MADRID - MANY residents of the two Spanish cities which Pope Benedict XVI will visit this weekend are trying to cash in on his trip by renting balconies with views of the sites of services for hundreds of euros.

One ad on online advertising site Mercattel offered spots on Thursday on the balcony of an apartment promising views of the entrance to the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona which the pope will visit for 300 euros (S$547) per person.

'See it and enjoy this unique moment from the first line,' the ad said. The pope will consecrate the Sagrada Familia, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi's masterpiece, on Sunday, a day after he visits the pilgrimage site of Santiago Compostela in north-east Spain.

The famously unfinished building, whose spires covered with glazed ceramics dominate the Barcelona skyline, will receive the official status of basilica following the consecration and masses can be celebrated there. Currently only the building's crypt has been consecrated by the church.

Another ad offers a balcony on a Barcelona street where the Popemobile will pass through on its way to the temple that fits between four to eight people for 400 euros 'with free aperitifs'.

Ads offering balconies for rent in Santiago Compostela have also emerged, including one charging 'a very interesting price' for a veranda overlooking the vast Plaza Obradoiro outside the city's cathedral where the pope will celebrate mass on Saturday.

Balcony owners try to cash in