Best Free Things to See and Do in Barcelona, Spain

Part of the amazing Maritime Museum in Barcelona, free on the first Sunday of every month – copyright Andrew Gould, Creative Commons

Although Spain is still inexpensive compared to many other European destinations, when you visit a city like Barcelona you may be surprised how expensive some things can be.  But, don’t worry.

If you are traveling on a budget and don’t have lots of money to spend doing and seeing things in Barcelona, there’s tons of free stuff you can enjoy. Thus, giving you more money to spend on Barcelona’s amazing food.

Visit Las Ramblas – Of course, the primo spot in the city for just about every visitor is Las Ramblas.  A long boulevard (rambla) lined by trees and with lots of other boulevards leading off it (hence the name, Las Ramblas), you can stroll down the boulevard, watch the many street performers doing their thing, check out the flower stalls and little kiosks, and generally have a fun time people watching.

Just a word of warning, it does get crowded and, as it’s a big tourist destination, there are also many pickpockets here. Watch your wallet and, if you’re watching your money, don’t buy a coffee or a meal here (they’re much higher priced than other locations in Barcelona). Head off into the side streets and find a cute neighborhood cafe instead.

Park Güell – One of the coolest places in Barcelona, Park Güell is an amazing hilly park in the Gracia district of Barcelona. Designed by the world famous Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi, the park is now part of a World Heritage Site, it’s truly that incredible.

Look for stunning mosaics, intricate fountains, beautiful gardens and  a terrace that has a huge bench that looks like a sea serpent. Entrance to the park is completely free. There is also the Gaudi Museum, which you do have to pay for but if you can afford a few euros, it’s well worth seeing.

Barcelona Beaches – Of course, most visitors head to one of Barcelona’s  beaches at some point on their trip, but many forget that, yes, they are a great place to spend a few hours — for free.

Spend a couple of hours getting a sun tan, taking a walk, soaking in the wonderful Spanish atmosphere or, spending a teeny tiny bit of cash, and enjoying a cafe con leche in one of the hundreds of beach front cafes.

Watch Barcelona’s Street Performers – There are Spanish guitarists and flamenco dancers all over Barcelona giving free performances on the street. Spare a few cents for them, if you can afford it. If not, enjoy the beautiful music and dances.

Barcelona’s Museums – Barcelona not only has many world-class museums but, on the first Sunday of every month, many of them are free.

Of course, they are packed, so get there early. Try the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), and the Maritime Museum.

Many Barcelona museums also offer free admission to EU citizens at certain times during the month. Check before you pay. The only thing you’ll need is your passport or a copy. Plus, don’t forget to ask for any discounts available if you are a senior citizen or a student.