Barcelona Bucket List: 16 Cheap and Fun Things to Do in Barcelona 

Steve Cummings


If you are planning a trip to Barcelona, you may be concerned about the cost of everything. However, there are various things you can do in this beautiful Spanish city that do not cost too much. 

To help you plan your trip, whether you are there for a few days or an extended stay, we have put together this guide to cheap things to do in Barcelona. 

We have tried to include something for everyone, whether you are traveling with kids, as a couple, or solo. 

1. Catedral de Santa Maria del Mar and Catedral de Santa Eulalia 

Catedral de Santa Maria del Mar
Credit: Depositphotos

One thing that stands out about the city is its stunning architectural heritage, from the more modernist examples to Romanesque churches and other buildings. With this in mind, one of the best cheap things to do in Barcelona is to visit two stunning examples of the country's and city's architectural legacy: Catedral de Santa Maria del Mar and Catedral de Santa Eulalia. 

They were both built sometime during the 14th century and have been wonderfully preserved and maintained in the centuries since. Both are excellent examples of classic Catalan Gothic architecture. In the Catedral de Santa Eulalia, you can head up to the top of its towers in an elevator to have a breathtaking view of the old part of Barcelona.

2. Quadrat d'Or

Staying on the subject of architecture, for one of the styles that truly defines the city and one of the cool cheap things to do in Barcelona, you should make a point of heading to Quadrat D'Or, translated as The Golden Square. You will see some of the most spectacular examples of modernist architecture there, like the Casa Morera, La Pedrera, the Casa Amatller, and Casa Batllo. 

The best thing about the square is that all of these are within walking distance of one another. 

Suppose you head southwards into the old part of Barcelona. In that case, you can also check out the Palau de la Musica Catalana and, a little further from the touristy parts of the city, the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau. This vast, sprawling section of the Sant Pau hospital looks like something out of this world. 

3. Park Guell and Tres Cruces

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Are you looking for something more involved? Park Guell and the famous Tres Cruces are some of the most fun, cheap things to do in Barcelona that will stretch your legs. Gaudi House Museum can be found within the park, which is a beautiful place to stroll around on a lazy afternoon. 

The best thing apart from the park itself is Tres Cruces, or Three Crosses, which you can climb and benefit from sublime vistas of Barcelona from one of its highest peaks. Make sure you take a packed lunch, snacks, or even a picnic and your camera/phone to take a lot of snaps.

4. Hot Air Balloon Over Barcelona

How about taking a hot air balloon ride across the city? It may not be one of the cheapest things to do, but it is definitely one of the most fun things in Barcelona that gives you a fantastic viewpoint to appreciate the skyline and diverse layout of the city. 

5. Dance the Night Away After Dinner at Marula Café Club

When the lights go down, the fun doesn't stop in the city, and if you are interested in getting your groove on, one of the fun things to do at night in Barcelona is head to a venue like Marula Café Club for some grub and a boogie. A funky old-school spot, the music varies from jazz and disco to funk and afro beats and much more, with a masterful sense of style. There is also the Magic Club if you like rock and alternative music, and the Razzmatazz Club if electronic is more your vibe.

6. La Carretera de les Aigues

Fancy a walk through one of the city's prettiest and most scenic parts? One of the fun things to do in Barcelona for couples is a stroll along La Carretera de les Aigues. This runs beside the Serra de Collserola and is located northwest of the city, offering beautiful views. Although it is 9.5 kilometers out, they are mostly flat, so there are no real concerns about it being too steep or taxing. It takes you through the awesome Parc de Collserola. 

It can be reached easily on public transport by boarding the FGC train at Placa Catalunya, taking it to Peu del Funicular, and then getting the funicular, which will drop you at the start of the route.

7. Immerse Yourself in the Christmas Experience and Fira de Santa Lucia

Some of you may be thinking that it's counterintuitive to head to the city in winter, as Barcelona is not the most famous European destination around Christmas. But there are many fun things to do in Barcelona in December. It is cooler, as well, and less busy than during the summer months. 

That allows you to enjoy everything great about Barcelona without bumping into people at every corner. You can also enjoy the Christmas lights and the iconic Fira de Santa Llucia Christmas market, where you can find authentic Catalan Christmas delicacies and great-priced decorations. This is a good option if you are not a fan of the blazing sun beating down on you while you are on holiday.

8. The Magic Fountain of Montjuic

Magic Fountain of Montjuic
Credit: Depositphotos

There are plenty of exciting and fun things to see in Barcelona throughout the year. Still, one of the most popular is undoubtedly the Font Magica de Montjuic or, when translated from Catalan to English, The Magic Fountain of Montjuic, an incredible show of vibrant colored lights and beautiful sounds. Performances by The Magic Fountain take place throughout the year. The first occurred during the famous Great Universal Exhibition hosted by the city in 1929. 

As this is a top-rated attraction, it's best to get there as early as possible before the show begins to get a good viewing place. 

9. Montjuic Hill Olympic Pool

Are you looking for family fun things to do in Barcelona? The beautiful and refreshing Montjuic Hill Olympic Pool was built for the Summer Olympics that Barcelona hosted in 1992 and is open to the public between the end of June and the start of September. 

Although it does have an entrance fee, it is relatively cheap and is a great way to spend a few hours, especially when the sun is shining. Make sure you bring some supplies like food and drink. Then, you can relax and soak up the sun's rays, the refreshing waters of the pool, and the vistas of the city. 

10. El Barri Gotic

El Barri Gotic
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The Gothic Quarter, or El Barri Gotic to the locals, is one of the best things to do in Barcelona if you want to get in touch with its deep heritage. This is a great place to get strategically lost in the twisting and turning streets. From the center of Barcelona, you can follow the quarter from the seafront overlooking the Med to Ronda de Sant Pere and from La Rambla to Via Laietana. 

While it's true the area has undergone renovation work and updates during the 19th and 20th centuries, there are many buildings that originate from Medieval times and some from the time of Roman settlements. The old squared wall constructed by the Romans is still standing, and its remains can be seen from spots like Carrer de La Palla, Placa Nova, Avinguda de la Catedral, and Sots-Tinent Navarro and Tapineria. 

11. Parc de La Ciutadella

The city has a surprising number of green spaces. One of the must-see things in Barcelona is Parc de la Ciutadella, especially if you are looking for a tranquil spot away from the more metropolitan areas. Translated as Citadel Park, this is found in the center of Barcelona and was first set up during the mid-10th century. At that time, it was the only green space in the city, and things stayed that way for many decades.

It covers an impressive 70 acres, with a crystal-watered lake, a huge fountain, and the city's Museum of Natural Sciences. 

12. Parc Guell

It can be hard going when you have children in tow on a holiday and you want to take in some of the cultural heritage of the place you visit. Barcelona is an essential city for art and architecture, and Antoni Gaudi is one of its best-loved and admired sons. While there are plenty of options for gazing in wonder at his ideas made real, the best way to really experience Gaudi's incredible talent is a trip around Parc Guell. 

This is a curious space devoted to many of his most significant pieces and one of the best things to do in Barcelona with kids when you want to educate them, as there are plenty of whimsical sculptures and impeccable examples of the Catalan modernism the great man was so famous for. 

13. Eat Tapas and Churros

Eat Tapas
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When you head to a place like Barcelona, there are many tourist traps run by unscrupulous people looking to extract money from unsuspecting visitors. However, that doesn't mean that all the touristy things to do in Barcelona are a trap. You should eat tapas in one of the many great restaurants or bars at least once before leaving the city. Tapas is more than just a lot of small portions of food; it's a way of life for Spanish people. 

Pull up a stool at the bar and enjoy some quick and tasty bite-sized portions of delicious Spanish food, or sit with your family and enjoy a platter of vibrant food. To finish your tapas, order some churros with impossibly sticky and thick chocolate dipping and sipping sauce.

14. Visit the Museums for Free on Sundays

On Sundays, you can learn more about Spanish, specifically Catalan, art and its rich heritage, with one of the best cheap things to do in Barcelona: visit a museum, as many offer free admission on Sundays. This includes the Contemporary Culture Center, the Picasso Museum, the Barcelona History Museum, and the Catalan National Art Museum. 

15. El Mercat dels Encants

Among the fun, cheap things to do in Barcelona, which is a must, is a trip to El Mercat dels Encants, the largest flea market in the city. Here, you can find everything you would expect from this kind of market, from fashion and footwear to local independent manufacturers, vinyl records, and old books. 

It is open every day of the week apart from Tuesdays and Sundays, from early morning to evening. You can also check out its live auctions that occur early in the morning, between 8 and 9.30 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

16. La Rambla

La Rambla
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It would not be a reliable guide to fun things to see in Barcelona if we didn't mention La Rambla. This is the city's most famous and popular street, after all. It runs from Placa Catalunya to the port and has many little flower shops, street performers, artists, and quaint restaurant terraces. From there, you can also stroll into two of the most exciting parts of Barcelona, El Gotic and El Raval.

Final Thoughts

Barcelona is the cultural capital of Spain, with good reason. There are many sights to see, things to do, and experiences to enjoy. You must take in at least one dance show or even have a go yourself; make sure you eat lots of delicious food, including paella, tapas, and churros. 

While some sites may cost a lot, many, as highlighted in the above guide to the fun, cheap things to do in Barcelona, are very low-priced or completely free. Whatever you do, we know you will have a good time if you try at least some of these suggestions.

Do you have any more suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below.

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