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Things to do in Barcelona

Free things to do in Barcelona

Experience the best of Barcelona without spending a penny

Published on 26 Jan 2022

Barcelona’s slower pace of life, almost endless sunshine and tapestry of iconic architecture have made it a popular cruise destination for years. Travelling on a budget? Here are Barcelona’s top free things to do:

4 free things to do in Barcelona

Experience Gaudí’s work

With countless galleries, bars and museums, you’re never far from authentic Catalonian culture.

We chatted to Ben Holbrook, who started his blog Driftwood Journals, after he moved to Barcelona and fell in love with its rich food and culture. “Park Güell is one of Antoni Gaudí’s most colourful and fantastical pieces of work,” he told us. “He designed it for Eusebi Güell, a successful businessman who wanted to create an exclusive residential estate for wealthy Catalans. However, because of the land laws and the fact that it was so difficult to access, only two of the sixty houses originally planned were ever built - Gaudí and his father actually lived in one of them (now the Gaudí House Museum).

“You do have to pay to enter the famous terraced area of the park, where the iconic ceramic lizard and snaking benches are, but most people don’t realise that you can actually explore most of the park, and enjoy the epic city views, for free.”

Explore Barcelona’s museums

Barcelona is full to the brim with museums. Want to learn more about art, science, chocolate? There’s a museum nestled amongst Barcelona’s quaint streets for you. “One museum, a thousand years of art” is the slogan of the Museum Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. In a city overflowing with stunning architecture, the national museum stands out from the crowd with its truly impressive stature. Its collection vaunts an elaborate and detailed overview of Catalan art between the 12th and 20th centuries. The jewel in its crown, however, is the Romanesque collection, featuring displays of 21 murals that were painstakingly salvaged from tenth-century churches in the Pyrenees before they fell into ruin.

Covering over 2,000 years of Catalonian history, Museum d’Historia de Catalunya will guide you from the Stone Age into the 1980s. Located on Old Port, on the edge of Barceloneta and Barri Gotic, visitors can enjoy one of the finest museum cafes in Europe. Their rooftop terrace doubles up as a beautiful little cafe where you can enjoy stunning views of Port Vell. Inside, the presentation of the artefacts are displayed in a very modern multimedia format.

Visit Barcelona’s markets

A hub for tourists seeking fresh and authentic Catalonian food, La Boqueria is one of Barcelona’s most well-known markets. Marta from Forever Barcelona told us, “The very best free attraction in town is definitely the Boqueria Market, located in the heart of La Rambla and open Monday through Sunday it really is a sensation for the senses. Its enticing smells of fresh fish and meats have been tantalising the locals since 1217 and is as popular today as it was then.

“Said to be one of the best food markets in the world, Barcelonans say that if you can’t find it in La Boqueria, you won’t find it anywhere else! Gorgeous exotic fruits, spectacular freshly caught fish and seafood that still moves, mouth-watering meats and cold cuts, mushrooms, spices… the list is endless! The market tapas bars are a wonderful place for an informal lunch or coffee break and you’ll also find many stalls to buy food to go.”

Wander along La Rambla

A shop window for culture, La Ramble or Las Ramblas as it is referred to by the locals, is the most famous street in Barcelona. You are ushered down the broad pedestrian boulevard by two rows of trees and between narrow traffic lanes, as your senses are pounced upon by a cacophony of smells, sounds and sights.

La Rambla is an absolute must for anyone visiting Barcelona, it is a street adored by locals and tourists alike. Mind your step, otherwise you could miss some beautiful pieces of Barcelona’s artistic history, like Joan Miro’s circular tile work. Crafted into the street, Miro’s piece is one of many colourful examples of the beauty your eyes may miss as you just try and take it in all at once. If you want to be sure that you don’t miss a thing, there are plenty of walking tours running throughout the day.

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