Gaudi, Las Rambla, and Camp Nou… Ah, it can only be Barcelona – the Spanish metropolis that attracts visitors from all around the world. This capital of the Catalan region is jam-packed with museums, galleries and other landmarks which often require a hefty entrance free. But if you’re on a budget, or want to enjoy your trip on as little money as possible, there are a number of free attractions that won’t break the bank. Here are the top 5 things to do for free in Barcelona.
1. La Boqueria
If you’re a foodie, you’ll love La Boqueria – the biggest food market in all of Europe. It’s situated on the iconic La Rambla, a long street known for its many performance artists, restaurants, bars, and shops. Although the market can get crowded at times, it’s completely free, and there’s loads to explore. Here you will find local delicacies, as well as food from every corner of the world. But that’s not all. You’ll find some of Barcelona’s best tapas bars here, where you will be able to try the produce you saw on the market stalls alongside a refreshing cocktail!
2. The Carmel Bunkers
Barcelona is a vibrant city where modern skyscrapers jostle for space alongside older, historic monuments. It can be a heady mix, and you might want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city streets for somewhere a little more remote. The Carmel Bunkers are situated at the top of the Turo de la Rovira hill, and provide breathtaking views of Barcelona and its city streets. What’s more, it won’t cost you a penny to visit here. The bunkers were constructed during the Civil War in 1937, but were removed 1992 in time for the Summer Olympics. What’s left is a free open space that is surrounded by trails, runners, and cyclists – the perfect place to escape for a few hours before returning to the glamour of the city centre.
3. Gothic quarter
The Gothic quarter – situated next to La Rambla – is one of the most popular hotspots in Barcelona. You’ll be able to explore its streets for free, soaking up history and culture in every square or patio. The buildings here need to be seen to believed, dating back hundreds of years and offering a glimpse into a bygone-era. Despite several changes in the 19th and early 20th century, many of the structures actually date back to the Medieval era, with some going as far back as Roman times. There are plenty of things to explore, including Placa Sant Felip Neri, an enticing square with a beautiful church and fountain. Like La Rambla, the Gothic quarter is renowned for being a pick pocketing hotspot, so be aware if you plan on visiting here. Perfect for any history buff, or just someone who wants to take in local culture, the Gothic quarter is a definite must-see when visiting Spain’s second city.
4. Sant Sebastia beach and Barceloneta beach
Yep, Barcelona is unique compared to many other European mega-cities in that it has its very own beach. The metropolis is so popular for travellers because it lets you combine a beach holiday with a city break, and you definitely won’t be disappointed when visiting Sant Sebastia or Barceloneta – two beaches that attract a mix of tourists and locals. Lining both of these beaches are promenades with restaurants and bars, but you’ll be able to spend as long as you like on the beach for free. So, sit back, soak up the sun, dip your feet in the sea, or build a sandcastle – the choice is completely yours.
5. La Merce
La Merce is one of the most popular outdoor festivals in Europe, and takes place at the end of September throughout Barcelona. With more than 600 events – including live music, dance, and food – La Merce is a spectacle that attracts visitors far and wide. Some neighbourhoods even throw street parties of their own to mark the occasion, and there are competitions to find the best-decorated street. One of the symbols of the festival is the procession of the ‘gegants’ – huge figures made from papier-mâché which are carried by various local organisations. This is the perfect place to experience local culture, meet new people, and try new food. The festival is named after the patron saint of Barcelona. Give it a try.
Have you experienced any of these? Which is your favourite thing to do for free in Barcelona?