- What to do in Barcelona for free: 12 activities not to be missed
- 1- Admire the Art Nouveau façades of the “Golden Quarter”
- 2- Take advantage of Free Museum Sundays
- 3- Enjoy the views from the top of a hill
- 4- Free walking tour in Barcelona
- 5- Take a trip to Park Güell: not really free, but not expensive
- 6- Look at the exterior of the Sagrada Família
- 7- Admire the Cathedral of Barcelona
- 8- Explore the Gothic Quarter
- 9- Watch a free concert
- 10- Visit the food markets
- 11- See the Magic Fountain
- 12- Observe the public art of Joan Miró
What to do in Barcelona for free if you have a limited budget? Let’s see together 12 low cost activities that will keep you busy all the weekend and will help you to discover the Catalan capital.
While it is true that there are many ways to spend money in Barcelona, it is also true that there are a lot cheap fun activities, and also totally free experiences.
So here’s what to do in Barcelona for free for a low-cost weekend.
What to do in Barcelona for free: 12 activities not to be missed *
Such as many European capitals, Barcelona has a world of open-air beauties and you can easily enjoy the city without spending too much.
I have listed below 12 activities. What do you think: can they be enough to make your weekend rich and interesting?
1- Admire the Art Nouveau façades of the “Golden Quarter” *
In the list of what to do in Barcelona the main activity is to walk looking upwards..
Barcelona has an area called Quadrat d’or (Golden Quarter): here you can admire one of the largest concentrations in the world of Art Nouveau buildings.
I’m sure you’ve already heard of Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, the famous houses of Antoni Gaudí (are on Passeig de Gràcia).
It is also possible that you know other important architects of the time: Doménech i Montaner or Puig i Cadafalch … well two of the houses next to Casa Batlló were designed by them.
But the Golden Quarter of Barcelona is much more than that: there are dozens of wonderful buildings scattered everywhere in the area between Plaça Catalunya, Carrer Aribau, Avinguda Diagonal and Passeig de Sant Joan.
This is a real open air museum that you can visit without pay the ticket, or you can choose just one or more stops to visit by payment.
2- Take advantage of Free Museum Sundays *
With some exceptions, Barcelona’s museums are quite expensive.
However, some of the best museums participate at the “Free Museum Sunday” which allows to access to museums for free on Sundays from 15:00.
beyond this possibility museums can also have other days and times totally free.
Indeed, most public museums also offer free admission on occasions such as patronal feasts: for example in Santa Eulalia (12 February) or La Mercè (24 September).
Then there is May 18th which is International Museum Day, so you can visit them for free.
It is necessary to check each museum website you are interested to visit: dates and times change from one to the other.
- the National Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC): free every Saturday from 3:00 pm and the first Sunday of the month until closing time (3:00 pm);
- the Picasso Museum: free every Thursday from 18:00 to 21:30 and the first Sunday of the month (online booking is required. Tickets are available only 4 days before the date);
- the Maritime Museum: free every Sunday from 3pm;
- the Barcelona History Museum (MUHBA): free every Sunday from 3pm and the first Sunday of the month;
- the Barcelona Design Museum: free every Sunday from 3pm and the first Sunday of the month;
- the Natural History Museum (Mueseu Blau): free every Sunday from 3:00 pm and the first Sunday of the month.
3- Enjoy the views from the top of a hill *
Barcelona is located between the sea and the mountains so finding a place to enjoy the beautiful view is never a problem.
These are some of my favorite places (totally free) to get a perfect panoramic photo, or even a romantic spot for two lovebirds:
– Castle of Montjüic
Montjüic Castle is a Barcelona icon and an ideal place to take a look at the city and the port. From here you have a fantastic view of the whole area, and there is also a pleasant walk around the the castle area.
An excellent plan is to arrive by subway at the base of the hill and then take the funicular. Of course i recommend you a stop at the Mirador de l’Alcalde, which dominates the city.
The name derives from one of Christ’s temptations in the Bible: Barcelona becomes a temptation!
The amusement park of 1905 and the Church of the Sacred Heart are both on top from where, on a clear day, it is possible to see up to Montserrat.
– Turó de la Rovira
If you want the perfect photo of Barcelona, with the Mediterranean as a background, this is the right place. The platforms to relax are actually all that remain of a Spanish civil war anti-aircraft sistem.
I suggest you to avoid the sunset when, unfortunately, the place seems to get too crowded and noisy.
– MNAC terrace
Perhaps the views are not as “high” as in other places, but the terrace in front of the National Art Museum of Catalonia is always a very picturesque viewpoint.
A visit to the museum with a look at the show of the Magic Fountain, which we’ll talk about in a while, makes it perfect for an evening in Barcelona.
– Park Güell
Unfortunately, since October 2013 the monumental area is no longer as free as it used to be, instead you have to pay a € 10 ticket (adults).
However, the area outside the monumental area is still free and includes the Turó de les Tres Creus, the highest point of the park, and a fantastic viewpoint overlooking Barcelona.
4- Free walking tour in Barcelona *
As said, walking is the best way to see Barcelona and joining a free local walking tour will help you understand much better what you are seeing.
Places are generally limited so booking in advance is always recommended.
If you speak English the choice is much broader, but there is also something in Italian.
The best agencies that offer free tours are:
Free walking tour barcelona: give a free tour of the Gothic Quarter in Italian
Sandemans: offers paid or free tours in various European cities. The Sandemans free tour of Barcelona is in English and lasts 2.5 hours and leads to the Gothic Quarter and the El Born district to discover must-see places such as the Cathedral of Barcelona, Santa Maria del Mar, Plaça Sant Jaume and more.
Runner bean tours: this company offers a free tour of the places of Gaudì very ideal for fans of the work of the great architect. Gaudì’s free tour is in English, but thematically interesting. The same company, also in English, also offers a free tour of the Gothic Quarter
Feel free tours: even the Feel Free tour had the same idea and offers a free tour to discover Gaudi and always in English.
5- Take a trip to Park Güell: not really free, but not expensive *
Repetitive … maybe because I suggested it for the free part.
Now even if I’m suggesting non-paying attractions, I would like to ask you to stop in this park. While it is true that the main part of Park Güell now requires visitors to pay for entry, it is worth spending € 10 to admire this fascinating and colorful work.
6- Look at the exterior of the Sagrada Família *
It is true that the interior of the Sagrada Família certainly deserves a visit at least once in a lifetime. If, however, you are not particularly attracted, and you don’t want to face the queues or pay for the ticket, there is still a lot to admire outside, and this can be done for free.
The three facades each have their theme, retrace the different phases of Jesus’ life and are rich in symbolism.
Download a free online guide, for example there is the Wikipedia entry which is very detailed, so you can organize your free Sagrada Família tour.
7- Admire the Cathedral of Barcelona *
Another of Barcelona’s famous monuments is its Cathedral: a Gothic and neo-Gothic masterpiece from the 13th century located in the city center.
Unlike the Sagrada Família, access inside the Cathedral is free until 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm, although it is advisable to make a donation in one of the piggy banks before going out.
Make sure you also visit the cloister known as La Seu, where there is a beautiful fountain.
8- Explore the Gothic Quarter *
The Gothic Quarter is the most historic district of Barcelona, inhabited since ancient Roman times.
Its winding streets and narrow passages host some of its most interesting architecture, and its most mysterious soul. Damned statues, hidden drawings and enigmatic symbolisms are just some of the elements to consider while wandering here and there.
9- Watch a free concert *
Believe it or not, there are dozens of free concerts, music and dance performances that take place during the week, and especially on weekends.
To help you find the perfect event for your needs, consult the forfree.barcelona site, among others: a guide to all the free activities taking place in the city, including exhibitions, workshops, outdoor activities and more.
10- Visit the food markets *
Saturday is a great day to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the food markets of Barcelona, while the locals go shopping and meet friends and relatives.
The market of La Boquería is the most famous of the markets of Barcelona, but also the most active. Beyond that which is the most famous you can still take a look at the Sant Antoni market or at the Santa Caterina market where you can experience the environment in a definitely more relaxed way.
11- See the Magic Fountain *
There is no age limit to enjoy the extraordinary performance of the Barcelona Magic Fountain. A show of lights, music and about 3000 water cannons dance to the rhythm of Disney hymns mixed with classical melodies.
The Magic Fountain is located on Plaça d’Espanya, outside the National Palace of Catalonia.
The times of the shows vary according to the period of the year. It also closes for maintenance for almost two months in January and February.
If you happen to visit during this period of closure, the area is still worth a visit, but probably during the day, while if the fountain is active, it is good to point to the area at sunset.
These are the times when the Magic Fountain operates in general:
March 1 – March 31: Thursday, Friday and Saturday (from 8 to 9 pm)
April 1st – May 31st: Thursday, Friday and Saturday (from 21:00 to 22:00)
From June 1st to September 30th: from Wednesday to Sunday (from 9.30 pm to 10.30 pm) No show September 21st, 22nd and 23rd
October 1st – October 31st: Thursday, Friday and Saturday (from 21:00 to 22:00)
From November 1st to January 6th: Thursday, Friday and Saturday (from 8pm to 9pm) No show 27, 28, 29 and 30 December and 1 January
12- Observe the public art of Joan Miró *
The definitive collection of the artist who is at the Fundació Joan Miró deserves to be discovered, but there are fantastic sculptures by Miró also around the city freely available to the public.
For example, at the Parc de Joan Miró it is the home of his epic 22-meter-high woman and bird sculpture covered with colored glazed tiles that rise dramatically from a sparkling pool.
There is also a Miró mosaic on the central walkway of La Rambla and another unexpectedly exposed on the outer wall of Terminal 2 of the airport.
What to do in Barcelona 3 days: complete itinerary *
Aren’t these 12 possibilities absolutely free? I advise you to go and have a look at my post too:
What to see in Barcelona in 3 days: a 72-hour walk in the Spanish capital
You will have a complete city itinerary for your next weekend in Barcelona. What else can you need? Write it to me in the footnotes at the bottom of the page and when discussing I will give you all the information you might need !!