Top 10: Best Free Things to Do in Barcelona

Like A Local Guide • 1 Nov, 2013

Barcelona’s beautiful architecture, great climate and active party scene certainly attract a lot of travellers. If you’re looking for something to do here for free, keep reading for local recommendations by our Barcelona editor Jesper.

1. Enjoy amazing architecture along Ruta del Modernisme

For those who enjoy architectural walks, the local Barcelona government has put together Ruta del Modernisme – the Modernism Route. It’s an itinerary that takes you through the Barcelona of Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch – the architects who contributed to making Barcelona the world capital of modernism. The route gives you the opportunity to see impressive palatial residences, amazing houses, the temple that has become a symbol of the city, a huge hospital, and several more humble buildings and structures including pharmacies, shops, lampposts and benches. There are 115 works in total demonstrating the city’s strong modernist roots. Read more…

Reus, la Ruta del Modernismo : carrer Amblen Casa Ramon Vendrell arch : Pere Caselles i Tarrats, 1912Photo credit: Jacqueline Poggi

2. Spend a sunny day at Barceloneta Beach

Barceloneta is one of the city’s oldest and most beloved beaches. For many years it was primarily a nudist beach due to its out of the way location, though this changed when the W Hotel opened – a huge building that looks like a sail. Nowadays Barceloneta attracts lots of people as it’s the closest beach to Barcelona city centre. Although it gets packed on sunny summer days, the convenience of not having to venture far from the city centre makes up for the crowds. Read more…

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Photo credit: Juanedc.com

3. Appreciate culture at CaixaForum

CaixaForum is housed in a beautifully restored factory at the foot of Montjuic hill. The rotating exhibitions feature everything from modernist architecture to works by painting greats, with some modern art thrown in for good measure. Recently, CaixaForum established an exchange with Madrid’s Prado – possibly one of the finest art museums in the world – so visitors can expect even more world-class exhibits. Entrance is free all year round as CaixaForum is run by the foundation that owns La Caixa, Spain’s second-largest bank. Read more…

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Photo credit: jaime.silva

4. Experience the local atmosphere at Mercat de la Barceloneta

Markets like Mercat de la Barceloneta are the key to understanding the urban and social logic of Barcelona. Going to the market means not only going shopping but also socialising with your neighbours. Here you’ll find a wide range of fresh produce including fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood – Mercat de la Barceloneta’s specialty thanks to its proximity to the sea. Read more…

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Photo credit: Jaime Silva

5.Relax amongst greenery at Parc de la Ciutadella

Being one of the most beautiful places in Barcelona, this park is a great spot for couples, families and anyone wanting to escape the loud and busy city atmosphere. Have a picnic with your friends, play ball with your kids or simply relax on the grass with a good book or a loved one. There’s also an open Wifi network – sit as close as possible to the “W” signs for the strongest connection. Read more…

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Photo credit: Fèlix González

6. Admire the icon of Barcelona – Sagrada Familia

Despite being possibly the most touristy place in Barcelona, Gaudi’s unique masterpiece Sagrada Familia is definitely worth seeing. Queueing up with masses of tourists and paying a small fortune to enter the church is by no means necessary, this place is already regal enough from the outside. Though its construction began in 1882, it’s still a work in progress that’s expected to be ready by 2026, the centenary of Gaudi’s death. Read more…

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Photo credit: Wikimedia

7. Watch talented young skaters in front of MACBA

MACBA is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, and while it’s well worth seeing for its grand architecture, the plaza in front offers an even more spectacular sight – it’s one of Barcelona’s most popular skating spots. Even if you’re not a fan of skating yourself, the truly talented skaters are really interesting to watch. Keep in mind that some of the tricks they perform are incredibly dangerous and might give you the chills. Read more…

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Photo credit: Matt Clark

8. Soak up fresh air and scenic views at Collserola

Located on a mountain range just a short ride from the city centre, this huge natural forest attracts both locals and travellers. The paths are often filled with joggers and cyclists, particularly on weekends. It’s also a top destination for nature-lovers and anyone wishing to enjoy great views of Barcelona. Moreover, here you’ll have the chance to discover the flora and fauna of a genuine Mediterranean forest. If you’re lucky, you might even see a wild boar. The best times to visit are on windy days or the days following rainstorms. At these times you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy full HD views without any interference from pollution. Read more…

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Photo credit: Felipe C.

9. Get some outdoor exercise!

There are numerous ways to keep fit without having to pay a fortune for a gym membership. Along the beach of Barcelona there’s plenty of outdoor gym equipment free for all to use. In addition, the road is a very popular place for rollerskating, cycling and jogging, and there are even beach volleyball nets. Make the most of the warm climate and enjoy an outdoor workout!

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Photo credit: Flavio~

10. Discover the Parc del Forum industrial area

Locals call this Chernobyl beach – it’s a sand-less beach set in an area that looks very industrial. It’s actually not a bad place to relax as it’s not nearly as crowded as Barceloneta and the surrounding architecture is interesting to say the least. The area is massively popular with the locals – the less frequented paths are used by skaters and oftentimes there’s some sort of a fair along the boardwalk. There’s also a beach club at the back of the area – a great place for a night out in summer. With eight stages, the Forum area can accommodate over 100,000 people, so if there’s a big concert in Barcelona it will almost certainly take place here. Read more…

 

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Photo credit: Jorge Franganillo

Cover photo credit: layoverguide.com

 

Like A Local Guide
Like A Local Guide is about stepping off the tourist trail and finding cool and cosy spots where locals like to spend their time. We built a website and mobile app to bring insider recommendations from around the world to your fingertips.

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    The CaixaForum pictured in this article is in Madrid, not Barcelona.
    Ana • Jun 26, 2016 • Reply
      Thanks for letting us know! It is fixed now.
      Kris Härsing • Jun 27, 2016 • Reply
    Take a look at the new 4K resolution video, part of the Around The World 4K project, to see from another perspective, what this city has to offer. youtu.be/uOzwwZxjPRs
    Around The World 4K • Mar 03, 2016 • Reply
    Fantastic proposal to enjoy Barcelona for free! Thanks for sharing!! In our blog you can find more things to do in Barcelona. You can enjoy Barcelona renting an apartment in Raval
    rent apartments in raval barcelona • Jun 23, 2015 • Reply
    Hi! In Barcelona there are really lots of free or cheap thing, but tourist don't know them! The gym next to beach is amazing! Going party is free in Barcelona too if you know how. Beeing there some guys told me about http://www.nightsapp.es where you can every night got free entrances for some clubs!
    Alexander • Jun 03, 2015 • Reply
    http://www.europeforfree.travel/spain/barcelona/
    EFF • May 17, 2015 • Reply
    Great post!! And the best thing is that it really is that beautiful! I actually found this article searching for some info about Barcelona before my trip there, and it really helped me organize myself! I also found a website with all king of info about taxi service in a number of cities around the world. It's pretty great, you can calculate the price of your ride beforehand and find all the taxi info you need in some particular city. I guess it's a pretty useful thing for travelers as we are, so here goes the link if you need it, too: http://www.myworldtaxi.com/cityPage.php?cityid=91
    trska • Feb 28, 2015 • Reply
    Brilliant article Just want to add that in this city, that close connected with sea, there is one more things to do - to sail. It will give different perspective and new view on the city. As well as sail romantic and unforgettable experience. And it's not that expansive - 30-50 eur for person in a middle. Barna-barca.com is an option
    Sergey • Jan 15, 2015 • Reply
    Like one of the comments says the views of Barcelona from the Turo de la Rovira are amazing! Do not lose it!
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    Vietnam tours • Nov 07, 2014 • Reply
    Nice review of Barcelona. I was there a month ago and it was really cool. I love this city. If you go there you MUST visit everything that Gaudi made. It's really awesome. I recommed to book a tour like that: http://www.visitum.com/barcelona/walking-tour-artistic-barcelona-discover-the-best-of-gaudi/44
    john • Nov 06, 2014 • Reply
    Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!
    casino game • Sep 24, 2014 • Reply
    Thank you for this constructive comment, Oriol! If you would like to contribute more, why not join Like a Local community: http://www.likealocalguide.com/apply/
    Kris Härsing • Sep 15, 2014 • Reply
    The photo of CaixaForum is wrong, because it's the CaixaForum of Madrid, not of Barcelona. Both CaixaForum are hold by CaixaBank, and have the same name, but, obviously, they are different.
    Oriol • Sep 12, 2014 • Reply
    Great article guys! If anyone's interested, we've just launched a company called Foto Ruta Barcelona, offering creative types (whether locals or tourists) a unique and creative way to see the city through photography... you can check us out here http://www.foto-ruta.es
    bex • Aug 29, 2014 • Reply
    If you happen to be in Spain in the early part of July, you have got to be in Pamplona. This is the town where the famous (rather, infamous) festival of Running of the Bulls is celebrated.
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    Best hotel dealsin Boston • May 06, 2014 • Reply
    Hi, I’m going again to Barcelona in June. I can’t get enough of this city. I You might want to have a look to this VLOG : http://youtu.be/uAb4vcPKJYM That gives additional tips on Catalan culture/languages and more things to see in Barcelona. :-)
    jaz • Apr 14, 2014 • Reply
    Hi Kris Thank you so much for this informative article. I'm going to Barcelona in May on a budget so your tips was just what I was looking for ;)
    Kristoffer • Apr 09, 2014 • Reply
    Hi! Very good picks. One suggestion: there are better beaches than Barceloneta, very near..! You should also visit Gracia district or Sant Andreu. Here you will find some tips for the Sant Andreu district: http://elmillordesantandreu.blogspot.com.es They are in catalan, just use google translator
    Andreu • Mar 30, 2014 • Reply
    Don't forgot to include the watching the sunset at the amazing viewpoint called Turo de la Rovira. Read it here: http://www.dreameurotrip.com/5-best-and-essential-things-to-do-in-barcelona-glomad-guide/
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    Tara Goddard • Feb 07, 2014 • Reply
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