Barcelona has a special magic that is difficult to explain with words: If you’ve been there, you probably know what we mean – and if you haven’t, you are probably wondering what all the fuzz is about! But what you may not know is that there is a Secret Barcelona hidden behind all the wonders you have admired, right in the city or from afar.
The Secret Barcelona is ideal to explore during a second trip to the city, of if you’re a fan of alternative plans or of discovering hidden spots. Some of the protagonists of our Secret Barcelona will be hidden in unexpected places; others will be right there, waiting for you to turn around the corner and discover them.
Discovering the Secret Barcelona
Barcelona is a city where many beautiful spots are neglected by tourists, who are “stolen” by the wonderful restaurants, pubs and clubs located by the beachside, or by the picturesque performers of Las Ramblas: What we call the Secret Barcelona include the following wonders, a bit more difficult to find but surely rewarding. Take good note of them!
- The Casa Vicens. Who would say that a house designed by Gaudí would have so little visits? It may be because it’s not right in the centre, or because you can’t visit the inside, but the beautiful and colourful Casa Vicen deserves a visit: Little green and white tiles and a tad of an Eastern inspiration, it is the best ending to a tour around the neighbourhood of Gràcia.
- The Temple of Augustus: You will easily see some of the remains of ancient Barcino, which was the name of Barcelona in Roman times, but you will have to search a little bit more to find the Temple of Augustus, since it’s located in an interior patio in Paradís Street, in the Gothic Quarter.
- The Chapel of Santa Matrona: An incredibly cute little chapel located in the neighbourhood of Poble Sec, next to Montjuïc, that will make the delights of those who enjoy the Secret Barcelona.
- The spooky air-raid shelters: Barcelona is a beautiful city, but it also has lots of history behind her. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), the city built air-raid shelters to ensure the citizen’s survival. You can visit one of the most important ones, in Diamant Square, also in Gràcia, but you will need to make a reservation.
- The most wonderful views: You will be planning to climb to the mountain of Montjuic or to the Tibidabo to admire the whole city, but the Secret Barcelona offers yet another option: Hill La Rovira at the neighbourhood of Carmel offers the best view: A perfect place for a picnic at sundown!
- Prim Square, a taste of the past: Prim Square or Plaça Prim is a wonderful little spot hidden in Poblenou that used to be a meeting point for fishermen and workers. Its fountain and its big trees will bring you back to another time.
Enjoying the Secret Barcelona
And as the Secret Barcelona has beautiful places for you to discover, it also has hidden places for you to enjoy! Get your senses ready for the following marvels:
- The best alioli in town: You may be familiar with this oil-and-garlic dressing typical from Catalonia, as well as other parts of Spain. The restaurant Can Lluís is known to have the best in town – the equivalent of the Coca-cola formula but in the Secret Barcelona! Our top tip: Don’t try it if you’re going to kiss someone afterwards!
- The Catalan ‘swiss’ chocolate: What is known in Catalonia as ‘swiss cholocate’ is hot, thick black chocolate topped with whipped cream. You can have the best in town in the Granja La Pallaresa – it’s so good that the word is spreading, and it will soon stop being part of the ‘Secret’ Barcelona.
- Alternative bars and performance: If you want to get to know the Secret Barcelona, get away from the beach clubs and go find one of the many little bars and pubs in the Raval and the Gothic Quarter: Robadors23 offers great flamenco and jazz shows for a very small fee; you can see poetry and performance improvisation shows and life music at Big Bang Bar. And there are many more!
- Rambla del Raval, the real thing: Las Ramblas get all the fame, but the Rambla de Raval, with its huge sculpture of a fat cat by Botero, its many terraces and Palm Trees, make it a wonderful place to have a drink in a hot and beautiful summer night. That is what the locals do!
Are you ready now to discover the Secret Barcelona? Don’t forget to share any other magical and secret spot you got to know when you visit this beautiful Mediterranean city – Barcelona is so beautiful that it has many, many more!