Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Barcelona For Free
The best things in Barcelona (and life) are free.
It’s common knowledge that traveling, while leaving us culturally richer, has the tendency to leave our pocketbooks a bit emptier than when we started. This is especially true for College Tourists and students studying abroad.
One of the best parts about traveling to a new place is trying all of the unique, local cuisine. Eating out for every meal, however, can definitely take its toll on your Barcelona Budget. Save your splurge meal for dinner and find free food throughout the day! My favorite place to do this is La Boqueria off of Las Ramblas. Make your way through the market maze and find the booths handing out free samples! You’ll be able to try as much jamón, fruit, cheese, chocolates, and gelato as you like and if you’re still hungry, grab a small bocadillo or smoothie for just 1 euro!
When you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, keep in mind that the first Sunday of every month has free all-day access to the local museums. This includes The Picasso Museum, Museo Nacional de Catalunya, and Museu de la Música. If your trip doesn’t happen to fall at the beginning of the month, plan your museum visits after 3pm on Sundays when most museums are free.
After all of your Spanish sightseeing, take an afternoon to enjoy the beautiful Barcelona beaches. Not only is the beach free, but if you stray a bit further away from the main beach, Barceloneta, you will have more sand and sun to yourself. You can also use your metro pass and spend a day in Sitges, a small beach town south of the city full of soft sand and clear water.
If you are looking for the perfect time to visit Barcelona, plan your trip for the weekend of La Mercé . This weeklong festival celebrates the Patron Saint of the city with all sorts of free parades, concerts, food, nightlife and cultural festivities! It’s an amazing way to experience the true culture of Barcelona without spending a euro.
Make sure to see the best of Barcelona to climbing to its highest peak. Tibidabo is the largest hill in Barcelona and not only boasts a small amusement park, but a beautiful cathedral as well. To get to the top, all you need is your metro pass! The S1 train from Plaza Cataluna to Peu de Funicular takes you straight to a funicular and then a bus in order the summit the mountain. The views are spectacular and it’s free!
If mountains aren’t your thing and you prefer a closer view of the city, head to the top of El Corte Ingles in Plaza Catalunya. The Spanish department store has 8 levels of shopping and a café on the 9th floor complete with 360-degree views of Barcelona. While the view is free if you don’t stay too long, one of my favorite things is grabbing a cheap sweet and relaxing at one of the tables close to the windows. A 1-euro pastry is a small price to pay for the million dollar views.
Not only is Barcelona an extremely walkable city, but walking also allows you to find the cute, local cafes and shops away from all of the tourist attractions. In Barcelona, the verb “ramblear,” named after the famous Las Ramblas, means to literally wander by walking. This has always been my favorite way to experience the true culture of a city.
Through my University, we are able to participate in an “Intercambio” during our time abroad. The program allows a native English speaker who is studying Spanish and a native Spanish speaker who is studying English to meet. The duo spends half their time speaking in English and the other half speaking in Spanish. It’s an incredible (and FREE) way for both individuals to practice their language skills and make a new friend in Barcelona!
Take a hike
Ready to burn off all that paella and gelato? Take a hike through some of Barcelona’s amazing parks. La Parc de La Ciutadella is close to the city center, the beach, and the arc de triomf and even has a zoo! Or check out Parc de Laberint for a life-size hedge maze and miles of gardens for your free viewing pleasure.
Spain is known for some of its world-class shopping. A College Tourist budget, however, can’t always afford the best in Barcelona fashion. If you are still itching to check out the big fashion names, head to Las Ramblas or El Corte Ingles and window shop to your heart’s content! You’ll get the same thrill of trying on incredible garments without the guilt of the hefty price tag.
Last but not least, you cant visit Barcelona and not witness the architectural genius of Gaudí or bask in the stunning stained glass of the cathedrals. The one downside to these attractions is the usually hefty entrance fee. If you still want to experience the beauty that these sights have to offer and still save a bit of cash, keep your sight seeing to the outside. With buildings like Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, it’s easy to get the full effect of the architecture without ever stepping (and spending) inside.
More Tips From A Lonely Planet Guide Book
Travel is a fine balance between treating yourself to cultural indulgences and knowing when to save money and take in the free things a city has to offer. With this guide, there is no reason why expenses should keep you from visiting Beautiful Barcelona.