30 Free Things to Do in Barcelona

By Michelle Yastremsky


Whimsical architecture, savory culinary specialties, and coastlines that extend as far as the eye can see - Barcelona is an adventurer's dream!

Add these free things to do in Barcelona to your itinerary, so you can spend less money on sightseeing and spend more on pintxos and paella!


Art & Architecture

Museums in Barcelona: when to go for free

Paintings without the price tag!

1. National Art Museum of Catalonia

Art ranging from Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance and Baroque. Free every Saturday starting at 3pm and the first Sunday of every month.

2. Picasso Museum

One of the world’s most extensive collections by Pablo Picasso. Free every Sunday from 3pm-7pm and the first Sunday of every month.

3. Barcelona City History Museum

Explore life in Barcelona during the Roman era! Free every Saturday starting at 3pm and the first Sunday of every month.

4. Palace Guell

This mansion designed by Antoni Gaudi is located just off Rambla! Free the first Sunday of every month.

5. Maritime Museum of Barcelona

Explore Barcelona’s maritime history in a museum housed in the Royal Shipyards! Free the first Sunday of the month from 3pm.


Religious Marvels

The Sagrada Familia is worth the price tag; however don't overlook some of the city's other churches and cathedrals - especially when you can visit for free!

6. Barcelona Cathedral

This neo-Gothic La Catedral is a work of art, and offers free entry in the morning and late afternoon.

7. Basilica of Santa Maria Del Mar

This church in Barcelona's el Born neighborhood is stunning example of Catalan Gothic architecture. Plan a visit outside of the hours of 12pm-5pm for free entry.


Best Scenic Walks in Barcelona

Follow the path to beauty!

Who needs museums when your city is a work of art? Follow the footsteps of Catalan Modernism or enjoy a stroll along the coast with these streets and routes.

8. Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter)

Unsure what to do for a day? Get lost in the Gothic Quarter! Follow the labyrinth of cobbled lanes until you reach a bustling square, historic religious building, or even an ancient ruin!

9. Ruta del Modernisme

This route compiled by Barcelona’s local government takes you on a path of discovery through the architects who made Barcelona the capital of Modernism. See works by Gaudi, Domenech I Monatner, and Puig I Cadafalch. While there is a guidebook sold at local tourist centers highlighting this route, you can actually follow the small red paving stones found on the ground on the main streets to do this city treasure hunt for free!

10. Passeig Maritime

Enjoy a relaxing stroll down Barcelona’s Passeig Maritime, a pleasant promenade spanning just over ¾ of a mile from La Barceloneta beach to Port Olimpic, with views of the coast following your every step.

11. Passeig de Gracia

One of Barcelona’s most important avenues is also home to several of the city’s most majestic wonders: Casa Batllo & Casa Mila by Antoni Gaudi.

12. Bonus: Street art behind La Boqueria

The market of La Boqueria is a destination in itself, but follow the path around the market and you’ll stumble upon a street art haven, hidden in plain sight.


Markets

Stroll, sample, and shop!

Barcelona’s markets are a thing of legend. While some are only open during certain days of the week, on any given day you can find a market sure to impress.

13. La Boqueria

No visit to Barcelona is complete without a stop at La Boqueria market! Sweet treats, freshly-caught bites, and fruits in all shapes, sizes, and colors line the stalls for one culinary adventure. *Opening times: Mon-Sat (8:00am-8:30pm) *

14. Mercat del Encants

Barcelona’s largest and best-known flea market! Find handmade goods, homemade wares, as well as knick knacks and vintage items. Opening times: Mon, Wed, Fri, Saturday (8:30am-late afternoon)

15. Mercat de la Concepcio

One of Barcelona’s oldest markets (since 1888) is also one of its most colorful! This popular flower market has an abundance of specialties for those with a green thumb. *Opening times: Mon & Sat (7:00am-3:00pm), Tues-Fri (8:00am-8:00pm) *

16. Sant Antoni Market

This vibrant food market is not only larger than Boqueria, but is also more beloved by locals. On Sundays be sure to check out the book and coin market directly outside the food hall. *Opening times: Mon-Thurs (7:00am-2:30pm/5:00pm-8:30), Fri & Sat (7:00am-8:30pm) *

17. Painters Market

On weekends Place Del Pi transforms into a cultural hub of artists peddling their painted wares. If you’re looking for the perfect souvenir to bring home from your Barcelona vacation, why not negotiate with one of the artists to immortalize you in a painting with the Sagrada Familia as your backdrop! Opening times: Sat &Sun


Parks & Gardens

The grass is always green(er)!
Barcelona’s eclectic spirit shines through from the buildings to the parks – go on a hunt for Modernist statues or enjoy a picnic in one of these public spaces.

18. Parc de la Ciutadella

Lose track of time in this massive green space, which is home to a Zoo, a citadel, and even the Catalan Parliament! Be sure to take a moment to appreciate the park’s iconic fountain, designed partially by Barcelona’s sweetheart Antoni Gaudi.

19. Parc de Joan Miro

Named after surrealist painter Joan Miro, this park stands on the grounds of a former slaughterhouse, yet is now home to a pond, abstract sculptures, and a grove populated by punes, palm trees, oaks, and more.

20. Jardins de Ca n'Altimira

Discover the beauty of eccentric Freemason millionaire’s Josep Altimira former private gardens! Get a taste of 19th century grandeur with a walk through the now-public space, from the on-site zoo to the galleries and pillared halls.

21. Parc de l'Espanya Industrial

A former steam-powered mill from the 1800s is now an industrial park. Slide down the giant steel dragon slide or grab a boat and enjoy a ride around the small lake.

22. Bonus: Park Guell

While the majority of Park Guell’s attractions are only accessible by paid entry ticket, there are several free parts of the park. The best part? Because of the park’s elevated location, those who make the trek to the top will be rewarded with sweeping views of the city below!

Beaches of Barcelona

City streets meet sandy shores.

Take a dip in the waters, unwind on the sandy shore, or grab a freshly-caught bite a at a port restaurant – escape the bustle of Barcelona without leaving the city borders.

23. Barceloneta Beach

Street performers, locals, and slews of tourists make up Barcelona’s most popular and famous beach. Be sure to take a photo in front of its iconic “Homenatge a la Barceloneta” sculpture!

24. Nova Icaria Beach

Located near the Olympic marina and observatory, this beach is a popular choice for Barcelona’s younger crowd as well as those interested in watersports.

25. Bogatell Beach

This beach is about a 15-minute walk from any public transportation, but is a favorable choice for those looking to escape the crowds for a soak in the sun.

26. Ocata Beach

One of Barcelona’s cleanest beaches, Ocata’s flat surface makes it perfect for sports such as volleyball!

27. Mar Bella Beach

Home to late night raves and nude-friendly sections, Mar Bella is a popular destination for students and locals.


Free Entertainment

28. The sidewalk is the stage with these free performances in Barcelona.

From streets live with music to whimsical shows with music and light, experience the soul of Spain without spending a euro.

29. Las Ramblas

Barcelona’s most famous street offers so much more than snacks and shopping! Be greeted by street performers with talents ranging from the impressive to the weird to the extraordinary during a stroll down this popular path.

30. Magic Fountain of Montjuic

Experience a water, sound, and light show on your way home from dinner or exploring – for free! Built for Barcelona’s 1929 World Exposition, the Magic Fountain of Montjuic puts on a whimsical performance almost every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.

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