HIDDEN BARCELONA CITY GUIDE
Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia, is a city renowned for its iconic landmarks, bustling streets, and exquisite architecture. Every year, millions of tourists flock to this Mediterranean gem to witness the awe-inspiring works of Gaudi, stroll along the lively Las Ramblas, and bask in the sun on its beautiful beaches. However, beyond the tourist hotspots lies a treasure trove of lesser-known locations that offer a glimpse into the city's rich history, culture, and local life.
Things to do
Visit Gaudi’s first house
Located in the Gracia district of Barcelona, Casa Vicens was architect Gaudi’s first ever creation. Declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, natural elements are threaded throughout the creation, such as ironwork, ceramics, carpentry and Gaudi’s iconic mural decoration. You’ll be met with cast iron gates soften by big palm tree leaves where you’ll quickly understand Casa Vicens is a work of nature by Gaudi.
Visit the Old Hospital de la Santa Creu
Hear us out here, this isn’t an ordinary hospital, nor is it still operating (pardon the pun). Dating back to the 15th century, this iconic institution played a pivotal role in providing medical aid to the less fortunate. Its magnificent Renaissance and Gothic façade, adorned with intricate details, transports visitors to a bygone era of benevolence and healing. Stepping inside, you are greeted by a labyrinth of beautiful courtyards, grand halls, and vaulted ceilings, each reflecting the architectural brilliance of its time. Today, the Old Hospital de la Santa Creu stands as a cultural and artistic hub, hosting exhibitions, concerts, and events that celebrate its historic significance.
Visit El Born Cultural Center
El Born Cultural Center is a captivating destination that seamlessly blends history, archaeology, and contemporary art. Housed within a beautifully restored 19th-century market building, the centre showcases the city's rich heritage. As you wander through the halls, you'll encounter archaeological remains that date back to the medieval era, offering a glimpse into Barcelona's past. The juxtaposition of ancient ruins with modern art installations creates a unique and thought-provoking experience.
Relax at Ciutadella Park
For travellers seeking a serene oasis amidst the vibrant energy of Barcelona, Ciutadella Park beckons as the perfect retreat. Located in the heart of the city, this sprawling green haven invites you to unwind, recharge, and soak in the beauty of nature. As you step foot into the park, you'll be greeted by lush gardens, shimmering lakes, and shady pathways that invite leisurely strolls.
Where To Eat
If you’re a health consicous traveller you’ll want to step into Honest Greens, with a few different locations around the city you should be able to find one to peruse. The interior makes for an inviting spot whilst their juices and colourful salads bowls leave you wanting to come back for more. (If they don’t their sweet treats definitely will). Open all day means you can visit for coffee and breakfast and again later that day for dinner.
Petit Tapas’ menu is a tantalising showcase of traditional and creative tapas, bursting with flavors and prepared with the finest local ingredients. From succulent patatas bravas to melt-in-your-mouth jamón ibérico and innovative seafood creations, each dish is a testament to the skill and passion of the chefs. Pair your tapas with a selection of carefully curated Spanish wines or indulge in one of their signature craft cocktails for a complete sensory journey. The cosy location lives up to its namesake so make sure you book ahead of time. Don’t worry if you get a spot at the bar, you can watch their vibrant cocktails being made.
The Juice House
Nestled amidst the lively streets of Barcelona, the Juice House is a great stop that offers a refreshing and health-conscious haven for locals and visitors alike (and those that are gluten and dairy intolerant!). Step inside the airy warehouse and you'll be greeted by a vibrant and inviting atmosphere, with walls adorned with colourful artwork and a menu that showcases a delightful array of freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, and nutritious bowls. The Juice House prides itself on using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients, ensuring each creation is bursting with flavour and packed with vitamins and antioxidants. As you savour your refreshing drink, indulge in wholesome snacks and light bites, including acai bowls and avocado toast.
One for the local lovers, Tantarantana is a Catalan favourite. Decorated with wooden features and coloured tiles, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped in a Spanish film set. If you’re looking for carefully crafted dishes or want to sample some local wine, we’re sure their mouthwatering seafood creations, succulent meat or veggie dishes and Catalan wines will have you coming back for more. Offering a cosy ambience both inside and out, you’ll feel right at home for dinner at Tantarantana.
Situated right on the beach, this charming restaurant beckons guests to indulge in a delicious dinner while enjoying the soothing sounds of the sea. The spacious outdoor terrace provides the perfect setting to savour the fresh sea breeze and admire the panoramic vistas of the Mediterranean. The menu at Xiroi showcases a selection of seafood, prepared with the finest ingredients and a touch of Catalan flair. From succulent grilled fish to flavourful paellas, each infused with coastal flavours.
Where to Drink
Mr Robinson - Barceloneta
Located close to Barcelona’s busy spot, Barcelonata, Mr Robinson is a laid-back yet atmosopheric drinking spot favoured by locals and travellers. With its sleek and modern interior, adorned with contemporary artwork and dimly lit ambiance, this bar exudes an air of sophistication and coolness. The creative mixologists behind the bar are true masters of their craft, crafting a menu of innovative and expertly crafted cocktails that push the boundaries of flavour and presentation, boasting classic favorites to unique concoctions. And, if you love live music, make sure you head there on a Sunday night to experience live band.
Casa Bonay - Eixample
This cosy and welcoming establishment effortlessly blends old-world charm with a contemporary twist, creating an atmosphere that is both nostalgic and hip. Step inside and you'll be greeted by warm, dim lighting, exposed brick walls adorned with vintage photographs, and a lively buzz of conversation. The bar's skilled mixologists will whip up innovative and delicious cocktails to enjoy at golden hour.
Boca Chica - Eixample
As you step inside, you are greeted by a dazzling ambience, with elegant décor, dim lighting, and a meticulously crafted art deco interior. The bar's skilled mixologists are true artisans, curating a menu of exquisite cocktails that delight the senses. Sip on timeless classics or indulge in innovative concoctions that push the boundaries of mixology. The attention to detail is evident in every drink, from the perfectly balanced flavours to the artistic presentation. As the evening unfolds, the bar transforms into a lively social hub with enchanting melodies of live jazz or sultry DJ sets.
Gala - Gracia
Whether you choose to mingle at the bar or find a cozy nook to relax with friends, Bar Gala offers an intimate setting that encourages connection and creativity. Embrace the bohemian spirit, engage in stimulating conversations, and soak in the infectious energy that permeates the space. Bar Gala is a haven for those seeking an offbeat, laid-back experience, making it an essential stop for anyone looking to immerse themselves in Barcelona's vibrant nightlife scene.
Stay at Motel One
Located in the green heart of Barcelona, Born, Motel One is in a quiet location for a restful night’s sleep. With everything reachable on foot in the city, opposite you’ll find the Parc de la Ciutadella that offers quiet grassy spots to help you forget you’re in the city. And within just 10 minutes, on foot, you’ll be in the bustling Barceloneta to enjoy an afternoon at the beach. Each Motel One around the world is decorated by a different artist (Lara Costafreda’s jungle motifs for Barcelona). The dimly-lit lobby married with large chandeliers and leafy plants invite you in. Breakfast is served daily in the central restaurant and the swinging chairs in the central bar are the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring the city. On the days that you want to catch the sunset, head up to the 7th floor and enjoy their rooftop for a nightcap. The guest rooms are thoughtfully designed, featuring sleek decor, comfortable beds, and modern amenities to ensure a restful stay. Whether you're visiting for business or leisure, Motel One provides a range of amenities, including free Wi-Fi and a 24-hour front desk. The hotel staff are friendly and always ready to help with any questions you may have.