Barcelona has a very special place into my heart for many reasons but mainly because it hosts the works of an artist that I personally love and of who I have a very high respect for: Antoni Gaudí.
However, I’m not going to tell you all about him and his amazing creations, I think there are already plenty of books and travel guides dedicated to him which are very well detailed.
I’d love to tell you some “alternative” tips instead. I’ve been to Barcelona twice so far and I have experienced the city in a very different ways on both occasions. The first time in Barcelona I was on my own visiting a friend of mine and we even went to a very popular Advanced Music and Multimedia Art Festival called ‘Sonar‘, which brings to Barcelona a lot of creative people, music and art lovers and there is a very great lively vibe in the city which I really enjoyed.
The second time I went to Barcelona it was with Dale (who had never been before) and we did different things and explored areas (in our own way) that I didn’t get to see properly on my first visit. What I like of Barcelona is how people look always smiley, how the city seems so full of positive energy, it must have something to do with the fact that the sun is almost always shining, I swear! I don’t see myself as an expert about Barcelona, I’m pretty sure that there is still so much to be discovered, but I think I’m able to give some tips based on our own experience that might not be so obvious and a little bit different from the usual travel tips that might be found in any travel guide.
If you are planning a trip to Barcelona, you already have a ticket booked or simply fancy knowing something about the city that might perhaps be new to you; take a look at the following travel tips for Barcelona, we hope you enjoy and find them useful.
Tip #1 – Hidden Street Art
I’m pretty sure that whilst you’re in Barcelona you will hit the famous La Boqueria Market which is right on the even more notorious La Rambla. It is a very touristic spot that it is worth having a brief look at despite being very crowded most of the time. The reason why it’s worth going there isn’t only for the goodies on sale but mainly because if you walk right out the back of it there is a car park with some hidden beauties that we accidentally and very happily stumbled on.
In this carpark there are many vans parked which are completely decorated with colorful and original graffiti. It was an amazing street art show for us to discover, a very cool place to go to especially if you like this form of art.
View Plaça de la Gardunya where the carpark is in a larger map
Tip #2 – Gopal
On the contrary to some other parts of Spain, in Barcelona we had no problem at all finding vegetarian and vegan food. In actual fact we had plenty of choice between various restaurants, bars and cozy cafes with delicious food. We kept returning to one in particular which we especially liked and went back there for my birthday too. If you are in Barcelona looking for some great vegan, tasty and not expensive food, Gopal is the place to go, we LOVED it!
Dale’s favorite was the vegan chicken and bacon sandwich and mine was the burger platter with loads of salad to go with, my mouth waters only at the thought of it!
Tip #3 – A Stroll Around the Born District
Barcelona old town or Ciutat Vella is very charming for its buildings and corners full of history, but some of its areas can be quite crowded with tourists. Whilst exploring, we found ourselves in the Born area which was pleasantly less busy, there were more locals than tourists and plenty of little arty shops, cozy restaurants and bars. What I loved the most about the Born district was its stunning narrow streets, which are very particular and characteristic.
Tip #4 – A Jog at the Barceloneta Promenade
If you feel like you need to escape the crowd, the hectic city life or simply fancy staying fit, the promenade by the beach in the Barceloneta area is a great place to go for a run. You can enjoy the view of the sea, breath the clean and refreshing air and if you are lucky get a little of the sea breeze too. In the summer the promenade can be quite busy even though most people will tend to stop mainly on the beach.
View La Barceloneta in a larger map
Tip #5 – El Born Centre Cultural
We stumbled on this amazing site purely by chance, in fact we didn’t have any idea of the existence of El Born CC. Underneath what once used to be the marketplace lies the Barcelona of the 1700 of which you can still see the remains of as it’s now shown as an open archeological site. It was like stepping back in the past, very fascinating especially if you are interested in history.
We learnt that there are several cultural events that take place at El Born CC too of which unfortunately we didn’t take part of, we wish we stayed long enough to, next time I guess!
There’s no doubt that Barcelona is one of my favourite cities in the world and I’ll never tire of returning. Hopefully some day soon we’ll be able to return and find even more “off the path” things to do and travel tips for Barcelona.
Would you visit any of these places?
If you’re still looking for something to do in Barcelona, why not take a look at our 20 Free Things To Do in Barcelona post?