Barcelona is a gorgeous cosmopolitan city that attracts millions of people every year. Some come only for a visit while others end up choosing it as their new home. And no wonder! Barcelona has so much to offer its visitors and inhabitants that it is easy to understand why people fall in love with the city.
If you have been to Barcelona before, if you read the touristic guides or if you have been living in Barcelona for a while, you probably already know about the most famous attractions. Buildings like Casa Batlló, La Sagrada Família, and La Pedrera (all by Antoni Gaudí) sell thousands of tickets every year, creating queues to go in that sometimes go all the way around the block.
While you should visit the most famous touristic sites in Barcelona, there are also other less touristic spots that also deserve your time, particularly if you like to venture away from the crowds.
Sant Pau Recinte Modernista
Many people don’t know about Hospital de Santa Creu I Pau, one of the most dazzling constructions to ever exist in this Spanish city. Designed by Lluís Domenech i Montaner, the hospital was built at the beginning of the 1900s, being inaugurated in 1930.
Many years later, in 2009, Hospital de Santa Creu I Pau inaugurated new, more modern installations, which allowed them to better serve their patients. But it was during the remodeling process of the building that a treasure was discovered: the original Art Noveau creation by Domenech i Montaner, which had been covered in plaster when the hospital had gone through modification works throughout the years.
Since its discovery, the wing of the hospital which features the architect’s work was declared a Historical Artistic Monument and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and it was opened to the public, who can now visit it for a fee, as Sant Pau Recinte Modernista.
Prices: Self-guided visit – 13€, Guided visit – 19€. Seniors, people under thirty and people with disabilities can go in at discounted prices, paying 9,10€ for a self-guided visit and 13,30€ for a guided visit. Visit Sant Pau Recinte Modernista‘s website to learn about other discounts.
Location: Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167
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Vila de Gràcia is certainly one of the most hip and happening neighborhoods in the city, famously known for its Festa Major, which happens every year during the month of August. The area has a lot of nice plazas that are great for stopping for a break or simply to sit with a nice book, but one of the most interesting places people can explore in this neighborhood if the street called Verdi. This pleasant, tree-lined street is not only delightful to walk on, but it also has a number of independent businesses that give it a unique character. Some examples of this are the interior design store Fulanitu i Menganita, located at number 25, and Carme Anglada, a designer accessory and jewelry store located at number 8. Another noteworthy establishment that can be found at Carrer Verdi is the famous Cinema Verdi, a movie theater with almost a century of existence, where people can watch movies in their original version.
Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera
Montjuïc has a lot of beautiful gardens, but one which is particularly interesting is Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera, or as it is most famously known, Montjuïc’s Cactus Garden. Named after Spanish poet Miquel Costa i Llobera, the garden occupies an area of 6 acres, which features a variety of species of cacti from the sub-desert, desert, and tropical regions. There are over 800 cacti to be discovered in this beautiful and unusual garden which can you can visit from Monday to Sunday, without having to pay an entry fee.
Location: Carretera de Miramar, 50-58
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The Carmel Bunkers
This spot didn’t use to be that famous among tourists, but it has started gaining more popularity in recent years, as locals introduce it to visitors. The Carmel Bunkers were created as anti-aircraft batteries to be used during the Spanish Civil War, in 1937. They were built on top fo Turó de la Rovira, a strategically high point in the city which allowed the soldiers to see enemies from very far away.
Despite the fact that the original bunkers were destroyed and that only ruins remain, this is still one of the only points in Barcelona where you can have a 360-degree view of Barcelona. The site itself if very interesting, since you can still see the remains of an important historical site in the city, but people come mainly for the fresh air, bringing a picnic basket and some drinks to enjoy the sunset while chatting with friends.
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* Main photo by Amantedar via Visualhunt