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18 free things to do in Barcelona

Written by Christine

Barcelona is a city with so much to see and do that it’s impossible to ever feel bored here. There is something for everyone in the Ciudad Condal, no matter what your budget may be. Here is a sampling of some of the best things that you can do for free in Barcelona.

Discover the city’s plazas

Everyone knows Plaza Catalunya, but once you venture past this major tourist hub you can discover some smaller spaces like Plaza del Rei or Plaza de la Vila de Madrid, both located right off La Rambla. Most of the plazas offer the opportunity to enjoy a drink, relax, and enjoy the never-ending sunshine.

Visit the city’s cathedrals and churches

Photo by garyullah via Visualhunt

Barcelona boasts many breathtaking churches and cathedrals, the majority of which you can enter for free. Santa Maria del Mar, which is considered to be a contender for the most impressive cathedral in Barcelona, is open every day and it is free to the public. Be sure not to miss Santa Maria del Pi or Sant Andreu de Palomar, as well!

Explore the city’s ramblas

Of course, La Rambla is one of the city’s most popular attractions, but if you venture a bit farther out of the center you can take a stroll down La Rambla del Born, the ancient site of jousting in Barcelona, or La Rambla del Poblenou, which takes you right down to the beach.

Discover some animal art

Barcelona is where the wild things are, if you know where to look. You can find Botero’s cat in La Rambla del Raval or Coqueta, the giraffe, on Avenida Diagonal, just to name a few of Barcelona’s big animal statues.

Related article: Barcelona’s animal sculptures and statues

Enjoy the beach

Barcelona boasts more than 4 kilometers of beautiful sandy beaches which can be enjoyed for free, no matter the season. During the summer the beaches are packed with sunbathers but during the cooler months you can enjoy a seaside stroll or a drink at one of the beach bars and enjoy the view.

Go strolling through a park

There are several green spaces in Barcelona, such as Parc de la Ciutadella, Parc Güell, and Parc del Laberint d’Horta. All parks can be accessed for free, except for a section of Parc Güell for which you must buy tickets.

Visit La Boqueria and other historical markets

Photo by mikesm via Visualhunt

La Boqueria is Barcelona’s most famous market, right on La Rambla. Here you can buy fresh fruits, veggies, fish, and more, or you could enjoy a tapa and drink at one of the various stalls inside. The Mercat de Santa Caterina is another great choice because you can find similar products and a fraction of the crowd you would find at La Boqueria.

Go to museums on Sunday

Every first Sunday of the month and every Sunday after 3 PM, you can enter many of the city’s public museums for free. The most popular is the Picasso museum, but other great bets are the Museu de Cultures del Món or Museu Blau.

Enjoy the festivities

Barcelona is a city for party lovers since there are free events all year long. Barcelona’s biggest public festival is La Mercé, which takes place in September and includes free concerts, events, and food trucks spread across the city. You can also enjoy Festival de Sant Joan for a night of fireworks on the beach in June or any of the many festes majors of the different neighborhoods in Barcelona.

Dig for treasure in the city’s second hand markets

Try your luck at one of Barcelona’s flea markets to find some buried treasure. The largest and most well-known is Els Encants, located next to Glòries. You never know what you will find, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Related article: El Encants flea market

Admire the gorgeous architecture

Photo by Bert Kaufmann via VisualHunt.com

One of Barcelona’s most defining characteristics is its distinct architecture. Walk down Passeig de Gràcia and discover some of Gaudí’s most recognizable works like Casa Battló and Casa Milà. Heading down Avenida Diagonal you can also see some great examples of classic Catalan architecture.

Go on a nature walk

One of the best places to admire nature in Barcelona is Montjuïc, a green oasis in a concrete jungle. There, you can enjoy the beauty of the greenery and gardens and enjoy the peace and tranquility it offers. Venturing outside of Barcelona you can visit Collserola Parc, a natural park in the mountains that offers you the chance to get away from it all, if only just for the day.

Discover the city’s history in the Gothic neighborhood

Wind through the streets of the Gothic neighborhood and get to know the heart of the city. Take in the architecture, check out the old city walls, and be sure to read the signs around the area to learn the history and secrets of the ancient city.

Go on a walking tour

There are many free walking tours to choose from in Barcelona, and this is the best way to see the sights and learn the history if you only have a short trip planned. Free Walking Tours BCN offers a wide variety of themed tours, so you can see and explore the things that interest you the most.

Have a picnic at Turó de la Rovira

Photo by Jobopa via VisualHunt

Take your lunch up to the top of the Turó de la Rovira and enjoy a panoramic view of the city that’s unlike any other. This 360º vantage point gives you the unique opportunity to get a bird’s eye view and take in the city in a way that you will never forget.

Go to free exhibitions

The CaixaForum offers free events and exhibitions to the public, including a wide variety of topics and interests. You can also enjoy free events Palau de la Virreina.

Discover the city’s street art scene

The streets of Barcelona offer a great opportunity to see art on almost every corner. Check out neighborhoods like Raval and Gràcia to see street art and get a sense of the local artists. Wandering the streets of Barcelona is like being in an outdoor art exhibition!

See a beautiful show of music, lights and water

Lastly, check out the Font Màgica located in Plaza Espanya and prepare for a real treat. From the middle of February to the beginning of January, in the evenings, the fountain comes to life with lights and synchronized to music for a full experience for the senses. It’s a truly magical event which you should be sure not to miss.

Looking for an apartment in the city? ShBarcelona is the answer.

About the author

Christine

Christine is a traveler, teacher, writer, and beach-lover, exploring Barcelona one tapa at a time!

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