If there are many ways to spend your money in Barcelona, there are also plenty of fun activities to keep you busy in the Catalan capital that won’t ruin your wallet. From live-music performances to museum trips and guided city tours, here are some of the most budget-friendly activities to undertake in Barcelona this weekend.
A number of Barcelona’s best museums participate in a Free Museum Sunday scheme, which allows access to the museums free of charge on Sundays from 3pm. Participating museums include the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), National Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC), the Picasso Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Museum of History of Barcelona (MUHBA).
Fancy getting to know the city’s history through a guided walking tour? Many local companies offer a free tour of the city’s most famous areas, such as the Gothic Quarter and the Passeig de Gràcia. While these are free, it’s customary to give your guide a tip at the end of the tour if you think they have been worth it – but this is entirely optional!
If it’s true that the main part of the Park Güell – known as the ‘monumental area’ – does require visitors to pay for entrance, most of the park can be visited for free. While you won’t be able to get up close and personal with the mosaic salamanders, or take pictures of yourself on the colourful tiled benches, you can still enjoy some of Gaudí’s work and admire some stunning views of the city.
While the inside of the Sagrada Família is undoubtedly worth a visit at least once in your life, there’s plenty to be admired on the outside too, and you can do that for free. The three facades each have their own theme, retracing the different steps of Jesus’ life, and are rich in symbolism. Download a free online guide – the Wikipedia entry is very detailed – and organise your own free tour of the Sagrada Família.
Another of Barcelona’s famous monuments, its Cathedral is a 13th-century gothic and ne0-gothic masterpiece located in the centre of town. Unlike the Sagrada Família, access to the inside of the Cathedral is free until 1pm and from 5pm, although you may want to consider making a donation in one of the money boxes. Make sure you also visit the cloister known as La Seu, home to a beautiful water fountain and some geese.
The Gothic Quarter is Barcelona’s most historic neighbourhood, inhabited since the time of the Ancient Romans. Its winding streets and narrow passageways are home to some of its most interesting architecture, and its most mysterious. Cursed statues, hidden designs and enigmatic symbolism are just some of the quirks to look out for as you wander.
Believe it or not, there are dozens of free concerts, dance performances and shows taking place in Barcelona every weekend. To help you find your perfect match, check out forfree.barcelona, a guide to all the free cultural activities taking place in the city, including exhibitions, workshops, outdoor activities and more.
Saturday is a great day to soak up the buzzing atmosphere of Barcelona’s food markets as locals do their shopping and catch up with friends and family. La Boquería market is the most famous of Barcelona’s markets, but also the busiest. Check out the Sant Antoni Market or the Santa Caterina market for a more relaxed experience.
There’s no age limit on enjoying the amazing performance of Barcelona’s Magic Fountain. A spectacle of light, music and some 3,000 water cannons dance in rhythm to Disney anthems and classic tunes. The Magic Fountain is located outside the National Palace of Catalonia and the Plaça d’Espanya.