City breaks don’t need to be expensive. As in life, some of the best things in Barcelona are free.
Free Gaudí tour
Put on your comfiest walking shoes and stroll around the city’s Modernist masterpieces with a free Gaudí-gazing tour. You’ll start at Plaça Reial in the Barri Gòtic, and spend 2.5 hours admiring the Catalan architect’s most famed works, including La Sagrada Família, Palau Güell, Casa Batlló and Casa Milà.
Knowledgeable, English-speaking guides give you a sense of the history behind these eye-catching buildings. You’ll also pick up some unexpected titbits to impress friends at dinner parties. Which of Gaudí’s architectural designs inspired the stormtrooper helmets in “Star Wars”? You’ll soon find out. Donations are welcome but not obligatory.
Free museum entry on Sundays
The best time to get your art and culture fix? Sundays after 3pm, when many of Barcelona’s museums open to the public free of charge.
One such museum is the Museu Frederic Marès, an unusual and rich collection of sculptures plus stamps, keys, crucifixes, pipes, fans and other curiosities.
On the first Sunday of every month, admission to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) and Museu Picasso is also free of charge.
Free entry varies per museum, so check websites for details.
Street art in Barcelona
Some of Barcelona’s best contemporary art is scrawled on walls, streets and doors.
You can learn more about the city’s underground art scene with the free two-hour Barcelona Street Style Tour around El Born, the Barri Gòtic and/or El Raval districts. Guides show you some of the most colourful murals and graffiti works, as well as pointing out cool bars, restaurants and galleries.
The El Born tour runs daily at 2pm from the Arc de Triomf. The El Raval tour meets at Plaça dels Angels (by MACBA) at 4:45pm. Donations are welcome.
If you’re keen on checking out street art in the up-and-coming Poblenou district, the same company offers a bike tour for a small fee.
Picture this: a balmy evening on the beach enjoying open-air cinema with a picnic and friends. Barcelona has it. Free screenings by Cinema Lliure run Thursdays and Sundays at 9pm in summer on St. Sebastiá beach near the Barceloneta.
The annual Gandules Open Air Film Festival at the CCCB, screened during August in the open-air Pati de les Dones courtyard, features independent films. Entry is free but space is limited, so get there early.
Free music nights and open-air concerts
Barcelona’s dynamic live music scene also offers something for every taste.
Throughout the summer,
Música als Parcs brings classical music concerts, live jazz and the renowned Banda Municipal de Barcelona to green spaces around the city.
Gràcia Latina, an unassuming mojito bar in the Gràcia district, has free flamenco, rumba and salsa on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday evenings.
La Báscula showcases emerging bands in the intimate Metrònom Bar on a weekly basis.
For more information on things to do, as well as places to stay in Barcelona, visit our destination guide.