The alternate guide to Barcelona

Barcelona: rich in culture, history and sunshine! Perhaps you’re heading to Barcelona for a romantic trip, stag do, or a weekend with some friends – well no matter the circumstances, there’s something to suit all tastes and all budgets. Sure, there’s the football club, Gaudi’s fantastical architecture and Picasso’s works, all of which we’d certainly recommend you do check out but there’s also much more to Barcelona – you just have to know where to look.

Bars

El Mariachi, in Carrer Dels Còdols 14, is one of Barcelona’s best kept secrets. A relaxing haunt to escape the tourists, you’ll find lots of musicians in here and you’re also likely to find out about low key or secret gigs.

El Armario is found by literally entering a hole in the street wall. Found on Carrer de Riereta in El Raval, you need to walk through the owner’s closet before getting into the bar – how cool! It’s not open every night (it depends on the owner’s mood) and is unlikely to be open before 3am.

If you’re having a stag party in Barcelona, one place you should check out is Icebarcelona on Somorrostro Beach. As the name suggests, this venue is made of ice – from the bar, to the walls and even the furnishings! Don’t worry about getting cold during your stay though, you’ll be provided with warm jackets and gloves upon arrival.

For a guided tour, try the Barcelona Bar Crawl, meeting at 10pm from Cantina Pepino 44 nou de la rambla. For EUR 15 you’ll be taken with a large group to four excellent bars and a club.

Attractions

Foodies will love a culinary walking tour of the city including a visit to Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona’s most celebrated food market, cafes, fine food stores, sweet shops and tapas bars. You’ll be shown around by an expert guide and you’ll have two tastings at each stop.

Discover some of the best (well-known and more undiscovered) galleries and museums in the local area by checking out Mapadearte.com. The map on this site shows the location of various sites together with opening hours and their websites for more information.

Many tourists will also not know about the Labyrinth Park in Horta. It’s the oldest park in the city and off the beaten track so is often not found by visitors. It hosts a large labyrinth open to 750 visitors a day as well as gardens and a canal. Another hidden treasure is the musical fountains in Plaça d’Espanya. From May to October, on Thursday to Sunday evenings from 9pm, you’ll see a spectacular display of colour, light, music and water.

Getting around

Although it’s Spain’s second largest city, it’s easy to walk around much of the centre of Barcelona – but if you want to give your feet a rest, there are other options. For example there’s the hop on/hop off Barcelona Bus Turistic which has three routes going to all the tourist sites; or the metro where trains come along every couple of minutes. A Barcelona card allows you unlimited travel for free on public transport and also includes free admission or discounts at lots of visitor attractions.

If you do fancy checking out some of Barcelona’s top tourist spots, you can find some great deals that include a tour of The Camp Nou football stadium, you could also consider hiring a bicycle or scooter, taking a tour on a Segway or jumping on the Montjuïc cable car which links the city to the top of the Montjuïc hill.

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