Do you want to visit Barcelona and spend as little as possible? Then follow this Top 10 of free visits, museums and activities to do in the capital of Catalonia that I have created for you to enjoy without breaking the bank.
I’ve been to Barcelona many times before, and I’ve loved my stays in the capital of Catalonia, but the most incredible experiences I’ve had have come from following the advice of the locals. And it is thanks to them that I not only fell in love with this city, but also that I was able to compile the best things to do for free in Barcelona. As always, the best moments of my stays in Barcelona (as often) were unexpected and it was the locals who told me their secrets and tips. In my opinion, there is no better way to find out what is really worth seeing, as it is the people who live in the city all year round who know all the nooks and crannies. I hope that on your next vacation in Barcelona, you will not only experience these ten free visits and activities that I suggest, but also that you will want to share them afterwards! With this list, I hope that you will not only be able to visit and have fun without spending too much money, but also that you will have a rewarding and unforgettable time!
I’ve been to Barcelona many times before, and I’ve loved my stays in the capital of Catalonia, but the most incredible experiences I’ve had have come from following the advice of the locals. And it is thanks to them that I not only fell in love with this city, but also that I was able to compile the best things to do for free in Barcelona.
As always, the best moments of my stays in Barcelona (as often) were unexpected and it was the locals who told me their secrets and tips. In my opinion, there is no better way to find out what is really worth seeing, as it is the people who live in the city all year round who know all the nooks and crannies.
I hope that on your next vacation in Barcelona, you will not only experience these ten free visits and activities that I suggest, but also that you will want to share them afterwards!
With this list, I hope that you will not only be able to visit and have fun without spending too much money, but also that you will have a rewarding and unforgettable time!
1. Top free tours to do: Visit the Santa Cruz Cathedral in Barcelona
You can’t visit Barcelona for free without visiting the SagradaFamilia, I agree – but the city is home to another cathedral worth visiting that is located on the borders of the old city.
Built in the 13th century, the Cathedral of Santa Cruz and Santa Eulalia is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe – and rightfully included in this list – and access to the religious building is completely free and open!
2. Join a free walking tour
I’ve been on many walking tours throughout Europe and had a great time on all of them.
A number of small local companies offer guided walking tours of Barcelona, and I have become a big fan of these rather inexpensive tours.
3. Sunbathe to Spanish music on the Promenade Marítim
Walking along the seaside promenade (Passeig Maritime) has always been a favorite pastime of Barcelona’s residents, and tourists and locals alike continue to stroll along it on foot, bike, scooter or rollerblades.
Weather permitting, you’ll find onlookers everywhere along the way, sitting or casually enjoying the sun, as well as enjoying the melodious tunes of the many street bands selling their tunes or handmade souvenirs.
Treat yourself to a cool drink and let the music and sounds of summer in Spain wash over you; there’s no better place to stroll during the day.
4. Find a quiet spot on the beach in Barcelona
What to do when the beaches of Barcelona are crowded during the summer months? Find a place that’s a little quieter!
Hundreds of tourists and locals descend on the beach to polish their tans and cool off in the Mediterranean, so if you’re getting ready to join them with your towel and swimsuit, make sure you know what you’re doing.
To find a slightly quieter spot on the beach, walk as long as you can until there is less sand. Surprisingly enough, the ends of the beach are often overlooked by sunbathers and swimmers.
And don’t forget your sunscreen to protect yourself!
5. Walk along Passeig de Gracia
This short walk to the Gracia neighborhood is perhaps one of the most popular routes in Barcelona, and for good reason.
This Barcelona avenue that connects Plaça de Catalunya to the Gràcia neighborhood is one of the city’s most important thoroughfares and is lined with some of Barcelona’s most beautiful buildings, many of them the work of the famous Gaudi.
I recommend scheduling your walk along Passeig Gracia either in the morning when the sun rises or in the evening when it sets. This way you can admire the architectural masterpieces without being jostled by the crowds that line the avenue every day and do some window shopping in peace, but without blowing your travel budget.
6. Visit concept stores and trendy cafes
Once you reach the end of Passeig de Gracia, you’ll have reached the neighborhood of the same name where the greatest designers of today and tomorrow exhibit and sell their latest creations, but also many cafes that are particularly popular with Instagrammers and really worth a visit.
In Gracia, you can also enjoy several restaurants that are among the most popular in the Catalan capital and that I highly recommend for lunch or dinner or simply for a little snack to regain strength during your visit to the city.
7. Bargain at Barcelona’s best flea market
For over 600 years, Barcelonans have been buying and selling fantastic antique furniture and other handmade regional items at the market del Encants.
The market you’ll discover is obviously a little different than it was back in the day, but in my opinion, it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to appreciate true Barcelona culture.
After its reopening in 2013, the market now has over 500 exhibitors with a multitude of different items that will allow all curious and lovers of authentic objects to find their happiness, whether you are an amateur decorator or a fashion expert.
8. Take advantage of free and unlimited transportation to visit Barcelona
Let’s be honest, this tip isn’t really free, but I thought it was definitely worth mentioning here; and it does indeed save you a lot of money if you’re staying in Barcelona for a few days compared to the price of single tickets for public transportation.
The city is very well served by several types of public transport and they are very easy to use. The metro is the most convenient way to get around the city, but with tickets costing €2.18 per trip, your vacation budget may be a bit impacted – so why not get around free?
With the Hola card, you have total freedom to travel free of charge and as much as you want on all types of public transport in the city, as well as benefiting from exclusive discounts on various activities and tourist sites.
You can choose between several passes with durations of 3, 4 and 5 days, which should be more than enough to get you everywhere during your vacation in Barcelona.
9. Visit the Picasso Museum for free
There’s always an endless line at the Gothic Quarter museum dedicated to the Spanish master who lived and worked within the gray stone walls in which his collection is now housed, and you can see all the works in this museum for free every first Sunday of the month.
Standing in line for hours is always a pain, but nothing beats free admission.
As long as you arrive before the free admission period starts, which is between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m., you’ll be in a good place to enjoy the free tour without having to wait too long. Every first Sunday of the month, you can also visit the National Art Museum of Catalonia and the History Museum of Catalonia for free.
10. Celebrate victory at the Arc de Triomf
The Arch of Triumph (or Arc de Triomf in Catalan) is also one of the outstanding monuments of the city’s architectural heritage, and it’s not just any triumphal arch.
Although indeed inspired by other victory gates found all over Europe, this absolutely unique red brick giant was built as a gateway for visitors to the Barcelona World Fair in 1888.
Feel free to get up close to the building to admire all the details that make up the friezes and other ornaments!
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