Top Five FREE Things to Do in Barcelona

Johnna Hawyard headshot
Johnna Hayward
January 23, 2019

To answer everyone’s first question: Yes, these things are all truly and completely FREE!

Are you taking a short weekend trip to Barcelona? Looking for the best places to bring your friends who are visiting? Trying to find fun things to do without breaking the bank? If your answer to any of these questions is YES then you’ve come to the right place! After exploring the beautiful city of Barcelona for almost three weeks my best recommendations for free things to do are listed below!

1. Las Ramblas 

Arguably the most famous street in Barcelona, Las Ramblas connects Plaça de Catalunya (pictured above) to the city’s old port. Regardless of the time or day of the week it’s a guarantee that the street will be packed with people from all over the world.

There are dozens of restaurants and popular shops located on Las Ramblas. Yes, this includes Zara. My best recommendation would be to simply explore the street and take plenty of great pictures. Since Las Ramblas is a highly touristy area the price of everything is often significantly increased.


2. The Gothic Quarter

Take an afternoon to get lost in the Gothic Quarter! If you’re a New Yorker like me say goodbye to the oh-so familiar grid system. Even if you’re not intentionally trying to get lost when venturing down a random alley you most likely will.

The Gothic Quarter is also home to Barcelona's one and only cathedral, Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulalia (pictured above). It’s beautiful from the outside and there are also days/times of the week where you can enter for free. To avoid confusion, this is not La Sagrada Família. More on that wonder below...


3. Mercat de la Boqueria

This is definitely the most touristy market in Barcelona but a must-see for first-time visitors. I would recommend going early in the day when all of the stands are open in order to get the full experience. Have your camera ready and be prepared to try some new food!

Again, if you’re looking for fresh and reasonably-priced food this is not the right spot. I would ask around for different places to buy local food near where you’re staying!


4. Arc de Triomf

If you’re looking for an ideal, and free, Instagram-worthy spot in Barcelona then this is the place for you. Though it could be a challenge to dodge all of the tourists. When I recently visited there were a few intentional photobomb incidents :)

Interesting Facts:

  • Triumphal arches are an ancient tradition started by the Romans
  • Each structure has at least one arched passageway which was built to honor an important person or to commemorate a significant event
  • This specific Arc de Triomf was the gateway to the modern Barcelona in the late 19th century
  • The most famous Arc de Triomf located in Paris, France holds the same historical significance


5. Bunkers del Carmel

This location offers one of the most spectacular views of Barcelona. Bunkers can be a little challenging to find, and it’s a bit of a hike to the top, but follow everyone else and you’ll get there eventually!

My best recommendation is to arrive right at dusk. You’ll be able to take in an incredible Barcelona sunset as well as see the city transition into its busy nightlife. As a slight warning, Bunkers definitely attracts a younger crowd at night. If you’re looking to go with your grandmother I would suggest visiting during the day :)

Make sure to bring a blanket and snacks!

Bonus Locations!

Both of these locations are free to “see” but I would HIGHLY recommend paying a small fee for each in order to get the full experience.

Pro Tip: Nearly everything in Barcelona has student discount options. Make sure to keep that in mind throughout your adventures!


1. La Sagrada Família

Visiting this wonder is essentially a no-brainer. If you’re spending time in Barcelona think of it as a requirement to make it to La Sagrada Família at some point during your trip.

You are able to walk around the outside of La Sagrada Família and take pictures for free. There is a great park across the street, Plaça de Gaudí, that offers a spectacular, and free, view of the church. But again, you MUST venture inside camera-ready. The picture above is only one tiny example of how beautiful and unique La Sagrada Família truly is.

Additionally, when you decide to visit make sure to buy tickets online in advance! They very frequently, and quickly, sell out. You definitely won’t regret spending the money!


2. Parc Güell

Parc Güell is a spectacular place to visit and provides one of the many examples of Antoni Gaudí’s incredible work in Barcelona. The park is free to enter and walk through. You’ll find beautiful views of the city as well as the sea.

But, if you’re looking to take the most popular, and maybe the most basic, Instagram picture this is where you have to go. A small fee is required but it’ll be worth it as the ultimate proof that you visited Barcelona. And popularity aside, the view is amazing.

Overall, if you manage to make it to every place listed during your time in Barcelona you’ll conclude your adventure feeling spectacular. And there’s a very good chance that you’ll never want to leave.



All incorporated pictures are original content that I have personally photographed! To see more visit: 


Johnna Hawyard headshot

Johnna Hayward

<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:.4pt; margin-right:14.7pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.5pt"><span style="line-height:103%">Hiya! My name is Johnna (pronounced John-na). I am from Peekskill, NY (about 45 minutes north of Manhattan) and I will be graduating from Penn State in December! I’m a marketing major with strong passions related to sports and nonprofit efforts. In my free time I take weekly yoga classes and enjoy capturing Penn State’s beautiful campus through my iPhone camera lens. Lastly, traveling is a huge passion of mine and I am thrilled for the experience that I am about to embark on in Barcelona!</span></p>

2019 Spring
Home University:
Penn State University
Peekskill, NY
Explore Blogs