There’s no denying it, Barcelona’s world famous attractions are worth a visit. However, when you visit places like the Sagrada Familia, you won’t just be staring at Gaudi’s magnificent architecture. You’ll also be forced to look, and bump into, the hoard of tourists taking photos with their selfie sticks.
We’re going to let you into a little secret. Those of us who live here don’t spend our Saturday’s taking a tour of Camp Nou and our Sunday’s strolling down the Ramblas. Luckily for locals, Barcelona is full of things to do that aren’t included in the average guide book. Luckily for you, Billy are Barcelona locals and want to share inside tips with you!
So, here we present to you an itinerary of a perfect day in Barcelona that’s off the beaten track. Follow this and start feeling like a Barcelonian local in less than 24 hours.
A perfect day in Barcelona
Start off in Eixample and let the smells of freshly baked bread guide you into Praktik Bakery. Enjoy a Café con Leche and a pastry, or two, fresh from the oven.
When you’re suitably stocked up on croissants, it’s time to burn the carbohydrates off and get moving.
As one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the mediterranean, cycling is a great way to see Barcelona. It’s therefore no surprise that Barcelona is full of bike rental stores. Donkey republic is under 10 minutes walk away from Praktik Bakery, so it’s a good idea to head here. Plus, this rental store allows you to check availability and pre book your bike via their app.
Next, it’s time to get on your bike and head to Barri Gòtic. Now, get lost! It might sound strange but simply wandering aimlessly through the labyrinth of narrow streets makes for a great time.
A sight worth seeing is Plaça Del Rei, a peaceful square that exemplifies the medieval feel of the area. Here you’ll be surrounded by Gothic and Renaissance buildings that make it easy to forget you’re actually in the 21st century. Taking a trip to Plaça George Orwell will bring you back to reality as you gaze at it’s modernist sculpture, contrasting strikingly to its historical backdrop.
Before you leave Gotic, make sure you check out Plaça de Sant Felipe Neri. This secluded and concealed square is hauntingly beautiful, providing a tranquil escape from the crowds of Barcelona. Look closer at the walls of the old church and school, here you’ll discover shrapnel holes from the civil war.
Just across from Gòtic is one of Barcelona’s trendiest districts, El Born. This is another great area to meander around, stumbling across small independent shops, cafes and bars.
The Palau de la Música is a sight worth visiting, even if it’s just to stand outside. Gaze up at the building, an architectural marvel that is sure to impress.
If you want to get a feel of a typical neighbourhood market, Mercat de Santa Caterina is well worth a visit. One of Barcelona’s oldest markets, it boasts not only great food but also a beautiful design. Of course, with all that cycling, stopping to have a mid-morning cervesa and patatas bravas is perfectly acceptable!
Another great area to take a small break is Plaça Sant Pere, a secluded and picturesque square. Stopping here for a coffee in the terrace of Candela bar or simply sitting on one of the squares benches allows you to take in the beauty of Sant Pere Church.
Santa Maria Del Mar is another impressive church just a short distance away. Built in the 1300’s it serves as an impressive example of Catalan Gothic style.
Before you leave Born, make sure you grab a coffee in Convent De Sant Agusti. Not only is the coffee tasty, but the feeling of tranquility you get sitting under the gothic arches is unmatchable.
So after cycling through old narrow streets, it’s time to surround yourself with greenery at Parc de la Ciutadella.
Cycle around and take a look at the several landmarks that exist within the park. Sights such as the Catalan Parliament, the mammoth statue and an impressive waterfall fountain. You’ll also be able to find rowing boats available to hire for a relatively cheap amount. Take a boat out on the lake for half an hour and master the art of saying “Lo Siento” as you inevitably bump into other rowers.
Whilst this is all good fun, it’s not what makes the park truly special. The parks unique charm is largely due to the people that frequent it. For the best experience, simply pick a spot on the grass, sit back and take in the sounds and sights around you. Whether it’s a reggae band jamming, someone juggling or a tightrope walker practicing, the possibilities for people watching here are truly endless.
When you’re ready, leave the park via the exit closest to the zoo and cycle down past Estación de Francia. You’ll begin to feel that fresh sea air as you enter Barceloneta.
After the cycling, rowing and of course, strenuous people watching, it’s only natural to have beer on the mind. Head to Terrassa de les Indianes to quench your thirst and get and get an awesome panoramic view of Barcelona.
Next, it’s time for food. A two minute cycle away is La Cova Fumada, a tapas bar sure to satisfy your appetite. Feel like a real local as you sit in this super traditional old tavern enjoying mediterranean classics. For those who eat meat, the Bomba is highly recommended.
With so much tasty food, eating too much food is scarily easy. Walk this off by taking a relaxing stroll on Barceloneta beach. Take in the sights of people fishing, watch people play volleyball or simply sit down and gaze at the blue waters.
It’s time to wake up again and for that, there’s no better place than El Raval. One of Barcelona’s most happening neighbourhoods, it’s full of culture, colour and creativity. Head to Placa Macba where you’ll find the city’s famous museum of contemporary art. You don’t have to go inside to enjoy being here. As the epitome of the Barcelona skate scene, it’s the perfect place to grab a coffee, sit back and watch the local skaters do their thing.
When you’re fully refreshed it’s time to dive right in and explore the narrow streets of Raval. Keep your eyes peeled at every turning for the unique pieces of street art that appear throughout the district. Stumble across one off boutique shops, bookstores and art studios. If you fancy a drink, bar hopping across the many quirky bars of raval is always fun.
Before you leave, make sure you check out the epicentre of the neighbourhood, Rambla del Raval. This wide boulevard lined with palm trees is a stark contrast to the narrow passageways that make up much of Raval. The many small bars, restaurants and occupied public benches mean this area retains a genuine local feel. Before you leave, don’t miss the cat statue created by Fernando Botero, a fitting creation that symbolises such a quirky area.
Dinner at restaurant El 4 gats is not to be missed. Previously frequented by Picasso, artistic luminaries and intellectuals, it boasts a rich history. With vibrant decor and insanely good Catalan and Mediterranean food, a good time is sure to be had here.
Finish off the night at Plaça Reial. This square is home to beautiful architecture, good vibes and a gorgeous fountain centre piece. The ambience at night is vibrant and lively, with plenty of bars and restaurants. Bar Ocaña is one of the most unique bars here with an eccentric feel. Ordering a sangria here is the perfect way to end the day.
So there you go! A perfect day in Barcelona that you wont find in an average guide book. So sit back, relax and sip that sangria whilst you feel like a Barcelona local!