5 Things You MUST Do in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a vibrant and exciting city and it attracts people from all across the globe. However, the city centre is strewn with tourist traps. To make the most of your experience, avoid restaurants near La Rambla and opt for a much more authentic, local experience. Yes you simply HAVE to see Gaudi’s buildings all across the city but don’t ruin your trip by sticking to the ordinary tourist attractions. When you move away from the city centre there is so much beauty to be seen. The city has some incredible viewpoints, greenbelts and an overall incredible local flair.

Here are 5 things you simply must do in Barcelona:

5 Things You MUST Do in Barcelona

1.    Visit a Salsa Club

5 Things You MUST Do in Barcelona

If you haven’t immersed yourself in Latin culture up until now then I suggest you visit a salsa club in Barcelona. Yes Salsa originated in Cuba but the intermeshing of cultures is evident and particularly exciting here. Barcelona offers many fabulous salsa clubs that are not nightclubs per say. Instead, these are electric, hip and happening places where locals go (not to get drunk) but to have a fabulous time shaking their booties. Take note that Barcelonians go out well-after midnight so venture to a club then unless you want to be dancing alone.

2.    Eat Tapas

5 Things You MUST Do in Barcelona

When in Catalan do as the Catalans. This has been my motto in Barcelona. I steer clear of over-priced tourist tapas bars and head for the narrow alleyways and tapas restaurants in hidden nooks and crannies. Be sure to try the patatas bravas, tomàquet and chorizo tapas. Yum.

3.    Stroll in Poble Espanyol

5 Things You MUST Do in Barcelona

If this is your first time in Spain and if you want to get a great overview of the culture and way of life then head to Poble Espanyol for a couple of hours. Poble Espanyol may be on the list of the touristy things to do but its highly recommended for the tiny plazas, architecture from different eras and regions in Spain, the limitless arts and crafts stores and the overall real Spanish vibe. I suggest the audio guide if you want to hear about the different buildings, the history of Poble Espanyol and simply to obtain a greater understanding of the Spanish way of life.

4.    Head for the Parks

5 Things You MUST Do in Barcelona

When visiting, I find myself seeking solitude in Barcelona. I dislike the crowds of La Rambla and find the entire street overrated. I prefer to gain a greater perspective of the laidback Catalan way of life and there’s no greater way to do so than to enjoy one of the city’s most beautiful parks. Park Guëll is the most famous park since it was designed by Gaudi and it has an exquisite view of the entire city. But there are other parks equally as beautiful and less crowded. My favourite has to be Parc de la Ciutadella. This attractive park has a lovely lake where you can hire a little rowboat and relax on the green commons. It also has a beautiful fountain, a thriving birdlife and an interesting atmosphere since artists and performers practice for their shows in the mid-day sun.

5 Things You MUST Do in Barcelona

If you want to get further out of the city then try Montserrat or even Tibidabo (an odd coupling of a theme park and a church situated on a hill overlooking Barcelona).

Tibidabo, Barcelona

Tibidabo, Barcelona

5.    Get Lost in La Ribera

5 Things You MUST Do in Barcelona

La Ribera is a central, historic area, a little bit away from La Rambla. It is most pleasant in the late afternoon before sunset when the ancient narrow streets and buildings take on a beautiful hue. Tapas bars come alive at night in this part of town and you can spend hours wandering the streets, sitting having a coffee or simply watching people go by. If you’re in search of the old-world charm of Barcelona, La Ribera should be top of your list.

What are your favourite non-touristy things to do in Barcelona? Tell us in the comments section below.

 

Photo credit: Tanja Cantlon