Barcelona, Spain is a sun-drenched city by the Mediterranean teeming with old world culture, fabled architecture and one of the best drinking and dining scenes in the world. Those lucky enough to get to experience Barcelona should try not to limit their visit with just the main tourists attractions like La Rambla and Museu Picasso. Here are 8 hidden treasures for first-time visitors to explore in Barcelona.
Take a one-hour train ride to Montserrat for a perfect day trip. The view of the mountains alone is worth the trip, and it is full of local culture and flavor. The name means jagged saw edge, which is what the mountains look like. You can take a cable car to visit the beautiful Benedictine monk mountain retreat.
Visit Sarrià, a quaint old residential neighborhood to marvel at the architecture of the homes in this exclusive neighborhood. The village is cozy with narrow streets, small buildings, and lovely squares like Plaça Sarrià and Plaça Sant Vicenç. Stop at Bar Tomás for delicious patatas bravas.
3. Pati Manning
Even though Pati Manning is next to the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art most tourists miss it. It is a former cloister built in the 18th century. The building has a great terrace bar and a shady courtyard where you can sit for a coffee or perhaps a beer. You will find yourself surrounded by locals.
4. El Refugi 307
El Refugi 307 is a truly hidden attraction. It is an old underground bomb shelter from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) turned museum. Explore underground tunnels and see a hospital, toilets and other necessities still intact. It is a close up and fascinating insight into the reality of war.
5. Kowasa Gallery
Stashed away above the Kowasa bookshop, Kowasa is a fascinating gallery for everyone, especially photography enthusiasts. Opened in 1997, it showcases the top Spanish and International photography. The gallery features over 2,000 prints from the classical to the contemporary.
6. Parc del Laberint d’Horta
Parc del Laberint d’Horta is Barcelona’s oldest park. It is situated peacefully away from the bustling city centre in the Horta-Guinardo district. It has nine acres of beautifully landscaped gardens alongside fountains, statues, sculptures and a 14th Century medieval watchtower. Take a stroll here among a maze of trimmed cypress trees.
7. Sant Antoni Market
Instead of the Boqueria Market which is crowded with tourists, head to San Antoni Market and mingle with the locals. The fresh local delicacies here offer a true taste of life in Barcelona. The best day to go to this market is on Sunday when clothes, books and collectables are displayed.
8. Montjuic and La Caseta del Migdia
Montjuic is a small mountain that overlooks the city. Browse among quirky sculptures at the Montjuic Cemetery and wander over to the walls of Castell de Montjuic, an 18th-century fortress. There is even an ocean view outdoor bar and BBQ with sausage on the barbie and cold beer and cocktails.
You don’t have to worry about hotel accommodation while visiting Barcelona, Spain for the first time. Travel sites like Expedia have you covered and tailor for all tastes and budgets.