With its unique Gaudi architecture and charming Catalonian culture, Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet . For anyone visiting Barcelona, exploring the city away from the typical tourist routes is the best way to find some hidden gems and really get to know the city like a local. Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and La Rambla are the top picks in any guide book but if you want to immerse yourself in the real Barcelona, check out these insider tips to have a holiday you will never forget.
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The best way to explore the city is to quite literally, get lost. Wander on foot and deviate from the main streets to experience the most authentic spots slightly off the beaten track. Gracia, El Born, Barrio Gotico and Raval are areas with their own character. El Jardi, a bar in the centre of the bustling Barrio Gotico, is a beautiful quiet terrace surrounded by trees where you can enjoy a cerveza away from the busy streets. Each barrio has its own identity, so take a wander through Eixample and Sants to get a real feel for what it’s like to live in a Barcelona neighbourhood.
Pinxtos in Poble Sec
Pintxos (bite-sized tapas) are a simple delicacy of small pieces of fish, meat or vegetables served on top of bread with a cocktail stick. Carrer Blai in the Poble Sec area is the best place to try this cuisine. Bars line the street where you can stand or sit outside picking at €1 pintxos. Your bill is calculated by how many sticks you have when you are finished.
See the city from up high
Park Guell, Montjuic and Tibidabo all have stunning views of the city but if you want somewhere that is not overflowing with tourists, take a trip to the abandoned bunker at the top of Rovira in the Carmel barrio. This spot offers a 360 degree view of the city and is without a doubt the best place to take in the landscape.
Go to the beach (but not Barceloneta)
The fact that Barcelona has a beach gives holidaymakers the unique experience of culture and relaxation in one trip. Barceloneta beach is centrally located but many complain that it is overcrowded and unclean.
Take a 25-minute train south to Gava or Castelldefels to find quieter beaches full of families living in the outskirts of the city. Or, head north into Costa Brava for some of the most beautiful cove beaches you’ve ever seen.
Barcelona is full of hidden wonders tucked away amongst the magic of the city. Most tourists won’t see further than Park Guell and the street artists of La Rambla. Let your sense of adventure guide you to discover the real Barcelona.