Planning to visit Barcelona soon? Looking for alternative things to do away from the tourist attractions? Keep reading to discover 8 of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets that will guarantee you that you’ll have a fabulous time!
I have never been eager to visit Barcelona. I don’t know why, but the city has never been on my ”bucket list”. I know that many people are dreaming about visiting Barcelona and that the city is their most wanted destination but somehow I never felt like this.
As it often happens, though, the things that we never wanted and the places that we don’t have any expectations about are the places that surprise us the most. At the end of my stay in Barcelona, I wanted to stay even more.
How did I end up in Barcelona in the first place when the city has never been on my radar?
I just happened to find a cheap flight from Morocco to Barcelona. That’s it.
But anyway, I thought that after my 3 weeks Morocco itinerary, it would be a good idea to give Barcelona a chance. And to be honest, I’m so glad I did.
Without even thinking about it after I saw that 15 euro ticket from Fes to Barcelona, I book it straight away. A week in Barcelona doesn’t sound that bad after all. Plus, it was at the end of October, which might be the best time to visit Spain, in general. You avoid the big heat and crowds of the summer, but it’s still nice and warm. Yes, even for a swim.
Fast forward to my first day in Barcelona and I was already loving the city.
Before going ahead and revealing Barcelona’s best-kept secrets, I will just say that when I decided that I’ll go to Barcelona for a week my plan was to have a relaxing, more or less time there.
The most popular tourist attractions in the city were of no interest to me. I spent my time in Barcelona, mostly by eating my way around the city, exploring its awesome parks, and having drinks and fun with cool people. The plan worked out perfectly.
P.S. If you don’t have a full week, here’s how to spend 3 days in Barcelona.
Now back to Barcelona’s best-kept secrets that you should know about:
Barcelona Secret Food Tour
I will start with the Barcelona Secret Food Tour for two reasons. First, because the tour is simply awesome and second because thanks to the tour guide, I found out about some of the others Barcelona’s best-kept secrets.
I went on the tour on my second day in Barcelona, which was a good idea because as I mentioned our tour guide gave us amazing recommendations that I’ve had time to check out in the next days.
So, why the Barcelona Secret Food Tour is one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets?
Because the tour is fantastic because the food is amazing because you’re learning many things about the city on the way because you’re having a great time and because the guide is very passionate about what he does hence he’s doing a wonderful job.
On the day that I went on the tour, it happened that it would be just me and one other woman. That happened to be a nice thing because in my opinion that way the tour felt more personal. It was very easy to talk to each other and of course, we’ve had more attention.
On the way, we were constantly learning about the food, about history, about the local way of life, etc.
We started the tour by trying traditional panellets. After that, we went to the market, but not to the La Boqueria one but another not touristy and very authentic one. There, we’ve tried delicious kinds of cheese, hams and we learned how to drink wine as the locals do.
After the market, we went to another awesome place where we witnessed how the nuts are being roasted, which btw is a very interesting process.
As you might guess by yourself, unfortunately, there are not many authentic tapas bars left in Barcelona. Everything is made for the tourist and the quality and the taste are not the real ones.
Luckily, Barcelona Secret Food Tours know the very few real and authentic places that are left. Our tour guide, Miguel, took us to an awesome tapas bar, where we tasted mouth-watering bombas, wine, and fish.
The tour ended in a restaurant next to the beach where we’ve had an amazing lunch – salad, more hams, tomato bread, paella, and sangria.
If you want to try the best food in Barcelona, The Secret Food Tour is your best bet to do so.
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Hidden views in the heart of the city
Love views? I do and I always try to find the best places to have awesome ones.
This place is one of the ones that my Barcelona Secret Food Tour guide recommended.
Right in the heart of the city is located the Basilica De Los Santos Justo Y Pastor. A small church that everyone visiting Barcelona is probably passing by, but no one knows what a hidden gem it is.
For only 2 euros, you can climb the narrow stairs to the top from where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city.
When I went there, I met only two other people on the top that were just leaving and after that, I stayed for something like half an hour and had all of this just for myself. Nice, a?
If you’re not a local and you don’t know where to go it might be very difficult to find a cool place like this where there is no one else.
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Sunset at Bunkers Del Carmel
The best view of the city?
Bunkers Del Carmel, you might have heard about this place. Although is considered as off the beaten path and it’s without any doubts one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets, the bunkers are becoming a very popular spot to visit.
The Bunkers Del Carmel is offering an amazing panoramic view over the city, revealing in front of you all the major landmarks of Barcelona all the way to the sea.
The Bunkers were built in 1938 during the Spanish Civil War on the top of the Turo de la Rovira hill as an anti-aircraft fortification, so they could survey the entirety of the city. They were built to defend and help Barcelona from further bombing.
Nowadays, locals and travelers are gathering there to have some beers, for a picnic and to enjoy the incredible sunset view.
Getting there: Take the L4 metro line and get off at Alfons X station. When you exit the metro station, supply yourself with beer. The way to the bunkers is very obvious as you need to walk uphill to reach the spot. It takes half an hour more or less.
The secret beach in the beautiful fisherman village of Garraf was another recommendation by Miguel.
Escape the crowded city beaches and head to one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets.
The village of Garraf is a half an hour train ride from Barcelona city center. The beach is just across the train station.
This is one of my favorite secrets. The beach is so calm and beautiful, plus, it’s surrounded by more wonderful views. The beach at Garraf is the best getaway from the tourist crowds in Barcelona. Also, it’s an awesome day trip destination.
I went to the beach along with the sweet Hanna, a Finland girl that I met in my hostel in Barcelona. We’ve had a great and especially fun trip to Garraf.
It turned out that we forgot to buy other tickets for the train (as Garraf is outside of the city and the normal tickets don’t work) and on our way back we found out that we were kind of stuck.
Anyway, we found the way out and in the end, it was all fine, but you should know that you need to buy a separate train ticket that works outside of the city.
The village of Garraf is a great day trip from Barcelona, but so is Montserrat. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it there, but you can check this post to find out more about the Montserrat day trip from Barcelona.
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Jardins de Laribal
After visiting the Montjuic hill, which also offers great views over the city, I decided to walk around aimlessly and to see what I will find and that’s how I ended up at the Jardins de Laribal.
Such a nice, cool, and cute place. There were just a few other people and I managed to find an awesome spot for myself from where I was able to enjoy some more wonderful views over the city. For me, those Jardins definitely deserve to be one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets. You will find mostly locals hanging around.
Very close by, you’ll find Teatre Grec, an open-air theatre built in an ancient Greek style.
In the summer the theatre is used for festivals. When I was there, there were a few locals there reading a book or doing their workout, or people just sitting and enjoying each other’s company.
Placa de Sant Felip Neri
The labyrinthine streets of the Gothic Quarter can take you to a surprisingly tiny square. Place de Sant Felip Neri is a small square consisting of a church with the same name, a school, which uses the square as a playground and a little fountain in the middle dedicated as a symbol of life.
So far sounds like a nice hidden square, right? This is a historical place, though, that has a very dark and sad story.
During the Spanish Civil War one bomb fell on the church and killed 30 people, most of whom were children from the school. While the people were pulling survivors from the ruins, a second bomb hit the square killing 42 people in total. Evidence of the bombing can be seen on the walls of the church.
Spot told by Miguel.
The Fairy forest bar
El Bosc de Les Fades (fairy forest translated from Catalan) is a unique and cool bar in the Gothic Quarter next to the Wax Museum.
The bar is unusual and very interesting. Except for the trees, waterfalls and etc, there are also a ”hunted house” room and a magic mirror. In my opinion, it definitely worth the visit.
I found this place one evening when I was with Hanna and one other girl from our hostel and we were looking for a cool bar to go to. We decided to google it and that’s how we’ve ended up there.
It might not be the cheapest bar in Barcelona, but for the atmosphere and for the cool decorations it’s worth it for a drink.
P.S. It opens at 10 am during the week and at 11 am during the weekend, so instead of for an evening drink, you can also go there for a coffee.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the one & only Jason Jeans aka the rock star of Park Guell.
When I was flying from Fes to Barcelona, on the plane I met Nick. Nick is an Italian guy currently living in London who was on his way to Barcelona for a fifth or sixth time after his journey in Morocco. We talked during the whole flight and then met lots of times in Barcelona in the next few days.
He told me about Jason Jeans and how cool he is and how he met him a few years ago when he was in Barcelona. He had his Facebook and told me that Jason would be playing at the park that day during these hours and that we should go see him. I agreed, from his words he really seemed to be a cool and funny guy. So we went.
Jason is singing and playing the guitar and entertaining people in Park Guell. I don’t know his schedule, but you can find him there every day except for Sunday. If he’s not there, you can just ask the other guy who is where is he coming from.
Jason looks and acts like a real rock star and of course, not everyone finds him entertaining, but I do, I think he’s hilarious and I think he’s one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets.
Where to stay in Barcelona
I stayed in the new and trendy Rodamon Hostel. The hostel is situated in the city center next to the main shopping street of Passeig de Gracia within walking distance of the architects Gaudi sightseeing and the local area of Gracia.
The area is very nice and is full of nice bars, restaurants and basically everything that you’ll need.
The Diagonal metro station is just 2 minutes’ walk away from the hostel and you can also walk to La Rambla in less than 15 minutes. The Gaudi House is also very close by.
The common area and the terrace of the hostel are fabulous. There is a kitchen as well. The staff is very friendly and helpful. I also liked it a lot because it was peaceful enough so I can work at the same time, relax and sleep at night.
The hostel itself is also one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets. Right next to the hostel there is a very small and cute park that you should also check out.
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Those were my Barcelona’s best-kept secrets. Thank you, Miguel, the food tour guide for most of the recommendations, I wouldn’t find most of these places by myself.
Have you been to Barcelona? What else would you add to the list? I would love to hear about the others Barcelona’s best-kept secrets!
Thanks for reading,
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