Barcelona has so much more to offer aside from its beautiful sandy beaches and Modernist architecture by Gaudí. However if you’re only visiting Barcelona for a few days, you might be wary of missing out on the ‘top attractions’, but that’s where we come in! We’re here to give you the low-down on Barcelona’s hidden gems, so that you can experience the best of both worlds during your time in Barcelona. Put aside the Sagrada Familia, Las Ramblas and the Nou Camp for a short while and discover something fresh! Take a look at our 5 ‘non-touristy’ tips for discovering the Real Barcelona…
1. Grab a coffee in café-brimming Gràcia
Gràcia is home to some of Barcelona’s most quirky shops, cafe’s and eateries, and has a wonderful mix of locals and young expats. With many tasty cafe’s serving up the likes of chai tea and red velvet cake, you’ll most definitey experience a different ambience compared to the bustling Las Ramblas. Gràcia is the perfect place to grab a coffee, sit back and watch the world go by.
2. Break away from the Boqueria crowds
La Boqueria market is undoubtedly a true spectacle and the food you can find there is superb. However, if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere to buy your goods, you might want to head to the markets of Santa Caterina or La Concepció.
Santa Caterina market, located just a short walk from Jaume I metro station, is a great place to get to grips with the local cuisine. There’s even a delicious tapas bar located opposite the main entrance where you can get a bite to eat before you explore the market. La Concepció, over in the Eixample district, is another great example of Barcelona’s brilliant market culture. Here you will find everything from garden flowers to fresh fruit and veg!
3. Bike Tours with A Difference
Exploring the Poble Nou cemetery and stopping by recycled fashion workshops probably weren’t at the top of your ‘must see in Barcelona’ list, but with Steel Donkey Bike Tours you won’t just be learning about Barcelona, you’ll be living it too. You could find yourself dipping delicious churros in to hot chocolate, sampling some Spanish farmhouse cheeses, or even shopping for vintage threads in Gràcia. The only thing that’s for certain is that no two tours are ever the same – and that’s what makes them so brilliant.
4. Relax above the city
Tibidabo and Montjuïc are two popular tourist attractions with spectacular views over Barcelona. But did you know that Rovira del Turo bunker has equally amazing views with less crowds? Imagine locals gazing out over their city as they sip a glass of red wine. This secret echo of the Spanish Civil War sits high above Barcelona promising some of the best views of the city.
5. Picnic time!
Although dining in restaurants may be one of the best ways to sample the local cuisine, a picnic in true Catalan style is also a great way to get a taste for the local delicacies. The Eixample district of Barcelona is home to some great delicatessens, bakeries and bodegas, perfect for picking up some Catalan treats for your picnic.
Head to Reserva Iberica at C/ Aragó 242 for some delicious Iberian ham for your sandwiches, and just across the road you will find Colmado Quilez, a bodega specialising in cheese, wine and beer. At C/ Valencia 246 you will find a bakery named Crusto, which sells delicious Catalan breads such as coca, and opposite Crusto you will find Cornelia and Co, a lovely delicatessen where you can pick up a tasty dessert – or two! Combine your Catalan picnic with the spectacular views from Bunkers del Carmel and you are set for a fun-filled day!
So why not take a different route the next time you’re in Barcelona and discover the city like a local? You’ll most definitely see a different, yet still spectacular, side to this wonderful city!