Psst… Do you want in on a little secret?
Good, because some of the most interesting places in Barcelona are often not cited in typical travel guides and like many cities it has a few hidden hush-hush aspects that need to come out.
We have compiled a list of undercover facts and off-the-tourist-trail attractions that may just turn your city break into the trip of a lifetime! We know all the hidden secrets of Barcelona!
7 Top Hidden Secrets of Barcelona
1. Sunday is free museum day
If museums are your thing you may want to listen up! Rumor has it that Sunday is the perfect day for your brain to be stimulated and your wallet to remain in your pocket. Several of Barcelona’s top museums and galleries offer free entry on Sunday afternoon after 15:00.
These include the CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona), MUHBA (Museu d’Història de Barcelona), and Museu Frederic Marès. Other museums are also free all day on the first Sunday of the month. These include the Picasso Museum and the MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya).
If you can't make it on a Sunday, then make sure to get your museum 'skip the line' pass before making your way to the museums.
2. Refugio 307: A different world
In 1937, after Franco’s army bombed Barcelona, shelters were set up in both basements and metro stations. Refugio 307 is one of the better examples of the many shelters built and simultaneously commemorates life and death during the tragic attack.
Refugio 307 now lies at the bottom of Museu d’Historia de la Ciutat. The display of living conditions, toilets, a drinking fountain and the infirmary may be difficult to take in, but it is an interesting example of people’s effort to survive in the face of misfortune.
Address: Nou de La Rambla, 175
3. Move over milkshakes…
As secrets go, there is always one that at first glance seems particularly strange, but is completely worth the experience. For Spain, this comes in the form of the milky-looking drink horchata, a unique concoction made from chufas (tigernuts) water and sugar, all topped with cinnamon.
This acquired taste may live somewhat in the shadow of sangria, but it is certainly better for your health, as it contains high levels of iron and potassium, is very low in fat content, and is valued for its minerals and vitamins.
4. Get lost!
The winding streets of the Old Town of Barcelona have so much more to offer than the occasional authentic tapas bar. These medieval, off-the-grid alleys are home to ancient Roman walls, the oldest synagogue in Europe, a shoe shop visited by the likes of Catherine Zeta Jones, a candle-maker’s that’s been around since the 1700s… Interest piqued yet? Getting ‘lost’ in the labyrinthine Gothic Quarter will certainly make for some unforgettable discoveries.
5. Chocolate and Churros
Now it may not be a big secret that the classic, long sugar doughnuts known as churros served as a Spanish indulgence and are best appreciated during the colder months of the year. But what you may not know are the best places in which to partake in the hot chocolate and churros ritual.
Some of our favourite spots are la Nena in Gràcia (C/ Ramón y Cajals 36), Churrería Layetana (Via Laietana 46), and Granja Dulcinea (C/ Petrixol 2) the last one being one of the oldest spots to enjoy the treats in Barcelona. And boy do they have it down to an art…
For even more chocolate adoration, get a ticket to the chocolate museum.
6. Barça Tickets
Are you frantically searching the Internet for seats to the upcoming FC Barcelona home game but can’t seem to find any available? Allow us to let you in on a little secret, check out www.fcbarcelona.com where season holders release their tickets closer to the actual date rather than months in advance. You’re welcome! You can also buy several tickets for other Barcelona attractions online before you go - this could save you both money and time!
7. Monasterio de Pedralbes
This 14th century Gothic-style monastery allows you to take a step back and appreciate religious art and relics in Barcelona. A sight well off the beaten track but definitely worth seeing, this is one for those looking for something to fill a warm spring afternoon, without the hustle and bustle of Las Ramblas.
The cloister has three floors with a gorgeous garden view of palms and the renaissance fountain in the serenity of the courtyard. You won’t find a more serene place in all of Barcelona.
Address: Baixada del Monestir, 9
If you want to learn more check out the fun online language learning tool from Babbel (you can try the first lesson for free!).
Tip: book your accommodation in Barcelona in advance as hotels can full up quickly, particularly during high season! Read our Barcelona Accommodation Guide if you're looking for somewhere to stay while in Barcelona! We've also covered the top things to do in our Barcelona Activity Guide.
EXTRA: Do not forget a good travel insurance before you go. Check out the offerings from both World Nomads and SafetyWing.
Travel tip shared by ApartmentBarcelona