic Quarter with Expert Guide: $52
  • Tasty Barcelona Street Food Tour With Local Market Visit: $59
  • Skip the Line: Flamenco Show and Dinner Ticket: $62
  • 2-Hour Bites & Flavors Private Food Tour: $66

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $7.28
    Barcelona $28
Typical Entertainment prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Shanghai are as follows:


  • 30 Minute River Cruise for Two
    $30
  • Zoo for Two
    $15

Tours and Activities in Shanghai

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Shanghai are as follows:

  • half day tour of shanghai: $5.34
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Ticket Booking: $10
  • Shanghai Zhujiajiao Ancient Town Admission Ticket: $11
  • Shanghai Maglev Train Ticket and Metro Pass(Pick Up in Shanghai): $12
  • Day Tour of Zhujiajiao and Huangpu River with Night Cruise: $16
  • Shanghai Jinmao Tower Observation Desk Admission Ticket: $18
  • Buddhist Art Tour at LWH Gallery in Shanghai: $23
  • Shanghai Bus Tour Hop-on Hop-off Premium Ticket including City Top Attraction Admissions: $30
  • Like a Local Customized Guided Tour: $30
  • Shanghai Tower Observation Deck Admission Ticket: $31
  • Shanghai Downtown Hotel to Baoshan Cruise Port:Private with Meet & Greet service: $38
  • Shanghai Hotels to Wusongkou Cruise Port:Private with Meet & Great service: $38

Typical Entertainment prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Barcelona are as follows:


  • Picasso Walking Tour and Museum Pass
    $44
  • Souvenir Gaudi Book
    $8.92
  • Admission to Museo Picasso
    $6.26

Tours and Activities in Barcelona

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Barcelona are as follows:

  • A Culinary Audio Tour of El Born by VoiceMap: $5.50
  • Self-Guided Tour with Over 100 Sights: $5.67
  • Private Barcelona Ghost Tour: Gothic Quarter Exploration Game: $7.45
  • Museu de la Xocolata Admission Ticket: $7.46
  • History Museum of Catalonia Skip-The-Line Ticket: $9.08
  • Skip the Line: Erotic Museum of Barcelona Admission Ticket with free souvenir: $9.95
  • Skip the Line: Human Bodies - Entrance to the exhibition Ticket: $9.95
  • Skip the Line: History Museum of Catalonia & Rooftop Access Ticket: $9.95
  • Guided Tour at Catalonia's Royal Academy of Medicine: $10
  • Guided Tour at Barcelona's Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts: $10
  • IDEAL Frida Kahlo, the Life of an Icon Ticket: $10
  • Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum Entry Ticket: $10

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $6.35
    Barcelona $14

Sample the Local Flavors in Shanghai

Also in Shanghai, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255
  • 3 Hour Local Craft Beer Crawl with Brewery Tour: $350

Sample the Local Flavors in Barcelona

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Barcelona:

  • Estrella Damm Brewery Guided Tour with Tasting: $9.08
  • Generation Pub Crawl in Barcelona: $19
  • Barcelona Pub Crawl: $20
  • Wine Tasting Experience in Barcelona: $22
  • Opera Samfaina: Food and Wine Tasting Interactive Experience in Barcelona: $26
  • Wine tasting & tapas: $39
  • Barcelona Guided Local Wine Tasting Tour: $44
  • Wine Tasting near Sagrada Familia: $47
  • Home Food and Wine Tasting with Wine Lover: $51
  • Fun Wine Tasting in Barcelona with a Sommelier!: $53
  • Spanish wine tasting in a historic building with a Sommelier: $54
  • Food Tasting Tapas and Wine Tour: $62


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Shanghai and Barcelona, we can see that Barcelona is more expensive. And not only is Shanghai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Shanghai is in Asia and Barcelona is in Europe, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. So, traveling to Shanghai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Shanghai and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Barcelona would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Barcelona than you might in Shanghai.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Share This Page
Pin This Page
Shanghai vs. Barcelona Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.