Rick and I are dying to plan a return trip to Barcelona to explore more of its famous sights, taste more of its delicious food, and enjoy the vibrant, charming city to its fullest – as well as revisit some of Barcelona’s free activities.
Trying to see and do everything in the city doesn’t have to eat up all of your travel budget. Fortunately, some of the best things to do in Barcelona are free, which means you can spend more on paella, tapas, and amazing Spanish wine.
From visiting the top attractions to discovering hidden gems sure to leave you with happy memories of the city, Barcelona has a lot to offer the budget-conscious traveler. In fact, some of the most famous attractions can be seen for free or offer free entry after a certain time if you’re willing to be flexible with your schedule.
If you want to get the most out of your budget when touring the Catalan city, be sure to add these free things to do to your Barcelona travel itinerary!
12 of the best free things to do in Barcelona
1. Go on a free walking tour
Go on a sightseeing tour of Barcelona to see the best of the city for free! (OK, you will tip your guide but it’s still called a free walking tour of Barcelona!)
The Sandemans New Europe tour of Barcelona is a two and a half hour walking tour that goes through the Gothic Quarter, the El Born District, and past the Roman ruins and stunning cathedrals. They focus on the city’s history and heritage as well as discuss Barcelona’s Catalan identity and culture.
Free Walking Tours Barcelona also has a two and a half hour walking tour that shows you La Rambla, the Gothic Quarter, and focuses on the city’s artists and legends.
These tours are a great way to get to know the city, see the major sights, and decide where you want to go back to during your free time.
2. Relax at the beach
It’s easy to enjoy sunbathing on the beach in Barcelona as there are four main beaches and miles of soft, golden sandy beachline to explore. If you’re in the mood for a snack, there are good options of restaurants and bars along the boardwalk so you won’t have to go far to find good eats.
3. Marvel at the architecture
While many of Gaudi’s works of art do require a ticket, you can still enjoy the exterior of some of the more famous buildings for free! Without a ticket, you can still check out the exterior architecture of:
- Sagrada Familia
- Casa Batllo
- Casa Mila
4. Visit the Barcelona Cathedral
With free entry in the morning (generally before 12:30 p.m.), you can check out this impressive cathedral, the cloister, and watch the geese waddle around for a bit. The church has a different feeling compared to Sagrada Familia and is a bit more traditional with it’s dark stone, stained glass windows, and religious art done in shimmering gold. It’s definitely worth checking out while exploring the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona.
5. Explore the free parts of Park Guell
Tourists flock to Park Guell for sightseeing in Barcelona but there are areas of the park that do not require a ticket! The park spans 19 hectares and the ticketed part is only 1.7 hectares, meaning there’s a lot more of the park to explore – though it won’t the Instagram-famous shots we’re all familiar with. You can always sneak a peek as you pass by the ticketed entry or go discover the green space of the free section of the park.
6. Ramble down La Rambla
Take a stroll down the tree-lined street in the heart of Barcelona for free and shop the souvenir stalls, sit down for a pitcher of sangria and tapas, or make your way down toward the beach at the Christopher Columbus statue. Since it’s a pedestrian street, it can get quite crowded, especially at meal times, so be prepared for a leisurely walk down the street.
7. Walk through the Boqueria
Just off La Rambla is the famous Boqueria or market. The bright oranges and yellows of the fresh fruit, the tempting reds of wine and jamon, as well as the overwhelming array of light snacks and sweet treats draw you into the market. You can walk through the market for free but you might want to take a bit of cash if the food gets too tempting!
8. Explore the Gothic Quarter
Go on a walk through Barcelona’s history by exploring the charming Gothic Quarter or Barri Gotic. It’s home to medieval cobblestone streets, historic structures, and trendy bars and shops. Pop into Can Culleretes for a bite to eat and say you’ve visited the oldest restaurant in Barcelona, dating back to 1786! While in Barri Gotic, you should also check out El Call, Barcelona’s Jewish Quarter and home to the old synagogue.
9. Visit Placa Reial
It’s reminiscent of Venice’s St. Mark’s Square with a wide open plaza, stunning architecture, sculptures, and fountains. Take a breather from your Barcelona sightseeing adventure in this square and enjoy the people watching of both locals and tourists.Be sure to get a closer look at the lamp posts as they were created by Gaudi!
10. Take advantage of the free museum hours
In the late afternoon, head off to some of Barcelona’s museums for either free entry all day (first Sunday of each month) or after 3 p.m. on Sundays. These museums offer free entry on the first Sunday of the month (though check each website to see if entry is all day or only after 3 p.m.):
- The Picasso Museum
- The National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC)
- The Museum of Barcelona History (MUHBA)
- The Maritime Museum of Barcelona
- Chocolate Museum of Barcelona
- Palau Guell
Prepare for long lines and big crowds on Sundays to enjoy the free entry at Barcelona’s museums.
11. Enjoy a free magic water fountain show
Head over to the Montjuic Fountain for a dazzling water and light display. This free show lasts about 20 minutes and the dancing fountains are perfectly choreographed to music. Get there early to snag a good view, like on the steps going to the MNAC or on the pedestrian bridge near the Plaza de España.
12. Play in Ciutadella Park
Take a lap or two in Ciutadella Park and admire the sculptures, fountains, and green space within Barcelona. You’ll see people have picnics in the park, running, or enjoying the fresh air while taking in the gorgeous greenery.
Did we miss anything from our list of the best free things to do in Barcelona? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook!