If you haven’t guessed that we think the best thing you can do in Barcelona is go on a Steel Donkey bike ride then you haven’t been listening very carefully… but after the glitz and glamour of hanging out with us for an afternoon would you believe it, there are still some other cool things to do in this city. Here are a few ideas for you…
We’re not going to go on about this… your guidebook probably has enough info already! But unmissable are La Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila and Park Guell. The Catalan architect really was one of a kind!
Modernisme (the rest of)
But Gaudi wasn’t a one man show (as guests of our tour will find out!). Domenech i Montaner is a man with more than a few fantastic buildings on his CV so check out Palau de la Musica and Hospital Sant Pau for starters. There’s a good article here about the best Modernista buildings in Barcelona not designed by Gaudi.
The tradition of tapas allegedly goes back to the time when King Alfonso the X ordered a glass of sherry in the south of Spain and was treated to an accompanying snack. Indeed in much of Spain this is how tapas are still served… as free snacks with drinks. Barcelona, not being the most Spanish of Spanish cities, you’ll have to pay per plate, but discovering the many treats for yourself – from pimientos del Padron to patatas bravas – is about as much fun as you can have with food. (We’re not counting whipped cream as a meal). Our friends have a good list of tapas dishes and restaurants in Barcelona!
Barcelona would be one of the best cities in the world even if it didn’t have the Mediterranean nestling on its shoulder… but it does, and it would be silly not to take advantage. Barceloneta beach can get a bit overcrowded, but there are plenty of other beaches to discover too in the city… Icaria, Bogatell, Marbella for a start. Or you can head out of town Ocata, Castadefells or Sitges to name but a few. Aqua-fiends might want to try out some water sports, and deep sea fishing on the Mediterranean, kitesurfing on the Costa Brava or sailing trips from Barcelona (you can charter a yacht with or without a skipper!) are all possible, as is a spot of sea kayaking.
Get Drunk… Tastefully
Catalonia is famous in Spain for its wines, especially the Penedes region where so-called ‘Spanish Champagne’ Cava is made. A trip to some of the wineries and vineyards near Barcelona is a fantastic way to spend a day, and if you can’t be bothered to navigate the local trains (and don’t want to designate a driver) then taking a wine tasting tour with transport included is a great option. Winos should check out the excellent Catavino for more info on Iberian vintages.
Spoil yourself at some of the best spas in Barcelona with a right royal rub down. You can get massages of all types – think honey, chocolate, Thai, Swedish etc – and def. a good surprise to spring on a loved one.
Ok it wasn’t invented here in BCN (Sevilla is its spiritual home!), but the art of flamenco is alive and well in Catalonia, where a number of tablaos showcase some of Spain’s finest musicians and dancers. The ones on Las Ramblas can be a bit pricey and touristy, so check this article for some recommendations on flamenco concerts & tickets.
The Catalan capital is of course famous for being a bit of a party town, especially during summer when there’s a strongly hedonistic holiday-vibe and each district celebrates its own Festa Major (Grand Festival). Placa Reial, with its palm trees and abundance of bars and clubs, is always a good place to start any night out, although personally we’re not big fans of the tacky Port Olimpic and the touristic clubs there. For something alternative and authentic we suggest you try out this fun local pub crawl in Barcelona’s Raval district, where you’ll explore some back alley bars, live music and more.
Another Alternative Tour
We like to think we were the first alternative tour of the city, but we’re certainly not the last. Check out our list of carefully selected alternative tours for some other great experiences that will make your visit come alive.
Naturally when you come on a bike tour with us you only have to ask and we’ll give you plenty of advice on tips on things to do in Barcelona and how you can spend the rest of your time in the city! It’s all part of our customised service…