With planning Barcelona can be a surprisingly affordable place to travel. Many museums offer free entry on specific days, and some of the best ways to experience the city don't cost a penny – hanging out at the beach, exploring fascinating neighbourhoods and parks, and drinking in the views from hilltop heights.

Walking Tours

Numerous companies offer pay-what-you-wish walking tours. These typically take in the Barri Gòtic or the Modernista sites of L'Eixample. Recommended outfits include the following:

Discover Walks (www.discoverwalks.com)

Feel Free Tours (www.feelfreetours.com)

Orange Donut Tours (www.orangedonuttours.com)

Runner Bean Tours

Picnics

You can eat very well on a budget if you stick to set menus at lunchtime. For even less, you can put together a picnic of fresh fruits, cheese, smoked meats and other goodies purchased at local markets. The obvious spot is Mercat de la Boqueria, but you'll find fewer crowds and an equally good selection at the Mercat de Sant Antoni, on the western edge of El Raval. La Ribera has the handy Mercat de Santa Caterina.

Barceloneta and the other beaches are good places for a picnic, as is the shady Parc de la Ciutadella. For more shade and seclusion – and pretty views – head up to Montjuïc.

Festivals & Other Events

Barcelona has loads of free festivals and events, including the Festes de la Mercè and the Festes de Santa Eulàlia. From June to August, the city hosts Música als Parcs (Music in the Parks), a series of open-air concerts held in different parks and green spaces around the city. Over 40 different concerts feature classical, blues and jazz groups. Popular venues include Parc de la Ciutadella, Parc de Joan Miró and Parc Turó (Avenida de Pau Casals 19, Sant Gervasi). Ask at the tourist office or check online (www.bcn.cat) for a schedule.

Sights

Entry to some sights is free on occasion, most commonly on the first Sunday of the month, while quite a few attractions are free from 3pm to 8pm on Sunday. Others are always free. The following are most likely to attract your attention.

Free sights and museums

Centre de la Imatge

Centre d’Art Santa Mònica

Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar

Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys

Col·lecció de Carrosses Fúnebres

Museu d’Història de la Immigració de Catalunya

Palau del Lloctinent

Temple d’August

Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu

Font Màgica

Jardins de Mossèn Cinto de Verdaguer

Cementiri del Poblenou

Universitat de Barcelona

Museums and sights that are sometimes free

Museu d’Història de Catalunya Last Tuesday of the month.

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya After 3pm Saturday and first Sunday of the month.

Museu Picasso From 6pm to 9.30pm Thursday and all day on the first Sunday of the month.

La Catedral Before 12.30pm Monday to Saturday, before 2pm Sunday.

Museu Frederic Marès From 3pm to 8pm on Sunday and all day on the first Sunday of the month.

Castell de Montjuïc From 3pm Sunday and all day on the first Sunday of the month.

Museu-Monestir de Pedralbes From 3pm to 8pm on Sunday.

Jardins del Laberint d’Horta Wednesday and Sunday.

Museu de la Música From 3pm to 7pm on Sunday.

Museu d’Història de Barcelona From 3pm to 8pm on Sunday and all day on the first Sunday of the month.

Museu Marítim From 3pm to 8pm on Sunday.

Ajuntament From 10am to 2pm on Sunday.