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Regardless of whether you’re visiting for the day, or wondering what to do in Barcelona for a weekend, exploring all the city has to offer doesn’t have to be expensive. With these top freebies, you’ll never be short of something to do without breaking the bank.

Party Like a Local at the City’s Many Festivals

Hardly a week goes by without a fiesta in Barcelona. The Catalans are renowned for their unique festival traditions, such as human tower building and correfoc fire runs, and they sure know how to throw a party.

Barcelona’s must-see festivals are all free and offer a fascinating insight into the city. Yearly festival highlights include Three Kings Day in January, Gràcia Festival in August and the biggest festival of the year – La Mercè in September.

This 6 day event sees the people of Barcelona bid farewell to summer in style with concerts, fireworks, parades and so much more. The best part? They’re all free!

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Climb Above Barcelona’s Rooftops

Barcelona’s mountainous terrain provides stunning viewpoints over the city, many of which are totally free.

Bunkers del Carmel (Turó de la Rovira), a former bunker from the Spanish civil war, sits atop a hill between the central Gràcia/Eixample areas of Barcelona and the outer Carmel neighbourhood. A lot less busy than the likes of Park Güell, the bunker can be reached on foot from Alfons X metro station (but beware it is a steep climb) or, if you’ve already purchased a transport ticket, by V17 bus from Port Vell.

Park Güell is a great option if you’d also like to explore some amazing Gaudí architecture. Top tip: you can enter the paid section of Park Güell for free if you arrive after 6pm in winter or 8pm in summer.

If you’d prefer to stay in the centre of the city, take a trip to the top of the El Corte Inglés shopping centre in Plaça Catalunya, where you can watch over the city from the café.

Sing along at the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

This colourful water fountain hosts music and light shows on Thursdays – Sundays during the warmer months of April-October (between 21:00 and 23:30) and Friday and Saturdays during the cooler months of November – March (between 19:00 and 21:00).

This feast for the eyes offers a great family-night out with an awe-inspiring display of colour, light and water along to carefully selected songs you’ll just have to sing along to!

Explore the 4.5km Stretch of Golden Sands

Perhaps one of the most obvious choices but well worth the trip, Barcelona’s beaches stretch for a massive 4.5km and offer an array of free activities.

From basking in the Spanish sunshine to mixing with the locals over a game of beach volleyball, you’ll never be short of option at the beach. You could even bring along a picnic and save money on dining out, too!

Discover Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia

The Barcelona Cathedral, located in the Gothic Quarter of the city, is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona and offers awe-inspiring architecture inside and out.

The cathedral is free between 8:30-12:30 (13:00 on Sundays) and 17:45-19:00 every day of the week – a donation is required any other time of day.

Explore Las Ramblas and the Old Town

Perhaps one of the most well known streets in the world, Las Ramblas is a must-see during your trip to Barcelona. After all, who wouldn’t want to say they’ve experienced the hustle and bustle of the infamous Las Ramblas?

Located either side of the street, that was built upon a former river bed, you will find the old town of Barcelona crawling with buildings dating back to Roman and Medieval times. You’ll be surprised at what you come across during a spontaneous wander around its winding alleyways.

The pedestrian friendly boulevard of the Ramblas is the most famous street in central Barcelona, and this is the perfect location for sight-seeing, shopping, or taking a break for some coffee or tapas at a local cafe.

Free Museums on Sundays

Visiting Barcelona’s best tourist attractions doesn’t have to be expensive. Many of the top museums in the city offer free entry on Sundays between 15:00 and 20:00, including the MUHBA museum of history, the infamous Picasso museum and DHUB disseny hub in Plaça Glòries.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Barcelona on the first Sunday of the month, many top tourist attractions also offer free entrance including Gaudí’s Palau Güell and the modernsime masterpiece that is the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista.

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This post was written by Siobhan, a student from England and writer for Apartment Barcelona, an apartment rental company in the city with over 1000 apartments to rent. For more top tips on Barcelona visit their blog.

Photo credits CC: Featured Image and both Pinterest Images by Moyan Brenn. Correfoc de la Mercè by Pablo Cereseto and Julien Lagarde. Park Güell by Ian Gampon. Woman at Park Güell by Mar Kiddo. Panoràmica de Barcelona des del turó de la Rovira by Cris Geraldes. Barcelona beach by Bruno Vouzella. Las Ramblas by Moyan Brenn.

    38 Comments

  1. Barcelona looks gorgeous! It sounds like a lively place with a ton going on. Amazing that everything you mentioned is free!!

    • Lots of amazing (and free) things to experience in Barcelona! One of the most fabulous cities in Europe :) Hope you have the chance to plan a visit soon!

  2. Barcelona has so much to offer. I never knew about the water foundation. It sounds great, I love the idea of light show. Will check it out when I go back.

    • Glad we could let you know about some attractions you hadn’t yet discovered :) Have a great trip back Caroline!

  3. Hi, great post about Barcelona. I’m looking at going to the city this year and wanted some free things to do!

    • Glad we could help you out Alisa :) You’ll love Barcelona – can be very budget friendly if you know where to look. Have a great trip!

  4. When we travel we always look for free stuff to do in addition with paid activities and tours. I must say that there are a lot of quality free things to do in Barcelona, which is really great.

    • A very budget friendly city if you know where to look :)

  5. I’m always on the lookout for free things to do because I usually travel on a tight budget. I think I’d especially like to do the hike up to Bunkers del Carmel! Sounds like a nice walk and you’re rewarded with a great view :)

    • Absolutely – Bunkers del Carmel is a hidden gem!

  6. I love Barcelona! One of the festivities you didn’t mention is Sant Jordi. It’s the Valentine day of the Catalans. Just be careful of pickpockets! I had 2 women come up to me stuffing a rose down my T-shirt… and before I knew it, I was left without any money ;-(

    • Sorry to hear you were pickpocketed Geert! That’s horrible :( But I’m glad to hear that it didn’t influence your overall impression of the city.

      Thanks for sharing your experience though, it’s a very important thing to keep in mind when attending big festival or event with large crowds. Have to be very mindful and aware of your belongings.

  7. There are so many things to do in Barcelona – this post provides a great starting point for planning. I personally love the tip of getting up above the rooftops – such amazing views to be had!

    • Barcelona is such a unique city, and there are such amazing photo opportunities when you get up above it all :) Glad you enjoyed the post Vicki – Happy travels!

  8. I love it when cities have “free museum Sundays” (or any days). We have it in Ottawa as well, on Thursday nights. My best advice is to arrive EARLY to beat the crowds and not to forget to check out other freebies the museum might be offering at the same time (a lot have free mini tours with docents that take 20 minutes to explain a single piece of art, and others have free short film screenings).

    • Thanks for the tips Vanessa :) Great advice to arrive early to beat the crowds – especially if there’s something you really have your heart set on seeing.

      And awesome point to consider other freebies they might be throwing in too!

  9. Barcellona IS THE PARTY! I was there twice and the second one changed my life! I love its colors and day and night life! Didn’t know about the free museums day!

    • So glad to hear you’re a fan of Barcelona too Sabina! Maybe we’ll bump into you there at some point in the future!

  10. I love Barcelona! It is one of my favourite cities. I’m there I like a year ago to visit old churches that have great architecture!

    • Barcelona definitely has more fascinating churches and architecture than any other city in the world probably!

  11. I loved Barcelona! I only had few days to visit, so I explored some of the Gaudi’s houses and main street. I had to time to visit Park Güell that you recommend – shame, I must do it next time!

    • Sounds to me like you have an excellent reason for a return trip :)

  12. Love this article. Can’t wait to go there!

    • Thanks Marvin! So glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you have the chance to get to Barcelona soon! :)

  13. Great tips here, specially the festivities in Mercè Festival and Bunkers del Carmel, my absolute favorite view in Barcelona!

    • Thanks Bruno! Yep, Bunkers del Carmel is probably my favorite viewpoint over the city too :)

  14. This is such a great post. It actually helped me a lot when trying to learn more about what is free to do in Barcelona.

    I just wanted to add that you can also enjoy a run at Carretera de les Aigües. It is 10-kilometers long stretched street where anyone can enjoy an uphill run or a bicycle ride.

    It also has one the most astonishing views of Barcelona. Some say that it may be even better than Park Guell. Plus, it is a great place for a family picnic.

    It is awesome to be able to enjoy Barcelona away from the city rush and still have a breathtaking experience. It has one of the highest points in the city with 450 meters above sea level.

    Barcelona is great city there is a full list of awesome things to do in the city with all their details. Although not all of them are free, it’s great to discover what one can do in such a big city in Spain.

    https://ultimatespaintravelguide.com/amazing-things-to-do-in-barcelona-2017

    Once again, thanks for such a nice article. It’s a great read!

    • Hi Youness, thanks for your comment, I’m so glad our post was helpful and that you enjoyed your time in Barcelona too.

      Thanks for the tip on running at Carretera de les Aigües – I’ll have to plan for an uphill cycle the next time we’re there. I’m totally up for views which top Park Guell!

      Thanks for sharing your article too – will jump over to see if there’s anything I missed that I could add to the next trip :)

      Happy travels!

  15. Another rooftop to check out is at Casa Mila, aka la Perdrera, a Gaudi building. The one with the chimneys that look like Darth Vader. There are jazz concerts in the evenings, with wine. A gorgeous way to watch the sun set over the city.

    • Thanks for the awesome tip!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Agness! Agreed that Barcelona is always a great idea :D!

  16. Barcelona is one of the most spectacular cities with man-made beauty; city cannot be imagined without the masterworks of legendary architect Antoni Gaudi, the most wonderful place to visit and the culture of Catalans is really amazing with full of festivals. Thanks for resourceful tips on free things to do in Barcelona.

    • Totally agree with you Jessica! So many incredible man made masterpieces throughout the city; one of our favorite things about Barcelona was wandering on a self guided architecture tour – Gaudi’s buildings are truly something!

      So glad you enjoyed the post :)

  17. Great article Meg!

    • Thanks Vipin, I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

  18. I’m a fan of barcelona football club, i wish can visit here 1 time in m life

    Lizzie from Vietnam

    • I hope you do have the opportunity to visit at some point Lizzie :) Definitely a good choice of vacation as a Barcelona football fan!

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