Top 10 Free Things to do in Barcelona
Barcelona is a very reasonably priced city for many travelers, but it is still the most expensive city in Spain and it’s always nice to find something for nothing.
Related Tours in Barcelona:
- Free Walking Tour of Barcelona
- Barcelona Bike Tours
- Self-Guided Gothic Tour of Barcelona
- Self-guided Barcelona Gaudí Tour
Top 10 Free Things to do in Barcelona
The following are our Top 10 Free Things to do in Barcelona to enjoy the city without dipping your hand into your pocket:
- Although most of the Modernista buildings in Barcelona are now extortionately priced to enter, the city’s unique art-nouveau style architecture can be enjoyed from the street for free, and it really is an open-air museum. Check out our self-guided Gaudí walking tour for a good itinerary.
- After 3pm on Sundays a number of museums offer free entry. Though the lines at the Picasso Museum can get very long on Sunday afternoons, it is a must see for those who like to follow an artist’s development. The history museum with its roman ruins and access to the old medieval palace is fantastic for history buffs, as is the maritime museum in the old Drassanes ship-yard at the bottom of Las Ramblas. Barcelona’s Gothic Cathedral is also free every morning before midday and after 5pm.
- Barcelona has a vibrant street art scene typified by bright colorful designs. There are a number of legal walls where you can enjoy an ever-changing gallery of urban art, or even have a go yourself! You could also visit the fantastic Base Elements and Montana Colors
As well as urban art you will find many sculptures on the city’s streets from more traditional modern artists like Frank Gehry’s golden fish by the beach, Roy Lichtenstein’s head, and Joan Miró’s work behind the Arenas bull-ring, on Las Ramblas and at the airport, Fernando Botero’s fat cat in Raval and many, many more…
- All around the city there are breath-taking views to be had from climbing the many hills. The best by far is from the mountain of Tibidabo with the church of Sagrat Cor and a vintage amusement park. From the top of the mountain you can descend away from Barcelona and loose yourself in the natural beauty of the Collserola park.
A little closer to the city center, on the same range of hills as Gaudí’s Park Güell, are the much less crowded civil war anti-aircraft placements, from where today the city lays peacefully at your feet.
The easiest view point to reach from the city center is Montjüic, there is a funicular up but you don’t need to be mega fit to walk up for free. On Friday and Saturday nights don’t miss the free magic fountain displays from the steps of the Palau Nacional.
- Let’s face it Barcelona is cool for so many reasons but it’s unique selling point are the beaches in the middle of the city. Although easily walkable from the Gothic Quarter, from there you will arrive at the most crowded beaches by Barceloneta. We recommend taking the metro to Ciutadella Vila Olimpica for access to the beach at Bogatell, or even heading further down to Llacuna metro, though from there the walk to the beach is longer. For LGBT travellers the walk from Llacuna or Poble Nou is worth it, as you’ll arrive at the LGBT friendly Marbella beach.
- If you time your visit right, you could catch one of Barcelona’s myriad free street festivals. The biggest are La Mercè (link only available in Catalan) in late September when the whole city is full of free live music in the evenings and packed full of traditional events like els castellers by day.
At the end of June Barcelona celebrates Sant Joan, or mid-summer, by heading to the beach with cava and fireworks to await sunrise.
Each neighborhood of Barcelona has it’s own street festival throughout the year. The most famous is undoubtedly the Gràcia festival (Link only in Catalan) at the end of August. The streets of the whole neighborhood are decorated with different themes each year, each competing to be the best in the barrio. With live music everywhere and many traditional events for families by day, this is not to be missed if you are in town at the time.
- Every neighborhood of Barcelona has it’s own fresh food market, most have bars and restaurants inside and you really get a good feel of how local people live by visiting and eating in the markets. The most famous by far is the Boquería on Las Ramblas, but because this is so popular with tourists, the prices are higher than elsewhere. In the old town, Santa Caterina market, with it’s cool colorful roof, is a lot more down to earth than the Boquería. Up in the Eixample the Mercat de la Concepció is great, as is the Abacería market in Gràcia.
Barcelona does not just have great food markets, it also has a fantastic flea market, Encants, in its stunning new building by Glories metro, and for book lovers the Sant Antoni Market on Sunday mornings is unmissable.
- Take a stroll through the city’s parks. The most famous by far is Gaudí’s Park Güell. Although you have to now pay for the Monumental Zone with it’s mosaic bench, the rest of the park is free all the time, and even the Monumental Zone is free after 18:00.
- Closer to the city center is the equally beautiful Parc Ciutadella with its lake, fountain and Modernista architecture there’s lots to see, but more interesting is to relax and people watch as Barcelonins get sporty and creative, playing music, jogging, dancing and practicing circus skills!
- Free culture. Away from the tourist orientated Flamenco shows and nightclubs, there are plenty of small bars offering live music for free. Check out the jam’s a Café Marula (Wednesdays and Sundays at the time of writing), La Rouge and Gypsy Lou in Raval have shows every night, or get up and have a go yourself at an open mic or jam session. For the more proficient there’s Jazz Si, but anyone can get up at Open Mic Wednesdays, on Thursdays at Freedonia, or on Saturdays at Belchica.
Down at the beach on summer evenings you can catch free independent films screenings organized by Cinema Lliure.
For a regularly updated list of free cultural events in Barcelona, check out; BCN For Free.
- Take a Free Walking Tour! The best way to see a city is with a local guide. Book your Free Walking Tour of Barcelona