I have to confess something embarrassing… Even though I have been in Barcelona a few times, I have not yet visited Sagrada Familia. I am sorry, Gaudí! But I am jobless now and YOU are expensive.
Luckily, though we are not talking about the cheapest city in Spain, Barcelona also has a heap on offer for those, like me, watching their euros. If you can afford a T10 (Barcelona’s multi person travel card), then you have all you need to explore the city. Read on to discover 5 things you can do in Barcelona for free.
1. See 360-degree city panoramic views in Bunkers del Carmel – Turó de la Rovira
Sitting 262 metres above sea level, Turó de la Rovira (also known as Bunkers del Carmel) probably offers the best views over Barcelona you will find. With a 360º panoramic view, the Turó de la Rovira has always provided a direct reflection of the occurrences on the plain. The heritage space contains the remains of an anti-aircraft battery created on 1937 that helped to defend Barcelona from air attacks during the Spanish Civil War.
In the post-war era, the abandoned military structures were used to build Els Canons, a neighborhood of shanty dwellings that lasted from the ’40s to 1990.
In March 2011, Turó de la Rovira was officially reopened, following a restoration and heritage project in a city space that had until then been relatively degraded, isolated and unknown.
Rumours have it that soon there will be a fee to access the viewpoints but, at the time to writing, it is still completely free and open to visit anytime. I recommend visiting the bunkers on a weekday, as weekends can be really busy and this is really a place to be enjoyed in silence.
How to get to the Bunkers of Carmel: From Plaça de Catalunya, you can take metro line 3 (to Trinitat Nova) and get off at Lesseps station. Then walk 50 metres to Gran de Gracia bus stop and catch the bus V17. Get off at the last stop: Gran Vista – Turó de la Rovira.
2. Do a free walking tour
If like me, you like to get to know the history of the place you are visiting, you’ll love the free walking tour offered by Sandemans New Europe.
Founded in 2004 in Berlin, this company offers free walking tours in 18 cities across Europe, the Middle East and the US.
The tour in Barcelona lasts around 3 hours (including a 15 minuted break) and is packed with very interesting information about the city and its history. While it is a “free” tour, be prepared to tip your guide at the end. The guides work on a tips-only basis and they receive no other compensation from the company.
Meeting point: everyday at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM in Plaça de l’Àngel (at Jaume I Metro Exit).
3. Be a kid again in Horta’s Labyrinth Park
Horta’s Labyrinth Park, is the oldest park in Barcelona and, since it’s located outside of the tourist radius in the district of Horta, it’s something of an undiscovered treasure. Admissions are free on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Appart from the Labyrinth, in the park you will find waterfalls, fountains, canals, lakes, French gardens, statues and pavilions. All in all, this is a perfect place to go with your kids or with your partner.
As a fun fact, some scenes from the movie Perfume – The Story of a Murderer were filmed here.
4. Visit a museum
Sunday is the best day to visit free museums in Barcelona. MNAC (Catalonia National Art Museum), MUHBA (Barcelona Museum of History), Music Museum, Museum Frederic Marès, Botanic Garden, Blau Museum and CosmoCaixa offer free entrance on the first Sunday of each month. All of the above (except MNAC) plus CCCB (Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona) and Barcelona Maritime Museum are also free every Sunday after 3pm.
5. Take a refreshing dip in Barceloneta beach
Barcelona has some great beaches perfect for resting aching feet after so much sightseeing. Barceloneta is the most popular and, although crowded, has wonderful views and a lovely promenade.