Top 10 Free Things To Do In Barcelona Recommended By A Local

By Karla Gil, A creative discovering all of the secrets of Barcelona

Edited by Matthew Wears

Are you short on cash but still need that weekend city break somewhere amazing? Well I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to worry, book a flight to Catalonia and you’ll be surrounded by a whole load of crazy things to do in Barcelona that don’t cost anything at all! Whether it’s beautiful museums, the best city views or one of the city’s incredible free events, Barcelona has tons of things to keep you entertained. I’ll be including all of the major Barcelona tips from locals that you won’t find in the guidebook, guaranteed to save you cash allowing you to have the perfect break without breaking the bank! There’s so much more to the city than just the Sagrada Família and La Rambla, and with just a little bit of exploring you can find some of the best experiences in Barcelona that will cost you absolutely nothing! So, leave your wallet at home for this one, and discover the very best things to do in Barcelona for free!  

Visit the CCCB


Since its opening in 1994, a trip to the CCCB has been one of the most popular Barcelona activities because of its huge range of exhibitions, festivals and workshops that really does have something for everyone - stay tuned on the website to see what’s coming up. Every Sunday of the month, the CCCB becomes one of the city’s best free museums, as it scraps its usual eight Euro fee meaning you can enjoy without paying a single cent. This takes place from 3PM until 8PM, although there is limited capacity, so I’d recommended arriving just before 3PM to avoid super long queues! There are also a few public holidays where the museum offers free admittance, such as Museum Day and Night as well as the La Mercè holiday period, so if you’re lucky your visit might fall on one of these dates.

Explore Montjuïc


The area of Montjuic offers loads of really cool activities for you to explore, many of which are completely free! You could spend an entire day discovering all of the hidden gems here, one of which is the graveyard that I think is one of the most unique things to do in Barcelona! It’s super eerie as you explore the historic all the tombs and headstones, all whilst having amazing views over the city! The best views are definitely at the top though, and watching the sun set over the city from here is one of the Barcelona activities that everyone should enjoy at least once! The castle is also very interesting for history buffs; however, it is only free on Sundays after 3PM, any other time will cost you! Or, if you want to rest your tired legs from the climb up, head to the Botanical Gardens for a well-deserved rest in one of most beautiful gardens in the city!

Relax in Parc Cituadella


Like most major cities, Barcelona has absolutely tons of awesome green spaces for you to hang out, one of the absolute must visits being Parc Ciutadella. This was the original city park and remains a beautiful tropical oasis filled with trees, fountains, lakes and artworks still to this day. There’s so much to see and discover in the park so make sure you explore every corner of it, and make sure to pay a visit to the giant mammoth statue which is definitely one of the more unique things to do in Barcelona. If you’re looking for some Barcelona activities that are maybe a little different to what you’d normally do, why not take part in some yoga to take a breather from the crazy city. Do it on your own, or even ask to join someone who’s already doing it, everyone in Barcelona is super friendly and would love to have you join in!

Views from the Bunkers del Carmel


What was once a secret hidden gem known only to a few adventurous travellers is quickly becoming one of the best experiences in Barcelona, and for good reason, it’s an insane experience! My city has many places to get awesome views, but nowhere quite as amazing as the Bunkers del Carmel. They were built for anti-aircraft weaponry during the Spanish Civil War, but now act as viewpoint that allows you to see the entire city, including the cathedral of Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia and even the Camp Nou. Sitting and taking in city from the Bunkers is totally one of my favourite things to do in Barcelona at night, seeing all of the lights twinkle down below is just an awesome sight that you can’t afford to miss! Sunset is another popular time to go, you’ll find many like-minded travellers like yourself as well as lots of locals catching the final rays of sunshine as it disappears over the city.  

Tour the Awesome Graffiti Spots


Barcelona is well known to be a super artistic city, and even the streets are alive with colour and creativity, with artists spraying graffiti pretty much anywhere there is free space! This is one of the really cool things to do in Barcelona that I don’t think enough tourists get to experience! Very close to the Cathedral of Barcelona is an artwork named the kissing wall, a huge image of two people kissing made up from hundreds of tiny photographs that’s an absolute hidden gem! Another great spot is in the world-famous Paral-lel skatepark, where a huge wall is dedicated as a legal space for street artists to practice their craft. One of my all-time best Barcelona tips from locals would have to be getting a bicycle and cycling from artwork to artwork, because the city is just so cool to ride around! Or, if not, walking is just as fun!

Watch a Sunrise from the Beach  


In terms of things to do in Barcelona at night, it doesn’t get much better than watching a beautiful Mediterranean sunrise from the beach. Loads of people love to come down after a crazy night out to take in the final seconds of night time, and it has become a really popular activity for tourists and locals alike. It’s the perfect way to chill out after dancing all night in Poble Espanyol, and I guarantee you’ll be surrounded by other people doing the same which makes for a really special experience. If you’re more of a morning person, people often get up super early to watch it whilst enjoying their breakfast on the beach. During summertime, one of my personal favourite things to do is to go for an early morning swim as the sun begins to rise, I really would say it’s one of the best experiences in Barcelona and I’d urge anyone to give it a go!  

Go to a jam session in the Gothic Quarter


Whilst not strictly a totally free experience, catching some of the awesome jam sessions that take place around the Gothic Quarter is one of the coolest things to do in Barcelona. The Gothic Quarter is well known to have some of the best tapas in the city, as well as being one of the craziest areas for a night out, and many bars put on free jam sessions. They all take place on different days and I think that Marulà Café holds the title of the area’s best. Their shows usually take place on Wednesday and Sunday, and everything from funk to acoustic can get played, making it super exciting because you just don’t know what to expect! Don’t be afraid to try a venue at random though, because so many of the best free events Barcelona has to offer will be hidden down a side street just waiting for you to discover!

Visit the Picasso Museum


An artist that needs no introduction, Pablo Picasso lead one of the most interesting artistic lives which is amazingly displayed in Barcelona’s Picasso Museum. It is located within the super cool and quirky El Born neighborhood, an area that’s already considered must visit! Although not usually one of the free museums, like many others it has certain free days, meaning you can understand the life and work of one greatest ever creatives without paying a single cent! These take place on Thursday afternoons from 6PM to 9:30PM, or the first Sunday every month for the whole day. the museum is one of the most popular Barcelona activities, so make sure you come in plenty of time to avoid spending the whole time stood in a queue! The museum is a must for anyone with an interest in art and history, and I really think it’s one of most unique experiences in Barcelona.  

Get lost in Laberint d’Horta Park


Laberint d’Horta Park has the title of oldest park in Barcelona, dating all the way back to the 18th century! It’s a beautiful collection of artworks, waterfalls and flower displays, easily making it one of the city’s most beautiful green spaces. It takes its name from the huge maze that is at the centre of the park, a feature that I feel gets overlooked by tourists who are more likely to go to Cituadella or Güell, but for me it’s one of the city’s absolute highlights! It’s one of the most unique things to do in Barcelona, and the entire place feels like a treasure chest of sparkling jewels waiting to be discovered. Some of the best experiences in Barcelona are often overlooked, but it you’re willing to explore, you won’t be disappointed. The Horta and Guinardó district is quite far out though, so you might want to get a taxi for this one.

Experience a Barcelona Festival


Few Barcelona activities give you such a good insight into Catalan culture than attending one of the city’s crazy festivals. Fiesta de la Mercè takes place at the end of September and is not only one of the biggest celebrations of the year, it’s one of the craziest too! The highlight has to be the Correfoc, a chaotic parade where sparklers and fireworks are set off in the streets, making for a pretty dangerous experience, so be careful! This is one of the best free events in Barcelona and a really cool way of getting a great insight into the mad Catalan culture. Another one of my favourite things to do in Barcelona is to attend one of the city’s street parties, the very best one being the super popular Fiesta de Gràcia. The streets of this rustic area compete for the title of best decorated street, making for a really awesome spectacle.

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