Written by Ash

13 Free Things to Do in Barcelona Spain in 2024


The best free things to do in Barcelona are a welcome respite from some pretty heavy attraction bills.

Technically, you could spend a weekend here without spending a penny – just don’t end up camping in Ciutadella Park!

Presuming you’ve got a hotel, here are the top things to do for free in Barcelona:

Free Things to Do in Barcelona Today

a fruit stand at boqueria market barcelona

Walk Around La Boqueria

The biggest food market in Europe sits right in the heart of La Rambla.

La Boqueria is a feast for the senses and the hustle and bustle of the day’s trade is a sight in itself. Just a fantastic place for photos: colourful, aromatic, lively. So get Instagramming.

The past winner of ‘Best Market in the World‘ at the World Markets Congress might tempt you into spending, but what doesn’t? If you’re not a fan of crowds and prices substitute another of Barcelona’s best markets.

⚠️  Warning ⚠️: Barcelona’s top two attractions must now be booked in advance.

You can book fast track tickets to both individually or get them as part of a discount pass:

You will not be able to book these tickets on site – lock in your tickets ASAP or you could miss out.

Pony up one euro though for a fresh fruit smoothie – you won’t be disappointed, and neither will your wallet.

a nighttime showing of the magic fountain barcelona

Catch the Magic Fountain Show

Update (1-19-23): The Magic Fountain has been temporarily closed due to recent drought conditions in the Barcelona area. I’ll update this post with any news as it comes.

The heavyweight champion of free things to do in Barcelona at night.

At the foot of the National Palace (headquarters of the National Art Museum of Catalunya: MNAC) you’ll find the magic fountain show: 3620 water jets synchronized to light and music, a true balletic spectacle.

The Magic Fountain Barcelona is a great way to cool off in the summer, if you stay close the mist feels great.

people enjoying the viewpoint from the bunkers del carmel barcelona

Take in a Great View of the City

How many European cities offer a free birds-eye view without paying to go up some tower? This is one of Barcelona’s hidden gems.

The feeling of escape when you ditch the noise of downtown for a breathtaking panoramic view of a beautiful city is priceless.

I suggest starting with the Free Zone at Gaudi’s Utopian landmark Park Guell since it’s already bang right up there in day one of my 3 day Barcelona itinerary.

Less touristy places like Turo de la Rovira (‘The Bunkers’) or Montjuic are more tranquil, allowing you to get downright philosophical with yourself. Life decisions made? Check.

locals play frisbee and volleyball on one of barcelona's most popular beaches

Go to the Beach

Of all the things to do for free in Barcelona, did we really need to mention the golden sand? The best beaches in Barcelona are best enjoyed keeping the following in mind:

  • Avoid the crammed local beaches (Barceloneta, Vila Olympica).
  • Go farther north (Marbella, Nova Mar) for cleaner water and more space.
  • Watch your valuables when you swim and keep an eye out for Barcelona pickpockets
  • It’s crowded in the afternoon so the later the better.

Swimming season is between May-September with peak months naturally being July and August. Even on a sunny autumn or Barcelona winter day a great walk can be had along the beach-side promenade Passeig Marítim.

Take a Stroll down the Ruta del Modernisme

So many architectural masterpieces, so little time.

Counting 115 buildings including the world-famous Casa Batllo (pictures), La Pedrera, and Casa Vicens – this route not only showcases the wealth and flair of turn of the century Catalonia, but the sheer madness of the industrialists one-upping each other with each new palatial residence.

For a full itinerary of this architectural Disneyland consult the Ruta del Modernisme website.

tourists at the fountain in ciutadella park

Have a Picnic at Ciutadella Park

This 280,000 square meter urban park is our city’s green lung and it’s one of the best parks in Barcelona.

What really makes Ciutadella Park stand out is the mix of people: young people, families visiting Barcelona with kids, street artists, punk rockers, joggers, musicians, tourists, and residents all living together.

Keep an eye out for the fountain (pictured) loosely based on the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

The stone sculpture in the pond at Plaça d’Armes of an inconsolable woman is great for reflection, but you’ll be consoled by your picnic wine, meat and cheese from nearby supermarket Condis at Calle Comerç 19.

children take cover from the fire of a corre foc fire run at the merce festival in barcelona spain

Check out the Summer Festivals (Festes Majors)

In summer you’ll find entire neighbourhoods like Gracia and El Gotico shutting down to host week-long street festivals. Of our list of free things to do in Barcelona this has to be the best value for your (no!) money.

The legendary Festa Mayor de Gracia goes in August and has entire blocks shutting down to redecorate according to certain themes – last year’s impressive Japanese-themed village was the run-away winner. Each block has a different live music with food and drink.

And who could forget September and its legendary correfoc (a parade of fire-breathing dragons and revelers dancing in the flames) at La Mercè? There’s live music everywhere, exhibitions, traditional food and costume and more.

Check the full list of Festes Majors to see if there’s one when you’re visiting.

Get Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Batllo, and a 10% Discount Card!
top tapas restaurant does patatas bravas in barcelona

Get Free Food (Yes, Free Food!)

What’s the only thing better than having quality Spanish tapas with your beer? Having free tapas with your beer.

Though Barcelona tapas bars can hardly compare to the generosity of their southern cousins in Andalusia, there are still a handful of top Barcelona bars which will give you free food when you order drinks.

Check out the full list in my article best tapas in Barcelona that includes 8 bars with free tapas.

tourists looking up at the santa maria del mar church in barcelona spain

Take a Tour of the Santa Maria del Mar

The Santa Maria del Mar is perhaps the finest and most complete example of Catalan Gothic architecture, and this is a can’t miss if you’re wandering the streets of the famous Born district.

The imposing 14th century church might be hemmed in by surrounding buildings (making it difficult to get an overall impression), but the inside is pure light and spaciousness. The tall columns were a major inspiration for Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.

This is also one of the top free things to do in Barcelona for history buffs – look in the vault for walls blackened by smoke at an anti-Franco protest during the Spanish Civil War.

a poster of the picasso museum barcelona

Take Advantage of Free Museum Sundays

Here is one of the free things to do in Barcelona that normally costs money. A handful of popular Barcelona’s best museums offer free entry, usually on Sundays.

First Sunday of every month: Picasso Museum, Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, National Art Museum of Catalonia (also free Saturdays after 3 pm), Museum of Catalan History.

You can also visit the Chocolate Museum for free the first Monday of every month.

garden maze as the parc del labirinto in barcelona spain

Get Lost in the Parc del Laberint d’Horta

Aside from being one of the most romantic places in Barcelona this well landscaped half-park half-maze is free on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Yes, the Parco del Labirinto is teeming with flower beds, tiny squares, waterfalls, and mythical statues in every corner.

Another great urban escape to have fun with the family, friends, or challenging your significant other to see who can get out first!

Surf the Internet

Of the best free things to do in Barcelona this very simple capability that we all take for granted back home may outrank them all. Barcelona’s free internet network Barcelona WiFi has connection points in almost the entire city: 634 points to be exact.

To make sure you’ve got hotspots near your Barcelona oliday apartment or Barcelona hostel you can check the Barcelona city WiFi map. The speeds are capped and at times slow but it’s better than paying roaming charges!

Barcelona Hacks guided tour

Take a Free Walking Tour

OK, so this one is only free if you’re a horrible person and don’t end up tipping your guide. I’ve found though that free walking tours are a great way to get a sense of the city, especially if you’re too lazy to read up on it yourself!

Runnerbean Tours has a wide selection of tours run by charming and informative guides that includes the Gothic Quarter tour, Antoni Gaudi’s best buildings, and the chilling ‘Dark Past’ night tour.

Keep in mind however that it is customary to leave a tip for the guides, usually about 10 euro.

Still Looking for Free Things to Do in Barcelona Spain?

So, did I miss something completely obvious and you’re almost too embarrassed to tell me?

Any feedback you can leave to help me improve this resource would be a great help.

Also, if you’ve got any more questions about my list of free things to do in Barcelona or anything else to do with your visit they will be answered promptly in the comments section below, and guess what? It’s free.

Happy travels 🙂

  • August 7, 2022 at 1:28 pm
    Hi there! Great website! I'm going as a solo female, is there anything I should be made aware of? Areas to avoid and such? Also would love recos for smaller art galleries & art or interesting classes I could take while there. Thank you :)
    • August 8, 2022 at 10:26 am
      Team Member
      Hi Kate, Honestly there's a pickpocket culture on transport and in major tourist areas like La Rambla that you'll want to watch out for, but common sense should be enough to avoid it. Always be aware of your bag and pockets, keep stuff zipped up, never leave a bag or computer on a table while you grab a coffee etc. I've also had female friends walking home alone at night have issues... not to scare you of course... but typically if you're walking home late at night especially in the Gothic Quarter or Raval you need to be on your guard. I'd download the FreeNow app and take a taxi back if you're having a night out. Other than this, it's quite a safe city. The new Moco Museum in El Born is a great option for modern art... the Joan Miro Foundation is my favourite -secondary' art museum (if you can call it that) in Barcelona. Along these same lines I'd recommend Arte Bar for a cool painting class. You could also learn how to cook paella at Paella Club.
  • June 6, 2022 at 1:53 pm
    Ler Nie
    Hi! Do you know if the human tower building events are still happening in Barcelona?
    • June 8, 2022 at 9:33 am
      Team Member
      Hi, Generally you'll find them during the big summer barrio festivals like La Merce (late September) or La Festa de Gracia (mid August). So far haven't heard of anything outside these events... when are you planning on visiting?
  • October 23, 2019 at 10:27 pm
    Hello! We will be in Barcelona at Christmastime with our children (ages 11 and 13). In addition to the world-famous Christmas Markets any other highlights or day trips or hidden gems for this time of the year? Thank you!
    • October 24, 2019 at 2:18 pm
      Team Member
      Hi MB, I'll direct you to my article on visiting Barcelona during Christmas and there I share pretty much all there is to do during that time. I'll be updating it soon with info for 2019 but as a whole the activities are the same. For a day trip you may strongly consider Montserrat for its religious significance. Hope this gives you some ideas :) Ash
  • October 13, 2019 at 9:53 pm
    Hi Love your website! So helpful and informative. I go to Barcelona in a couple of days and just wondering where the best place is to view the city, Utopian landmark Park Guell or Turo de la Rovira (‘The Bunkers’)? Thanks Lou
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:34 am
    Hi Ash, Great post and really helpful. Now, I have a question. We will be in Barcelona during this year's La Merce Festival. It's only three weeks to go and i still cannot find schedules for Correfoc, Castellers, Gigantes (parade), Projection Show at Plaça de Sant Jaume and other events. The main festival website lists concerts but not other things. I cannot find a comprehensive list of all events. Any idea where to find all this info?
    • September 2, 2019 at 10:38 am
      Team Member
      Hola Peter, Yes indeed, I am in the same boat here! I've been checking back on this site for the info (to update my site) but have yet to see the relevant updates... all I can say is to keep checking back on the official site (the one you listed) because it'll be updated any day now. Cheers, Ash
  • July 13, 2019 at 10:17 pm
    I'm pretty sure Santa Maria del Mar is in Born :)
    • July 14, 2019 at 9:02 pm
      Team Member
      My mistake! Corrected :)
  • September 19, 2018 at 7:43 pm
    Hola! :) I just wanted to say, that your blog is amazing. So helpful, ful of good advices and everything convenient to have a great holiday in the city. We are super excited to visit this gorgeous place, escpecially after reading useful articles from this blog. Keep doing it so well event further, wish you all the best ;) Thank yoou! Jasmina
    • September 20, 2018 at 6:53 am
      Team Member
      Hi Jasmina, that is just about the kindest message I have ever received on here so thank you! :) If you have any questions I would be glad to help. Ash
  • August 22, 2018 at 11:06 am
    Hi, you can visit Parc Güell for free before 8.00 am [including staircase, hall, terasse!]. My recommendation: Join the sunrise at Turó de les Tres Creus early in the morning and then step down to Parc Güell, it's just 3 minutes away if you take the entrance at the back side [look for The Greek Theatre in Google Maps]. Done today [22 Aug 2018]. Enjoy it.
    • August 22, 2018 at 1:57 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Andreas, Thanks so much for the great tip, I intend on doing an update to this post soon so hope you don't mind if I copy the idea ;) I haven't done this yet but have heard it's amazing, especially since there's hardly anybody around. Was is very packed during this time or did you have the feeling of being more alone with the nature? Ash
  • June 10, 2018 at 2:57 am
    Christian Gullon
    My family will be in Barcelona for the start of the World Cup. Any good suggestions for where to watch games with good food and drink? Thanks. I am from Argentina, wife is Mexican but have lived in US for some time now. Thinking of going to Messi's family restaurant for the Argentina game but looking for other venues. Mexico plays Germany on Sunday, 1700hrs,
    • June 11, 2018 at 12:49 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Christian, Would definitely recommend the big pubs because they've got the best screens and a more international atmosphere. These serve traditional pub food which is good for some, especially me since I've been away from home for so long! Try the The George Payne or Flaherty's Irish Bar. Cheers, Ash
  • December 26, 2017 at 7:53 pm
    Alana Davis
    Hola! I very much appreciate your article, very helpful. This is my first time in Barcelona and I'm here with my friend. Both of us are performers (fire and burlesque) and we are desperately wanting to meet kindred artistic performers and perhaps catch a great show for this NYE (2017-2018). If you have any suggestions we'd be greatly appreciative. This is a shot in the dark, haha. We'll have fun either way. Thanks again :) Sincerely, Friction
    • December 27, 2017 at 7:41 am
      Team Member
      Hola Alana! It's a shot in the dark but I appreciate it none the less ;) The only burlesque shows I've heard of in BCN are at the El Molino on Paral-lel, and they've traditionally had them on NYE... the only info I can find though is for the 2015 version. You can check their website here and see they don't have any events... they're pretty bad at updating their site so this could be why. After a look around other channels I haven't found any info either... you could try emailing them at [email protected] for their NYE schedule or any burlesque/cabaret info about the city. For like minded people and events you could try a shot on the dark at there are all sorts of events organized and I'm sure some include these types of performances. I hope this steers you in the right direction! Ash
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