My favorite (free) things to do in Barcelona

Victoria Ernst headshot
Victoria Ernst
March 13, 2024
Two girls look up in awe of the towering buildings as they walk through an alley in the Gothic Quarter.

1. Get lost in the Gothic Quarter. 

The Gothic Quarter is known for its unique architecture and narrow allies. Located in the center of the city, the Gothic Quarter is home to Barcelona’s medieval and Roman roots. Walk down the allies and look up at the sky as you see buildings tower over. You might lose your service in some of the alleyways, but you’ll always find your way back if you look for the towering cathedral. 

2. Go to the beach. 

The beach is one of the most unique parts of Barcelona; few places in the world have a bustling city with a beach right next to it. I love walking or running down the boardwalk from the Poblenou area to Barceloneta. Even in the cooler months, you’ll see locals playing beach volleyball or working out on the calisthenics beaches. You might even spot surfers trying to catch some waves. It’s also a great place to watch the sunrise.

3. Take a walk in Parc de la Cuitdella.

As a New Yorker, I like to think of Parc de la Ciutadella as a better version of Central Park. It’s a great place to walk around and listen to a podcast or go for a run. You can also sit down on a bench and relax or have a picnic. 

4. Window shop in El Born.

El Born, located next to the Gothic Quarter, has a ton of funky boutiques, cafes, and more. I love looking (and shopping) in the different boutiques and vintage stores in this area.

5. Watch the sunset from the Carmel Bunkers. 

From the Carmel Bunkers, you can get a 360-degree view of Barcelona. You will have to walk up a hill to get to the top, but it’s worth the view—especially if you’re watching the sunset. This is a great spot to go with friends and relax for a chill night. 

6. Explore new barrí. 

Often, when students first come to Barcelona, we are eager to explore new areas. Once we get settled in and start classes, we become less adventurous and go to the same places. Try to keep things interesting by exploring new neighborhoods- you never know what hidden gem you will find!


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Victoria Ernst headshot

Victoria Ernst

Hi, my name is Vic. I'm a junior at Washington and Lee University, and I am a strategic communication and German double major and entrepreneurship minor. I interned in Germany last summer and hope to live abroad after graduation!

2024 Spring
Home University:
Washington and Lee University
German Language
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