There are several types of free walking tours in Barcelona with most companies offering both a Gothic Quarter as well as a Gaudi/Modernism tour.
But there are also free tours that focus on street art as well as a free bike tour available.
In this post, we will explain your options, provide schedules, and a calendar.
In Barcelona, there are many self-guided tours as well as talks at museums and historic sights that truly cost nothing.
However, most people understand the term 'free tours' to be guided walks that operate on a ‘name-your-own-price’ model or what’s usually called a ‘tips-only-basis’.
There is no cost to take a tour. After the tour, you get to decide how much you thought it was worth or what you could afford, even nothing.
According to reviews on Google and TripAdvisor, past participants seem to leave between €5-€15 per adult.
Many people are drawn to these tours because they are convenient, affordable, and entertaining. Their popularity, however, also means that group sizes can get quite large.
And although complaints about large groups are infrequent, you might want to ensure a smaller group setting to give you more time to interact with your tour guide.
If this sounds important to you, then we suggest checking out paid small group tours.
You may also want to consider a Barcelona self-guided game. This is different from a traditional tour, but it allows you to experience the city in a small group and at your own pace.
TIP: If you are planning on purchasing a tourist attraction discount pass, such as the Barcelona Pass, then note that most already include a walking tour of the Old Town and Gothic Quarter for free (not pay-what-you-wish).
These passes also include free tickets to museums as well as hop-on-hop-off bus tickets and boat tours.
There are several companies that offer pay-what-you-want walking tours in the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic), which is arguably the most historic area in the city.
Whether you want to see some of the most notable sites or you’re interested in learning about the significance of major landmarks, these free walking tours serve as an excellent introduction to Barcelona.
During these outings, you can expect to visit some of the following locations:
- Plaça de L'Àngel
- Mirador del Rei Martí
- Plaça Sant Jaume
- Palau de la Generalitat
- Basilica de Santa María del Mar
- Roman Necropolis
- And more!
If these sites are of interest, consider taking one of these free Gothic Quarter walking tours to learn more about them.
Secret City Tours
This free walking tour will take you back through over 2,000 years of history, including points of interest such as the Roman Wall, the Barcelona Cathedral, and many other notable landmarks.
If you’re interested in joining this 2 ½ hour trip through the city, it’s available in both English and Spanish on every day except Monday at 11 am.
Be Local Tours
This company was founded by 3 friends with its focus on socially and ecologically responsible tours.
What we like most about them is that they limit group sizes to 16, and they offer multiple tours like this one.
Available in both English and Spanish, this 2-hour pay-what-you-wish tour is offered every day at 10 am.
New Europe Tours
Sandemans New Europe Tours is one of the larger free walking tour companies in Europe and is considered the pioneer of the free tour model.
They only offer 1 free tour, a city center tour, however, it does cover a lot of ground at 2 ½ hours in duration, including information about Antoni Gaudi and Picasso.
This tour is available on a daily basis at 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 14:00 (2 pm) and 16:00 (4 pm).
We like Donkey Tours because they are founded and run by local Barcelonians and are very well-reviewed, 5 of 5 stars on TripAdvisor.
They offer 2 free daily tours, this one covering the Gothic District and Old Town is available daily in both English and Spanish at 11 am.
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SELF-GUIDED AND AUDIO TOURS
Rick Steves offers an excellent free audio tour you can use anytime you want. His audio tours are well-produced, easy to follow, and a pleasure to listen to.
The only caveat is that his target audience is Americans, so you might occasionally hear measurements described in Imperial rather than Metric.
This self-guided tour will show you all the main sights of the Mediterranean’s most vivacious city from the Barcelona Cathedral to the Jewish Quarter.
You'll discover some of the most beautiful views and awe-inspiring architecture spanning centuries.
Visitors who want to learn about the artistic history of Barcelona will be glad to hear that there are several free walking tours covering this subject.
On these outings, you’ll learn about how artists such as Antoni Gaudi and Picasso contributed to the artistic movement of modernism and see sites that were inspired by their vision.
These tours explain the representations of symbolism and help guests to understand the significance of the art and architecture they will see along the way.
Here are a few of the sites you can expect to see on these pay-what-you-wish tours:
- Sagrada Familia
- Casa Lleó i Morera
- Casa Batlló
- Casa Ametller
- Casa Milá
- Eixample District
- And more!
Learn about all these locations and more by taking one of the following tours.
Secret City Tour
Discover some of the most beautiful and artistic architecture in the city on this 2 ½ hour tour covering the history of Modernism in Barcelona.
This service is very positively reviewed. Previous guests have suggested that the tour is very well organized and easy to understand.
Even if you’re not very well versed in art history, the guide will provide an explanation to help you spot the types of architecture that were common during the Modernist era of this city.
This tour is available twice a day in both English and Spanish at 11 am and 16:00 (4 pm) every day except Monday.
This free walking tour lasts almost 3 hours, it includes a variety of stops at notable sites like the Eixample neighborhood, and it is available daily at 15:30 (3:30 pm).
SELF-GUIDED GAUDI TOURS
We offer a self-guided tour covering all of the main Gaudí sites. As they are spread out, we will need to twice jump on the metro system.
If you are planning on paying to enter the Gaudí houses, the monumental zone of the Park Güell, or la Sagrada Família, you should plan ahead and book tickets to avoid the lines.
While most Barcelona night tours are paid outings, there is at least one free night tour available which shows guests a side of the city they probably won’t learn about anywhere else.
If you’re interested in learning how sex and drugs came to shape the city you see today, this pay-what-you-wish tour should be quite enlightening!
You can expect to see and discover more about some of the following sites and subjects on this journey:
- Barrio Gótico
- Barrio Chino
- Historic Bars
- Picasso’s favourite brothel
- Famous Thieves
- And more!
Be Local Tours
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this tour is currently suspended.
This is actually the only company that currently offers a pay-what-you-want tour after dark in Barcelona, and the service focuses on a variety of subjects including the actions of infamous criminals and the favorite bars of famous artists.
Starting at 21:00 (9 pm) every Tuesday and Friday, you can rest assured that this tour will not only start after the sun goes down on most days, but it will also last for approximately 2 hours until 23:00 (11 pm).
Additional Free Tours in Barcelona
There are a variety of other free walking tours provided in Barcelona, and they cover several different subjects which might be of interest.
Free Spanish Civil War Tour
If you’re interested in learning about the history of the Civil War that once destroyed parts of Barcelona, Be Local Tours offers a free tour every Wednesday at 11 am.
Raval Underground Tour
Alternatively, you may also want to consider taking their Raval Underground tour to see some of the more interesting locations in a neighbourhood filled with history, urban art, skaters, and more.
This 2-hour free walking tour is provided every Tuesday at 15:00 (3 pm) and every Friday at 11 am.
Secrets of El Born Tour
Be Local Tours also offers a trip that covers some of the secrets and history behind the El Born neighbourhood, including stops at locations like Santa Maria del Mar, Parc de la Ciutadella, Palau de la Música Catalana and more.
Guests can take this 2-hour tour in both English and Spanish every Sunday at 11 am and every Thursday at 15:00 (3 pm).
If you want to ride around the city on a bicycle instead of just walking, this free bike tour is an excellent opportunity to see some of the most notable sites in Barcelona on two wheels.
The only thing you have to pay for is a bike rental, and that’s actually very affordable at around €10 per person. This tour is approximately 3 hours long and it’s available every day at 13:00 (1 pm).