Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in all of Europe. It is big, busy, and full of sights to see and activities to do. With that being said, visiting all the top attractions can quickly blow a backpacker’s budget. That is why we have made a list of our favorite free attractions in Barcelona.
This is probably the attraction we found the most crowded and geared towards tourism in our entire stay in Barcelona. It is a street lined with restaurants and shops as well as street performers and vendors selling all kinds of goods. The street itself is lined with trees, and the buildings on either side have that typical European charm, making it a beautiful place to walk through. There are multiple places to sit and have a drink or a bite to eat, but beware that it is extremely overpriced. While it was not our favorite place in Barcelona, we still recommend experiencing it.
Mercado de la Boqueria
About half-way up Las ramblas street, you will find one of europe’s largest and most impressive food markets. Once you walk through the entrance, you are met with a world of food! There is everything you could ever want to eat. From fresh fruits and vegetables, to meats, pastries, seafood, nuts, chocolates, candies, smoothies and many many other options! It honestly was one of our favorite highlights from Barcelona! It is full of tourists and locals alike and you can easily spend hours walking through the maze of food stalls. On one of our evenings, we bought more food than we needed and had an awesome picnic date! Even if you don’t spend a single dollar here, it is still worth seeing!
Port Vell Marina
Barcelona’s port is a nice area to walk around and potentially shop. This area had the most street vendors we saw in all of Europe! If you are not into that, it is also simply a beautiful walk along the water. This is also where we had our morning coffee one day, as it is full of restaurants and coffee shops.
Although we did not end up spending time at the beach at all during our stay in Barcelona, it is another great way to have some free fun. The beach was only about a 40-minute walk away from where we were staying. In general, from anywhere around the city center, it is very accessible by foot. Otherwise, there are also many bus routes and metro lines. From what we heard, it is a big beach that is quite nice but pretty crowded in the middle of the day!
If you want full access to Park Güell, you will need to purchase tickets. But only the park’s “monumental zone’ is ticket controlled, and it occupies only 5% of the entire park! This part is where most of Antonio Gaudi’s work is located so, if that is what you really want to see, you will not be able to access it for free. We opted to walk around the park that was accessible to everyone and it has many things to see. Since it is higher than the rest of Barcelona, it offers a very nice view of the city.
Outside view of Sagrada Familia
We unfortunately did not plan ahead of time enough to be able to get tickets to see the inside of the Sagrada Familia. Although the inside is meant to be spectacular, the outside is also very impressive! You could spend hours staring at all the details in the architecture. If your budget does not allow for the 17-32 euro price per person, depending on the ticket type you buy and the time of day you want to visit, we still highly recommend going to see the outside early in the morning before it becomes insanely crowded! There is also a little park behind the Sagrada Familia that offers a nice view and a picture taking opportunity.
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
This is a fountain located at the bottom of the Palau Nacional, which also definitely deserves to be seen. In the evening, this fountain offers an incredible water show with synchronised lights and music! It is such an awesome experience! Make sure to look it up online before you go because the light shows do not take place every night and the schedule changes depending of the time of year. Absolutely a must when visiting Barcelona!
Bunkers del Carmel
This was THE highlight of Barcelona for us. It is absolutely a hidden gem. We had never heard of this until a couple of friends messaged us through Instagram to let us know we had to add it to our Barcelona itinerary and we are so thankful we did! It is a hilltop old military bunker that has the best views of Barcelona! It might be of value to note that we had paid the day before to do the Teleferic in Barcelona which is a cable car that brings you to the top of the Monjuïc mountain. That was supposed to be the best view of Barcelona, but as a whole experience, it did not even compare to the Bunkers. From the top of the Bunkers, you can see the Sagrada Familia, the Palace of Montjuïc and the surrounding mountains and coastline. Fair warning, it is quite a steep walk, accompanied by many stairs to get to the top and in 30 degree weather it is not the easiest task. Needless to say it made one of us (Bianca) a little grumpy, but the mood changed the second we got to the top. There are multiple spots to sit and take in the views. We recommend bringing a picnic and drinks and spending the evening there just enjoying feeling on top of the world. If ever you run out of drinks, no need to panic! There are vendors at the top selling beer, water, and soft drinks.
We hope this helps anyone planning a trip to Barcelona in the near future! If there are other cool free attractions in Barcelona we did not mention please let us know in the comments below 🙂
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Lots of Love,
Ben and Bianca