Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world, but more and more the city gets a name as another city for parties in Spain. It’s really a shame, because the city has much more than beaches and nightlife! Even if your Spanish is rusty (or not at all), you have no reason to limit yourself to the tourist attractions of the city. Instead, go out and explore! You never know what might be waiting for you at the next cobblestone corner…
Here are my suggestions for ten ways to visit Barcelona outside the cathedrals, beaches and the busiest streets:
Get away from Barcelonetta Beach
Most people come to Barcelona because of its beaches, and it has really great beaches! But do not let yourself get to the tourist beach of Barcelonetta. Of course, it’s easy to walk from La Rambla and many city hotels, but you’ll find that it’s quite crowded and you’ll be nagged by club promoters, mojito sellers and massage therapists every couple of minutes. If you go further from the city center, you’ll find much more local crowds on Playa del Coco, Playa Badalona and other beaches. Not only will you avoid most of the vendors, but you’ll also find enough room to lay out a towel or play an impromptu volleyball game. You can get to them if you don’t have a lot of time, but they are also easily accessible via the extensive bus and metro network in Barcelona.
Eat delicious tapas
I love tapas, but I’m not talking about the outdated, overpriced ones you can find in restaurants and bars around La Rambla. Everyone has their favorite place for tapas; mine is a little beyond the Avenida Parallel, on the quaint Carrer de Bligh. There are many different places that specialize in tapas, and each tapas costs only 1 euro, which means that you can try a bunch of different pieces and still get a fairly inexpensive meal! Another of my favorite tapas places is La Xampanyeria, where you can combine your tapas with bottles of local cava. This place can be crowded, but it is a great place to take a group of friends and exchange them for tours and bottles of cava.
This monastery stands high in the hills behind Barcelona, and it makes a great day trip, which is enjoyed by both tourists and locals. This place is an important pilgrimage destination for many people, but besides the religious aspects, it is also a great place to hike. It is incredible to see the surrounding landscape at dawn, but in fact it is impressive, no matter what time of day it is. Don’t worry, you don’t have to climb all 4000 feet to the top; there are cable cars and funiculars to get you there.