There are so many amazing places to visit in Barcelona but most of them are swamped with tourists. Of course you shouldn’t miss out on those but aren’t you tired of having to worm your way through crowds of people? Here are some cool alternative non-touristy places in Barcelona (left pictures) that are just as worth seeing as the popular sights everybody knows. That way you can get even more out of the city, we promise!
The popular Parc Güell designed by Antoni Gaudi is absolutely stunning, you have an amazing view over the
city of Barcelona and are surrounded by colourful architecture. The question here is how to get a good picture without crowds of people on each side of you. The answer: it’s very hard! That’s why it is better to seek out a more non-touristy place in Barcelona that offers just the same features.
The Parc del Laberint d’Horta is located offside the typical tourist trails but it is a real treasure. It was designed by the margrave Desvall for the catalan aristocracy in the 18th century and is the oldest preserved park in Barcelona. The park is split into a romantic garden and a classicistic part in which you can find a beautiful maze with 750 meters of hedge. In the middle of the maze the statue of the huntress Diana and Cupid armed with a bow are waiting for the visitors.
Besides the Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà is the most famous creation of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona. It captivates with unique façades and a catalan modernist architecture. Yet it is difficult to enjoy this beauty as the place is crowded with people and ticket prices are high.
If you want to see Gaudi architecture you don’t necessarily have to go to Casa Milà or Batlló because there are a lot more buildings in Barcelona that were designed by him. For example the Casa Vicens which also shows the typical Gaudi elements and which will be open to public from this year on. Also you have to check out the Casa Calvet that has a great restaurant inside where you can enjoy some good food in a modernistic atmosphere.
The beach of Barceloneta is the most popular beach of Barcelona because of its location directly next to the Port Vell and the touristic routes. Even though it is a nice beach in the high season it is really hard to find a spot between all the other sunbathers without lying towel next to towel.
Located a little outside of the touristy Barcelona but not too far away you can find the Platja de Nova Mar Bella. It is a really nice beach that isn’t to crowded, with beach bars and volleyball courts. Here mostly the locals come to enjoy the sun and the sea. A little insider tip: try out the Bambú Beach Bar, it offers delicious food and drinks in a holiday like atmosphere.
The Sagrada Familia probably is the most famous sight of Barcelona and is being visited by about three million people every year. As you can guess because of that there are way too long queues and additionally really high admission fees. Clearly the Sagrada Familia stands out due to impressive architecture and is a must-see but it’s just the most touristy place in Barcelona.
A little less touristy but still very impressive is the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor on the mountain of Tibidabo. It looks like as if it were from another world with its little towers and the bronze christus statue on top which looks over Barcelona towards the sea with arms wide open. Its design was inspired by the famous Sacré-Cœur in Paris and dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When you walk through Barcelonas streets you can often see the church standing there on top of the mountain and radiating a mystical atmosphere.
Girls put your heels on, guys wear your best jeans – to get into the Opium Mar you have to be styled up. And what you will discover once you get inside is a whole lot of tourists, commercial music and high prices. You shouldn’t dance squished between so many other people Barcelona has so much more to offer concerning its nightlife.
One option you should really check out is the Otto Zutz Club next to the district Vila de Gracia. In a former textile factory in Lincoln Street they recreated a New York-like industrial environment based on open spaces decorated with hard materials, concrete and ceilings vaulted denim. Here you can enjoy various genres of music, but especially when you like Hip Hop and R&B this is the adress to go.
La Boqueria wasn’t always a tourist sight: back in the day the Barcelona residents used to do their grocery shopping here more or less undisturbed. Nowadays you can still buy delicious catalan and spanish food there but you might have to push and fight your way through the small aisles. Also the market has adapted its prices to the tourist demand and is more expensive than other ones in Barcelona.
The Sant Andreu Market was build in the the year 1850 and is located in the middle of the porticoed Plaça del Mercadal in the Sant Andreu district. It was designed so that the farmers and hawkers could sell their goods in permanent premises with good lighting conditions and ventilation. Even though it is not the biggest market you can still buy almost anything in a pleasent village market atmosphere.
La Rambla is one of the worlds most famous streets and therefor is crowded with tourists and various streetartists entertaining them. All along the Rambla you can find small souvenir shops selling the typical stuff with Barcelona printed all over it. Walking along this street you should be careful because where there are many people there are also many pickpockets who want to get your valuables.
This street is the heart and soul of the district of Poblenou’s cultural and social life stretching elegantly from the sea to the mountains. Here the locals come to socialize and stroll along the shops, bars and restaurants that are placed all along the street. Furthermore you can admire extremely beautiful modernista buildings with amazing decorations and sculptures but without tourists.
Even the non-fans know the famous soccer club FC Barcelona right? The Camp Nou is its home and by the way the biggest soccer stadium of Europe with almost 100 000 seats. It is absolutely worth a visit as it also has its own museum where you can learn all about the history of the Club and the stadium. But the trip might not be as good for your wallet.
Instead of having to buy an expensive ticket you can also enjoy some spectactular sports for free. You just have to go to the beach in Cuitadella for example and watch the beachvolleyball players, who are really good by the way. There is even a special kind of volleyball they play here in catalunya: the Ta-ka-tá. It is a fast-paced mixture between volleyball and tennis which is really entertaining to watch.
From the top of the Montjuic you can overlook the whole city reaching from the mountains on the left side to the harbour on the right side. You don’t even have to hike up the hill if you don’t want to, you can easily take the hanging cable car that connects the port and the top of the Montjuic. There’s only one problem with this amazing view: over two million other people want to enjoy it as well every year.
Located in Guinardó at 262 meters above sea level the Turó de la Rovira offers a unbelievable 360 degree view all over Barcelona. Years ago it was a strategic site for the defence of Barcelona during the Civil War. Containing remains of an anti-aircraft battery the hill was used to protect the city from air attacs. It’s a very interesting non-touristy place to visit in Barcelona where you can learn a lot about the city’s history and feel like you are on top of the world.
The popular Plaça Reial is located directly next to La Rambla along the typical tourist routes. It is surounded by palm trees and can only be entered through four ways. All around the square there are restaurants and clubs and in the middle a fountain. Here you can also find some Gaudi architecture as the helmeted lanterns were designed by him.
A much more quiet and relaxed place is the Plaça de la Vila de Gracia where you can enjoy the non-touristy Barcelona. Here the locals come to drink their coffee in the sun chatting with some friends in a sterling atmosphere. The tower in the center of the square was designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias, is 33 meters high and during the Festa Major de Gracia you can compare it to the hight of the Castellers – the human towers.
Driving in a sightseeing bus or a rickshaw is a very comfortable option to discover the most important sights of Barcelona in a short time. But it is also the fastest way to be unmasked as a tourist because a local would never spend that much money for something like this.
Instead of spending a ton of money and not being able to decide yourself where to go next it is a great alternative to just rent a bike. As the city is trying to make the streets more biker friendly it is the perfect way to discover everything you want to see with little money. Everywhere in Barcelona you can find stations where you can easily rent a bike and just return it at the next station when you don’t need it anymore.
Most of the families who come to the city visit L’Aquàrium. It is Europes biggest and most important museum for oceanography of the Mediterranean Sea and has almost 1.5 million visitors every year. It offers 35 tanks with 11.000 marine creatures and a 80 meter underwater tunnel through the shark tank.
The adventure playground Barcelona Bosc Urbà offers fun and an adrenalin kick for children as well as their parents. Here you can choose between more than 50 attractions like zip lines, rope swings, bungee jumping and log rolls. You and your kids will have so much fun here without being disturbed by all the other people! Check it out.
The Museu Picasso houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Wow-Fact: The museum also has one of the most complete permanent collections of Picasso works (4.251 pieces). The art is being exhibited in five medieval palaces in Barcelona’s La Ribera and of course is a Mecca for many many tourists.
In Barcelona you don’t necessarily have to go to a museum to see great art, you just have to step out of the door.
There are various ways to find the best places to go and see amazing street art. The ‘Barcelona Street Style Tour’ for example offers guided tours through various districts like El Raval and El Borne. If you want to challenge your own inner artist you can also try out workshops where you can learn various techniques most often used by the professionals.
At this huge street you are going to find every big brand you know, it’s every shoppers paradise. Well at least for the shoppers who have enough money to afford the luxurious offerings. For most of the other people it might just be a pain to see all the beautiful things without being able to buy them. The affordable shops on the other hand are often crowded with tourists so that it also isn’t a pleasure to shop there
The L’illa Diagonal is a big commercial center in Barcelonas Diagonal which offers more than 170 shops, two schools, two hotels, a public park, a sports center and much more. Here everybody can get their money’s worth even with a small wallet. An interesting architectural fun fact about the building is that its design of a skyscraper lying down was inspired by the Rockefeller Center in New York.
So after you have seen the typical and most popular sights you should consider trying out the non-touristy alternatives from our list next time, we promise it is worth it.
Of course we hope you enjoyed reading this blog and got some new ideas of what to do in Barcelona that is not on the typical tourist list. Do you also know a non-touristy alternative that absolutely has to be on our list? If so just let us know in the comments below.