Last updated November 21, 2022
Looking for some of the wildest, craziest, and altogether raddest hidden gems in Barcelona? Some totally, non-touristy things to do in Barcelona that you’ve never actually heard of, let alone seen before? Places that you’ll be super excited to add to any 2 days in Barcelona itinerary?
If so, then this is the post for you!
Plus, I totally understand why you would want to get off the well-trodden tourist trail and experience some of the more unusual things to do in Barcelona, especially if you’re planning a wicked awesome, 2 days in Barcelona itinerary.
I mean, I’ve been to Barcelona countless times, and sometimes, you just want to escape the hordes of selfie stick-wielding tourists and see something other than La Sagrada Familia.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
Park Guell, La Boqueria, and Casa Mila are all beyond fabulous. But, after your twenty-sixth trip to the city, you kind of want to see something a little different. You know, places where you might actually be able to find a real, live, local or two.
Ya feel me?
Welp, I pray to the heavens above that you do because otherwise, you’d have absolutely zero reasons to continue reading this epic post about some of the most amazing hidden gems in Barcelona. Especially if you’re planning an epic, 2 days in Barcelona itinerary.
If you’re feeling even a little bit ready to discover a slightly more alternative side to this vibrant city, then read on and prepare yourself for one, more then a little wild ride.
Because yes my friends, this post is about to become baller level awesome. Heck, it even includes a free, interactive map that will make planning a trip Barcelona a whole hell of a lot easier.
See, dreams really do come true (at least if you have relatively small, blog-related dreams)! And if you want to save money and time planning your trip, then check out this list of the best travel sites on the internet.
Dear reader, since I am incapable of making it rain money, there’s a high chance that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
***Let me guess, you’re planning a trip to Barcelona and have no idea where to stay? Yup, I’ve soo been there. That’s why I created an entire post about some of the best hotels in Barcelona, Spain. But, if you’re short on time and want the abridged version of this post, then check out Hostel One Paralelo if you’re on a budget Not only are the comfortable, custom-designed pod beds here just $30 per night, but this hostel is also centrally located and has a fantastic, communal atmosphere that makes you feel right at home, especially if you’re traveling solo in Barcelona. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, then check out Eco Boutique Hostal Grau. And if hostels aren’t your thing, not to worry because hostal in Spanish actually means boutique hotel. Which is exactly what you get at this well-appointed hotel off of Las Ramblas, where rooms start at just $100 per night. But, if you’re a total BALLER and really wanna take your Barcelona travel experience to the NEXT LEVEL, then check out Hilton Diagonal Mar, a SWANK AF hotel in Sant Marti with a rooftop beach club, an all you can eat breakfast buffet, and a plethora of gorgeous rooms that are all within walking distance of the beach. Seriously, it does not get much better than that!***
Hidden Gems in Barcelona: The Gothic Quarter
1. Enjoy the Views from La Rotonda Cafe on the 9th Floor of El Corte Ingles
By: Vicky of Vicky Flip Flop Travels
The famous El Corte Ingles department store along Barcelona’s Placa de Catalunya (image sourced from Flickr.com).
One of the most unusual things to do in Barcelona is to go to the 9th floor of El Corte Ingles on Placa de Catalunya.
You will need incredible self-discipline to resist the temptation to buy all of the wonderful things that you’ll see on the way up.
And if all else fails:
Just remind yourself that you definitely do not need another coat and stay focused on getting to the windows.
However, once you do get to the top, you’ll find a lovely cafe on the 9th floor – an impressive one as far as department store cafes go – with incredible, sweeping views of Placa de Catalunya below.
This cafe definitely has one of the best views that I’ve seen in a really long time.
Because from up here, you can see all the way to the Sagrada Familia, and out into Montjuic, making this one of the best free things to do in Barcelona.
I’d recommend going straight to the cafe’s expansive, panoramic windows so that you can grab a seat and admire the stunning panoramas all around you.
You can also order from the cafe’s delicious menu, which includes jamon sandwiches, salads, sushi, and even champagne – if you fancy a bit of bubbly.
Yes, you really could spend a few days up here just relaxing and watching the people go by with the locals, many of whom know all about one of the best hidden gems in Barcelona.
But don’t worry. This place is still a well-kept secret among the many tourists who frequent the area,
Address: Plaça de Catalunya, 14, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: The department store is open daily from 9:30 am to 10:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take Line 1 to Placa de Catalunya station and walk to the department store from there.
Price: You can get a cup of coffee for €1.50 and most entrees will cost between €8.00 and €10.00.
2. Take an Alternative Walking Tour
By: Skye of Skye Travels
Barcelona is a fascinating city and one of the most popular destinations in Europe.
But, not everything about the city is as glamorous as it seems. Because between over-tourism and an ongoing clash among the Catalans and the Spaniards, Barcelona definitely has its dark side.
Something that you can catch a glimpse of during an Alternate Walking Tour of Barcelona.
Sure, you’ll follow the usual tourist trail around town. But, you’ll also learn some surprising things about many of the city’s most iconic landmarks, like how the Cathedral of Barcelona didn’t get a Gothic Revival makeover until the end of the 19th century, or how the beach of Barceloneta was actually specifically created for the 1992 Olympic Games (before that it was actually a port)!
You’ll also get a grim look at the dire consequences of the conflict between the Catalans and Spanish.since, during the course of my tour, I got to see a wake, which was the sad result of a recent protest march and a rather gruesome police raid (Believe it or not, the first CCTVs installed in Barcelona were actually placed in George Orwell Square! Talk about shades of 1984!).
But, this tour isn’t all doom and gloom. It will also take you to some of the most wonderful hidden gems in Barcelona, as you explore fascinating street art murals, experience some of the best restaurants in town, and stop by many of the most popular bars (among locals) in the city.
If you want to discover some of the most unusual things to do in Barcelona, then you’ll definitely need to jump on this free walking tour offered through Travel Bar right now!
***If you want to get outside and into the great outdoors, you can also do a nice day trip from Barcelona to the Roc Perer Trail in Montseny.***
Address: Travel Bar – 27 Carrer de Boqueria (This is the meeting point for the tour)
Hours: Tours are two hours long and are offered daily at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take metro line number 3 to Liceu station and walk to the meeting point from there.
Price: Free (But you are expected to tip your tour guide)
3. The Geese and The Dancing Egg at Barcelona Cathedral
By: Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan
La Sagrada Família is the church that most tourists flock to when visiting Barcelona.
However, you should definitely check out the Cathedral of Barcelona as well, which is tucked away inside the city’s beautiful Gothic quarter.
It’s known among locals as La Seu, represents a beautiful example of Gothic style architecture, and comes complete with several of its very own, super quirky features.
You know, like that strange honking sound that you’ll probably hear, just outside the main entrance.
To find the source of this strange noise, simply walk around the corner to a charming little cloister and associated courtyard, which is home to a gaggle of thirteen white geese.
The number thirteen is significant here since this Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Eulalia, who was just thirteen years old when she was martyred.
These geese were originally kept in this courtyard to ward off any potential thieves or intruders.
Today though, they spend much of their time splashing around and playing in the courtyard’s fountain and attached pond, which is more commonly known as the Well of the Geese.
This fountain is also the focus of another iconic tradition that has come to be known as “Ou com Balla”, which means “the dancing egg” in English. A practice that is now observed in several different churches across Catalunya,
“The Dancing Egg” was first started in Barcelona Cathedral, around 1637. It’s an event that takes place sixty days after Easter, on Corpus Christi, and features a hollowed-out egg that is then placed atop a spout of water that juts out from a local fountain.
The egg is then left to roll around in the plume of water, appearing as though it is dancing through the fountain
But, even if you’re unable to see this fascinating tradition for yourself, I’d still highly recommend visiting the Cathedral of Barcelona between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm.
This way, you can enjoy a fantastic dinner at the nearby, Rasoterra Bistrot Vegetaria. It’s a highly rated, vegan-friendly bistro and tapas bar that has removed all animal products from its menu, making it one of the best vegan restaurants in Barcelona.
Address: Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Open daily between 8:00 am and 12:45 pm, 1:00 pm and 5:30 pm, and 5:45 pm and 7:30 pm. Except for Sundays when the Cathedral is open between 8:00 am and 1:45 pm, 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm, and 5:15 pm and 8:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take Metro line number 4 to Jaume I station and walk to the church from there.
4. Museu de la Xocolata (or the Chocolate Museum)
Raise your hand if you love chocolate almost as much as you love breathing!
(This girl’s hand shoots straight up, without any hesitation)
And if you’re emphatically nodding your head “yes” right now then meet your brand new best friend, the chocolate museum.
Truth be told though:
It isn’t exactly the most hidden of hidden gems in Barcelona. It also is a bit touristy, especially when compared to some of the other places mentioned on this list of unusual things to do in Barcelona.
What this institution lacks in originality it more than makes up for with enthusiasm since it was designed to celebrate the long-standing, Spanish tradition of chocolate.
A culinary delight that was first brought back to Spain, in the form of cocoa beans, nearly five hundred years ago by Hernan Cortes, after pillaging the Mayan and Aztec Empires of Central America.
Since then though, this naturally bitter tasting bean has been transformed into a thin slice of gastronomic awesomeness that children of all ages love.
So, walk through these not-so-hallow halls and celebrate the glorious history of chocolate.
Explore the museum’s various exhibits and learn how this delectably delightful dessert actually evolved into the treat that we know and love .
Heck, you’ll even spot some wonderfully intricate chocolate sculptures of Minnie Mouse, Louis Armstrong, La Sagrada Familia, and Parc Guell along the way, and be enthusiastically welcomed inside by a giant, white chocolate ape who is locally known as Snowy.
And, just in case you need a little extra incentive to visit, a free chocolate bar (that was actually made by the museum itself) is also included with the price of admission.
You know, because I mean really, who doesn’t like free chocolate? I know I do.
***PSST, the chocolate museum is right down the street from the Picasso Museum. So, you could easily visit both places while you’re in the area.***
Address: Carrer del Comerç, 36, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take Metro line number 4 to Jaume I station and walk to the museum from there.
Price: Tickets are €6.00 per person.
5. See a Flamenco Performace at Palau Dalmases
Nestled along historic Calle Montcada is a 17th-century, Baroque-style palace that was the home to some of Barcelona’s wealthiest and most ennobled families.
An enchanting, grand structure that features a Baroque courtyard, exquisite salomic columns lining the staircase, and a gorgeous frieze that prominently displays the chariot of no less than Neptune himself.
Stately decor that perfectly reflects the building’s former use as a meeting place for the Academy of Desconfiats (or the Academy of the Distrustful in English)
It is also one of the few remaining buildings of this architectural style in Catalonia since many have been destroyed as a result of past wats and military conflicts.
So, if you’d like to take a brief walk through yesteryear, then definitely stop by and appreciate the opulence of this beyond gorgeous palace.
Otherwise, you can always visit during any evening of the week and enjoy a delightful, live, Flamenco performance that is only enhanced by the architectural awesomeness all around you.
***FYI, Palau Dalmases also holds opera performances at 11:00 pm on Thursdays and special jazz nights at 11:00 pm on Wednesdays.***
Address: 20 Calle Montcada, 08003, Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Flamenco shows are held Monday through Thursday at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm and Friday through Sunday at 6:00 pm, 7:30 pm, and 9:30 pm.
How to Get There: Take Metro line number 4 to Jaume I station and walk to the theater from there.
Price: Tickets to their Flamenco shows are €30.00 per person and include a free drink. If you’re interested, definitely book your tickets in advance.
Hidden Gems in Barcelona: El Pobenou
6. Visit Torre Agbar
The Torre Agbar, or Torre Glòries, is the tallest building in Barcelona, Spain.
It is also one of the finest architectural masterpieces in the city in terms of modern design.
And while many visitors are familiar with Barcelona’s wealth of famous, historic architecture, they often fail to appreciate the city’s vast array of enchanting, works of urban architecture, like the tower pictured above.
It was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and is now an enduring symbol of modern Barcelona.
In total, the structure is 38 stories tall, or approximately 144 meters in height, and was named Agbar as an abbreviation of the Catalan phrase, “Aguas de Barcelona” or waters of Barcelona in English.
Today, the Agbar Tower is home to many offices and was designed to represent a water fountain.
However, one of the most unique features of this building is its ability to change color and reflect various, ever-changing light patterns.
Therefore, if you stop and stare at this structure long enough, you’ll enjoy over forty unique light displays that reflect off of the exterior of the tower.
Tilted windows are also angled along the outer cladding of the tower, producing different shades of light that include deep red, deep blue, and everything in between.
Believe it or not:
The lights emanating from one of the most stunning hidden gems in Barcelona are actually controlled by synchronized, computerized animation sequences that control the more than 4500 LED lighting devices that sit on the surface of the structure.
Even though you can’t really tour the inside of this awe-inspiring office building, you can stop by on any evening, or on special occasions like New Years, and marvel at this mesmerizing, free light show.
Address: Avinguda Diagonal, 211, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: The building is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take metro line 1 to Glories station and walk to the skyscraper from there.
7. Explore Poblenou Cemetery
By: Gabor of Surfing the Planet
One of the best ways to learn about a city’s history is through a visit to one of its great cemeteries.
And although Barcelona is home to several magnificent, historically significant cemeteries, Poblenou Cemetery is one of our favorites since it is a picturesque, historic sight that is also within walking distance of the city’s main beach area.
Originally, this ancient burial ground was constructed during the 18th century, by an Italian architect named Ginesi, who divided the area into two distinct sections.
Before you actually enter one of the best hidden gems in Barcelona, be sure to pick up a leaflet and map from the main entrance since these documents will show you exactly where to find some of the area’s most famous graves.
With your map in hand, take a stroll through Polenou Cemetery’s larger section, which sits near the entrance. Marvel at the thousands of simple burial niches that you’ll find here, one of the most famous of which belongs to Francesc Canals Ambrós – a young boy who was known for generously helping others during difficult times. So much so that he was given the name “el Santet”, which translates to “little saint” in English.
Before you leave though:
Be sure to venture into the smaller, more exclusive part of the cemetery. It is here that you’ll find a wealth of large, individual crypts and family mausoleums. Structures so large that they almost resemble a little church.
You’ll also find the “Kiss of Death” statue here. It’s a truly unique sculpture that depicts a winged skeleton giving a young person a kiss, embodying the idea that death can come for anyone of us at any moment.
Address: Av. d’Icària, s/n, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, with extended hours until 10:00 pm on Tuesdays.
How to Get There: Take metro line number four to Llacune station and walk to the cemetery from here.
Hidden Gems in Barcelona: Ciutat Vella
8. Have a drink at Bosc de Les Fades (AKA Forest of the Fairies Bar)
By: Kat of Wandering Bird
If you’re visiting Barcelona during the winter, or summer really, the go grab a drink and enjoy some delicious food at Bosc de Les Fades.
This seemingly normal bar is… well, not.
Because as soon as you walk through the door, you’ll be transported into a magical, fairytale forest- complete with woodland creatures and fairies galore.
There are even a plethora of tree branches snaking around the walls and full-on waterfalls inside.
To add to the craziness, the bar will periodically dim the lights and simulate an oncoming thunderstorm by filling the space with the sounds of rain and thunder (luckily, they haven’t gone as far as turning on the water sprinklers… Yet.).
Be prepared because you’ll definitely find large crowds here during the evening when local students stop by for some uber-cheap sangria.
If you plan to visit after the sun goes down, then be sure to arrive early and don’t leave until you’re ready to go home.
You can always just swing by during the day and enjoy a sandwich in relative peace.
You also don’t need to book a table in advance or buy any tickets since Bosc de Les Fades is just like any other bar, except for the woodland theme and fairies all over the place.
That’s why this really is one of the many amazing hidden gems in Barcelona.
Address: Passatge de la Banca, 7, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 1:00 am, Friday from 10:00 am to 1:30 am, Saturday from 11:00 am to 2:00 am, and Sunday from 11:00 am to 1:00 am.
How to Get There: Take metro line 3 to Dressanes station and walk to the bar from there.
9. Visit the Museu Eròtic de Barcelona (AKA the Erotic Museum of Barcelona)
By: Jeff of A Life of Y
Looking for something unusual to do?
Then stop by the Erotic Museum of Barcelona – the only museum of its kind in Spain.
Funnily enough, our visit was purely by chance.
See, as the result of poor planning, we tried to stop by La Boqueria on a Sunday, when the market is actually closed.
Luckily for us, though, we spotted the Erotic Museum just across the street, with a Marilyn Monroe mannequin standing on an outdoor balcony, beckoning us to enter the museum!
Now, although the museum is not big, it does showcase an elaborate collection of over 800 historic erotic paintings, photos, and sculptures from all across the globe. Pieces that include paintings done by Picasso, the Kama Sutra from India, and various banned erotic artwork from Japan.
And if you find yourself getting a little hot and bothered after reading all of the museum’s informative displays, then you’ll love the room of Sexual World Records.
A fantastic place for entertainment but maybe not so awesome if you happen to do a bit of personal comparison!
Plus, daily public tours of the museum are also available and led by Marilyn Monroe herself! Staff members are also incredibly friendly and welcoming and never made us feel uncomfortable at any point.
So, if you have the opportunity, be sure to visit one of the more intriguing hidden gems in Barcelona.
Hidden Gems in Barcelona: La Ribera
10. Enjoy a Unique Dining Experience at Dans Le Noir (AKA Dinner in the dark in English)
By: Lauren of The Expat Chronicle
Barcelona is an incredible city that is known the world over for its dynamic history, vibrant culture, spectacular weather, and delicious food!
That’s why anyone who visits will find it difficult to experience all that this enchanting city has to offer during a short, 3 day Barcelona itinerary.
As an American ex-pat who has lived here for almost three years with my husband and three toddlers, I can truly say that our family has experienced almost everything that this city has to offer, from Gaudi’s strange architecture to the gothic mysteries that lie within the city’s walls.
And one of the most unique things to do in Barcelona is to enjoy a meal at Dans Le Noir, a local restaurant that is known as Dinner in the dark in English.
Now, as you might have already guessed, the concept behind this local eatery is simple. You eat dinner in the dark!
No, not a dimly lit tavern-type darkness. I mean complete darkness with not even a cell phone screen to light the way. Here’s how it works…
This concept restaurant, along with many others all across the globe, was developed as a way to create job opportunities for the visually impaired.
Now, upon entering the restaurant, you’ll be greeted at the front desk and shown to an empty locker where you can store anything that emits light (cell phone, watch, etc.).
Next, you’ll be asked to line up so that restaurant staff can escort you through thick velvet darkening curtains and into the pitch-black dining room.
Once seated at your table, you’ll enjoy an entire meal, with wine and dessert included, in complete and total darkness..
And while I won’t give too much away, what I will say is that I can’t recommend Dans Le Noir enough if you’re looking for the perfect date night in Barcelona.
So, step into a world of total darkness and prepare for a truly immersive, incredibly humbling, full sensory experience where your sense of taste comes alive like never before.
Address: Passeig de Picasso, 10, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Open Tuesday through Thursday from 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take metro line number 3 to Liceu station and walk to the meeting point from there.
Price: Their two-course, set menu starts at €37.90 per person (wine not included).
Hidden Gems in Barcelona: El Poble Sec
11. Ship-spotting at the Barcelona Cruise Port
By: Jenni of Cruise Mummy
Barcelona is home to home some incredible beaches – like Barceloneta beach– and is known for having one of the world’s busiest cruise ports.
So, even if you’re not coming into the city by boat, you can still spend some time at this local dock and marvel at all of the magnificent ships that sail into shore.
From small luxury ships to huge mega-ships carrying over 6,000 passengers, there will always be several different cruise ships docked at Barcelona port each day.
If you want, you can also see some cruise ships from Barceloneta Beach, right near the W Hotel.
For the best views possible, walk towards the Christopher Columbus monument and board the blue cruise bus here.
For € 4.50 road trip, this bus will shuttle you to the local cruise pier and give you a good look at all of the ships that have pulled up to shore.
You can also walk to Barcelona Cruise port by strolling down Ronda del Port until you come to a bridge.
Once at this bridge, you can stop here and get a great shot of the ships as they either come into or depart from the port.
If you want to watch these enormous boats sail away, you will need to plan to visit in the late afternoon or early evening.
Conversely, you’ll also have to get up incredibly early if you want to marvel at these ships at they come into shore.
Address: Port of Barcelona
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day.
How to Get There: Board the blue cruise bus at the Christopher Columbus Monument and it will take you to the port.
Price Free (But it will cost you € 4.50 round trip if you want to take the cruise bus to the port).
12. Teatre Grec
Loads of people head to Montjuic everyday but most miss Teatre Grec which is seriously one of the hidden gems in Barcelona.
I mean, I get it. Montjuic is famous for its views.
The parks around it are famous too but they are HUGE! It is almost impossible to explore every corner of them if you aren’t a local and don’t have hours to spare.
Teatre Grec is a Greek inspired outdoor amphitheater. It is a bit overgrown and definitely could use some maintenance BUT it is a quiet place to stop at and admire one of the lesser visited structures in the city.
Pro Tip: Head here either early in the morning or later in the evening so that you don’t have to deal with the hot sun, especially during summer. You can also hear the birds so much better at these times of the day.
If you are heading here in the morning then head to Montjuic first so you catch the sunrise over the city. Likewise, if you head here in the evening, head to Montjuic post visiting Teatre Grec. That way you can catch the sunset.
Address: Passeig de Santa Madrona, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
How To Get There: Teatre Grec is a 2 minute walk away from Fundacio Juan Miro
Price: It is free to visit. They do however conduct concerts and dance performances here from time to time. You have to pay for those.
Hidden Gems in Barcelona: El Carmel
13. Appreciate the Views from Los Bunkers del Carmel
By: Jade of The Migrant Yogi
For an unusual experience in Barcelona (and some beyond spectacular views), be sure to visit Los Bunkers del Carmel.
The structure was initially built during the Spanish Civil War, as an anti-aircraft fortification, and is an important part of Catalan history.
It sits atop Turó de la Rovira, at 262m above sea-level, and is best avoided by anyone who is prone to vertigo.
Especially since the climb to the top is a bit arduous and quite steep, making Los Bunkers del Carmel feel a whole lot higher than it actually is.
However, the climb is well worth the effort. Just be prepared to sweat, wear a pair of comfy hiking shoes, and bring plenty of water, .especially if you’re visiting during the warmer months.
Now, because Los Bunkers is growing in popularity, especially among tourists seeking epic Instagram photo ops, the best time to visit is early in the morning.
This way, you can avoid the crowds and get here just in time to watch the sunrise.
So, if you want to see one of the most beautiful places in Barcelona, and savor sweeping panoramas of the Catalonian capital, then Los Bunkers is the place for you.
It’s one of the many hidden gems in Barcelona when visitors can enjoy expansive views that extend all the way out to the Balearic Sea!
Address: Carrer de Marià Labèrnia, s/n, 08032 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
How to Get There: Take the Metro to Guinardó Hospital de Sant Pau and ascend through the Parc del Guinardó. Otherwise, you can walk up the hill from either El Carmel or El Coll La Teixonera metro stations. Just enter “Los Bunker del Carmel” into Google Maps and it will give you directions to the top.
Hidden Gems in Barcelona: Canyelles/Horta
14. Visit Can Masdeu (an abandoned hospital turned into eco-community)
By: Gabrijela of Under Flowery Sky
Quietly nestled along the outskirts of Barcelona is Can Masdeu.
It sits inside Collserola Natural Park and was formerly a hospital, that sat abandoned for more than 53 years.
However, as of 2001, the complex was converted into a vibrant eco-community, with a wealth of stunning gardens that are just waiting to be explored.
If you can, stop by on a Sunday, when Can Masdeu is open to the public and offers visitors a delicious, reasonably priced lunch, live workshops about eco-living, and entertaining cultural performances.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about ecologically friendly living, and want to add a visit to Can Masdeu to your month around Europe, then definitely stop by and experience one of the many, non-touristy things to do in Barcelona.
They even offer educational workshops upon request and sit as a shining example of how communities of like-minded people can come together and spread awareness about more environmentally friendly living practices.
Address: Can Masdéu, 08035 Barcelona
Hours: The community is open to visits from the public on Sundays, all day. You can also email them, via their website, to arrange a special visit. Otherwise, the gardens and recreational areas are always open to the public.
How to Get There: Take Metro line number 3 to Canyelles and talk to the park from there.
Price: Free, unless you want to enjoy lunch here and engage in some of the activities on offer.
15. Labyrinth Park of Horta (AKA Parc del Laberint d’Horta)
Looking for one of the magical, almost fairytale-like hidden gems in Barcelona?
If so then Parc del Laberint d’Horta is the place for you. Or, Labyrinth Park of Horta if you’re not exactly fluent in Catalan.
Because I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love a good hedge maze? Couple that with an incredibly reasonable price tag of €2.23 per person and you have, IMHO, one of the coolest attractions in Barcelona that you ever did see.
Plus, in case you needed yet another reason to visit, this is actually THE oldest garden in the city. An enchanting green space that was first constructed in ye olde 1791, as part of a sprawling estate that was owned by the Desvalls family.
Add in some charming AF, Neoclassical style, Italian terraces, and you have a place that all the cool kids will love.
So, if you’re feeling brave, take a stroll through this tall, well-manicured, 2,000-foot long hedge maze. Also, be sure to keep your wits about you, or just bring a compass (not that I actually know how to use one), since it is quite easy to get lost.
Oh, and added bonus? If you do make it to the elusive center of the maze, you’ll be rewarded with a statue of Eros, the Greek God of Love. Yup, just one of the many Greek statues that you’ll discover within the various pavilions that overlook the maze.
Spoiler alert! There’s also a super cute little pond at the other end of the park, so be on the lookout for that while you’re here too.
***Try and get there as early as possible so they only let 750 people a day into the maze.***
Address: Passeig dels Castanyers, 1 Barcelona, 08035, Spain
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take Metro line number three to Mundet station and walk to the park from there.
Price: Free on Wednesdays and Sundays. And any other time you’ll pay €2.23 to enter the maze.
16. Can Borrell
You have to admit that Barcelona has loads of really cool hidden spots. You just have to know the lay of the land to find them. Can Borrell is one of the epic restaurants in the city. This isn’t just any regular restaurant mind you.
Can Borell is also a Catalan farmhouse and located in the Collserola National park and it covers 216 hectares! It is surrounded by nature on all sides which makes it a great escape from the bustling loud city. In fact, you will find that a lot of locals head here on the weekends.
Pro Tip: One of the coolest experiences that you can have here are the calçotades. This is a popular Catalan dish that is best enjoyed in winter time. Everything is cooked over a wood fire and the hot food feels so good after a day outdoors in the winter.
Trust me. This is not something that you want to miss. You definitely should bring an appetite with you because it is guaranteed to cause a food coma!
Address: Carretera d’Horta a Cerdanyola BV-1415, Km 3, 08171 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Wednesday to Friday from 1 pm to 3:30pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Closed on Monday and Tuesday
How To Get There: Many people head here by car but if you want to take the public transport then take the FGC train to Sant Cugat station. You then need to head to Pl. Rotary, It is a short walk so don’t worry. From there take the B06 forest track to the Can Borell restaurant.
Price: Items on the menu start out at 8.50 euros.
Hidden Gems in Barcelona: Gracia
17. Visit Gaudi’s Less Well Known La Casa Vicens
By: Mar of Once in a Lifetime Journey
You can’t visit Barcelona without coming across one of Antoni Gaudí’s famous landmarks, like the unfinished Sagrada Familia, the bizarre La Pedrera, or the intriguing Casa Batllo.
However, there are just some of the most famous and best Gaudi buildings in Barcelona.
Because if you dare to get off the well-beaten path, then you’ll discover tons of Gaudi-related hidden gems in Barcelona, like La Casa Vicens.
Sure, it’s not Gaudi’s most impressive structure. But, it’ss a historic one. A colorful building that was the famed architect’s first major project and that was his first commissioned, private residence.
See, back in 1883, the home was built for the Vicens family in the countryside, an area that is now known as the famous Barcelona neighborhood of Gracia.
That’s why, modern-day visitors can easily stop by and enjoy the structure’s over-the-top, brick-faced exterior. A style and design aesthetic that is not typical of Gaudi.
However, there are some elements that allude to this architect’s immortal style, like the Gaudi-Esque rooftop chimneys.
The stunning exterior of the building also draws on Moorish influences, while the interior wows tourists with pops of color, unique textures,, and eclectic designs.
There’s even an elaborate, papier-mache ceiling that is one of the structure’s most outstanding design features. Something that only Gaudi himself could pull off.
Address: Carrer de les Carolines, 20, 08012 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: From April to September, the building is open daily from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, with the last admission at 6:40 pm. Between October and March, the building is open Mondays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm (final admission at 1:40 pm) and Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, with the last admission at 6:40 pm.
How to Get There: Take Metro line number 3 to Fontana station and walk to the museum from there.
Price: €17.50 per person. There are also no audio guides, so try and hire a guide to get the most out of your visit and to get more insight into the finer elements of the building.
Hidden Gems in Barcelona: El Born
18. Take a Catalan Cooking Class
By: Margarita of Downshifting Pro
With so much to see and do in Barcelona, it’s sometimes nice to take an afternoon off and live the life of a Barça local.
And taking a cooking class with BCN Kitchen will allow you to do exactly that.
Because throughout this fun and informative experience, you’ll shop for fresh ingredients at a local market, learn how to make traditional Spanish dishes, and even enjoy the fruits of your labor with some newfound friends at the end of the class.
Upon arrival though:
Your chef/instructor will gather the class together and escort participants to one of the busiest food markets in Barcelona – Santa Catarina.
You’ll pick up some of the freshest ingredients that the fruit vendors, fishmongers, and olive oil resellers here have to offer. You’ll even learn how to select some of the highest-quality Jamon Iberico, olive oil, and paprika in the entire market.
And after your trip to the market is complete, you’ll return to BCN Kitchen and learn how to cook authentic, Spanish dishes like Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella), Torta de Patata (Potato Tort), Gazpacho with tomato toast, and Crema Catalan (a special, local dessert).
Finally, once all the cooking is complete, you’ll sit down to a sumptuous, Spanish feast that is accompanied by a glass of delicious Spanish wine.
Trust me, this cooking class with BCN Kitchen really is one of the most fantastic, and totally authentic, hidden gems in Barcelona.
***After class, walk across the plaza and visit the el Born Cultural Centre. It is home to a multitude of ruins from an 18th-century market that was inaugurated here in 1876. This was also the first cast-iron market in Barcelona and the largest of its kind in Europe.***.
Address: Carrer de la Fusina, 15, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Open daily from 9:30 am to 11:00 pm, except on Sundays when the school is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take Metro line number 4 to Jaume I station and walk to the cooking school from there.
Price: Classes are €50.00 per person and should be booked in advance.
19. Have a drink at El Paradiso Cocktail Bar
By: Stephen of A Backpackers Tale – Read more Fun Facts About Me.
Barcelona is an unforgettable city, teeming with odd architecture, sangria bars, beaches, and rustic beauty.
However, for a city that has so much going on, a cocktail bar seems like a strange pick for one of the best hidden gems in Barcelona.
I mean, It is Spain, after all. And there is no shortage of Sangria bars, especially in Barcelona.
But, El Paradiso is not your typical Sangria bar. Because to enter this secret speakeasy, you’ll first need to walk through a small “sandwich place”.
Don’t be fooled though since the decor is fake and meant to throw people off the scent of the bar.
So, continue all the way to the back of the “sandwich shop”, open the freezer door, and enter a small passageway that opens up into a large, dimly lit, cocktail bar.
And one of the best things about El Paradiso is the menu filled with wild and wacky drinks that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Drinks that are served to you in strange vessels like glass pipes, teapots, frosted bird statues, conch shells, and glass domes.
However, because this speakeasy has grown in popularity recently, it does get packed quite quickly. So, to get a table, be sure to stop by as soon as they open for the day.
Address: Carrer de Rera Palau, 4, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Open daily from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am.
How to Get There: Take Metro line number 4 to either Jaume I or Barcelonetta station and walk to the bar from there.
Price: Most items on the menu are between €7.00 and €10.00. You can also get a delicious pastrami sandwich for €7.00.
Hidden Gems in Barcelona: El Raval
20. Do a Bar Crawl Along Carrer de Joaquín Costa
By: Jeanine of Le Wild Explorer
Barcelona has many interesting neighborhoods, like the diverse, eclectic, and slightly grungy El Raval.
It’s here that you’ll find one of the coolest places to go bar hopping, Carrer de Joaquín Costa. It’s a street full of lively bars, delicious restaurants, and fun local shops.
And in the evening? Well, people flock here from all across the city, especially 20-something students from the nearby university, to hang out in some of Barcelona’s coolest watering holes.
Now, even though bars here are open just about every night of the week, they are usually most crowded on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
If you’d like to take advantage of El Raval’s vibrant nightlife scene then I would recommend starting your night around 7:00 pm. At least, if you actually want to get a table.
Because by 8:00 pm, it’s pretty difficult to find a seat at some of the area’s most popular bars – like my personal favorite, 33/45,
It has a homey feel about it that is enhanced by a wealth of comfy couches where you can sit, relax, and meet other groups of people.
But, if you’re in search of a proper cocktail lounge, then definitely check out Negroni Cocktail Bar.
Otherwise, head over to Bar Manchester. It’s a dimly lit dive bar where you can grab a drink and listen to classic, indie rock music from Joy Division, Blur, Pulp, David Bowie, and more (If you like this type of vibe, you can also check out Bar Betty Ford).
Hidden Gems in Barcelone: Day trips and Special Events
21. Take a Day Trip to Montserrat
By: Jenifer of The Evolista
One of the many non-touristy things to do in Barcelona, and a true highlight of visiting the Iberian Peninsula, is taking a day trip to Montserrat.
It’s also relatively easy to do since you just hop on the R5 line at Plaça Espanya, ride the train for about an hour, and get off at Aeri de Montserrat.
You can walk over to the cable car and ride it to the top of the mountain. It’s a quick trip that offers incredible views of the area, which is perfectly named since Montserrat, or serrated mountain in English perfectly describes the natural landscape here.
Other noteworthy, nearby attractions include a Benedictine Monastery that was built into the side of the mountain (It houses the famous Black Virgin statue that is known for its healing powers), the L’Esconia Montserrat Boys Choir (a fifty member boys choir that performs daily inside the local church at 1:00 pm and 6:45 pm), the Montserrat Museum, and more.
If you want, you can also do a bit of hiking in Montserrat National Park while you’re here. There are several easy walking paths that will take you past interesting chapels, charming shrines, and beautiful statues.
However, if you’re searching for a more challenging hike, then you can always take the Saint Joan Funicular to the top of the mountain and access one of three strenuous hikes from here – the most difficult of which is the Sant Jeroni trail since it will take approximately two hours to complete.
Hours: Most attractions here are open daily anywhere between 9:00 am and 7:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the R5 train from Plaça Espanya and get off at Aeri de Montserrat and walk to the cable car from here.
Price: The train and cable car tickets cost €23 round trip. Or you can drive and park onsite for €6,50.You will also have to pay additional fees if you want to have lunch or visit the museum while you’re here.
22. Marvel at the Castellers
By: Vicki of Vicki Viaja
Since living in Barcelona, I’ve experienced many strange and, dare I say it, crazy traditions – like the popular Catalonian pass time of building towers out of people.
Locally known as Castellers, this tradition was first started in the 18th century. Since then, it has quickly become as important to the people of Barcelona as La Sagrada Família and the Mediterranean sea.
See, whenever participants begin to construct the tower, the base, or “Pinya” is always formed first to provide the structure with some much-needed support.
Next, people known as the “tribe”, or “Tronc” in Catalan, will begin to climb up the tower, which culminates in a child standing at the top, who is referred to as the “Pom de Dalt”.
Because even though these towers are always formed the same way, individual teams can try to outdo one another when it comes to the height of the tower and the sequence of the construction.
Therefore, many local competitions are held all across the region. Popular events that are dedicated to creating these unique human towers amidst enthusiastic applause and with traditional Catalan music playing in the background.
Especially in Barcelona, where you can see these human towers pop up on hot, summer weekends.
So, if you have time and want to experience one of the most exciting hidden gems in Barcelona, then definitely check out this wonderfully quirky, local tradition the next time you’re in the area.
23. Watch a Football Match at Camp Nou
By: Mal of Raw Mal Roams
There’s no better way to immerse yourself in local, Catalan culture than by attending a football match and watching one of the best teams in the world play.
Because as you probably already know, most Barcelona residents follow football religiously. That’s why, attending a game can be a great cultural experience. Something that I know personally since I used to live in Barcelona and became passionate about following ‘Barca’ games every weekend.
So, even if you’re not a big fan of football, Camp Nue is still bound to make a huge impression on you! Not only is it the biggest football stadium in Europe, but, on a matchday, Camp Nue comes alive with the colors of Catalunya. Add in various football chants and you have a unique atmosphere that is a fantastic way to experience the local culture.
Personally, I’d recommend watching a game where Barca is playing a less well-known team. This way, the ticket will be cheaper and you’ll have better seats to choose from. And while it is possible to buy your tickets on the day of the match, you can also pre-book your tickets online.
Also plan to arrive at least an hour early so that you can find your seats and grab some snacks and drinks before the start of the game.
Address: C. d’Arístides Maillol, 12, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Check their website for more details about match schedules. However, the stadium is open for tours Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (except from October 14 to December 15, when the stadium is open from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm) and then on Sundays from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm.
How to Get There: Take metro line number 3 to Palau Reial station and walk to the stadium from there.
Price: Depending on the location of your seats, tickets can cost anywhere between €59 and €179.
Sunday 20th of November 2022
Impressive! This was a wonderful post. I will always bookmark your blog and will come back in the future. Many thanks for sharing it with us. Feel free to check mine as well Traveling to Morocco
Saturday 7th of January 2023
thanks for reading and the kind words.
Wednesday 8th of July 2020
So many awesome things to do in Barcelona! Love this list.
Wednesday 8th of July 2020
So glad you enjoyed it!
Saturday 27th of June 2020
I really enjoyed reading this list! It makes me wanna go back right now to Barcelona! I didn't get the opportunity to do any of those gems yet. Hopefully soon!
Thursday 2nd of July 2020
I hope you get to go back soon and I love exploring new hidden gems!
Curls en Route
Saturday 27th of June 2020
Lots of cool stuff shared up there! Definitely saving this for my next trip!
Thursday 2nd of July 2020
Awesome! So glad to hear that!
Saturday 27th of June 2020
There are so many cool places on this list! I remember visiting the Chocolate Museum when I was in Barcelona a few years ago, but there are lots more to put on my list for when I revisit the city!
Thursday 2nd of July 2020
Haha. Anything chocolate and I am SOO there!