20 Free Things to do in Barcelona!
I was on a serious budget on my journey to every country in the world (197 of them!). I needed to find all the free things to do in Barcelona so I could enjoy the city without spending a fortune. Now I’m here to help you guys do the same!
This happened when I once overlanded from China back to my home in Ireland with no flights. It was one hell of an adventure. I used the Trans Siberian railway to cross Russia. And once into Iceland, I spent 4 months visiting every country in Europe (that was on the mainland). I loved a lot of the more obscure destinations, like Moldova and Belarus. But after spending one day in Copenhagen, I realised just why the touristic cities are so popular. I threw away my travel snobbery and embraced the mainstream destinations too. That’s when my love affair with Barcelona began. I took the train from Madrid, found some barcelona apartments in my price point. And then proceeded to do Barcelona on a budget.
I discovered the best free things to do in Barcelona. Check them out if you want to save your money too!
City views from Bunkers del Carmel (& Parc Guell)
Maybe it’s just me but the first thing I want to do when I come to a new city is get to a beautiful vantage point and check out the views of the place. And Barcelona offers more great views than almost any other city in the world. The best of the lot is either Bunkers del Carmel or Parc Guell.
In the bunker option, you can actually climb inside the bunkers and visit the small (free) museum and read about the Civil War. But it’s the views that are the real highlight.
Ramble down La Rambla
The ultimate tourist activity. 1km of shops, restaurants, bars and tshirts with ‘I HEART Barcelona’. And it’s fun, and beautiful and a must-do. Knock yourself out.
Photo Barcelona’s architectural highlights
Barcelona is a city unmatched in its architectural highlights. Of course, La Sagrada Familia steals all the plaudits. But don’t forget Casa Batllo, Casa Amatller, and Casa Lleo Morera. The 3 Modernisme buildings are ionic here. And then, of course, there is Gaudi!
Sagrada Familia (from the outside!)
Tickets to enter this emblem of Barcelona are around €20.00. But the real money shot is the architecture from outside. And no-one can charge you anything for that!
Bronze at Barceloneta beach
Barcelona has a number of gorgeous beaches (filled with gorgeous people). But if you’re going to visit just one, it has to be Barceloneta. The most popular, and therefore often the busiest. But it also has the best amenities and facilities.
Joan Miró’s public art and Parc de Joan Miro
There are Joan Miro sculptures dotted around the city but the best is probably in the Parc De Joan Miro. It’s always quiet, so soak it up, not much of Barcelona is quiet!
Born Centre cultural; The Birth of the Catalan Independence movement
More than a museum. The building itself is beautiful. And the archaeological findings beneath it more impressive still, showcasing life in Barcelona from the 18th century. More famous still is this the centre of Catalan Independence cries.
La Catedral De Barcelona (& nearby Santa Maria del Mar)
No ticket charge like it’s more famous, and more expensive brother! Both La Catedral de Barcelona and nearby Santa Maria Del Mar are well worth a little wander on your free day out. Simply majestic.
Get Lost in the Streets of Barri Gòtic
Perhaps my favourite activity. The gothic quarter, or Barri Gotic, is simply stunning. Cobblestone alleys, and narrow paths. Medieval vibes and a guaranteed maze to get you lost. It’s beautiful. And nearby the Cathedral and La Rambla.
Peoplewatch in Placa Reial
If your budget allows, grab a spanish coffee and act sophisticated. That’s seemingly what everyone else is doing! If not, simple people watch. A beautiful plaza, included some of Gaudi’s work, with typical Barcelona life carrying out around you.
Picnic in Parc de la Ciutadella
Check the Arc de Trimof while you’re here. But hit the supermarket, save some money on food, and have a picnic in the city’s best park. Expect live music, circus performers and a beautiful huge church keeping watch over it all.
The Magic Fountain at Font Màgica
Font Màgica de Montjuïc. An outdoor light and music show at night. Dating back almost 100 years. Show’s range between 8pm to 10pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays (no shows in January and February).
Wander at Barcelona’s Street Art
There’s plenty! The photo below is perhaps the famous of all, Frank Gehry’s Peix. Also look out for Botero’s cat on La Rambla, ‘Barcelona Head’ at Port Vell, and Tapies’ Monument Homage to Picasso.
Hike Collserola hill (Serra De Collserola)
Another hike, another hill and another view. This one is further from the city. And is more of a hike that the other 2 so bring water, sunscreen and some decent sneakers.
The cultural centre of Barcelona. Museums, gardens, city views, fountains, sculptures and people! It’s also home to the old Olympic Stadium from 1992. You can’t NOT wander Montjuic when in town. Some places have entrance fees, but to wander is free. And probably best.
Trinket searching at Mercat Del Encants Flea Market
Half flea market, half out-door museum. Or so it seems. There are some serious gems to be found in there.500 vendors, multiple floors. The best is probably the bottom (ground) floor. It’s home to most of the antiques. It’s open Monday, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays from 9am to 8 pm.
Take Free walking tour
European cities all seem to have free walking tours now. It’s great! Taken by a local, it offers an insight into the history of the city of course, but also about modern life. Tips are normally expected at the end (5 euro can suffice). Plaza Reial at 11am and 4.30pm hosts walking tours daily.
Free Museums (on Sundays!)
Normally museums in Barcelona are expensive. However, on the first Sunday every month (and every Sunday after 3pm) entrance is normally free! Even at the Picasso Museum (free every Thursday 6pm to 9pm, online booking required). Wow.
Watch Sunset at Sagrat Cor
Sunsetting on one of my favourite cities n Europe. What’s not to like. It’s on the summit of Mount Tibidabo and the church is worth a look too. But come at dusk for the special views.
Get Fat at Food Markets (La Boqueria Market)
Barcelona has many food markets, so if you find one yourself, go and enjoy! If you don’t know any, then La Boqueria is the most famous. Barcelona, and Spanish delights aplenty.
Final thoughts on free things to do in Barcelona?
Barcelona is a buzzing, first-world city. No doubt about that. But it doesn’t have to be a super expensive experience. I managed to spend 3 days there and spent $50 a day. Pretty good! I’ve also had some of my digital nomad friends move there. It’s possible to rent apartment barcelona long term without breaking the bank too. Since my online income grew, I’d love to go back and sample Barcelona without the financial restraints. But rest assure, even on a tight budget, with all the free things to do in Barcelona, it’s a great city to visit.
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