Off the beaten path Barcelona

Off The Beaten Path: The Best Barcelona Hidden Gems

From secret gardens to clandestine dinner parties and unique buildings, these are the best Barcelona hidden gems that will get you off the beaten path.

As one of the most popular destinations in Europe, it is not easy to get off the beaten path in Barcelona. Year after year visitors numbers to the Catalan capital keep rising. So much so that it’s hard to escape the crowds and find a peaceful oasis in such a busy setting.

Luckily, it is still possible to find quite a few Barcelona hidden gems sprinkled around the city. Here you will find a nice selection that will help you discover some of the best secret spots in Barcelona.

The Best Barcelona Hidden Gems

Off the Beaten Path Barcelona

1. Mossen Costs i Llobera Gardens

Featuring cacti and succulents from all over the world, the Mossen Costs i Llobera Gardens are one of Montjuic’s best hidden treasures. With its meandering trails and a great variety of plants, this quirky spot also offers great views of Barcelona.

Good to Know

Entrance to the gardens is free. To get there, it is easier if you take the funicular railway up to the Parc de Montjuic station. From there, you can either walk uphill or take the cable car. The gardens are gorgeous when the plants are in bloom.

2. Montjuic Cemetery

One of the most unusual things to do in Barcelona is visiting the cemetery in Montjuic. It is actually quite large and occupies a good portion of the hill’s southern face. Built in the late 19th century, the Montjuic cemetery features many elaborate tombs designed in a variety of styles, from Art Nouveau to Neo-classic and Gothic.

The most spectacular tombs are on the lower grounds while the top of the hill is crowded with thousands of graves. Also, there are distinct sections for different people. For example, Catholics, protestants, jews, atheists, foreigners, and gypsies each occupy separate grounds.

Good to Know

The cemetery is open every day from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and entrance is, of course, free. Also, there are free guided visits on the second Sunday of the month (in Catalan only) and on the fourth Sunday of the month (in Spanish only). And here you can download a detailed map.

If you are interested in a guided visit in English, this 2-hour tour gives you a nice summary of some of the secret traditions and hidden corners of the cemetery. The cost is €23/person and covers the cost of public transport.

3. La Foixarda

If you are into rock climbing and bouldering, you should definitely visit La Foixarda. Located just a short walk down the road from the Climbat Foixarda gym, in a hidden corner of Montjuic, this place is an impressive urban climbing paradise.

There are many different routes to climb, both for bouldering and with rope, and for many skill levels. The routes are all set inside and around an old tunnel, so the atmosphere is very unique.

Good to Know

Access to the site is free. You just need to bring your own gear. People are generally quite helpful and open, so if you need anything or have any questions just ask! Finally, as with all things climbing, be cautious and understand that whatever you do is at your own risk.

4. Let’s Drunch

For a unique dining experience, attend a clandestine dinner party. For this secret events, an unusual location is transformed into a pop-up restaurant for the night. Guests get to see the chef and team prepare an amazing 10-course dinner. Plus, there is also live music and/or DJs to provide an all-round hedonistic experience! Are you coming?

Good to Know

Each event lasts about four hours. Prices start at €120 per person and include an open bar with wine, cava, gin, and aperitivo. Don’t forget to bring your ID.

5. Arús Public Library

Established in 1895, this amazing historic library is a quiet and serene space where you can retreat for a peaceful moment. Even though the space is small, the Arús Public Library holds an impressive specialized collection on social movements and freemasonry. Plus, you will also find one replica of the Statue of Liberty at the entrance. This is definitely a must-visit for book lovers!

Good to Know

Entrance to the library is free. Once a week, they also offer guided visits for a €12 fee.

Opening hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

6. Jardins de Rubió i Lluch

If you are looking for a quiet spot to escape the craziness of Las Ramblas, a stop by this peaceful oasis might do the trick. Set on the courtyard of a historic building, which used to house a hospital, the Jardins de Rubió i Lluch is an authentic hidden gem located not far from La Boqueria market.

Inside, you’ll find a fountain, lots of orange trees that fill the air with their fragrance when they are in bloom, and a cute outdoor café/restaurant called El Jardí.

Good to Know

This place is not easy to find so make sure you have the details on your map. There are two entrances, one on Carrer del Carme and the other on Carrer de l’Hospital. Also, be aware that it is not uncommon to see homeless people hanging out here.

7. Sant Pau Recinte Modernista

With its lovely mosaics, beautiful stained glass and impressive gardens, the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista is an immense art nouveau complex housed in a former hospital. This impressive site is a true architectural gem that is definitely worth visiting!

Good to Know

Regular entrance fees are €14 for a self-guided visit and it is recommended to buy your tickets online. Reduced entrance fees (Barcelona residents and people aged 12 to 29, for example) are €9.80. Free entrance on the first Sunday of the month and for children under 12 years old.

Guided visits take place on Friday to Sunday and on holidays for a €19 fee. They are available in Catalan, Spanish, English, and French (on Saturdays only). Audio guides are also available for €3. For more details, check out their website. Alternatively, you can also book a private group guided tour in English for €22.

Opening hours: from November to March, Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, Sundays and holidays from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. From April to October, Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm, Sundays and holidays from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. Last entrance is 30 minutes before closing time.

8. Paradiso

Located in a small street in El Born district, Paradiso is a classy speakeasy bar that serves some very creative cocktails. The bar is hidden behind a pastrami shop, which makes it one of the most unique bars in Barcelona.

Each of their cocktails is served in its own unique way. For example, the Mediterranean Treasure is served in a conch shell inside a wooden treasure box, and Le Peruvien, a pisco sour with a French twist, comes in a bird-shaped glass. Also, watching the bartenders making cocktails is a real feat!

Good to Know

Usually, there is a line to go in, but this place is worth the wait. The staff speaks English, so they’ll be able to answer any questions that you might have. They serve food until midnight. Most cocktails are about €9 – €13. And don’t forget to ask about the happy hour specials.

Other Unusual Experiences in Barcelona

There are also many tours and experiences that give you the chance to get off the beaten path in Barcelona. Here are our top picks:

  • Sunrise Beach Yoga – start your day in the best possible way with this 1.5-hour yoga session in a peaceful location at the beach. Yoga mats and fresh fruit are included in the €10/person fee!
  • Wine Tasting & Sailing – cruise along Barcelona’s coastline while you taste some great Catalan and Spanish wines. This experience lasts three hours and includes drinks and snacks. The cost is €99/person.
  • Hidden Barcelona Food Walk – this 3-hours walking tour takes you to sample some delicious tapas (15 small dishes in total) in four off the beaten path locations. Prices start at €68/person and include four different alcoholic drinks paired with the food.
  • Sidecar Motorcycle Tour – ride on a vintage motorbike with a sidecar and enjoy a unique perspective of the city. Your guide will explain Barcelona’s history and culture while showing you some of her favorite spots. The tour ends with a glass of wine and some tapas in a bar. The cost is €70/person.

9. Barcelona Axe Throwing

Now for a more unusual thing to do in Barcelona, how about an axe-throwing session? Located just a couple of blocks away from Plaza Cataluña, Barcelona Axe Throwing gives you the chance to try this novelty sport, which can be both entertaining and therapeutic.

Good to Know

Prices per session range from €16 to €22,50 per person/hour and each session lasts about an hour. It is best to reserve in advance.

10. Casa Vicens

Built between 1883 and 1885, Casa Vicens was the first house designed by Antoni Gaudí. The house was built as a summer villa for the Vicens family and is considered one of the first Art Nouveau buildings. In 2005, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

This unusual house was a private residence until it was sold in 2014. It then became a museum, which first opened its doors to the public in November 2017. Tucked away in a quiet street in Gracia, Casa Vicens is one of Gaudí’s lesser-known masterpieces and remains one of the city’s hidden gems.

Good to Know

The house is open everyday, April 1st to October 14th from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. Last admission is at 6:40 pm. From October 15th to March 31st, on Mondays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm (last admission 1:40 pm); and Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm (last admission 5:40 pm).

Entrance fees are €16 per adult, €12 for students (12 – 25 years old), and free for children under 11. On Mondays, the museum offers a reduced entrance fee of €10 for both adults and students. To save time, it is recommended to book your tickets online.

11. Bunkers del Carmel

Offering a stunning panoramic view of Barcelona, the Carmel bunkers were one of the places where anti-aircraft guns were installed during the Spanish Civil War. Today, the bunkers lie in ruins, but given their position, this is a great place to take a break from the bustling city. You can just bring some snacks and something to drink to enjoy the sunset in good company.

Good to Know

To get there you can take a taxi or the bus. The best times to be there is during sunset and sunrise, the light is just beautiful. However, since it can get a bit crowded at dusk, it’s best to arrive earlier to make sure you get a nice spot. Don’t forget to bring snacks and drinks (there are no shops around), as well as a jacket (it can get cold up there).

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12. The Horta Labyrinth

Located on the northern edge of the city, the Horta Labyrinth is made of manicured hedge and set in a neoclassical park. Built in the 18th century, this is one of the oldest parks in Barcelona. It is true that the park could be better maintained, but it still is a peaceful haven where you can spend a couple of hours away from the crowds.

Good to Know

There is also a picnic area and a children’s playground in the park. It is open every day, and the entrance fee is €2.23 for adults, €1.42 for kids 6 to 14 years old, children under five years old don’t pay. Also, entrance to the park is free on Wednesdays and Sundays.

How to Get There: take the L3 metro (green line) to the Mundet station. From there is just a five-minute walk to the park’s entrance.

Opening hours: April 1st to October 31st from 10 am to 8 pm, November 1st to March 31st from 10 am to 6 pm. Note that you can only enter the park up to one hour before closing time.

13. Walden 7

This futuristic building designed by architect Ricardo Bofill is a must-see for architecture lovers. This massive 15-story residential building features a labyrinth of corridors and stairs inside, which makes it an amazing place to photograph. Built in the 70s, the building fell in disrepair for a while until it was rehabilitated in the 90s.

Good to Know

Even though technically it is not located in Barcelona, you still can easily reach this iconic site in Sant Just Desvern. You just need to taking the L3 metro (green line) to the Zona Universitaria station and then take Tram 3 to the Walden stop.

As mentioned, this is a residential building, so you need to request a guided visit from their website to be able to get in. Visits last about an hour and are conducted in Catalan, Spanish or English.

Alternatively, you can book a stay in this architectural gem via Airbnb and enjoy the site as a resident!

14. Barcelona Street Art

The urban landscape of street art in Barcelona is always changing. At different points, the city has either embraced this colorful art form or, during darker times, its government has fought hard to get rid of it. Still, if you walk around the old city center, you’ll see plenty of clever paste-ups. And if you venture out to other districts, like Poble Nou, for example, you’ll find some awesome murals as well.

Good to Know

Due to its ephemeral nature, street art can disappear as quickly as it’s created. So it can be hard to keep track of it. One of the best ways to find street art in Barcelona is to join a guided walk.

During this 2.5 hours tour, a passionate and knowledgeable guide will take you to discover some vibrant urban sites and tell you more about the artists behind them. It is a great opportunity to see some hidden corners of Barcelona and take some great photos.

15. Sofar Sounds

According to its website, Sofar Sounds is a global movement that brings the magic back to live music. Basically, they organize music gigs in small intimate venues, which can be unusual locations and are kept secret. Usually, there are three acts in their programs and they each play four songs.

Good to Know

To attend one of these secret events, you can register on their website to apply for a show’s tickets. If you get selected, you’ll receive an email with information on how to get your tickets. A day or so before the event, you’ll get the address for the venue; but you won’t know who is playing until you get there! Fun, no?

Map of Barcelona Hidden Gems

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Photo Credits

Cover image courtesy of Benjamín Gremler via Unsplash.
Pinterest images courtesy of Makenna Entrikin and Alina Stiba via Unsplash.
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Have you been to Barcelona? Do you have any favorite secret spots you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment and let us know!

Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza

Travel Writer

Bianca is a world citizen who spent almost four years traveling around South America and Europe. Her passions include photography, street art, outdoor sports, and cooking exotic dishes. She’s now based in the Netherlands where she lives with her partner and young daughter. She still enjoys traveling, on her own or with her family, and is always looking for an opportunity to see new places.

2400 1350 Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza is a world citizen who spent almost four years traveling around South America and Europe. Her passions include photography, street art, outdoor sports, and cooking exotic dishes. She's now based in the Netherlands where she lives with her partner and young daughter. She still enjoys traveling, on her own or with her family, and is always looking for an opportunity to see new places.

All stories by : Bianca Bauza

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