Between endless plates of tapas, all the art nouveau architecture, as well as an abundance of great finds you’ve never heard of before (but totally must have done), there’s no shortage of epic experiences to be had when exploring Barcelona, especially if you plan to see the city by foot. Here’s your ultimate free and self-guided Barcelona walking tour to help you get the most from a vacation to the capital of Catalonia.
Free Barcelona Walking Tour: Practical Advice, Tricks, and Tips
The walk is best attempted on the sunny day once the streets are warm, a summer vibe is in the air, and the city looks its best. You’ll wish to bring along a camera to snap some of the best of Barcelona, and thus here are a few of my very best travel camera recommendations!
Although a lot of the tour is on level roads (with a few cobbled hilled lanes added too), I recommend shoes that are comfortable to walk in like these ones. Otherwise, it’s important to note that Barcelona can become incredibly hot (especially throughout the summer months) and thus you’ll wish to bring a reusable water bottle like this one with you.
As you may expect having a major European city, there are plenty of eateries, hydrate, and caffeinate on the way. And from budget eats to vegetarian fare to speciality coffee houses, you should know that Barcelona has plenty to offer! So you should get some comfiest clothing and revel in this free Barcelona walking tour…
Walking Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Distance Covered: 7.9 km
This self-guided walking tour of Barcelona begins in the beautiful pedestrian square of Placa Reial. Located in the Gothic Quarter from the city (and also the place where I recommend booking accommodations if you wish to be close to all the best attractions and foodie spots), the plaza has a number of nightclubs, bars, and hotels.
Take a moment to orient yourself and load up your map before moving out into the city. Otherwise, be sure to benefit from the stunning palms which litter the square (whose name means Royal place) and the King Ferdinand VII statue within the very centre of the square.
Start your day the right way (or, at the minimum, your time exploring Barcelona on foot) by fuelling up with a breakfast formula, or tasty frozen treats depending on the time of the day. While a little bit more touristic than some of the other cafés within the city, there’s no denying the deliciousness from the coffee and patisseries on offer at ARTiSA Barcelona.
This café and confectionery shop offers indoor and outdoor seating, making it a suitable base to enjoy a fast bite come rain or shine. Well-reviewed across many sites, the café was opened at the end of 2009 and offers a variety of authentic Catalan produce at good prices.
Palau Güell (Gu”ell Palace)
Situated on Carrer Nou de la Rambla, this former mansion house was created by Antoni Gaudi at the behest of the wealthy businessman, Eusebi Güell, who wanted to have an abode in the El Raval district of Barcelona. Created in the late 19th-century, this house boasts all of the architectural features which are so quintessentially Gaudi; natural forms inspire carved brick and delightful balconies. Today, you can go to the Palace for a small fee. Find additional information here.
Mercat en Boqueria
For the freshest, most authentic, and best local eats in town, be sure to go to the covered marketplace that's Mercat en Boqueria. Fully known as Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, this thriving foodie spot has stalls which range from beer stands to fish vendors to fresh vegetable sellers.
There has been a market of sorts on site since a minimum of the 13th-century when the food court was mentioned as stalls selling meat near to the city gate. Throughout the 19th-century, the marketplace was officially recognised, leading to the thriving Mercat en Boqueria you may enjoy today.
Placa de Catalunya
Offering an incredible peek at much of the various architectural styles that Barcelona provides; this is when the 19th-century buildings of the Eixample district meet the historic architecture of the old town district of the city, Placa de Catalunya is one of the largest public squares within the city.
Take a moment to pause, sit on one of the numerous benches on the plaza, and watch the planet pass. Otherwise, be sure to check out the beautiful architecture from the theatre, cafés, and restaurants which surround the public space. There's also sculptures dotted across the Plaza which represent several different styles.
Hands down, among the best bookshops in Barcelona is that of the Alta”ir Bookshop. After all, this book vendor is stuffed with shelves stacked from floor to ceiling, all dedicated to travel. Organised by region, there’s an enormous section on Spain, as well as an even larger section on Catalonia, and on Barcelona.
It’s worth noting that although most of the books, tomes, and travel memoirs for sale were Spanish language, there have been still lots of works available to purchase in English and French. I personally even managed to get a book on secret Barcelona on my visit (despite the fact that my suitcase had been overstuffed!)
One of the very most famous from the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona is Casa Battló, an organic-inspired architectural house complete with the broken-tile look that's so synonymous with Gaudi. Constructed at the behest of Lluís Sala Sánchez, the house is often regarded as one of Gaudi’s greatest pieces of art.
Known locally as the House of Bones (Casa dels ossos) because of its unusual form and shape, it’s worth noting that you could even walk inside should you pay the entry fee. However, you should know before you go that the ‘skip-the-line’ pre-paid entrance ticket means lots of waiting time in order to visit which means you should head to the house earlier in the day and mid-week if at all possible so as to steer clear of the worst from the queues. Purchase your Casa Battló ticket here in advance.
Beautiful and ornate, Palau Macaya is among Barcelona’s best-kept secrets. Situated alongside the green space which lies beside Passeig de Sant Joan. While you can sit and appearance on directions around the many benches which line the park (that also transpires with provide a fantastic view of the Sagrada Familia), the courtyard of Palau Macaya can also be liberated to visit during opening times and it is among the best photo spots in Barcelona.
Placa en Sagrada Familia
The best look at Gaudi’s beautiful ecclesiastical masterpiece (that is famously still unfinished) isn't directly beneath the church itself, but instead from the small green park just a little leave. Lined with benches and plenty of trees, this quiet and secluded spot feels miles from the hubbub of the immediate area surrounding the Gaudi building.
La Sagrada Familia
Next, keep on this self-guided Barcelona walking tour right towards the cathedral. This is one of the easiest steps from the self-guided tour as its difficult to miss the nature-inspired towers of the Sagrada Familia presiding within the remaining buildings in the region.
Designed by Antoni Gaudi within the 19th-century, the cathedral is perhaps so famous because of the fact that it’s still under construction (and has been this way for over a hundred years). The church was just consecrated in 2010 and today you can go to for a small fee. However, you need to know before visiting this is one of the most popular buildings in Barcelona, meaning you should book your tickets prior to you go. Purchase your Sagrada Familia tickets here in advance.
Arc de Triomf
Yes, you read that correctly! Barcelona, too, has a Triumphal Arch, similar to the famous one out of Paris, those of Montpellier, not to mention, the Arcul de Triumf in Bucharest. Also known as the Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona in Spanish, this arch was constructed in 1888 to do something because the main entranceway to the World’s Fair.
Today, you can wander underneath the archway of the Barcelona Arc de Triomf, all the while admiring the stunning stonework. Otherwise, be sure to take a seat and rest for a moment or two underneath the palms swaying in the breeze and admire the architecture of the Barcelona district.
Parc en Ciutadella
Best seen on a warm and sunny day when you can stroll round the park, have a picnic in the shade, or rent a ship around the lake for the most romantic of Barcelona experiences, Parc en Ciutadella is really a must-see while in the city and it is an ideal spot to relax, from the hubbub of the busy remaining city.
Created in the 19th-century, once upon a time, it was the only real green space that Barcelona had to offer. Some of the main popular features of this sprawling parkland include the opportunity to glimpse the Palau del Parlament de Catalunya and the stunning chapel of Església en Ciutadella.
Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar (Basilica of Saint Mary from the Sea)
Completely free to visit (though donations are, of course, always appreciated!), the Barcelona Basilica can be found in the Ribera district of Barcelona. One of the best examples of the Catalan Gothic architectural style, the ecclesiastical building dates completely to the 13th-century and a time when much of Barcelona’s main income came through sea trade.
Museu Picasso de Barcelona (Picasso Museum of Barcelona)
For those who desire to marvel at a little bit of artwork throughout their amount of time in Barcelona, a visit to the Picasso museum near to the Gothic quarter is an absolute must. For any closer consider the famous artist in Barcelona, be sure to book this Picasso Walking Tour & Picasso Museum of Barcelona.
Catedral de Barcelona (Barcelona Cathedral)
Last but not least, the last stop on this free Barcelona walking tour may be the Cathedral from the city, i.e. the ecclesiastical building which grants Barcelona its city status. Situated in the maze and passageways of tiny streets which snake their way with the Gothic district of the city, the Cathedral is much less frequented than the Sagrada Familia but is nevertheless still worth a trip.