The best things to do for free in Barcelona

Visiting the sunny Ciutadella park is one of the best things to do in Barcelona – 2017©Luis Castañeda/Luis Castaneda Inc.

There is a lot you can explore for free in Barcelona. Start by entering a hidden courtyard in the Old Town to discover Roman ruins and then mosey over to Parc de la Ciutadella to view the ornate fountain designed by Josep Fontserè and a certain famous student – ​​Antoni Gaudí. If you’re traveling with children, make a beeline for the southern stretch of Platja de Barceloneta for rock pools and a rope climbing frame.

Below our expert shares her top recommendations on the best things to do for free in the city, and for more inspiration from Barcelona, ​​check out our in-depth guides to the hotels, restaurants, bars and life best nightlife in the city, shopping and attractions, as well as how to spend a weekend in Barcelona.

Gothic barrio

Take a walk along the city’s main artery

The city’s most famous street, La Rambla, is a mile-long avenue that starts at the port, and ends at Plaça Catalunya. The animal stalls and caged birds have been replaced by upmarket souvenirs and tourist information points, but the colorful flower stalls remain, as does Miró’s paving mosaic, halfway up. The wax and erotic museums, the Palau de la Virreina information center and exhibition space and, of course, the wonderful Boqueria food market, are dotted along the boulevard. First thing in the morning is the ideal time to walk La Rambla.

Nearest Metro: Metro game

La Rambla, BarcelonaLa Rambla, Barcelona

Visit the mile-long pedestrian avenue La Rambla – Kondoros Eva Katalin/Eva-Katalin

Download the history of Rome

In Roman times, there was a complex on the hill where the city’s cathedral is now that housed the main temple and the main forum, together with a smaller temple – the Temple of Augustus (dedicated to the emperor Augustus). Today, you can see the four Corinthian columns that were part of the temple, but for centuries they were hidden in the fabric of another building; they were only discovered in the 19th century. They are found within the patio of a mountaineering center, but are accessible to the public, and entry to the space is free. A later discovery is the nearby townhouse, mosaics and other Roman remains at Carrer Fruita 2.

Contact: mú
Nearest Metro: Metro Jaume I

El was born

See the nicest neighborhood in Barcelona

El Born has medieval buildings to match any in the Barri Gòtic, pedestrianized streets, and an increasing number of charming cafes and boutiques. The central axis is the Passeig del Born – once a medieval fairground, now flanked by the glorious church of Santa Maria del Mar at one end and the Born Center de Cultura and Memòria at the other. It’s worth walking up to the less genteel part of the neighborhood, above Carrer Princesa, which has its share of sights – the Modernista concert hall Palau de la Música, the colorful Santa Caterina market, and the medieval church of Sant Pere.

Nearest Metro: Metro Sum 1

Learn more about the roots of the Catalan independence campaign

The gorgeous Old Born market has not been used for many years, but has now been transformed into an impressive archaeological exhibition space – the Born Center de Cultura i Memòria. The wrought iron and patterned brick framework surrounds a sunny atrium, where visitors can walk past the medieval remains of buildings razed to the ground after the Catalans won the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714 .This gives the building a huge symbolic significance in the present day. political climate and is free to enter, but there is also a ticketed exhibition space that looks at life at the time, the battle and its aftermath.

Nearest Metro: Metro Jaume I

Born, BarcelonaBorn, Barcelona

Born Center de Cultura i Memòria is an extensive exhibition space – ©Eve Livesey/By Eve Livesey

Picnic in the park

For the residents of the Old City, Ciutadella is their closest backyard, so all year round you will see children learning to skate or cycle, musicians practicing and old ladies walking their small dogs. There is also much on offer for tourists, including a boating lake, a waterfall designed in part by Gaudí, the city zoo, snack bars and an abundance of statues. There are picnic areas, outdoor ping-pong tables, and a few playgrounds – including one for blind or disabled children. The most peaceful place to read or have a picnic is by the pond in the formal rose gardens.

Opening times: Every day, 8.30am – sunset
Nearest Metro: Metro Arc de Triomf

Park de la Ciutadella, BarcelonaPark de la Ciutadella, Barcelona

Parc de la Ciutadella has a boating lake, a waterfall partly designed by Gaudí, a city zoo, snack bars and plenty of sculptures – NataliPopova


Explore a hilltop sanctuary

Montjuïc is perhaps better known for its museums – the MNAC, the Fundació Joan Miró, and the Olympic, archaeological and ethnological museums – but there are several themed gardens scattered over the hill, including the Jardí Botanic. At its peak is the hulking castle, now open to the public, and some amazing architecture around the Olympic stadium complex, as well as a public outdoor swimming pool with views across the city, and the vertiginous cable cars, which go over everything another. An outdoor film festival, Sala Montjuïc, takes place in the moat of the castle in the summer months.

Nearest Metro: Metro Paral·lel, then Funicular de Montjuïc


Go swimming on a man-made beach

The city’s beaches are not entirely natural, and were only really created – with sand dredged from the bottom of the sea, and palm trees imported from Malaga – around the time of the 1992 Olympics, before it was said that Barcelona had its back to the sea. ‘. The result is seven kilometers (four miles) of sand, which gets quieter the closer you get to the Forum. The Platja de Barceloneta is the liveliest part, marked by Rebecca Horn’s tower of rusty cubes. If you have children in tow, turn right and walk to the end, for rock pools and a rope climbing frame.

Nearest Metro: Bus 47, H16 or V15 to Passeig Marítim

Platja de Barceloneta, BarcelonaPlatja de Barceloneta, Barcelona

Platja de Barceloneta was created around the time of the 1992 Olympics – This content is subject to copyright./Westend61

How we choose

Every thing and activity in this curated list has been tried and tested by our destination expert, to give you their insider perspective. We cover a range of budgets and styles, from world-class museums to family-friendly theme parks – to suit every type of traveller. We update this list regularly to keep up with the latest openings and provide up-to-date recommendations.

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