Barcelona is a great city and what about visiting it for free, this post is about free things to do in Barcelona, isn't that cool? As in most of the European capitals if you want to move around you might have to spend some money if you want to visit the city and do some activities. Barcelona is no exception on that and save some pennies is always good, with my local tips I am sure you can see Barcelona for free.
If you are visiting Barcelona in summer, you have to check out things to do in Barcelona in summer, most of them are for free and it is a good opportunity to mingle with locals. You can also see my recommendations to enjoy Barcelona low cost.
Living in a city you are more aware of what is going on, where to look and what to do. I am going to share with you some of the things that are free in Barcelona for you to discover:
Free Tours in Barcelona
What about going around Barcelona in a guided tour for free? Check them out!!
Barcelona walking tours for free:
The tour starts everyday at 11:30am at Plaça Reial, you need to look for the red umbrella. Gaudí and Old City, two tours offered by Runner Bean Tours
Gothic and Ramblas area walking tour by Discover Walks : I tried it myself with them and it was interesting to discover things about the city with a local guide. They also have a Gaudí tour and this company runs tours in different European cities such as Paris, London, Lisbon, Rome etc...
Poblenou cemetery guided tour: The first and third Sunday of every month there is a guided tour around the cemetery to discover the graves of famous people buried in Barcelona.
Where: Cemetery of Poblenou: Av. Icária s/n 08005 Barcelona. Metro: Llacuna L4, exit c/ de la Ciutat de Granada)
Schedule: 1st Sunday of every month: 10:30 in Catalan, 12:30 in Spanish. 3rd Sunday of every month: 10:30 in Spanish, 12:30 in Catalan.
Tourist attractions in Barcelona for free
Barcelona is very famous for its monuments, mainly Gaudí buildings and those visits come with expensive entry tickets, but we still have some tourist attractions in the city that won't cost you a penny.
The magic fountain
La font màgica is one of the top attractions in Montjuic located in Avinguda Maria Cristina. This is a spectacular fountain with its water arrangements that has color lights and sound.
The fountain uses 2600 liters of water that are pumped from the subsoil level every second in three concentric pools that have a water circulation system.
It was built in 1929 by Carles Buïgas using artisanal methods, and I am proud to say that my great grandfather worked in the pipes that were built in the fountain so my family at that time was very involved in the project. There is another fountain in Cuba similar to ours in Barcelona and my great grandfather went there also to build it the same way among other workers.
In the 1980s the music was added to the visual performance of the fountain and before the Olympic games in 1992 the fountain was renovated completely but still has most of the original mechanisms.
The fountain does not run every day, so make sure you check out the fountain schedule as it is very tricky:
It normally runs from Thursdays to Sundays from 21:00h to 23:00h and the show runs every 30 minutes, starting from 9pm.
Location: Pl Carles Buigas, 1
Arc de Triomf
The Arc de Triomf is located in a very nice avenue to go for a walk and observe life in the city. The arch was built for the Universal Exhibition in 1888
Free music in Barcelona for the price of a drink
If you are into music and you want to see what is going on in the city, I recommend you two places to go for a drink in the evening and enjoy music in Barcelona for the price of a drink.
Mediterraneo, they have live music daily and open at 23pm until 3am, it is the perfect spot to go after dinner. It is a tiny place and it gets crowded easily so come early to get a good seat near the stage. They have occasionally some paid concerts and there are also comic performances.
Michael Collins, this is the Irish pub of Barcelona, probably the most famous and it is in Sagrada Familia. If you want to see the monument with its lights at night, after some cultural activity you can go to Michael Collins to enjoy a beer with music. They have Irish music every Monday and during the week (Wed-Sat) they have different bands playing, check their agenda here. Get a sense of what M.C is about in the below video!
Free tapas with your beer
Not sure if you know the origin of tapas, but a tapa means actually lid and it used to be the lid of your drink at a bar so they gave you a little tapa to avoid getting flies inside of your drink. It is the popular believe that this is the origin of tapas and the south of Spain is very famous for that. In most places in the south they would give you a free tapa if you order a beer, and don't think is a tiny thing but a full plate, so with a couple of beers you are more than set for lunch.
Unfortunately, Barcelona does not have that free tapa culture but this does not mean that we cannot find bars and restaurants that brough this south tradition to Barcelona. There are a few that remain a secret between locals, so between so and me, let's keep it that way otherwise they will get crowded in no time.
La Xula taperia, is a little tavern in Gràcia that gives a free tapa with your drink. The tapas are quite special since they have a creative touch, not the typical ones. Carrer de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats, 18, 08012 Barcelona
Ambiente del Sur, this one is the true south flavour from Andalusia and for 1.80 euros a beer you can get a piece of their spectacular spanish omelette. Carrer Viladomat 85, 08015 Barcelona
Gata Mala, this is a very known bar so get ready to fight to get to the counter to order but all hte trouble is worth it if you try their free tapas. Carrer de Rabassa, 37, 08024 Barcelona
Other bars that offer free tapas but I did not have the honor to try out yet are: Casette Bar with sophisticated tapas, we have been told their squid croquette made with squid ink is to die for. Casa Mayo is a Galician restaurant that offers a pintxo with your beer order. Daniel cafe is where you can taste the french cuisine and offers with a beer for 1.50 euros different tapas from simple ones bread with ham to the more sophisticated: anchovy paté.
Free Museums in Barcelona
On the first Sunday of the month, the admission is for free in many of the city museum's. Find the list of all Free museum on Sundays:
CosmoCaixa—Museo de la Ciencia – The most popular science museums in Europe with a hands-on approach to learning.
MNAC—Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña This art museum is taking part in the Google Art Project where it is digitizing its collection. Great paintings from catalan and spanish painters.
Museo Picasso Highlights the formative years of the legendary artist and is one of the most famous museums in town. I love the blue and pink paintings he has.
MUHBA: It is probably one of my favorite museums, you can see the Roman Barcelona 40m under your feet. It was found by chance in the Gothic area and the museum is the underground Barcelona of Roman times. You can see roman houses -called domus- and how was life at that time.
Barcelona and her lovely parks
Parc de la Ciutadella: The most famous park in Barcelona, in the city center just next to Estació de França the park offers a wide variety of activities. The park hosts the Barcelona zoo, as well as the Catalan Parliament and the Museum of Zoology. You can rent a bike to go around the park, perfect plan to explore all the buildings and nature inside.
Montjuïc is the upper part of Barcelona with amazing panoramic views of the city. Lovely place to have a look at all Barcelona from a priviledged location. If you want to take pictures check out my tour through
Montjuïc and Poble Espanyol Panoramic Tour.
Super secret tip for Barcelona For free activities
Who doesn't love free stuff to do in their own city? A year ago I have discovered, a source of free activities in Barcelona that is updated every week with all information a different kinds of activities that take place in Barcelona. The website forfree.cat highlights the free activities, they have different sections so you can search for a specific kind of activity depending on your interests. They also have a section called “less than 5 euros” that shows activities that are not free, but are still pretty cheap for the budget, for five euros only.