Barcelona

Top Free Things To Do In Barcelona

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Alejandra Davalos is a student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an ISA Photo Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain

1. Museums

There are plenty of museums you can visit. An interesting thing about the museums in Barcelona is that some have free admission on Sunday from 3:00 to 6:50 pm. As long as you arrive within that time frame, you should be fine to enter the museum. One museum that does this is the Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA). However, museums such as Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) and Museu d’Història de Catalunya are free every first Sunday of the month so take advantage of that.

Unfortunately, no picture-taking is allowed in the museum.

Unfortunately, no picture-taking is allowed in the museum.

2. Take Part In Traditional Spanish Festivities

Every summer Festa Major de Gràcia is celebrated in Spain. Since I arrived in Barcelona a couple days after this event took place, my host mother told me about the celebration and what locals do. There is a competition of decorated streets within the barrio, and you can find free outdoor concerts. Also, another highly celebrated event in Barcelona is La Mercè in late September. This festivity brings the city to life with fireworks, correfocs, and concerts.

Here is a street in Gràcia that still has the banners from Festa Major de Gràcia.

Here is a street in Gràcia that still has the banners from Festa Major de Gràcia.

3. Cathedrals

As you might already know and since it is visible from almost anywhere you are in Spain, Barcelona is home to Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia. Though there is an admission fee to enter the large Roman cathedral, you can admire the façade from the outside for no cost. Another cathedral in Barcelona is Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. This cathedral is located in what today is La Ribera.

The world-famous, Antoni Gaudí's La Sagrada Familia.

The world-famous, Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia.

Basilica Santa Maria del Mar located in La Ribera.

Basilica Santa Maria del Mar located in La Ribera.

4. Mercat de la Boqueria

If you find yourself in La Rambla, you must go to this place. This place is located in the Ciutat Vella district in Barcelona. La Boqueria is known to be Europe’s largest indoor food market. You can find foods like seafood, fruit, vegetables, etc. It is said that you can sample the produce before you purchase it.

5. Passeig de Gràcia

This is one of Barcelona’s major avenues. You can find several shops and business on this avenue as well as some of the city’s historical architecture. Notable buildings that you can find here are Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (La Pedrera).

6. Sun bathe in Barceloneta

If you find yourself tired from all the walking and sightseeing you have being doing in the city, grab your bathing suit, a towel, and sunscreen and head to Barceloneta. Barceloneta is quite popular for its promenade with several restaurants.

7. Architecture

My best suggestion for this one is to walk around the city and admire all the intriguing architecture. As a Los Angeles native, I have found the architecture here in Barcelona to be impressive and jaw dropping. There are countless interesting buildings to admire in the city.

This is a really intriguing museum-like building that is on my way to school every day.

This is a really intriguing museum-like building that is on my way to school every day.

I never would have thought this is a concert hall which I happened to stumble upon on accident.

I never would have thought this is a concert hall which I happened to stumble upon on accident.

8. Joan Miro’s Public Art

Joan Miro was a Barcelona native. His hometown honors him with several pieces of his artwork throughout the city. In Parc de Joan Miró, you will find a 22m tall Woman and Bird sculpture. In addition, there is a mosaic in a central walkway of La Rambla and a wall of Miró’s artwork just outside Terminal 2 at the airport. In fact, my Spanish Contemporary Art professor told us that each of the pieces of artwork is supposed to address a different mode of transportation. The Woman and Bird is intended for those driving a vehicle, the mosaic is intended for pedestrians and the outside wall is for those who are about to board a plane.

9. Monestir de Montserrat

Montserrat is a mountain range located about an hour and twenty minutes away from Barcelona. The round trip train ticket is just a little under twenty euros but it is well worth it! I spent a whole day here because there is just so many things to see. I climbed to the top of the mountain instead of taking the funicular. Montserrat is also home to Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine monastery. You can also find “The Stairway to Heaven” sculpture, which has popped up on your instagram at least once. Nonetheless, the 20 euro roundtrip ticket is well worth it! Everything else is free!

This is the view from the little plaza toward the large boulders in Montserrat.

This is the view from the little plaza toward the large boulders in Montserrat.

Really nice view of the Montserrat boulders and the sky.

Really nice view of the Montserrat boulders and the sky.

The insta-famous location in Montserrat. Beware of the "Do not climb the monument" sign.

The insta-famous location in Montserrat. Beware of the “Do not climb the monument” sign.

10. Montjuïc

From this hill you can see all of Barcelona and overlooks the city’s harbor. “Montjuïc” is translated as a “Jew Mountain” in Catalan. Here you can find Fundació Joan Miró, Font Màgica fountain, the Palau Nacional, and Olympic stadium.

11. Just Get Lost

Last Sunday, I decided to “get lost” and stroll around my neighborhood, and it was the liveliest I had ever seen it. I thought there was some kind of celebration, but it was not. The streets were filled with table games for children to play with and even an inflatable bouncer was in the middle of the street. I kept walking because I was curious what was going on and why there was so many people. I turned to the next block and in the middle of the street there was a massive pan of paella being cooked that could probably feed all of Catalonia. I paused for a second and thought why not grab a plate but then I realized that the line looked like it was at least forty-five minutes long. Nonetheless, I got a first-hand experience of what locals do on a fine Sunday afternoon.

This is the massive paella pan I saw down the street from my homestay.

This is the massive paella pan I saw down the street from my homestay.

The world awaits…discover it.

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