The best things in life are free: hugs, smiles, friends, family, love, sleep, laughter… fountain shows?
With all the free things to do in Barcelona you could spend a weekend here without spending a penny (though you may have to camp illegally in Ciutadella Park 😉 ) – here’s how to do it:
10 Absolutely Free Things to Do in Barcelona
Walk Around La Boqueria
The biggest food market in Europe sits right in the heart of La Rambla. A past winner of ‘Best Market in the World’ at the World Markets Congress, La Boqueria is a feast for the senses. A great place for photos and an insight into the hustle and bustle of central Barcelona. Free? Sure. But I dare you to leave without spending a penny!
For more information check out our article dedicated to La Boqueria.
Take in a Great View of the City
Tell me, how many major European cities offer a free birds-eye view?
There’s a great feeling of escape when you trade the noise of the city for a breathtaking panoramic view. Whether it’s summer or winter, going to Turo de la Rovira (‘The Bunkers’) or Montjuic to see the city and get downright philosophical with yourself is a perfectly good use of anyone’s time.
Go to the Beach
Of all the free things to do in Barcelona, did we really need to mention this? We’ve covered this extensively in our article about the best beaches in Barcelona but here are some general tips:
- Avoid the crammed local beaches (Barceloneta, Vila Olympica)
- Go farther north (Marbella, Nova Mar) for cleaner water and more space
- Watch your valuables when you go for a swim!
Take a Stroll down the Ruta del Modernisme
So many architectural masterpieces, so little time. Counting 115 buildings including the world-famous Casa Batllo and La Pedrera – this route not only showcases the wealth and flair of turn of the century Catalonia, but the sheer madness of the industrialists one-upping each other with each new palatial residence.
For a full itinerary of this architectural Disneyland consult the Ruta del Modernisme website.
Take a Free Walking Tour
OK, so this one is only free if you’re a complete a****** and don’t end up tipping your guide 😉 I’ve found though that free walking tours are a great way to get a sense of a city, especially if you’re too lazy to read up on it yourself!
Runnerbean Tours has a wide selection of tours from the Old City to Gaudi to the chilling ‘Dark Past’ night tour.
Catch the Magic Fountain Show
Perhaps the most popular of all the free things to do in Barcelona. At the foot of the National Palace (headquarters of the National Art Museum of Catalunya: MNAC) you’ll find the magic fountain show: water jets synchronized to light and music, a true balletic spectacle.
Autumn/Winter: Friday and Saturday from 19:00 to 21:00
Spring/Summer: Thursday to Sunday from 21:00 to 23:30
For more information check out our article dedicated to the Magic Fountain Barcelona.
Check out the Late Summer Festivals (Festes Majors)
In the late summer you’ll find entire neighbourhoods shutting down to host week-long festivals. Of our list of free things to do in Barcelona this has to be the best value for your (no!) money.
The legendary Festa de Gracia has entire blocks shutting down to redecorate according to certain themes – last year’s impressive Japanese-themed village was the run-away winner. And who could forget the legendary correfoc (fire-run) of the summer-ending La Mercè? Live music everywhere, exhibitions, traditional food… what else do you need?
Check this link for a full list of Festes Majors.
Get Free Food (Yes, Free Food!)
What’s the only thing better than having quality Spanish tapas with your beer? Having free tapas with your beer. Though Barcelona tapas bars can hardly compare to the generosity of their southern cousins in Andalucia, there are still a handful of great bars which will give you free food when you order drinks.
Check out the full list in our article 9 Bars with Free Tapas in Barcelona.
Take a Tour of the Santa Maria del Mar
Considered the finest and most complete example of Catalan Gothic architecture, this is a can’t miss if you’re wandering the streets of the famous Gothic Quarter. The imposing 14th century church might be hemmed in by surrounding buildings (making it difficult to get an overall impression), but the inside is pure light and spaciousness.
The tall columns were a major inspiration for Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Also take a look in the vault for the walls blackened by smoke from an anti-Franco demonstration during the Spanish Civil War.
Take Advantage of Free Museum Sundays
Here is one of the free things to do in Barcelona that, well, technically isn’t normally free. You guessed it then: value town, population you! A handful of popular Barcelona museums offer free entry, usually on Sundays.
First Sunday of every month: Picasso Museum, Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, National Art Museum of Catalonia (also free Saturdays after 3PM), Museum of Catalan History.
You can also visit the Chocolate Museum for free the first Monday of every month.
Did I miss something completely obvious and you’re almost too embarrassed to tell me? Let me know in the comments below.
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