13 FREE THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA
On a budget while visiting Barcelona? We’ve got your trip to the Catalonian capital covered so you can experience more of its culture for far fewer euros. From fiery festivals to the best spots for sunbathing, there are plenty of things to do during a trip to Barcelona that will make your money stretch almost as long as La Rambla…
1 Museums on a Sunday
Save some cash and make the most of free entry to some of Barcelona’s best museums every first Sunday of each month between 3pm and 8pm. Not everywhere is included, however the famous Picasso Museum, the Barcelona City History Museum (MUHBA) and the Museu d’historia de Catalunya are just a few amongst many that won’t cost you a penny! Make sure you check the websites of the museums that are not included as they will normally have free entry on one day during the first week of every month.
2 Free street festivals
La Merce Festival
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Barcelona in time for one of its festivals, boy are you in for a treat. Free concerts, dancing, acrobats and ‘correfocs’ (people dressed up as devils setting off fireworks) at Barcelona’s La Mercè festival in September will leave you with plenty of money to splurge elsewhere on your trip. Or visit the city in August for Festa Major de Gracia to see the city’s streets explode with colour and creativity as they compete with each other for the best decoration. The free outdoor concerts and incredible atmosphere will make seeing Barcelona at this time of year the best idea you’ve ever had!
3 Window shopping down La Rambla
La Rambla is the most famous shopping street in Barcelona. This bustling 1.2km stretch is full of interesting street acts, quirky stalls and lots of people. Not to be missed in Barcelona! Right in the heart of the city, come here to experience Barcelona's vibrant energy and the hustle and bustle of city life. Go early in the morning to enjoy this freebie ahead of the crowds.
4 Stroll the markets
Head to the markets to hunt down some bargains or just sample some free tasters. La Boqueria is Barcelona’s most famous indoor market, bursting with countless rows of colourful fruit and tons of the freshest fish in the city. Or visit Mercat de la Concepció from Monday to Saturday for a wander through it’s stunning flower market and enormous selection of fresh produce.
5 Gawp at Gaudi’s architecture
Admire the modernisme architecture designed and created by the genius that is Gaudi. The impressiveness of his work such as La Sagrada Familia and La Casa Mila is well worth a look from the outside which is absolutely free to do. The downside is that the inside of these buildings almost always will cost (although it is certainly worth the money if you can afford it) however you may snap all the selfies you’d like in front of the exterior and you don’t have to spend a penny.
6 Bask on Barca beaches
It would be criminal to go to one of Europe’s sunniest seaside cities without a trip to the beach, especially when it won’t cost you anything! Spend a summer’s day in Barcelona soaking up some rays at Barceloneta beach. With sand sculptors, street entertainers and amazing, fresh seafood just a few minutes walk from the beach, it’s no wonder Barceloneta is the city’s favourite. However if you’d rather not bask in the sunshine amongst crowds of people, head up to Nova Icaria beach. It’s only a 10 minute walk from Ciutadella Park but this one is definitely a little more peaceful.
7 Take pictures at Placa Reial
Take a seat beside the fountain in the middle of Placa Reial to people watch in this bustling city square. The place is constantly alive with activity especially at night time when people are spilling out of the bars and restaurants lining the square. When the sky is blue and the sun is shining, the palm trees that are dotted around this tourist attraction somehow give it a happy, tropical vibe (and gives you a perfect addition to your Instagram feed!).
8 Watch the Magic Water Fountain display
Watch a magnificent show of water, colour and light at Barcelona's Magic Fountain of Montjuic. The illuminating show is free meaning both you and your wallet will be mesmerised! See the show on most Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings however keep an eye on the website in case this changes for the time of year.
9 Get lost in the parks and gardens
Barcelona’s Ciutadella Park is certainly worth a stop during a hectic day of touring the sites. The zoo and the Catalan Parliament within the park will cost to get in, however you can laze around the park grounds for free all day. Barcelona's Botanical Gardens to the south of the city boast an amazing collection of flora and fauna from Mediterranean climate zones, making this part of town well worth visiting if you have a spare afternoon.
10 Incredible views over the city
Be bowled over by the incredible views from the top of Turó de la Rovira where the Carmel Bunkers were left from the Spanish Civil War. Although the bunkers are informative and original, the free panoramic views of Barcelona really steal the show. Take a bottle of wine and some yummy snacks and enjoy the views beneath a stunning sunset over the city on a clear evening.
11 Sandeman’s Free walking tour
Everyone loves a free tour, and the Sandeman’s Free walking tour is the best in the city. Sign up at our hostel’s reception and book onto one of the slots. You’ll get navigated through the Gothic Quarter and get a real feel for the history of the Barcelona Cathedral, the El Born District and the Roman Necropolis. Just be sure to give your guide a tip at the end.
12 Ping pong in the park
Who doesn’t love a game of ping pong? And on a lovely sunny day in Barcelona you won’t be short of an opportunity. Ping pong tables are dotted about all over the place. Even in the smallest green areas in the middle of the city you’ll more than likely be able to challenge your friends to a game. If you don’t happen to have your own bats and balls handy, you can pop into a local corner shop and pick them up for mega cheap.
13 Navigate the Gothic Quarter
Get lost in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter for the day, as the labyrinth-like winding streets will lead you to some of the most picturesque sites in the city. The medieval architecture dates all the way back to the Roman era and, if you look closely, you can see the remnants of this time embedded in its walls. The mix of modern and medieval buildings mean you will find plenty of shops, bars and restaurants in and around the Gothic Quarter for a pick-me-up coffee or bite to eat.
Article by Darcy King
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