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Barcelona, "hidden gems?"

Hi everybody, I'm going to be in Barcelona for three days in May and am looking for a "hidden gem." What I mean is something unique to the city, not necessarily free of tourists or locals, just something different and special. Right now I am planning this: Day 1- Arrive from USA, Ramblas, Barcelonetta Beach Day 2- Montseratte, dinner at Espai Sucre Day 3- Sagrada Familia, Parc Guelle, Casa Mila
Day 4- Picasso Museum, leave Barcalona at 1PM This schedule is not set in stone, though, and I am happy to move things around to accommodate something that I don't know about. We love history, architecture (thats why were are devoting day 3 to Gaudi) and food.

Posted by
3 posts

I don't see La Pedrera on your list--it's a must see Gaudi apartment complex.

Posted by
417 posts

Thanks for the answer, Kimberly, but Casa Mila is another name for La Pedrera. I appreciate it though!

Posted by
1678 posts

I don't see the Cathedral on your list - the unique part is the cloisters that has 13 geese "guards" on duty. Go first thing when it opens (8 a.m.) and have the place to yourself (plus no entrance fee that early in the day). You can swing by there on the way to Picasso museum. Also, La Boqueria market is a must see - the fruits and veggies are arranged like art work. Plus booths with amazing selection - one had only shellfish of every variety, another only eggs (and at least 15 kinds of them). Again, go early-ish (before 10) and see the vendors setting up and bantering with each other. Later in the day, with all the tourists, it loses its charm. Related to your list of items - splurge on a taxi to Parc Guell (it's worth it) and hike all the way to the top of the hill, then make your way down to the famous terrace area. Also, since you're planning to walk Las Ramblas on your arrival day, keep your moneybelt close and your wits about you - it truly is pickpocket central. I also loved walking this area early in the morning (I'm a morning person, what can I say) and watching the street artists getting ready for their day - loved them in their crazy half-costumed state drinking coffee and chatting with the news vendors. Also, if you buy an Articket (check online) you skip the line at Casa Mila (WORTH it) and also Picasso Museum.

Posted by
524 posts

Mike Here is an idea! Take a walk through the the Barri Gòtic ("Gothic Quarter") area. Wander, look at the shops, check out the tapas bars, and more! Fit this in anytime. Fun and historic walk. Bobbie

Posted by
1678 posts

oops, one more suggestion re: Gaudi - you can find brochures and websites that highlight all of his (and others) Modirnisme art in the city. I went to Palau Guell (off Las Ramblas) that was free at the time (may not be now, scheduled to be done in 2011) because it's under renovation - cool to see the "bones" of a Gaudi project. Also, you can see his first public project (light fixtures) in Placa Reial and his first private project (a house - at Casa Calvet, with awesome bedbug door knockers)

Posted by
1878 posts

I would second the suggestion about the Cathedral, I especially enjoyed the inner courtyard with the geese as well. Very magical. I would very highly recommend the city museum. Roman ruins 50 ft down, right off the Ramblas.

Posted by
893 posts

Gaudi is definitely unique to the city. I would highly recommend the RunnerBeanTours walking tours of the city and/or Gaudi tours if you can fit them in. It will be tight since you're going to dedicate a day to Montserrat, but you might be able to do the Old City tour on the first day with a walk on the Ramblas. Also that day I would suggest adding the Cathedral, as the view from the top is really nice.

Posted by
417 posts

Thanks everybody. Actually, I should have mentioned this, I have been to Barcelona before and visited the main sights, however my wife has not, which is why we are doing much again, but more Gaudi for me :-) I was not really considering the cathedral, but I think that I will add it to day 4, on the way to Picasso, since they don't open until 10 anyways. multiple European trips, cathedrals all start looking the same. Barcelona, however, has a good cloister and the chapels are unique. Good plan, thanks!

Posted by
332 posts

I found Montjuic Castle to be a "hidden gem". It is not at all hidden but I've seen few comments describing the amazing 360 degree, full circle, view of all of Barcelona from its heights. There is not much of a historic component of the actual building, but it is well worth a jaunt up there for the magnificent views-the Mediterranean, the beaches, the cruise ships, the old city, the Familia Sagrada, you can see Las Ramblas, Placa Catalunya and Placa Espana from the fort. We took a metro to a funicular, then a cable car up to the castle, it was a great adventure, very enjoyable, and the view was astounding. There is a small snack shop on top for a beverage.

Posted by
281 posts

I don't know how you can fit it in but the Palau de la Musica Catalana is wonderful. They have tours in English lasting about 1 hour. Having done both the Palau and the Picasso Museum, I would recommend the Palau but that is just my preference. It is in the same area
as the Cathederal and the Picasso Museum.

Posted by
6018 posts

Not sure if I would call it hidden, but in early evening, take the metro into the Gracia neighborhood, Line 3, stop "Fontana" then walk a few blocks along Carrer di Asturies to Carrer de Verdi. That whole area is a pretty vibrant shopping and restaurant area for locals. You can wander and find places to stop, but if I were to pick a place to eat, it would be Bar Candanchu at Plaça de Rius i Taulet, 9. It is nothing special, just a basic, hole in the wall place serving above average food at a reasonable price. The Paella there was as good (maybe better) as in Barcelonetta and to be honest, everything we had was so good, that in a week we managed to wind up there three times. It is the type of place that you will be squeezed into a table in a crowded noisy room, but a great slice of Barcelona.

Posted by
417 posts

I love your suggestion, Paul. I will make a point of going there!

Posted by
1878 posts

I second the Palau de la Musica Catalana- fantastic Modernisme interior. A must see, if you are in Barcelona for four nights.

Posted by
920 posts

Wow...great ideas everyone, thanks! Paul, I'm going to search out your restaurant when we are there in May. Can't wait.

Posted by
197 posts

The one thing I always advise friends to see in Barcelona is the Flamenco show at Los Tarantos. It's only 6Euros for a 30 minute show in a small, intimate club. It's in Placa Reial right off La Rambla. I believe the shows are 8:30pm, 9:30pm & 10:30pm, but here is the website. You can see the schedule. Enjoy! http://www.masimas.com/en/tarantos

Posted by
135 posts

I just want to thank the last poster for the flamenco suggestion; we were considering flamenco shows in Madrid, which are quite expensive, but since we're going to Barcelona, we're choosing the Taranto alternative. Muchos gracias!

Posted by
417 posts

Yes, thank you for the Falmenco idea. Others in our group had already booked a 30Euro show (on their first night after arriving from USA- YIKES!), so we will be their envy! And really, for me, half an hour of Flamenco is just fine :-)

Posted by
14 posts

You shouldn't miss: Cathedral (yes, the guard geese are very cool) Santa Caterina Market Parc de la Ciutadella Olympic Stadium ( I wasn't expecting much from this, but for some reason I really liked visiting it) Palace of Catalan Arts (across from Olympic stadium--didn't have time to go in, but it is a gorgeous building) Modernism Walking Tour (2 hours, great guide, lots of information, saw buildings and streets we would not have seen otherwise). Parc Guell--everyone recommends this, but I personally found it disappointing. I think I pictured it as more of an urban "escape" and I was overwhelmed by all the crowds there. Liked Montjuic more--much less crowded.

Posted by
79 posts

I'd just like to plug Fat Tire Bike Tours. You see a lot in 4 hrs- quicker than you can walking. And our favorite night was spent at Tapas 24, people watching and eating. And I second the afternoon wandering getting lost in the Barri Gotic. My next trip, that will be my first day.