Barcelone is a charming city. There are many beautiful things to explore in this fascinating hub. Many people flock into the site to admire the grandeur cathedral, other expects to attend a football match. However, Barcelone has more than that to offer.
Here are the top 18 Free Things you should delve into in Barcelone for the first time visit :
1. Visit the Museu Picasso
Since it is free, there is always a long queue to enter the cite but it is really worth. This museum dedicated to the Spanish master who once lived and worked within the grey stone walls in which his collection is now kept, and that’s no different on the first Sunday of the month when entrance is free to all.
Whilst the chance of a queue might be off putting, getting in for free surely shouldn’t be.
As long as you arrive earlier than the free entry period between 3PM and 7PM, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be the first one in.
Also on the first Sunday of the month you can visit the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and Museu d’Història de Catalunya. For more details see the TimeOut Guide to Free Entry Sundays in Barcelona.
2. Take Part in a Free Walking Tour
We’ve been joining free walking tours across Europe and have had a great time on every single one.
There are a number of small local companies that provide free walking tours in Barcelona, but ever since our first time with Sandemans New Europe Tours back in Berlin in 2011 we’ve been big fans.
The Free Walking Tour works by giving some tips ( not compulsory ) but if you feel it good, do not hesitate to encourage the tour guide !
What to do when the beaches of Barcelona fill up for the summer? Find somewhere a little quieter!
Hundreds of tourists and locals descend onto the beach to darken their tan and to cool off in the water, so if you’re preparing to join them with your towel and swimming costume be prepared.
To find somewhere a little quieter on the beach walk as far a long it as you possibly can until the sand runs out. Surprising at the corners of the beach there are entire areas that go neglected.
Just be sure to take some sunblock with you!
4. Enjoy the sun and songs on Passeig Maritime
Walking along the Passeig Maritime has been a past-time for locals of Barcelona for many decades and continues to be a popular place for people to walk, bike, and rollerblade their way from the beach back to their homes.
On a sunny day you’ll find people lining the entire route either sitting and enjoying the sun, the sounds of the several street bands that play, or selling their handmade souvenirs.
With a cold drink in your hand and your ears full of the sounds of the Spanish summer; there aren’t many better places to stroll during the day.
5. Walk along the Passeig de Gracia
Casa Mila on Passeig de Gracia – 20 Free Things To Do in Barcelona
This walk towards the neighbourhood of Gracia may be one of the most popular roads and footpaths in Barcelona, but it’s for good reason.
Along the route are many of the cities best examples of Gaudi’s work – Casa Batlló and Casa Milà – and many of the most luxurious Spanish and international brands.
We recommend that you walk the route either as soon as the sun rises in the morning, or as it just as it goes down at night. This way you’ll be able to admire the architectural masterpieces without the crowds, and do some window shopping rather than breaking into your travel budget.
6. Explore the latest design stores and cafes
Quinoa Bar in Gracia – 20 Free Things To Do in Barcelona
Once you’ve reached the end of Passeig de Gracia you’ll have reached the neighbourhood of the same name where many of the best up-and-coming designers can be found either selling their latest work, or taking a midday coffee at any of the highly trendy Instagram-worthy cafes.
In Gracia you’ll also find a number of well designed and highly recommended restaurants in which to grab a midday meal or snack before you head out to support the local independent retailers.
7. Find a bargain at Barcelona’s best flea market
For over 600 years people from across Barcelona have been finding fantastic deals on antique furniture and other handmade Catalan goods at Encants Barcelona.
The market you see today isn’t quite like the one which started on the same grounds all those years ago, but in our opinion is (probably) much nicer to look at from a modern architecture point-of-view.
Reopened in 2013, the market now boasts over 500 retailers selling a whole host of different items that should appeal to everyone from the amateur home designer to future fashion experts.
8. Explore Barcelona’s other cathedral
No travel to this city is complete without visiting the Sagrada Familia, that much we agree on – but there’s another cathedral within the old city limits that is more than worth visiting.
Like other religious sites in the country, Sagrada Familia is listed in top free things to do in Barcelone.
Built in the 13th Century, the Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia is one of the finest examples in Europe of the Gothic style of architecture – and fittingly for this list – is free to enter!
9. See the Roman remains at El Born Cultural Centre
If the history of Gothic Quarter isn’t enough to excite you then be sure to spend some time within the El Born Cultural Centre where you’ll find some recently recovered remains and building foundations from the Roman period of the city.
Incredibly it’s within what was once one of the oldest market halls in the city, and to see the two thousand year old evidence beneath you of houses, shops, and classic flagstone roads is mind-blowing.
10. Claim victory at the Arc de Trimof
Another architectural highlight in Barcelona is the Arc de Triomf, however this isn’t your standard victory arch.
Whilst surely inspired by other European victory gateways, this particular red brick giant was built as an entrance way for visits to the 1888 Barcelona World Fair.
It’s well worth stopping by to admire the details of the structure and is only a two minute walk away from our next free thing to do in Barcelona.
11. Discover the street art of Barri Gòtic
Amongst the 16 free things to do in Barcelone, photograph the Barri Gotic is really worth.
Known more commonly in the English speaking world as Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, Barri Gòtic is one of the oldest districts in the city and it’s ironically where you’ll find some of the newest addictions by street artists.
Covering the doors of the houses and garages throughout the neighbourhood, the street art is everywhere and waiting to be discovered. Sometimes it’s out in the open, other times it’s hidden down the darkest and least trodden alleyways, but once found is worth the exploration time.
12. Become a Modernisme by simply walking
Walking around is our personal preference in every city we travel to as it enables us to learn directly from our surroundings about the past and the future of where we are.
One great free way for you to learn about the past in Barcelona is to take a walk along the Route of Modernisme on which you’ll pass by many of the best examples of the style, and with the online guide you’ll soon be a walking expert on all things Modernisme.
13. Watch the sunset from the best panorama
This free thing to do actually came recommended to us after we’d already left Barcelona, but we really trust our friend Margherita who’s put together her own favourite insider tips for Barcelona in which this panorama is included.
We could tell you about how fantastic the view is from the former bunker built during the Spanish Civil War, but maybe Margherita’s pictures will do it better justice.
14. See the mobile canvases behind La Boqueria
Every guide book that you read will tell you to go to La Boqueria, Europe’s biggest indoor food market – but we won’t.
Due to the location and success the market has seen over the years it has become more of a plastic replica of what must have once been a great place to wonder through, watching people as they try fresh goods and imported delicacies.
What we would recommend you do instead at La Boqueria is to walk through the entrance on La Rambla and to keep on walking straight until you’ve reached the other side. What you’ll find is the loading bay and parking areas for some of Barcelona’s mobile canvases.
Each and every delivery truck you see there is a mobile street art delight which differ from one side to the next, and what’s also great about these street art covered trucks is that you’ll also see them rolling through the city!
15. Free things to do in Barcelone : local markets
Among the top free things to do in Barcelone, exploring the non-tourist market could be a perfect highlight. Be sure to take a look at the fresh food market of the Santa Caterina Market.
The market is hard to miss thanks to the new modern construction it’s housed in, and yet whilst much smaller than the above market, is far more of an authentic place to see.
16. Join a photo walk with some locals
If you’ve been riding the metro all day from one attraction to the next and have an urge to walk and explore, why not do so in the company of a local on a photo walk?
Photo walks are an increasing trend throughout the world and we recently joined a walking tour of Girona that’s left us eager to return for a longer stay.
It’s a chance to walk with fellow photographers and talk with them about photography tips, but also about the city around you. It’s surprising the things that you’ll see when you allow yourself to flow along in a group whilst making friends – specially when it ventures off the path.
To find the next scheduled photo walk in Barcelona we recommend checking the Barcelona Photography group on Meetup.com.