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21 Free Things to do in Barcelona

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It is no secret that Barcelona is not the cheapest city to visit within Europe but you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of free things to do in Barcelona too!

If you’re visiting Barcelona on a budget then you’ve certainly come to the right place. There are plenty of amazing free attractions within Barcelona so that you can enjoy the beauty of the city without worrying about spending too much money.

Amy standing in front of the Sagrada Familia

It just goes to show that you don’t need to spend lots of money to enjoy travelling. You just need to find some cheap flights to Barcelona and an affordable place to stay!

Below, you will find 21 different options of free things to do in Barcelona which will help make your trip much more budget friendly.

The Best Free Things to do in Barcelona

1. Visit Gaudi’s Buildings

Even if you’ve never been to Barcelona before, after doing a quick Google search you will come to learn that Barcelona really is Gaudi’s playground.

Throughout Barcelona, there are multiple buildings that were designed and created by Antoni Gaudi which make up a lot of the main tourist attractions in Barcelona.

When you’re visiting the city, you will need to visit at least some of Gaudi’s buildings. The most popular work of Gaudi’s is the Sagrada Familia.

Whilst it does cost to enter La Sagrada Familia, it is completely free to admire the architecture from outside. It is amazing to see the church still under construction and if you visit Barcelona multiple times it is fascinating to see the progress too.

As most people tend to visit Barcelona to purely appreciate the work of Gaudi, as you can imagine the entrance tickets have become quite expensive. It is free to admire them from outside so try to visit as many of them as you can whilst you’re in Barcelona.

Other Gaudi buildings that you can visit include Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Casa Visciens, Parc Guell, El Calvet and Teresian College.

One of the best free things to do in Barcelona is to visit Gaudi's buildings from the outside. This image shows the outside of Casa Batllo.

2. Free Walking Tours

Now technically free walking tours aren’t actually free because you do need to leave a tip at the end if you’re satisfied with the tour.

However, we do think that it is still worth including on our list because it certainly is a cheap way to explore Barcelona and learn more about the city from a local guide.

Liam walking through some of the streets in the gothic quarter.

There are two different free tours available in Barcelona, one is a free walking tour to learn more about the city highlights. Another free walking tour you can enjoy is the Gaudi and Modernism tour which will teach you more about Gaudi’s impact on the Barcelona we know and love today.

If you do have some spare cash at the end of the tour then the local guide will really appreciate it because that is how they earn their money.

3. La Boqueria Market

Explore one of the most exciting and bustling markets within Barcelona for free by taking a wander through La Boqueria.

This beautiful market is a great place to shop for some fresh ingredients within Barcelona. If you’re travelling here on a budget and cooking your own food in your accommodation to cut costs then this is definitely the place to go.

Even if you’re not planning to purchase any ingredients, it is still worth heading to La Boqueria Market to experience some of the locals doing their shopping. It is a great way to learn more about the culture in Barcelona.

4. Sagrat Cor

One of the lesser known places to visit in Barcelona is the Sagrat Cor. Everyone focuses their attention on La Sagrada Familia without realising that this beautiful basilica is also on Barcelona’s doorstep.

The construction of the church ended in 1961 and still holds a prominent place in the city. Taking some time to visit this church and admire the architecture is one of the best free things to do in Barcelona and we would really recommend taking a visit to see it.

5. Bunkers del Carmel

When we last went to Barcelona, a friend recommended for us to visit Bunkers del Carmel and it has been by far the best recommendation we’ve received.

Liam enjoying the view from the bunkers del Carmel. In this image you can see for miles across Barcelona.

If you’re looking for one of the best free viewpoints in Barcelona then this is the place to go. The Bunkers del Carmel was the last thing we did before leaving Barcelona and what a way to end the trip.

For visiting this viewpoint, we would highly recommend heading up here for sunset. If you’re travelling to Barcelona as a couple then maybe even take a picnic to the viewpoint and enjoy a romantic date night within Barcelona.

6. Santa Maria Del Mar Cathedral

Another church that is worth visiting within Barcelona is the Santa Maria Del Mar Cathedral.

Located within the Ribera district, this is well worth a visit and especially as it is completely free too. It is the last remaining Catalan Gothic-style church so it is now a staple part of Barcelona.

One of the best reasons to visit this Cathedral is that it also offers 360 degree views over Barcelona too. Due to this, you will get to see some of the most stunning views of Barcelona for free.

7. Parc de Joan Miro

To enjoy more of Barcelona’s greenery, head to Parc de Joan Miro and admire this beautiful park.

One of the main attractions to the park is the infamous statue created by Miro which was made just a year before his death.

Wander through and admire the beauty of the park and appreciate a different side of Barcelona.

8. Arc de Triomf

One of the few architectural marvels that was not created by Gaudi in Barcelona is the Arc de Triomf.

It was originally built as the gateway for the Barcelona World Fair in 1888 and still stands tall for tourists and locals to admire today.

The Arc de Triomf in Barcelona.

You will be happy to know that it is completely free to visit the Arc de Triomf and you will be able to sit in the park close by appreciating some peace and quiet.

9. Visit Barcelona’s Beaches

There are not many cities that have green areas as well as stunning beaches but Barcelona is an exception to this.

Take a break from sightseeing in the city and go to enjoy the Barcelona sun on one of the many beautiful beaches that it has to offer.

There are 28 Blue Flag beaches within Barcelona and most of them offer Wi-Fi too. Even if you’re not the sunbathing type, it is still worth wandering down to the beaches to do a little bit of sightseeing here instead.

One of the most popular beaches to visit is the Barceloneta beach which offers golden sand for tourists to enjoy. In particular, this is a great free activity for families in Barcelona.

To save money even further, pick up some items and enjoy a tasty picnic at the beach!

10. Explore Barcelona’s Street Art

Some of the street art in Barcelona. This particular image shows a guy that once was a popular meme with the writing 'swipe up to unlock'

Barcelona is certainly one of the art Capitals of Europe and even if you don’t have enough in your budget to visit one of the many art galleries in the city, luckily street art is completely free.

You will easily be able to take yourself on a self-guided tour of the street art within Barcelona. We’ve done our own tours like this in other cities and it works really well; you just have to make sure that you’re organised.

Take some time writing down the pieces of street art in Barcelona that you want to see. You can then take the locations of these and enter them into Google Maps to work out the best route for you to walk to each of them.

11. Wander around the Gothic Quarter

One of our favourite areas of Barcelona is the Gothic Quarter because we really just love the vibe that it brings.

This neighbourhood used to be the Roman village and holds a lot of history for Barcelona within it. If you’re looking for some great spots for your Barcelona Instagram then this is the perfect place to find them. The Gothic Quarter will certainly strike a lot of inspiration and if you need some edgy Barcelona Instagram captions then don’t worry we’ve got you covered.

Some of the gothic architecture from the gothic quarter.

Whilst you’re visiting the Gothic Quarter, you will want to take a wander around the Barcelona Cathedral. You will be spellbound by the marvellous exterior, never mind the interior too.

Some of the areas within the Gothic Quarter remind us of a real-life Harry Potter scene so it is definitely worth a visit for any Harry Potter fans too.

12. Placa Reial

Even though Placa Reial is a part of the Gothic Quarter, we did think that this should have it’s own place in the list of free things to do in the city.

This is the Royal Square within Barcelona and it is also one of the busiest squares within the city too. Even if you’re exploring Barcelona on a budget, you won’t feel like it when you’re wandering through this square.

It is one of the best Instagrammable spots within the city. If you want to visit to get some snaps for your IG or even a blog then it is best to visit early hours of the morning because it can get pretty busy during the day (not to mention quite warm too!).

13. Flea Market at Mercat del Encants

Whether you’re shopping for some bargains or just want to visit for the experience, Mercat del Encants is one of the best flea markets within Barcelona.

Dating back to 1300, this flea market holds a lot of history and it is an amazing experience for tourists to experience something a bit more unique within the city.

The Mercat del Encants is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 9am and 8pm so there are plenty of opportunities for you to visit.

14. Parc de la Ciutadella

Just a short walk down the avenue from the Arc de Triomf you will stumble across the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella.

This park is truly magnificent and during the day, you will find plenty of street performers that you can watch whilst basking in the sun.

Parc de la Ciutadella.

You will often find that there are a lot of activities within the park so it is a beautiful spot for people to watch, read a book and relax.

One of the most popular sightseeing spots in the park is the fountain with the three dragon statues. It is truly a beautiful spot to visit within Barcelona and one that is enjoyable for solo travellers, couples and families too.

15. Cinema at the Beach

You’ll often find that outdoor cinemas are hosted at parks but this particular cinema in Barcelona is on the beach. You will get to enjoy the outdoor cinema between July and August when the sun has set on San Sebastian beach.

At the time of writing this, we are still awaiting for the confirmation of dates, times and movies set for 2024 but we expect that these will be released soon.

We will update this post once the showings have been released and more information on how you can reserve your spot.

16. Visit the free area of Parc Guell

Liam enjoying Parc Guell.

Even though Parc Guell does require a ticket to enter the whole of the park, there is actually an area of the park that is free to visit.

It will cost you to visit the Monumental area of Parc Guell but it is completely free to enter the forest area so it is well worth a visit even if you don’t want to fork out for the admission.

Even if you don’t visit the whole area of Parc Guell, it is still worth wandering around the free section and taking in some of the sights.

If you decide that you want to visit the inside of some of Gaudi’s buildings then you can choose to purchase a complete Gaudi tour which is quite an affordable day tour in Barcelona. This will take you to around 5 of the buildings and includes admission tickets so it is still worth it for anyone on a budget.

17. Jardines de Laribal

These gardens are one of the best hidden gems within Barcelona and certainly worth a visit for tourists looking to step off the beaten track.

It was the first public rose garden to be opened in Barcelona and it is still a real beauty to this day. You can wander through the stunning greenery enjoying the sights and the tranquillity of the gardens.

18. Arenas de Barcelona Shopping Centre

This stunning shopping centre is great for any travellers wanting to enjoy a bit of window shopping or maybe even look out for some souvenirs for family or friends.

One of the main highlights of visiting Arenas de Barcelona Shopping Centre is the 360 degree viewpoint from the rooftop. It may look as though it is chargeable to enter but you just need to go up the escalators within the main shopping centre and you will be able to visit for free.

19. Parc del Laberint d’Horta Maze

For a unique thing to do in Barcelona, get lost in the Parc del Laberint d’Horta Maze and have fun trying to find your way out.

This is a beautiful green area to visit and it is one of Barcelona’s best hidden gems. If you can make your way into the centre then you will be rewarded with a beautiful statue of the Greek God of Love, Eros.

For any families travelling to Barcelona looking for something that is budget friendly, this really is a great find and will keep the kids occupied easily.

20. Montjuic Mountain

It is technically free to visit Montjuic Mountain but it is very possible that you may want to pay for transport to the top of the mountain to save your feet.

Going to the top of Montjuic Mountain will afford you some stunning views across the city and you’ll be able to explore around Montjuic Castle for free too.

Montjuic Mountain which gives some great views over Barcelona City.

If you do have it with your budget then taking a ride on the Montjuic cable car, Teleferic Montjuic. It is one of the cheapest things to do in Barcelona and you’ll be able to explore Barcelona in a unique way.

21. Enjoy a free tapas with a drink

Once upon a time, there used to be a lot of different restaurants within Barcelona that offered a tapas dish or two with purchase of certain drinks.

Some of the tapas options available in Barcelona including patatas bravas, pork skewer and chicken bites with a glass of prosecco.

However, in this modern day and age, this is becoming a more rare occurrence. There are still some restaurants within Barcelona that offer Tapas deals such as this.

Restaurants that we would recommend you to visit that are budget friendly if you’re looking to enjoy a drink and a free bite to eat include Gata Mala, Ca’l Chusco and Atrapatapa.

Now Onto Exploring Barcelona Affordably!

We hope that you’ve been able to find plenty of ideas for free things to do in Barcelona from this list.

Some of the main tourist attractions in Barcelona can be quite expensive even though there are some cheap activities in Barcelona that still exist. If you have some budget for activities then venturing to Montserrat from Barcelona is a great day out.

One of the biggest Barcelona tips that we can give you is to try and embrace every opportunity that you can. Let the city sink in and enjoy the easy casual vibe of Barcelona.

There are so many hidden gems around the city that you will never know what you will find around each corner. Even if you’re exploring Barcelona on a budget, there are plenty of activities that you can enjoy that are affordable for tourists to enjoy as much of the city as possible.

Amy walking through some of the columns in Parc Guell.

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