Fun Things To Do in Barcelona

What to do in the city of Counts…

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…

Admire Gaudi’s Works

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.

Indeed his works are so popular that it’s pretty much essential to book your tickets in advance if you don’t want to get stuck in a very long queue. Find out more about Gaudi’s greats and how to book skip the line tickets on Barcelona-things-to-do.com.

Modernisme (the rest of)

But Gaudi wasn’t a one man show… as guests of our tours will find out. Indeed the entire aesthetic of Barcelona was changed by a group of genius architects who wanted to imprint a distinctive Catalan identity on their capital. Together they created a style of architecture which today we refer to as Modernisme.

Domenech i Montaner was arguably the leader of this movement, and a man with more than a few fantastic buildings on his CV, so check out Palau de la Musica and Hospital de Sant Pau for starters (the latter was recently turned into a museum and exhibition space). Most likely we’ll call by his impressive Castle of the Three Dragons on our tour.

There’s a good article here about the best Modernista buildings in Barcelona not designed by Gaudi.

Eat Tapas

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 at Barcelona Life have a great list of tapas dishes and restaurants in Barcelona!

Beach It Up

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.

Watersports

Aqua-fiends might want to try out some water sports, and deep sea fishing on the Mediterraneankitesurfing 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.

 

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Try A Food Tour

Food and culture go hand in hand, and taking a culinary tour of the city has never been more popular. Food Tours Barcelona offer an particularly interesting take on the local gastronomic scene, taking their guests around the relatively undiscovered Sant Antoni district and showing them the evolution of Catalan food, from classic tapas to Ferran Adria-inspired creative cuisine.

Hands-on Pampering

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.

Experience Flamenco

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 Nightlife

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, whilst many tourists flock to the Port Olimpic and the touristic clubs there later at night.

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.

Get Arty

Barcelona has some excellent art museums, the most famous of which is the Picasso Museum. Although the 20th century’s most famous painter was born in Malaga he came of age here in Catalonia, hosting his first exhibition in Els Quatre Gats cafe, before jetting off to Paris to become an international superstar. His museum is a must for art lovers who can witness his progression from his realistic early styles to the more abstract Cubist style he pioneered later.

Also worth visiting is the National Museum of Catalan Art, particularly the top floor of 20th century works, and the MACBA modern art museum.

Go Vintage Shopping

There are few cities quite as chic as Barcelona, and the overriding aesthetic is definitely the ‘hipster’ look – at least in the cosmopolitan downtown area. Raval is the district to shop for second-hand threads and the attitude-flaunting Carrer Tallers is a fantastic street to trawl for togs. Nearby Carrer Riera Baixa also has several vintage stores. Time Out lists some good shops.

Visit a Spanish Village

Poble Espanyol was original designed to be a temporary exhibit for the 1929 World Fair but it proved so popular the city decided to keep it. An artificial village on the slopes of Montjuic hill, Poble Espanyol is a showcase of the different architectural styles of Spain and a cute place to spend a few hours. The buildings house a variety of restaurants, cultural centres, workshops and exhibition spaces so there’s plenty to see, eat and do.

Take 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…