15 Awesome Free Things to Do in Barcelona to Rock your Stay

15 Awesome Free Things to Do in Barcelona to Rock your Stay

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Barcelona is a perennially popular destination, and with its Mediterranean climate, spectacular food, nightlife, culture, and beaches, it’s not hard to see why.  Barcelona does tend to be more expensive compared to other cities in Spain, but there is still plenty to do for the budget traveller.  Here are just a few of the awesome free things to do in Barcelona, whatever time of year you visit Barcelona.

Free Things to Do in Barcelona:

Admire Gaudí’s Architecture

You can’t move in Barcelona without seeing Gaudí’s influence everywhere.  From lampposts in Plaça Reial, to colourful, curvy homes on Passeig de Gracia and in el Raval, the modernist architect’s work is everywhere you look. Park Güell is on the hill above Barcelona, and although there is a charge to see the most famous areas, the majority of the park is free for the public – including spectacular views of the city below.  Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Familia is impressive from the outside, just walk around and admire the façade.  However, if you do have some cash to spend it really is spectacular from the inside!  If you do choose to go inside, make sure you book your tickets online in advance to beat the queues!

La Pedrera, just one of Gaudi's masterpiece works in Barcelona - Free things to do in Barcelona
La Pedrera, just one of Gaudi’s masterpiece works in Barcelona

Ramble Down La Rambla

La Rambla is an institution in Barcelona.  The leafy avenue runs from Placa Catalunya to the port, and is filled with tourists, locals, market stalls and street performers.  Keep a tight hold of your belongings here as it is notorious for pickpockets, but it really has to be done at least once during your visit to Barcelona!  It is more enjoyable in the morning before the crowds get too hectic, and don’t try to rush here, it’s impossible!

READ MORE: Top Tips to Beat the Pickpockets in Barcelona

Soak Up the Views

Barcelona is known as the city between the mountains and the sea, and its hilly terrain provides some incredible views, and one of my top free things to do in Barcelona is to climb up somewhere and just enjoy the view!  You could try Montjuic for great views of the port, the bar & roof terrace of the Museum of the History of Catalunya for Barceloneta, the bunkers at Carmel for a romantic date, and a hike up to Collserola to see it all!

The Fabra Observatory and Villa Olimpica - great view in Barcelona
The Fabra Observatory and Villa Olimpica – great view in Barcelona. Best free things to do in Barcelona

Love the free stuff but want a guided tour?  Check out these options for paid tours in Barcelona provided by GetYourGuide:

Hit the Beach

The beaches at Barceloneta are the most convenient but can be overcrowded and dirty. Instead of taking the easy option, walk along the beachfront to Bogatell or Mar Bella beaches near Poblenou, or venture further to Badalona a few metro stops away for even quieter beaches where the locals go.

Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona - Free Things to do in Barcelona
Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona – Free Things to do in Barcelona

Take a Free Walking Tour in Barcelona

There are several companies offering free walking tours in Barcelona, and these are a great introduction to the city and its history.  Most focus on the Gothic Quarter, but you can also find special Gaudi tours too.  Of course, tipping the guide is highly recommended.  If you don’t mind paying for a tour, check out this walking tour in Barcelona.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The Barcelona Taste Tapas Tour

Or a Free Bike Tour

Most companies charge for a bike tour, but not Free Bike Tour Barcelona! They offer a free 3-hour bike tour of Barcelona, including free bike hire, to explore areas of the city you may not visit otherwise.  Again, tipping the guide is recommended.  See their website for more information.

Rows of Bicing Bikes in Barcelona. Visitors can't use these bikes, but you can book a free bike tour in Barcelona
Rows of Bicing Bikes in Barcelona. Visitors can’t use these bikes, but you can book a free bike tour in Barcelona

Admire the Street Art

Another one of the awesome free things to do in Barcelona is spotting the amazing street art all over the city.  Hot spots include the maze of streets in the Gothic Quarter, Poble Nou, Gracia and Three Chimneys Park in Poble Sec, although you will find art dotted around other areas too.  Just wander around and keep your eyes peeled!

One of my favourite pieces of street art in Barcelona - Salvador Dali in the Gotico Best Free Things to do in Barcelona
One of my favourite pieces of street art in Barcelona – Salvador Dali in the Gotico

Learn Catalan

If you plan on having an extended stay in Barcelona, the Catalan government offers 45 hours of free Catalan classes for beginners.  Check out the government website for details.

Plan your trip to Barcelona with these top picks from Amazon:

Catch a Free Movie on the Beach

In June and July there is free a cinema on Barceloneta beach a couple of nights a week. Films are shown in their original version with Spanish or Catalan subtitles.  Show up early to get the best spots, and bring a beer and snacks to munch while you watch.

Free Cinema on the Beach in Barcelona - Awesome Free Things to Do in Barcelona
Free Cinema on the Beach in Barcelona – Awesome Free Things to Do in Barcelona

Free Concerts

During the summer months, green spaces in Barcelona play host to musical groups offering free live performances across the city.  Jazz and classical music are the key genres, keep an eye on the Barcelona Town Hall website for details of the timetable, from June to August.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: A Self-Guided Food Tour in Barcelona

Explore the Markets

The Boqueria Market on La Rambla is an essential stop for any visitor to Barcelona. Head there early in the morning to beat the crowds (remember, it’s closed on Sundays) and stroll around enjoying the sights and smells.  Other markets to explore include Santa Caterina opposite the Cathedral, Sant Antoni on the other side of the Raval, and the market in Gracia. The flea market Mercat dels Encants is perfect for hunting bargains and is full of second hand and new items, furniture, pictures, books.

Explore La Boqueria Market in Barcelona - Best Free Things to do in Barcelona
Explore La Boqueria Market in Barcelona

Visit a Museum on Sunday for Free

A lot of museums in the city are free after 3pm every Sunday, or all day on the first Sunday of the month. There may be long queues, but if you are prepared to wait you can get free entry to popular museums like the Picasso Museum, the Hospital of Sant Pau, the Museum of Catalan History (which has awesome views over Barceloneta port), the Barcelona History Museum and the MNAC National Museum of Catalan Art, among others.

On Certain Dates you can Visit Museums like Hospital San Pau for Free activities in Barcelona
On Certain Dates, you can Visit Museums like Hospital San Pau for Free

Enjoy a Local Fiesta

One of my favourite free things to do in Barcelona is party!  Each neighbourhood in the city celebrates its own Festa Major, or street festival, at different times of the year. The most popular is the Festa Major de Gràcia in August, when residents decorate their streets with different themes and have live music concerts, free dance classes and more. Other major festivals include La Merced in September, Las Festes de Santa Eulàlia and the Light Festival in February, and San Joan in June when everyone heads to the beach for fireworks.

Street Decorations in the Gracia Festival Barcelona - Best Free Things to do in Barcelona
Street Decorations in the Gracia Festival Barcelona – Best Free Things to do in Barcelona

Watch Sardana Dancing

The Sardana is a traditional Catalan dance that was banned during the Franco dictatorship, along with the Catalan language.  Despite the ban, Catalans continued to dance in defiance, and now the Sardana is a symbol of Catalan culture and pride.  During the summer in the early evening you can catch a performance in the square in front of the cathedral on Saturdays, or in Placa Jaume 1 on Sundays, when groups of locals young and old form circles and dance to the sound of a live band.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Top Spots for Brunch in Barcelona

Watch a Human Tower

Castellers are teams of people of all ages who come together to create human towers, and are one of the most awe-inspiring free things to do in Barcelona.  Castellers usually perform at every festival in Barcelona, and regularly at various events throughout the year.  At major festivals, teams from different areas of Barcelona and Catalunya compete to create the highest and most complex towers, while at other times you may find one group practising in front of the Cathedral.  Check the Castellers de Catalunya website for details of upcoming performances.

Incredible Human Tower Builders Castellers performing at a free festival in Barcelona.
Incredible Human Tower Builders Castellers performing at a free festival in Barcelona.

This is just a small sample of the best free things in Barcelona that you can enjoy, so what are you waiting for?  Have you been to Barcelona and done any other free activities?  Let me know in the comments below!

Where to Stay in Barcelona

Looking for a hostel in Barcelona?  I stayed at Fabrizzio’s Petit Hostel and loved it, read my full review of the best hostel in Barcelona.  If Fabrizzio’s isn’t available then there are plenty of other hostels and budget hotels in Barcelona, I recommend using Hostelworld to check prices, read reviews and book your hostel online.

BOOK YOUR HOSTEL NOW

Or check the options on Airbnb.   If you have never used Airbnb before, use this link to sign up & get $30 credit to use on your first trip!

GET $30 AIRBNB CREDIT

Prepare for your trip to Barcelona with these top picks from Amazon:

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Barcelona is an amazing city in Catalonia, Spain. There are plenty of awesome free things to do in Barcelona, whatever time of year you visit Barcelona. Here are some of my favourite free activities in the city. #Barcelona #Spain #Catalonia #Travel #Europe #Cathedral #architecture #beaches

Just to let you know, this post may contain sponsored or affiliate links, which help to maintain Tales of a Backpacker, and give me the chance to keep travelling, and to keep creating awesome content for you!  You can find full details on my disclosure page.

Tales of a Backpacker is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  I only recommend goods and services I believe are useful and reliable.

Last updated: June 5, 2018
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13 thoughts on “15 Awesome Free Things to Do in Barcelona to Rock your Stay

  1. What better way to start your visit to the colorful city than with a free city tour ! It is good for travellers who don’t have big budgets for paid tours but need tour guides to properly explore places.
    Barcelona is such unforgettable city, which full of beautiful architectures, amazing views. Сathedral La Sagrada is so special place, one of my favourite in a world!

  2. Great list! We loved Barcelona, one of my favorite cities, and most of the highlights were free! I loved walking around and spotting cool and funky architecture – Gaudi obviously – and then had a lot of fun people watching on the beach. Loved soaking up the atmosphere of Las Ramblas – was such an upbeat and happy place to be!

  3. I’ve only been to Barcelona once and I loved it. So much to see, eat and do. The one thing I missed was the human tower. That would be fun to see. Great article for a city that stole my heart!!

  4. Nice post about my hometown! I would have never associated Carmel neighborhood with a romantic date, I need to explore this! And you can see sardana dancing during all the year, not only in summer. A shame that parts of Parc Güell are paid like you say and the ticket to some historical buildings are really expensive. Still, many ideas to have fun without spending a euro! Thanks for the web with the castells’ calendar, I always wanted to have sth like this for when I visit Barcelona so it will come very handy 😉

  5. This is a very comprehensive list of free things to do in Barcelona. I am quite impressed by the free bike tour. and to think they manage only by tips is just awesome.
    I have been to Barcelona before but I was not aware of this. The human tower reminds me of a festival here in Mumbai when groups of people create human pyramids to reach a pot of money!

  6. I have been to Barcelona many times, but I haven’t done all of these amazing free things! I need to go back to see the city up high as your photo is beautiful and I did not see any of the street art.

  7. I also love admiring Gaudi’s work! My favorite thing to do in Barcelona is just to wander around, I love the small streets in the gothic quarter. I’ve never seen the human pyramid though and have visited many times! maybe I still have to go back 😉

  8. There are so much to do in Barcelona, and what more, they are free. I’d consider this post whenever I have to visit again and recommend to friends. I did a lot of market tour when I visited simply because of the fascinating colors. I was wondering when Sagrada Familia would be finished. And here it is. There are no dull moments in Barcelona.

  9. The street walk is the best of all. I did it in parts and enjoyed the sights at the beach. Gaudi’s work is exemplary. I had been to the interiors of one of them… mind blowing. I was not aware of the free concerts.

  10. We loved our visit to Barcelona last year. Have to agree with the Gaudi architecture and lazing around the beach in Barceloneta, but as you mentioned can be busy so walk along the waterfront. The walking tours and markets are also well worth the time and very interesting, a great way to get to know the place.

  11. Wow, what a great list for free things to do in Barcelona. I’ve done a lot of these, as I love just walking around neighbourhoods and getting to know a place. Isn’t Gaudi’s work just exceptional? I spent hours on a self-guided walking tour of his buildings… from La Pedrera to Park Güell and to Sagrada obviously. It’s amazing to think that Sagrada Familia may be finished in our lifetime after so many years under construction! I can’t wait to visit Barcelona again and perhaps visit some of the beaches near Badalona for a more local experience!

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