Barcelona is a city with something for everyone, but did you know there’s more to Barceloneta than beaches, more to the old part of town than La Rambla and more to Gaudi than Parque Guell? Each neighbourhood has something new to explore. Check out 10 of our favourite hidden gems in the city. For more, play any of our Barcelona discovery games.
1. Shop for food at Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueira
This oldest marketplace in the city, located in Ciudad Vieja (enter from La Rambla), has more than 300 stalls! You’ll be impressed with the smells and the colours of the produce you can get there. Make sure to get some fresh fruits here to take on your adventure in Barcelona.
Neighbourhood: Ciudad Vieja
2. Go treasure hunting to really explore the city
That’s right, follow a trail or riddles on your phone to find hidden gems and unlock local stories. Check out all city discovery games in Barcelona. One of them may lead you to Plaza San Felipe Neri, a true local secret right in the centre of the old part of Barcelona! The square has a magical atmosphere and could be the backdrop for any ‘romantic walk scene’ in a movie. On the square you’ll see an old church (that still bears damage of the Civil War) and a beautiful fountain… You’ll feel far away from the city’s business on this little square.
Neighbourhood: Gothic Quarter
3. Raise a glass at Elephanta
One of our favourite cocktail spots, Elephanta is located in Gracia. The bar is known for its Gin & Tonics and they serve a whopping 40 different varieties, fusing together perfect combinations of flavours. If it’s not quite Gin o’clock just yet, don’t hesitate to try their teas and cake!
4. Discover prickly beauties at Jardines de Mossèn Costa i Llobera
Nearby Montjuic Mountain, you’ll find Jardines de Mossèn Costa i Llobera. What makes this place so special is the impressive variety of beautiful cacti. Generally, people tend to connect cacti with extremely hot deserted locations, but Barcelona has one of the most beautiful botanical reserves for these spiky plants. Go check it out!
Neighbourhood: El Poble-sec
5. Enjoy the view from Bunker del Carmel
One of the best views of Barcelona… at least that’s how we feel about it! Former wartime bunkers are located on the foothills that surround the city. They’re a popular hangout place for locals around sunset and you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city.
6. Relax at The Green Spa
Sore feet after walking around exploring all day? The Green Spa is a perfect place to relax. Here, they concentrate on helping you reconnect with your physical and emotional selves. They offer a great massages (we’ve sampled them and are fans now!) and other body treatments. Highly recommended before heading to the Barceloneta beach.
7. Admire Casa Vicens
It’s pretty easy to spot Gaudi’s work around the streets of Barcelona, but here’s one you may well have missed. Found north of the city centre, Casa Vicens is one of Gaudi’s lesser-known, and sometimes even forgotten, designs. It’s one of the artist’s originals and it dates back to the late 19th century. Beautiful and innovative, this design is definitely worth seeing! If you want to find out more about Barcelona’s street art, read our blog post on it here.
8. Chill out in El Bar Mariachi
You’ve probably heard of Manu Chao, the musician… El Bar Mariachi is actually owned by him and it’s located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. It can be challenging to find but it’s worth searching for it! It’s a small, colourful and unique – and has a quirky atmosphere. It’s a popular spot among Barcelona’s musicians. If you are lucky, maybe you can even see a live performance of Manu Chao there.
Neighbourhood: Gothic Quarter
9. Play hide and seek in Laberint D'Horta
We love games, so it may not be a surprise that this garden made our list! This historical garden is located in the Horta-Guinard district. It’s the oldest conserved garden in the city, with a neoclassical style and a hint of Italian influence. In reality, as the name suggests, it’s a complex maze! At the entrance, you’ll pass a marble Ariadne and Theseus, and… if you make it to the centre you’ll find a statue of Eros. Enjoy!
10. Get spooked at Hospital del Tórax
If you are looking for something completely different on your city trip, Hospital del Tórax is a must see. This spooky, and said to be haunted, abandoned hospital is located in Terrassa. They used to treat people with respiratory illnesses here until 1997. After the closure, people have wandered around the empty halls and claim to see ghosts….
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