Want to enjoy the very best of what Barcelona has to offer, but don’t want to break the bank? The team at Waytostay, experts in Barcelona apartments, have pooled their knowledge of the city to suggest ten unique and exciting experiences in Barcelona that are totally, unbelievably free!
The oldest park in Barcelona, the Labyrinth Park of Horta was set out in an elegant neo-classical style in the late 18th century. The park is a must if you’re in search of some peace and quiet. Access is free - but visitor numbers are regulated to 750 per day to preserve the park’s tranquil atmosphere. Its location in the northern suburb of Horta keeps the park off the main tourist trails - and as such remains a place of almost unique calm within easy reach of the city centre.
Atop the Turó de la Rovira, on the upper outskirts of the Guinardó Park, are the Bunkers del Carmel, a network of concrete bunkers and anti-aircraft gun emplacements that now offer determined visitors a stunning panorama of the city.
Dating from the time of the Spanish Civil War, these simple structures have found a new lease of life as a unique lookout spot. There are regular buses from Vallcarca up the hill if you’re keen to avoid too much of a climb, but if you’re feeling adventurous, take the Metro to Guinardó and tackle the 30 minute ascent through the park. The view that awaits is more than worth it.
In the hustle and bustle of the centre, it’s difficult to picture the Barcelona of 2,000 years ago. In a small courtyard just off the Carrer Paradís, stand the fragile yet impressive ruins of the Temple of Augustus - the last remaining survivor from the fledgling Roman colony of Barcino. The site is now preserved by MUHBA (Museu d’Historia de Barcelona) and entry is completely free.
You may have been to one of two modest street parties before, but the Festa Major de Gracia takes it to a whole other level. A festival of riotous colour and friendly community competition, the celebration stretches across twenty streets in the central neighbourhood of Gracia.
Residents take to the streets to decorate and delight in transforming their neighbourhoods for one incredible week in August. At night, there’s dancing, drinking and live music in many streets, whilst during the day there are many activities for the whole family to enjoy. Take the L3 Metro to Fontana and start your adventure!
If chasing culture is your thing, make sure you save the weekend afternoons in your holiday schedule for a chance to explore many of Barcelona’s finest museums for free. We’d recommend the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya; home to many of the region’s finest art treasures, with free entry every Saturday from 3pm and on the first Sunday of the month. Also high on our lists is the Museu Marítim de Barcelona - great for kids and a chance to discover the city’s proud nautical past. There’s free entry for all the family every Sunday after 3pm.
Another of our favourites is the Centre de la Imatge in the 18th century gothic Palau de la Virreina. Free to visitors all year round, the institute is home to an eclectic selection of visual artforms - with activities and exhibitions to keep you spellbound.
If you can catch a lift out of town, there are many remarkable places to visit across Catalonia.
If you’re looking for sun and sea of a different shade, pop along the coast to the energetic resort of Sitges, famous for its film festival, vibrant cultural history and beautiful beaches. But for a total change of scene, head north into the dramatic landscape of the Girona region. It’s a touch hilly, but the neighbouring towns of Castellfollit de la Roca and Besalú have a proud history stretching back to the Middle Ages - much of which is preserved on their quaint medieval streets. If you can’t catch a lift, there’s a pretty cheap coach service to the region, direct from city centre.
What are your favourite freebies in Barcelona? Share your secrets below - we won’t tell anyone, promise!
Michael Salverda is very passionate about traveling and all that comes with it, music, good and honest food, local places, people and their culture. He started Waytostay to take care of travellers whilst offering a quality experience.