5 Secret Things to do in Barcelona
This week I have an amazing guest post about Barcelona written by Max Lami. Hope you enjoy – I know I did!
Barcelona is one of the most known cities of Spain, close to both mountain and beach, full of astounding architecture, and with rich local cuisine, this city has much to offer. But if you’re visiting Barcelona soon, know that there is plenty to see beyond the typical tourist sites. Here are five of my favourite “secret” things to do in Barcelona that will allow you to discover a different side of the charm and history of the city.
1. Rumble through some Vintage shops
Head towards Plaça Catalunya, located in the centre of Barcelona. However, instead of walking down the well known “Las Ramblas”, head right, towards the districts of Ciutatvella and El Raval. These surrounding districts are where you will find local charm and personality, comparable almost to Shoreditch in London, el Raval is a thriving district.
Almost immediately, in Calle de Valldonzella 4, you will find “Holala!”, a big quirky vintage shop located near the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art. If you continue on south, you will find another vintage shop called Lullaby, close to the big regional Library of Catalunya.
These areas contain the oldest parts of Barcelona, notable for the Gothic streets, it is also where the flourishing street art of Barcelona started. Walking south you will be able to enjoy what seems like a time-travelling stroll on your way to the beachside, which is a beauty in itself.
Nearest Metro Stops: Universitat (Red Line, L1, or Purple Line, L2), Plaça Catalunya (Red L1, Green L3, Purple L2, and Brown Line L7), Liceu (Green Line, L3)
2. Visit the Modernist compound of Saint Paul – El recinte modernista de Sant Pau
This Art Nouveau site is the works of Lluis Domènech Montaner, one of the most important architects of the modernist movement known as Catalan art nouveau. Located about five streets above the Sagrada Familia, this stunning piece of architecture was built between 1905 and 1930 as a garden city for the nursing sick.
After one of the most outstanding rehabilitation processes of recent years, it is now a knowledge campus used as the headquarters of international organisations. These include; the European Forest Institute, the UN University Institute on Globalisation, Culture, and Mobility, and the Global University Network for innovation.
It was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997 due to the open pavilions, which provide a wonderful insight into history, art, and the present day. The pavilions are set amongst gardens and connected by underground passages. They showcase the applied arts, featuring sculptures, stained glass, and mosaics.
Nearest Metro Stops: Sant Pau Dos de Maig (Blue Line, L5) , Guinardó Hospital de Sant Pau (Yellow Line, L4)
3. Parc del Laberint d’Horta
This gem is located on the former estate of the Desvalls family, next to the Collserola ridge. The park is a beautiful example of 18th-century neoclassical architecture and 19-century romantic architecture, with two parts to the garden.
Dating back to 1791, the neoclassical garden design was done in collaboration between Joan Antoni Desvalls, owner of the lot, and Italian architect Domenico Bagutti. All around the park there are numerous sculptures, some depicting motives of greek mythology and others with folk motives, as well as a number of fountains, springs, and pools.
Nearest Metro: Mundet (Green Line, L3)
4. Palau Dalmases
Palau Dalmases is located on Barcelona’s popular Montcada Street, full of gothic palaces. Pertaining to the 17th Century, it is the work of a reform of a previous gothic building which has kept many elements such as the 15th Century chapel.
The simple façade follows the style of Catalan gothic architecture, the most interesting of which is the baroque yard and the salomonic columns by the staircase, which hold the rampant arches. The staircase has a frieze depicting Europe’s rapture and Neptune’s chariot.
The palace’s name comes from Pau Ignasi de Dalmases i Ros, a Catalan nobleman and scholar. Today, the Espai Barroc within the palace is home to daily flamenco concerts and even opera recitals.
Nearest Metro: Jaume I (Yellow line, L4)
5. Sant Felip Neri Square
Located in a corner of the Gothic Quarter, one of the most historic parts of Barcelona, this square is presided over by the baroque church from which it takes its name, Iglesia de Sant Felip Neri. The square features a number of historic elements that make it particularly attractive, especially when viewed in silence.
The narrow, labyrinthine streets of the Gothic Quarter come out into this unexpected spot. A tiny square with a charming little fountain in the middle overlooked by the baroque church of Sant Felip Neri. On the one side, you can see the buildings that once housed the city’s shoemakers’ and coppersmiths’ guilds. The square also marks the entrance to Barcelona’s Jewish Quarter.
Nearest Metro Stops: Liceu (Green Line, L3), Jaume (Yellow Line, L4)
Maxine is a second year business student currently on an Erasmus Semester at the University of Barcelona. Originally from London, Max enjoys her time exploring the streets of Barcelona and discovering unusual adventures to do in the city. Outside of her studies, Max enjoys architecture, literature, and music.
You can read more from Max on her blog at http://maxlami.eu/
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