We live in Barcelona for too long to count now. And over the time we discovered so many free things, we simply have to share them with you.
Unfortunately, over the time many things like the castle and Casa Asia got turned into paid entertainment. BUT, there are still endless options out there. Not to worry!
Besides, here are our 8 best insider tips for Barcelona.
It is free as well and covers our best 8 hidden gems.
We included here as well the best guide for free events in town!
If you wanna have some fun, read our 23 fun things to do in Barcelona.
We even created a full list of 77 COOL things to do in Barcelona.
Besides the free staff, we highly recommend to get a scooter in Barcelona. It is the cheapest and fastest way to get around the city in no time. You can check out the cool guys at Via Vespa (www.via-vespa.com) for renting a vespa – you know, like in the movies.
Update: find now the 3 best hostels in Barcelona here.
Update: we collected as well 62 Free Things to do in London
Sure, we are here for the free stuff!
Here is our list of 59 free things to do in Barcelona to enjoy the Catalan capital on a shoe string budget, no wait…for free!
Let’s start with a picnic…who buys the bocadillos and who brings the blanket?
1. Relax at Parc de la ciutadella
Parc de la Ciutadella is situated next to the old town El Born district. It is the green area of the inner city. Many locals spend their free time in Park de la Ciutadella, and there are numerous events during the year.
Just get some food and head over to Parc.
There is also a small lake and you can rent a small boat here.
2. Parks in Montjuic
Climb up the cities mountain of Montjuic and enjoy the views over the city. Just walk around all the green area which was built for the worlds famous Olympic Games back in 1992.
Montjuic has several different parks to enjoy a picnic, children playgrounds and last but not the least the castle on the top.
Planning to enter the castle? Since 2014 there is an entrance fee for entering the castle at Montjuic.
Anyway, you can enjoy a wonderful view as well as the Montjuic as a whole.
3. Beach time, baby!
Going to Barcelona and not going to the beach?
No way, José!
Even though Barcelona’s beaches are not the most amazing in the country, for a cities beach they are super awesome indeed. Pack a towel and sun cream, leave your valuables at your Hostel in Barcelona and hit the beach!
As a recommendation head over to the less crowded beaches in the north of Barcelona.
All beaches in Barcelona:
- San Sebastià Beach
- Barceloneta Beach
- Icaria Beach
- Bogatell Beach
- Mar Bella Beach
- Nova Mar Bella Beach
4. La Mercè Festival
A festival to say goodbye to the summer? La Mercè Festival is the main festival in Barcelona taking place at the end of September.
The celebration goes on for around a week.
Across the city you will find endless free activities, concerts, exhibitions and more. If you have the chance, it is really not a bad idea to plan your visit to Barcelona for La Mercè.
5. Neighborhood festivals
But no worries, there are even more festivals in Barcelona! And these festivals are top free things to do in Barcelona!
The whole summer is loaded with different neighborhood festivals. Especially the “Festes de Gràcia” is well-known by now. Every street in the district of Gràcia is decorated.
The neighbors of the street choose a theme for their owns street and take care of the decoration by themselves. It is a competition between the different streets, and the best one even gets awarded.
But that is not all!
During “Festes de Gracia” in Barcelona there are endless free concerts and activities in the Gràcia district. Cool plus for the lover of upcycled design: Plus you can get so many ideas about recycling and decoration.
Oh, and there is a festival for every district in Barcelona, not only in Gracia!
6. Stroll along the “local Rambla”
Isn’t there only the Rambla? NOOOOO!!!!
Rambla simply means boulevard.
For most locals in Barcelona, they do not usually walk along Las Ramblas because it is very crowded.
They do prefer La Rambla del Poble Nou. La Rambla del Poble Nou it is full of bars where you can seat and eat some tapas or enjoy a beer for less price than in the famous “Rambla de Barcelona”.
7. Get amazed by local artists at Las Ramblas
Fair enough: Las Ramblas is very famous.
We also included it in the Must Do’s in Barcelona.
Las Ramblas de Barcelona is famous because there are lots of artists doing some shows along it: music, dancing and art are all around! Just walk down to La Rambla and enjoy their shows.
Extra Tip: Please make sure you are not so enchanted that you forget your personal belongings, as there are many pickpockets in this area.
8. Find a Magic Enchanted Forest near Las Ramblas
Near Las Rambas de Barcelona there is an awesome enchanted bar which is called El Bosc de les Fades (Fairy Forest), get in and enjoy its decoration. It is as if you were in a mystery Forest!
Does it even feel like the hobbits home in Lord of the Rings? Find out by your own.
9. Free museum night
Once a year, some Museums across Barcelona are for free during the night. The event is named “La nit dels Museus” (Night of the Museums).
This is great opportunity to visit some museums and do not pay fee entrance.
Just have a look on the link to see if you could take advantage of this free museum night during your stay!
10. Maritime Museum of Barcelona for free
Located in the Barcelona Royal shipyard, the Maritime Musem is dedicated to shipbuilding between the thirteenth century and eighteenth century.
Are you curious about Shipbuilding History?
This museum has free entrance every Sunday after 15.00 (3pm).
11. Picasso Museum for free
Yes, you knew it as well, right?! Picasso was born in Málaga, but the most famous Picasso Museum is in Barcelona. After all, this is where he lived.
If you are staying Sunday afternoon in Barcelona, you can visit Picasso Museum for free after 15.00.
Extra Tip: There is usually a looooong queue for entering Picasso Museum for free on Sunday. Therefore we do recommend going early.
12. MUBHA “Museu d’Història de Barcelona”
Would you like to learn a little bit more about Barcelona and his History?
The Barcelona History Museum is free every Sunday evening, starting from 15.00.
13. MNAC “Museu Nacional Art Contemporani”
The art museum of Barcelona holds important Romanesque paintings till mid XX century paintings and art.
The museum is for free every 1st Sunday of the month.
14. CCCB Barcelona
CCCB stands for “Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona”.
Arts, Science, Humanities, Technology… CCCB Barcelona, the Contemporary Cultural center of Barcelona offers lot of exhibitions and activities. If you would like to have a look at it, CCCB Barcelona is opened for free every Sunday from 15.00.
15. Music Museum
Passionate about Music and Music History?
With more than 500 instruments and lot of Music history, you can enjoy the Music museum every Sunday after 15.00 absolutely for free!
16. Movie scene – Woody Allen for instance
We are sure you are aware that many movies have been filmed in Barcelona.
Located in the Gothic quarter, you can go to the restaurant where they filmed the movie “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, called “Els Quatre Gats”.
Think about it: you can use the same toilet as Scarlett Johansson did!
Here is the official trailer of Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Update: Watch the 33 best wanderlust movies.
17. Virreina Palace
Virreina Palace is a Baroque and Rococo building, located in las Ramblas, just above la Boqueria Market.
Inside they offer lot of interesting free exhibitions. Thee expositions includes artistic photography, modern art, video installations and more.
Check out all the exhibitions at the official website of Virreina Palace here.
18. Palau Robert
Palau Robert is not only a touristic information point in Paseo de Gracia but also do offer lot of interesting exhibitions spaces.
19. Rambla del Raval
Another Boulevard to stroll along with real Character is placed in Raval. Rambla del Raval is an avenue where people with different cultural and social backgrounds meet.
It is surrounded by lot of bars where you can have a cheap drink.
20. Music for free at bars in Barcelona
There are some bars which do offer Live Music in The Raval neighborhood, such as London Bar.
The London Bar is one of the oldest bars in Barcelona, just get in and enjoy the music. Afterwards, you can still party around!
21. Museu Blau – Natural Science Museum
This is the Natural Science Museum in Barcelona.
Located in El Forum, it has a Whale skeleton inside! And yes, you know it already: it is free every Sunday from 15.00
22. Pedralbes Monastery
Pedralbes Monastery is a Gothic Monastery in the city outbound. The monastery is located in the more “posh” district of Pedralbes. Many players from FC Barcelona live in this area.
The Monastery opens its doors free every 1st Sunday of the month.
23. Free access to Barcelona City Hall
If you are nosy how the city hall from Barcelona looks like, you can enter for free every Sunday from 10:00 to 13:30.
You can find Barcelona City Hall in the city center of Barcelona, in Plaza Sant Jaume.
Maybe you will pass it without even noticing?
24. Look at the bargaining game at Encants Flea Market
“Els Encants” is a local market where you can buy clothes, electronics,…
There are also some bars too to have a coffee or snack. The funniest way to spend your time there is watching how people are bargaining. Furthermore, the building is pretty cool, look at the ceiling made out of mirrors!
In the first level you will find many second hand stalls.
Old statues, frames, CDs, and basically everything. A fun thing to do in Barcelona!
25. Video clip scene
Did you know Shakira recorded his main hit “Loca” in a fountain in Gothic quarter? You just have to go to “Pla de Palau” square to recognize the fountain where she had a bath.
Remember: bathing in fountains is not permitted in Barcelona.
So, if you do feel like reproducing Shakira’s video clip you might have to pay a penalty!
26. Seek out street art
Barcelona has plenty of Graffiti along the city, and even in some traffic signals.
You can find some amazing works around el Raval, Poblenou… Open well your eyes!
27. Visit “Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulàlia”
The Barcelona Cathedral is one of the Gothic symbols in Barcelona City.
You can visit the Cathedral for free during certain times. Wanna know when? Check the schedule of Barcelona’s Cathedral here.
There is actually no way you can miss this building.
28. Enjoy Modernism Architecture
Barcelona is full of Modernism buildings: Casa Lleó i Morera, Casa Batlló, La pedrera…
Just walk along Passeig the Gràcia and you will be able to admire these 3 buildings, but there are much more other Modernist awesome buildings around the city.
So keep your eyes open!
29. Magic Fountain
Do you need to sit down but still want to enjoy activities in the city?
If you are near Montjuic area, enjoy the fantastic music, lights and colour water show that the Magic Fountain offers.
You can find the official schedules of Magic Fountain here.
30. BruumRuum Night Light show
Do you know which colour has your voice?
Weird question to ask, right?!
However, you can discover it just next to Torre Agbar! There is an installation near Torre Agbar which works with voice intensity and noise.
You can go there every day from 18:30 to 23:00 in winter time and from 21:30 to 23:00 in summer time.
Have fun seeing how your voice is translated to different light colours!
31. Enjoy an amazing 360º city view from Bunker del Carmel
These former anti-aircraft bunkers, used during the Spanish Civil War, are the trendiest 360º overview in Barcelona.
Climb up the top of Turó de la Rovira.
From here you can admire all the iconic buildings that form Barcelona’s skyline.
And hey, it is free!
Pro Tip: Bring some snacks and drinks for a picnic. The real pros bring a nice bottle of Spanish wine and some pica-pica.
32. Enjoy the sun at Passeig Marítim
Strolling along Passeig Marítim during a sunny day is one of the most common family things to do in Barcelona.
In case it is very hot, you can always jump into the water. You are close to the beach, so bring your towel.
33. Explore design stores and cafes in Gràcia
Gràcia is one of the most welcoming and warm neighborhoods in Barcelona. It is the bohemian neighborhood of Barcelona, quirky and artsy!
Find here plenty of design stores and cafés where locals love to spend their time.
Just keep walking around Gracia district and find the sweetest Cafés and shops of Barcelona – made in Barcelona!
34. Enjoy a drink like a local in Plaza del Sol
Plaza del Sol is a main square in Gràcia where lot of locals, Erasmus students and friends like to meet up.
Just buy some food and drinks in the bars and shops around and enjoy your time there.
35. Put a book on the map
Barcelona has plenty of locations mentioned in a book. Let’s t find this spot you have read about it! For instance “The Shadow of the Wind” takes place in Barcelona and mentions several squares in the city.
The book The Prisoner of Heaven takes place in Montjuic back in the time when the fortress on the top of the hill was used as a prison.
Here is our story on how we found our favorite coffee shop in Barcelona – thanks to a book!
36. “Park Güell” – only partly free, but …
Even though you have to pay for the main area of Park Güell, there is an area which is still free, and worth to visit. You won’t have the picture with the famous colored Salamander but you can get impressive city views from there.
The entrance has an upside:
The main area of Park Güell is now only accessible with a ticket and there are less people entering.
This gives you now enough space and freedom to take photos and enjoy Gaudi’s masterpiece.
BUT: You have to purchase your ticket beforehand.
DO NOT come here without a ticket, expecting you will enter.
EVERYBODY has a ticket. You may get an open slot in 5 hours or so.
This happened to one of our friends, she was very sad. Well, we learned our lesson and warn you now.
Therefore, again: get your Park Güell ticket before coming.
37. La Boqueria Market
La Boqueria is the most famous market in Barcelona.
Certainly, after all it is l0cated right at the Las Ramblas. The Boqueria Market has plenty of options for Mediterranean food, Spanish food, drinks to go, food to go, smoothies, vegetables, …
Walk in and enjoy!
BTW: We found the BEST COOKING CLASS in town. They even have a tour around La Boqueria before cooking.
Check out our 23 fun things to do in Barcelona.
There we included information about BCN-Kitchen, the cooking class guys.
38. Graffiti-painted Trucks
Behind La Boqueria Market you will see some trucks. These are the trucks unloading the goods for the market stalls.
Many of them are a piece of art as they are painted/ sprayed with Graffiti and Alternative art.
If you are there just walk through La Boqueria and get surprised!
And by the way: Welcome to El Raval!
La Boqueria is the entrance to the alternative neighborhood El Raval.
39. Visit a Real Local Market “Mercat de Santa Caterina”
Even though the most famous Market in Barcelona is indeed La Boqueria, guess what: locals use to go to other local Markets to buy their daily food.
Head over to Mercat de Santa Caterina, in El Born neighborhood and check which are the local preferences.
The Cooking Class BCN-Kitchen organizes as well tours around Mercat Santa Caterina.
40. Photography walk for free with Meetup
Do you love photography and would like to meet some other people with the same passion?
In Barcelona there are plenty of free activities organized by Meetup, do you know them? One of these meet ups is a photo walking tour.
Have a look on all the free activities in Barcelona they organize and join them!
41. Admire Sagrada Familia (but ENTER if you can)
Sagrada Familia is a symbol of Barcelona Modernism, and it is amazing to see it also from the outside! Many tourists are “complaining” about Sagrada Familia still being a construction site. But guess what, negative Nancy: Imagine you could see the Pyramids being built live in front of your eyes?!
Even if you don’t want to spend the money for entering the building, which we consider as a Must Do in Barcelona, you should at least stop by to have a look from the outside.
Have a look, walk around, take some photos.
When entering, you SHOULD buy the tickets for Sagrada Famila beforehand – highly recommended to skip a 2 hour line.
Seriously, there is always a queue and the online ticket cost the same like the ticket desk.
42. Watch talented young skaters in front of MACBA
In front of MACBA, Contemporary Art Museum in El Raval, there are plenty of talented young skaters.
You will be impressed about what these young kids can do with only a skateboard.
43. Walks and Hikes in Collserola
Collserola is the largest Metropolitan Park in the world – yes, the World!
Collserola is located outside the city center, and you can come here via public transport. If you are a fan of long walks and hiking, this is your place to be.
Here you can find 33 more epic day trips from Barcelona e.g. Costa Brava.
44. Go for a run at “Carretera de les Aigües”
Do you like to go for a run? “Carretera de les Aigües” is a popular spot for local runners. The bus #196 will take you there. Run in the largest Metropolitan Park in the world.
Fresh air, nature and another angle for a panoramic view over Barcelona.
FYI: There are wild boars living in this area. So if you come here, you will be outside the city, really facing nature.
45. Beach Volleyball
Locals and expats in Barcelona love beach volleyball. There are plenty of groups along the beach playing with their own net brought from home.
You will find them at the beach, usually starting from Icaria Beach.
Don’t be shy and ask if you can join.
This one is actually part of our big list on fun things to do in Barcelona.
46. Ping-pong time!
In almost every park in Barcelona there is a ping-pong table.
You only need to bring some rackets and a ball. Oh, and Ping-Pong at the beach is not the best idea…wind and so on…
There are many ping pong tables in Parc de la Ciutadella.
47. Victory! Visit Arc de Triomf
Arc de Triomf is one of the most important symbols in the city, and for us Arc de Triomf rocks! Did you know this Arc de Triomf has no relation what so ever with any war or victory?
It was built as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair, hold at Park de la Ciutadella.
Fun Fact: This is actually my all-time-favorite building here.
Too be honest…I have no idea. I just love it for some reason.
48. Arts and Crafts in Barri Gotic
Looking for some inspiration or arts and Craft?
In “Carrer de l’Allada – Carrer Vermell“, in the Born Quarter, there are some art and crafts stands. Go there and admire their creativity and handmade products.
This street is gorgeous by its own as you will notice. Have a drink at one of the bar’s terrace.
49. Become a Modernist Nerd: Sant Pau Recinte Modernista
OF COURSE this one has to be part of the free things to do in Barcelona.
Barcelona has plenty of Modernist buildings. “Sant Pau” is a hospital which opened the doors to the modernist building side.
Normally there is an entrance fee, but there is free entrance each 1st Sunday of the Month.
50. Join a language exchange
Would you like to test your Spanish or just help other people to improve their English? Basically, any language is welcome.
There are many events as language exchange across the city. Join the tandems and meet people from around the world.
One language exchange taking place on a regular basis we recommend: Couchsurfing Language exchange.
51. Human Towers – Catalan Tradition
Have you heard that Catalan people build Human Towers?
Building these towers is actually a competition between different teams. During the competition season you may have the chance to see them.
Check the schedule for human towers in Barcelona here.
52. Visit the city of Death and Silence
Do you dare to visit a Cemetery?
Montjuic Cemetery is so big that it is like a city. Many important personalities from Barcelona History, as Francesc Macià, Joan Miró, Ramon Cases are buried here.
Montjuic Cemetery has also an overlooking to the sea, perhaps the views will convince you to visit it?
Free Tour: Every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month, there is a free guided tour at the Cemetry Montjuic.
These tours are only available in Spanish and Catalan.
53. Free expositions in El Born and Barri Gotic
In el Born and Gothic Quarter there are so many entrepreneurs opening their doors now and then to their working places.
They offer free expositions.
There are no regular dates about that, so we could not include a link here.
Just walk around El Born and Gothic Quarter and keep your eyes open!
Tibidabo is the mountain overlooking Barcelona on the upper side of the city.
Even though getting there with public transport is not the easiest thing in the world, the views from there are amazing!
I would rent a scooter and drive up here. It is super scenic ride up here.
For renting a scooter, I trust Via Vespa (www.via-vespa.com).
55. Have an amazing 360º view
We covered already the bunker. This one is a terrace. To be more accurate, the terrace of the Hotel Barceló Raval.
And here is the thing: It is free!
You can come here, have a look and leave. But actually, just have a drink and soak in the views. It’s worth it!
56. Discover new talents in El Metro de Barcelona
Have you noticed that in the metro lines there are lot of people selling, singing, playing an instrument…
It may sound mean, but some of them are not very talented – we are talking from our own experience here!
However, there are many musicians that really rock!
We hope you may discover one of the good ones during your stay in Barcelona.
If you do, please upload the video on the social media and tag us with @hostelgeeks! And feel free to tip those street artists if you really like them.
This is how they survive and pay their daily bills!
57. Join a Free Walking tour
There are lots of free tours companies in Barcelona. All you need to do is to decide which you are joining.
58. Botanic Gardens
Interested about nature and vegetation?
In Botanic Gardens you can see typical vegetation types of 6 different zones in the Mediterranean climate. Botanical Gardens are located in Montjuic, and they are also free on Sundays from 15.00.
59. Sardanes Dancing in front of Barcelona Cathedral
Despite the fact some of our friends consider Sardanes a very boring dancing, it is part of the Catalan Folklore.
You can try it.
Or just watch it for free every Sunday morning in front of the Barcelona Cathedral.
Printed Guides for Barcelona
I hope you already took plenty of notes. As for printed guides, we recommend following issues:
Printed guides are always helpful to read on the plane or train. I like how they cover the basic history background and the basic introduction to the city. This can be the currency, political situation and other things like main events.
Summary: 59 Free Things to do in Barcelona
As you can see, there are plenty of free things to do in Barcelona.
Having fun and enjoying your time in the Catalan capital, does not have to expensive. A beer on Rambla, and a Paella next to the Rambla, however, can be a budget-killer! We will keep this list updated, as always!
So, pack a blanket and towel and hit the beach, visit the free museums, enjoy the best views over Barna – this is like the locals do it!
We share there our best tips on how to get around, best Paella in Barcelona, and more unique things we love to do as locals!
Enjoy Barcelona for free,
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