Have you ever wished to discover the Catalan capital city without paying a cent? Do not worry, here is the solution with this top 10 free things to do in Barcelona for free. Indeed, Barcelona is full of activities, sights, events, buildings, parks, markets and beaches that you can enjoy freely. From the typical districts, to the most famous beaches, also including the most secret places as well as local tips, you will enjoy your day and nights through Barcelona without paying a penny! So get on that incredible, free tour we offer you and you will discover Barcelona from another viewpoint!
1. Relax in parks and green areas
You can enjoy a great day in one of the numerous parks that you can find in Barcelona. Visitors are not charged for entry and some of these parks are very large and offer many activities. Amongst the top parks to see in Barcelona, here is our selection:
- Parc Guëll: the famous Gaudi´s masterpiece is free of charge if you want to go for a walk and admire the diversified flora present in the park. There is only one part where you have to pay if you want to see it. This part is, of course, the most famous one with the undulating bench and the Salamander and you will be required to pay €7 to visit it. Yet, it represents less than 8% of the park size.
- Parc de la Ciutadella: this enormous park is one of the most famous ones in Barcelona. There, you can sit on the many grassy areas, play sports, go for a walk and admire many monuments inside the park such as La Cascada –a huge waterfall built by Josep Fontseré and Antoni Gaudí- the artificial lake, the Mamouth, The Parlament of Catalunya, the geology and zoology museums and El Castillo de Tres Dragones (“the Three Dragons Castle”).
- Parc de Collserola: located in the periphery of the city centre, it is the largest park of Barcelona. It is an amazing natural area of 8.000 hectares where you can admire the diversified flora with forests and and a variety of other plants. You might also see a lot of wild animals living there since the park has been called a natural area in 1987 and species have been preserved.
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2. Visit typical markets
In Barcelona, markets are very famous and attract a lot of tourists as well as locals. You can encounter many different markets such as flea market, vintage market, art market, fruit & vegetable market and so on. Markets are free of charge and offer visitors a particular, friendly and typical atmosphere. Among the top markets, we advise you to see the following:
- Mercat de la Boquería: located in La Rambla, Gothic district, it is definitely the most famous market in Barcelona. The market has been on the to-do list for long in the city because it offers visitors the profund identity of Barcelona and every stall holders are native and really comfortable and friendly with tourists. You only have to take a stroll among the 300 stalls to be overwhelmed with colors, flavors and smells. Many visitors taste the typical gatronomy there, but you can also walk through the market just to discover it, and we promise that all your senses will be aroused.
- Mercat del Encants: it is simply the largest and most famous flea market in Barcelona. It is one of the typical things to do in the Catalan capital city. A lot of riches can be found there, such as amazing antiques or vintage clothes. There is a bunch of eccentric objects from jewelry and cosmetics to adult videos but this i show the fame of the market has been built. Yet, if you do not want to spend a cent, you can go there just to feel the real Barcelona and to discover the charming atmosphere that reigns within the market. Locals are very friendly and warming and will offer you an unforgettable, typical experience.
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3. Enjoy artworks at museums
The great thing with Barcelona is that, on the first sunday of the month or on sunday afternoon, several museums open their doors and are free of charge. If you want your dose of culture, you might enjoy to discover incredible museums for free. Among them, you should visit:
- Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC): located in the Palau Nacional, this museum offers many sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs and so on, with the objective of promoting the Catalan art.
- Museu Picasso: one of the most famous museums in Barcelona, it is dedicated to the famous almost-Catalan artist, Pablo Picasso, and gathers no less than 3000 pieces from his private collection. You can enjoy the masterpieces and experience a record of more than ten years of artworks from the artist.
- Museu D´Història de Barcelona (MUHBA): it is a journey through 200 years of history of the Catalan capital city. There are subterranean Roman ruins of the Barcino city spreading over 4000 square meters, with streets, villas and remaining of walls, discovered in the late 1920s by accident. You can also enter the Casa Padellàs, a merchant´s palace dating from 1498, the Capella de Santa Àgata and the Saló del Tinell, a former Baroque church dating from 1370.
- Museu Marítim: located in the former shipyards of Drassanes that were restored and turned into a museum in 1936, the Maritime Museum shows ships of all shapes and sizes, divers naval gear like maps and compasses, and objects brought back by Spanish from their voyages around the globe. It is definitely one of the must-see attractions and is very famous among tourists; within the 8 rooms of the museum, visitors can discover the Spanish naval supremacy, the maritime history of Catalunya, ships, models and a collection of several naval instruments.
4. Sunbathe at the beach
If you want to enjoy a sunny day, to sunbath, to play soccer and volleyball under the sunlight, to refresh on the Mediterranean Sea or just to go for a walk at the seaside, Barcelona offers several beautiful and pleasant beaches. Here are the best ones:
- Barceloneta: probably the most famous beach in Barcelona, it is crowded with tourists but offers many entertaining activities. Indeed, you can find a lot of volley ball courts and sandy areas where you can play with your friends. Furthermore, there are many restaurants offering sea food and playing lounge music during the whole day or hosting concerts so that you can enjoy music while sunbathing!
- Sant Sebastia Beach: this is one of the oldest and most renowned beaches; locals and tourists enjoy to go there because it is convenient due to its proximity to the city centre. You can find also a lot of restaurants, snacks and bars along the seaside as well as Barcelona best surf shops. Yet, this part of the beach is usually crowded. As in the Barceloneta beach, there are a lot of pebbles when you enter the water, so be careful!
- Nova Icària Beach: more quiet than the Barceloneta and Sant Sebastia beaches, it is surrounded by many restaurants and bars and offers a clean area to relax and sunbath. You can bath more easily there because there is no pebbles. Some sandy areas are available if you want top lay beach games.
- Mar Bella: if crowded beaches is not your thing, you can go to Mar Bella, a Little bit far from the city centre but really pleasant. This is probably the most beautiful beach in Barcelona, with cristal-clear water, no rock or pebble and clean sand. A lot of locals go there to flee from the touristy beaches. You can also rent sunbeds or sunshades and play volleyball.
5. Discover the Santa Eulàlia Cathedral - Barcelona cathedral
Located in the Gothic district, it is a gothic cathedral built during the 11th century until the end of the 15th century. It was only in 1890 when the facade was finished. The cathedral is dedicated to Santa Eulàlia, a young virgin and patron saint of Barcelona who suffered martyrdom during Roman times. Her corpse is buried in a crypt and her feast day is celebrated on February 12. The Cathedral is mostly renowned for its amazing facade, the gargoyles over its roof and the striking interior. Inside the walls, you can see the Santa Eulàlia´s crypt, the fountain in the atrium, the tomb of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, the garden, the museum, the Chapel of Christ of Lepanto as well as many other chapels. The Cathedral is very attractive for tourists and forms part of the Catalan culture.
6. Admire incredible sights - bunker del Carmel
It is, without any doubt, the best watchtower to admire the whole city. Moreover, it is “secret” since few tourists know its existence. Bunkers are located in the Parc del Guinardó and are remainings from the 1936 Spanish Civil War; with their cannons, they were used to defend Barcelona from airplanes thanks to a 360 degrees view. They were then dismantled and abandoned. Today they represent a great attraction for those who know their location and who want to admire the best sight of Barcelona. What is called “Mirador Del Carmel” is a peaceful place, charged with memories, where you can rest and admire a sunset over the Catalan capital city. Today, the bunker is listed as Spanish National Heritage. To get there, you should take the bus 28 from Plaça Catalunya and stop at the Plaça de la Mitja Lluna. Then go up the stairs next to the petanque court and you will see a path that will take you to the bunker in less than 15 minutes.
7. Enjoy a fairy show with the Font Màgica de Montjuic
Since 1929, year of its creation, the Magic fountain of Montjuic has been one of the major attractions of Barcelona. Indeed, this is an incredible show full of lighting effects, colours, music and water effects that occurs every week from Thursday to Sunday, every 30 minutes from 21.00 until 23:00. About 2,5 million people admire this magic fountain each year. The fountain is located next to the Palau Nacional on Avinguda Maria Cristina. The show is free of course and is really a must-see attraction.
8. Go for a walk in typical districts
Barcelona also offers great walk through its main quarters. Some districts are organized in numerous small streets where you can encounter typical and ancient architecture as well as bars or shops unknown from tourists. This is a great pleasure on a sunny day to walk through these streets and to feel the real Barcelona, at the heart of the city. Some districts are recommended such as El Barrí Gotic, El Raval and El Borne. Those old quarters are full of history and charming places that you can explore. If you want to discover the city, the best way is probably to get lost in those small streets. Go there and you will, with any doubt, feel the Catalan atmosphere.
9. Listen to music during free concerts
In Barcelona, many bars are known for hosting concerts every day. Let´s things be clear; no “commercial” music here, amateur musicians are offered the opportunity to play in front of a small audience which makes the atmosphere warm and friendly. Sometimes, those bars charge customers a fee to assist concerts but in many cases you can enjoy the music for free and artists are glad to play for visitors. A lot of music style can be found, from jazz to reggae, rock and indie or even opera. Bars are usually open seven days a week so you can enjoy free music during the night. Check the schedule on bars' website for more information.
10. Admire Gaudí and other artists' artworks
You should pay for almost all Gaudí´s artworks but you can still admire some of these masterpieces from the outside and for free. For example, the Sagrada Familia, probably the most famous monument in Barcelona, is an incredible building to see without entering it. As you may see, the large majority of tourists do not enter the Sagrada but just admire it and take photos of this incredible architecture work. There are also other buildings you can enjoy from the outside, without paying for it. For example, La Casa Batlló, La Casa Milá, La Casa Valvet, La Casa Lleó Morera or La Casa Amatller. Other houses from other architects can also be found for free.