Top 10 things to do in Barcelona and some for free

Barcelona is an eccentric city, an attractive location for travellers. The Catalan capital it’s also one of the centres of the culture of the entire country. This guide will help you to list the top 10 things to do in Barcelona.

A complete itinerary through some of the most interesting activities, experiences and locations to don’t miss while visiting Barcelona. You might already know some of them like, the Sagrada Familia, the buildings of Gaudì and Dalì, or incredible places like La Boqueria market and the amazing beach Barceloneta.

It’s not easy to cut off an accurate list of things to visit in Barcelona, the city it’s wide and beautiful. This guide will give you just an idea of the cultural identity of this city, going through some iconic buildings and stunning places.

Beautiful views of Barcelona ' Things to do in Barcelona
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Top 10 things to do in Barcelona

  • Barcelona Cathedral
  • Gothic Quarter
  • Park Guell
  • Casa Mila
  • Casa Battló
  • La Boqueria Market
  • Sagrada Familia
  • Sagrat Cor
  • Bunker del Carmel
  • Magic Fountain of Montjuic

What you must do in Barcelona

Barcelona Cathedral – Enjoy the architecture

Despite common thinking that the Cathedral of Barcelona it’s the Sagrada Familia of Gaudì we might disappoint you. The real Cathedral of Barcelona it’s located in the Gothic Quarter and it’s the church dedicated to the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia.

You might find locals referring to that as “La Catedral de la Santa Creu y Santa Eulàlia“. Obviously, this is in the Catalan language, which it’s the local spoken language over Spanish as well.

The Cathedral of Barcelona it’s surrounded by an incredible and stunning building. This place itself it’s a masterpiece includes the Font de les Oques, the Well of the Geese. You will clearly understand the Gothic style of the church from the facade and for the roof rich in details with notable gargoyles and other figures. The complex was completed in the last 1448 but started several years before.

Deep in the Gothic Quarter | The Barri Gòtic

Barcelona Barrio Gotico it's on of the coolest places to visit in Barcelona.
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Local street musicians in the streets of Barri Gotic of Barcelona, one of the coolest places to visit in Barcelona.

Get lost in The Barri Gòtic will be a true experience in Barcelona. This is the core of the city, where the pure Catalan identity it’s jealously guarded.

The Gothic Quarter it’s a maze of narrow streets, sometimes cobblestone passages will reveal to you incredible places, ancient buildings which will leave you breathless. Those alleyways are an unexpected twist full of beautiful architectural gems. Check out our Barcelona off the beaten path guide to discover more.

As said before the Barri Gòtic it’s an interesting area of Barcelona soul, where you can chill out in the many bars, thrive through the window of small boutiques or just lost the sight of the incredible architecture.

This is the Medieval area of Barcelona, suggestive and charming, with such a gothic taste.

Parc Guell Catalunya Spain
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Visit Park Guell | Top 10 things to do in Barcelona

This is one of the most popular attractions in Barcelona for tourists, but also for locals. People living in the city loves this place and it’s one of the incredible outdoor attractions in Barcelona.

The story behind this beautiful place in Barcelona it’s fascinating. Originally was destined to be a housing estate, bought by Antoni Gaudí and his friend Eusebi Güell. However, things didn’t go as expected by the two genius. They didn’t find any investor and the project was abandoned. Thereafter the entire area was donated to the local council which decided to transform it into a public park. The beautiful majolica details of this place will leave you breathless.

Casa Mila | La Pedrera of Gaudì

This was one of the last projects of Gaudí for privates. However stunning, this building has a rough-looking facade, seems like this was not finished. The name of the building it’s Casa Mila, but often you will find it as La Pedrera, which means the Stone quarry, because of the appearance.

The terrace its beautiful and feature stone structure and statue-like. Some of them seem has inspired George Luca’s design of the stormtrooper helmets used in Star Wars.

Casa Battlò Barcelona view from the Street
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Casa Battló | Modernist Museum

Gaudí has revolutionised the landscape of the entire city. Casa Battló it’s another Modernist project, completely designed by Gaudí. Once this was the former townhouse. Built by the Batlló family in the 19th century, it’s a marvellous building, one of the most beautiful in Barcelona.

The curves, which are naturally fitting in the whole architecture, the facade made of tiles and the windows colourful but natural matching. Thanks to the reptile-like appearance have earned the nickname of Casa del Drac, or House of the Dragon.

La Boqueria central market of Barcelona
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La Boqueria Market

To be included in the list of best free things to do in Barcelona, La Boqueria Market it’s a beautiful place to don’t miss while visiting the city. La Boqueria it’s on La Rambla and offers a insight into the life of the locals.

Like every Market in the country, la Boqueria Market offers a wide choice of local products and Spanish specialities. Write down this place to enjoy a tasty launch through the food stands.

Dive into the small shops, enjoy some tapas, or go for a typical paella take away. You can ask to try before buy. All the vendors are really nice to offer you a sample. After this stop, with your stomach full, you are ready to restart your discovery of Barcelona.
To be on a budget while travelling in Barcelona, you have to act like a local. Why don’t try the best Taps bar in Barcelona? Ordering a beer, that will cost you just 2 euro, you will have some tapas on the side.

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia have to be in the list of top 10 things to do in Barcelona of every traveller. The entrance fee it’s high, but you might be lucky to end up in the day which entrance it’s free for everyone. Worth to check.

The Sagrada Familia it’s the unfinished masterpiece. This is the project started hundreds of years ago and still under construction. The complexity of this Religious site it’s insane. However, if you are not willing to queue to get in, we assure you that the building it’s stunning too from outside.

Sagret Core of Barcelona with the Crist overlooking the city on top of the Tibidabo
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Sagrat Cor of Barcelona

This is the third religious place to visit in Barcelona in our guide. However more than the others we love this one. It’s because of the scenario, which it’s insanely beautiful, overlooking the Catalan Capital.

The best time to visit the Sagrat Cor of Barcelona, the Holy Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus. We have included this place also in our top instagrammable places in Barcelona. Even if you are visiting Barcelona for two days, you should head to Sagrat Cor Basilica on the summit of the Tibidabo, the most panoramic place in the whole city.

You can visit this place for free, which it’s an add on to our top things to do in Barcelona.

Barcelona hidden gems - Bunker del Carmel - Spain-10
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Bunker del Carmel

This is for us the best place on this list of Barcelona hidden gems. The Carmel Bunker is becoming top sightseeing in Barcelona but is still difficult to reach. Everybody knows already about the view from Park Guell, but, not many know that Bunkers del Carmel is one of the top photo spots in Barcelona. A breathtaking view of Barcelona, perfect if you are a photography enthusiast. This bunker was used during the Spanish civil war, as shelter.

To reach the Bunker del Carmel, from Placa Catalunya take the bus 24, the route towards Mühlberg. From the summit, there is a kind of Terrazza, where locals and tourists meetup, especially at sunset. The 360 view over Barcelona it’s insane.

Magic Fountain of Montjuic

Often referred to as the magic fountain because of the water-games. The fountain was built in 1929, for the World Exposition of Barcelona.

The Muntjac Fountain is a beautiful fountain, becoming part of the usual tourist’s attractions trail. The fountain host a water show, made of music and water-games while the fountain it’s a rainbow of colours with over 50 different shades.

See the beautiful show it’s free, and it’s hosted quite often between 8 pm and 10 pm. However, in winter it’s easy to find the fountain shout off.

Top 10 things to do in Barcelona

One of the best view of Barcelona from the hilltop of Tibidabo - Complete view over the Sagrada Familia
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When to visit Barcelona

Travel abroad can be really expensive sometimes, most of the time, you get your bank account in red to afford the travel. But today, I will share with you, some of my tricks to afford Barcellona less expensive, bring back your wallet and keep calm.

Most of the best museums in Barcelona are free, and some of it can be free just some days. In the particular list of the expensive city in the World, Barcelona is in the down, this is one of the cheaper in the World, I never been.

You can afford your travel on a Budget, and don’t miss anything.

What’s the weather like in Barcelona

Barcelona in winter

Being a city facing the seaside has it’s Pro and Cons. Barcelona it’s a pretty warm city all year round, but can become pretty cold in winter. However you might be lucky enough to get good days also in December. The city has got a huge bust in tourism during spring and summer, which makes winter the best time to visit Barcelona.

The temperatures go till 20 degrees on lucky days, but never below 5 degrees.

Barcelona in Spring

Barcelona for us it’s the best spring break in Spain ever. The temperatures are very high, with people heading to the beach since early April. We suggest you bring a light jacket anyway, the temperatures drop in the evening. However, visiting the city in May it’s the ideal for a full spring break in Barcelona.

Barcelona things to do in Summer

This is the best time to visit the city. It will be often crowded with the best time around June, when the good season is starting. In summer Barcelona becomes lively, with people coming from the surrounding area to enjoy a fresh aperitif or beer in an outside space.

Public Transport in Barcelona

Public transport in Barcelona is very efficient. With a good network of Metro, bus and trams, the city offers many ways for travellers to reach their point of interest. If you want to save some bucks, there are many opportunities like the T10. This is a special card, or referred to as “Tarjeta”. You can travel 10 times, not limited by the distance, and using all transport.

Things to know before visiting Barcelona

Barcelona is the eternal opponent to Madrid, Catalonia against Spain with the Capital on the first line on this conflict. Barcelona is rich in art and culture, visited every year by millions of tourists from everywhere.

On Sunday some museum offers free entrance

If you are visiting Barcelona on Sunday, you should know that some museum offers free entrance. Like in many other parts of Spain, Madrid and Malaga in the afternoon of Sunday, the museum is entrance free.

Every Sunday, between 3 pm and 8 pm, you can visit the Museum of Picasso, or the MUHBA (History Museum).

Check all the free museums on Sunday

Festivities in Barcelona

We decided to place it on our list of top 10 things to do in Barcelona, think about that as an outsider. If there is one thing we love in most of Spain, it’s that the Spanish know how to have fun. Catalan Capital is one of the best festival centres in Spain. Some of these events are traditional and very emotional, with a huge legacy behind them.

The Citizen of Barcelona feels a lot of their traditional festivals, which are part of their local identity. In September there is the Festes de la Mercè.

Five days where the city is a unique soul in the feast.
There are a lot of concerts with dance and fireworks. At this event is possible to have a look at “Correfocs”, a drums parade with devil and fireworks. In summer there is one of the most popular events, “Mejor de Gracia”, all the borough of “Gràcia” will be light up, a party of colours which will highlight the architecture and the local folklore. The price of the goods at this festival is really cheap, you can drink a beer for just 1 euro.

Festivals in Barcelona and traditional fest of St. Jordi
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You have to go shopping at La Rambla

La Rambla it’s the main street in Barcelona, and also the popular one. You might end up on La Rambla more than you expect. This might be recalled as the “Champs Eliseu” of Paris. A huge walkable street stretching in the core of Barcelona, meeting the seaside at the southern point. La Rambla hosts the biggest market in the city, “La Boqueria”, a paradise for food lovers, but also many high street shopping malls and renowned brands.

At the end of the street, there is a big white column, on the top Cristoforo Colombo, pointing toward the direction to America. Over the Bridge, on the seaport, there is Barceloneta, the most beautiful beach in Barcelona.

Lively Arts and Culture centre of Spain

Barcelona is not just food, football and shopping, but also is art and culture. You need to pin in your agenda “The Sagrada Familia” and the “Casa Batllò” of Gaudì.

If you have spare time, we suggest you visit also The “Casa Lleò Morera” and “Casa Amatller”,  another perfect example of modernist art.

Barcelona view of Barceloneta, the best photo spot in Barcelona - Barcelona Instagrammable
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Barcelona view of Barceloneta, the best photo spot in Barcelona

Best cities in Spain in Summer

The Beach is close to the city centre. That’s one of the most important things to remember. The lively Barceloneta, can offer to you a beautiful spot for taking relax and also a nap, enjoy the sun and sweat. The sand is really gold, and the waterfront is really nice and clean, with a lot of restaurant or bar. Barcelona is the heart of Catalonia, all the Region come on the coast side on the hot summer months.

If you want just to relax and stay over of tourists places, you can go to “Fòrum”, a little beach in the north, where the people go just for relaxing, out of the stress of Tourists and Restaurants.

Often left behind the museums to visit: El Raval and the Museu d’Art Contemporani

The “El Raval” is really close to the El Barri Gòtic, this is a weaving of street where local people use to hang out. During the summer is really busy, with all the bars making parties, outdoor spaces, it’s often out of the tourist map, but it is not, therefore, less impressive.

The only touristic place in all the area is the Musei d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona. 

3 thoughts on “Top 10 things to do in Barcelona and some for free

  1. Shreya says:

    I love the idea of visiting museums on Sundays for free. If you are in Barcelona, you certainly can’t afford to miss Gaudi architecture. I guess I would love to add Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia to this list. Would be so exciting!

  2. Lori says:

    Great list of places to visit without going broke. I love the idea of going to the museums on free days. We do that often in our hometown but generally when we travel I have not been able to research enough to get the right days. These museums all look like a great visit. I’ll have to remember them when we finally make it to Barcelona.

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