This blog post was originally posted on September 10, 2014, and was updated on November 28, 2017.
You don’t even have to be a penny-pincher to enjoy this city for less than a dime, or even better, nothing. Here are just a few suggestions of things to do in Barcelona for free.
A lot of people like to exaggerate that everything is expensive in the city, that even breathing costs money and that your bills will evaporate faster than you have time to withdraw them from the ATM. But, these people are not resourceful when it comes to exploring cities on the cheap, and Barcelona is no exception. Read on for our top tips to enjoy the best of Barcelona for free!
Tour the Many Markets
Barcelona’s market tradition goes back over 2000 years. Today it has more markets than any other city in Europe. Beautiful buildings combined with a rich sensory experience of sight, smell, and taste, the markets are well-worth checking out. Beyond the world famous Boqueria, we also recommend La Mercat de la Concepció (Carrer Aragó, 313-317) and La Mercat de l’Abaceria Central (Travesseria de Gracia, 186).
Plan Your Museum Visits
There are a handful of museums that open up their doors with zero entrance fee once a week or month. It’s a great way to see a cultural side of Barcelona for free! If you know when those times are, you can save quite a few euros as the majority of the museums are not necessarily cheap. The obvious pick is the Picasso Museum (Carrer Montcada, 15-23), which is free on Thursdays from 7 to 9.30 pm The National Art Museum of Catalonia, or MNAC for short (Parc de Montjuic, s/n) is housed in a beautiful palace overlooking Plaza Espanya. Furthermore, it’s free on Saturdays from 3 to 6 pm! Finally, for a museum that you might have all to yourself, try the Maritime Museum of Barcelona (Avenida de las Drassanes, s/n). This place is a trove of seafaring wonders that for whatever reason, is little known amongst visitors.
Visit the Carmel Bunkers
Between the many rooftop terraces and Barcelona’s natural geography, the city is not lacking in spots to enjoy a great view. Nonetheless, there are few that can boast what the Carmel bunkers can (Carrer Maria Labérnia, s/n). You will find it atop the Turó de la Rovira hill in the neighborhood of Carmel. These air-raid bunkers were built in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, as Barcelona was consistently bombarded by the fascist military. It’s crammed with rich history, a 360-degree view and completely off the tourist track. This is one place worth the hike up and is one of the best ways to enjoy Barcelona for free!
Make Your Own Modernist Route
Barcelona is sprinkled with incredible modernist buildings and structures, thanks to Antonio Gaudi and his contemporaries. Though the city started charging a 7 euro entrance fee to Park Güell last year, you can, of course, visit many of his other works from the outside. Take for example La Pedrera (Carrer Provença 261-265) or Casa Batlló (Passeig de Gracia, 43). Map out a route throughout different neighborhoods to visit other modernist gems like La Palau de la Música (Carrer de la Palau de la Música, 4-6). Furthermore, why not take a trip to Gaudi’s very first project, two matching lampposts in Plaça Reial.
See a Movie, Under the Stars
During the summer months, take your pic of free film screenings in the open air. The Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona, or the CCCB (Carrer Montalegre, 5), puts on the Gandulas Festival. Enjoy it each year during the month of August, right in their patio. There’s nothing better to do in Barcelona for free than this! If you’re in the mood for the beach, head to Cinema LLuira in on the Sant Sebastià beach. There are different screenings throughout July and August.
Experience Different Catalan Festivals
Probably the most integral part of Catalan culture is the festivals throughout the year. Each neighborhood has its own weeklong festival filled with different concerts and events. Unsurprisingly, Barcelona itself puts on quite the celebration for its patron saint holiday, La Mercè, in September. Not visiting in the summer? Don’t worry. There are plenty more, from Sant Jordi in April to the Three Kings Day in January. Finally, be sure to check the Catalan calendar for what’s going on during your stay.
Stand in Awe at the Magic Fountain of Montjuic
For nearly 100 years, the Magic Fountain of Montjuic has been impressing locals and visitors alike with its evening light, music and water show during the months of June and October. Happening everyday except Mondays, head over to Plaza Espanya to sit and enjoy this quirky wonder that will make you feel like a kid again.