5 Tips to Enjoy Barcelona Like a Local

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Barcelona has beautiful architecture, culture, nature and lots of tourists. So here is our 5 Tips to Enjoy Barcelona Like a Local. We will teach you how to escape from the crowded spots and get the real Catalan feeling.

This was our second time in the Catalan capital and I think we’ll never get enough of it. In our first trip we went to all the touristic attractions, neighborhoods, and parks. But this year we discovered how to enjoy Barcelona like a local.

You have to know two important things about Barcelona:

– There are plenty of places to visit, things to see, food and drinks to taste.

– The city is packed, full of tourists.

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Said that let´s go straight to the point: there is no way to avoid visiting the main attractions. So by the end of this post we’ll give you a list of the unmissable places you have to visit. But first some tips to enjoy Barcelona like a local.

My recommendation is to find a nice free walking tour to get to know a bit of the city (there are lots of them, we did with Runner Bean Walking Tour)   and when you get tired of the crowded streets and touristic areas you can follow our love and road tips.

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To enjoy Barcelona Like a Local must go:

1º – Peace & Love  at El Carmel Bunker

Buy some beer or wine and head to Bunkers del Carmel, an old bunker built in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. Located in the highest mountain in the city, it has an amazing view and is perfect for watching the sunset.

While all the tourists are squeezing themselves at the Montjuic hill or Tibidabo mountain, in El Carmel you will have space enough to relax, take pictures and enjoy Barcelona like a local. Don’t be surprised if you are the only tourist in the place.

Because it´s not a touristic spot the way up to the hill can be a bit trick. Check the address on the map at the end of the post and also ask for direction at the metro or bus station. 😉

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2º Enjoy the beach in a Catalan Style

Doesn’t matter the weather conditions or what time it is, Barcelona‘s beaches means: Sport & Fun 24\7! Get a bicycle, rollerblades or a skate, move your body and enjoy the huge promenade that the city has.

In total there are 9 beaches along the 4,5 km of coast. All them can be reached by public transport (metro and bus), however the locals prefer to cycle, run or have a nice walk around there. If you want to have a great experience join one of the rollerblade or run groups. There are daily activities at La Barceloneta beach.

Barceloneta is the most famous beach in the city, but there are other areas worth the visit. There are even a nudist beach close to downtown! 🙂

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3º Behind Gaudi’s Buildings

Barcelona and Gaudi´s work are linked. In the past we could visit some of his buildings and Park Guell for free, but now they are charging expensive entrance fees. 🙁 So instead of just appreciate his amazing work from the outside, we can tell you a little secret that will place you on the backyard of one of his palaces.

Casa Milà is located in the heart of Barcelona and has been in a restoration process, what means that you can’t see anything from the outside. Although there is a way that you can see the building from the behind.

There is a shop called “Casa Viva” on the ground floor of Casa Milá, go inside and have a look on the shelves. Go up to the second floor searching for the outdoor products and pretend that you are a regular customer. From the garden you can you can see the whole Gaudi`s building.

Take a careful look to the chimneys, the history says that George Lucas was inspired by them to create the stormtroopers´ helmets.

 

4º Soy Latina Baby

Now lets talk about fun!!! Barcelona is an OMG party destination during the summer. Actually is one of my favorites cities to go out, dance and have tons of fun.

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There are plenty of bars, clubs, restaurants and festivals The big problem is how to find a nice place that will be not packed with tourists, will not have freaking expensive drinks and shit music. During our last trip to Barcelona we did a good research (tough work, you know 😀 ), and we found two great options to party in Barcelona like a local.

If you want to experiment some Salsa, Rumba or Bachata go to Antilla Club. The club is one of the traditional spots in Barcelona  dance scene and if you arrived before 9pm you can join the free dance class. After 11pm the two dance floors get super busy and you can appreciate some nice choreographies.

We were introduced to this place by a Russian couple that were sharing the apartment with us. And believe or not, they can dance salsa and bachata much better the us! 🙁

 

5º  Dance in the Park, Piknic Elecronik

Forget the nightclubs at Las Ramblas and in front of the beach, most of them are tourist traps. To finish a great trip to Barcelona nothing better than a sunny Sunday party! During the whole summer, every Sunday afternoon the Mountijuic Park is the place you should be.

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It´s more than a party. The Piknic Electronik  is a summery event that brings people together in a green environment with good electronic music. It´s a celebration of Barcelona best assets: people, tapas, sangria, beer, sunny days, good music and party mood!

We went to the picnic with Dariia and Carlos, our Portuguese friends (you already have heard of them on our post about Lisbon & Croatia). We didn’t plan the party in advance, by destiny we were in the city on the same weekend and decided to enjoy Barcelona like a local.

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As I promised to you, after our  5 tips to enjoy Barcelona like a local, I would give you the list of the main attraction in the city. So here it goes:

 

Barcelona Top Attractions:

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We stayed one week in the city and that was enough to enjoy Barcelona like a local and be enchanted one more time. No doubt that it is in our top 5 places to visit!

You probably want to know about hotels in Barcelona, right?

We selected 3 hotels for a mid-range budget:  Avenida Palace, Chic & Basic Ramblas & Balmes.

If you want to splurge these 3 hotels are incredible: Mercer Hotel, Casa Camper & Alma Barcelona.

For those looking for more affordable accommodation have a look on this list of hotels in Barcelona.

And don´t forget that Barcelona is a city to be discovered by foot, explore the neighborhood and streets of Gràcia and Ravel. Try different tapas, paellas and wine. The Catalan culture is amazing, let it surprise you!

Have you already visit Barcelona? Do you have a favorite spot there?

41 Comments

  1. This post makes me want to visit Barcelona again but stay away from everything that is packed with tourists and that I’ve probably already seen anyway 🙂

  2. Hey Franca!!

    Don’t tell me, when I was writing I was thinking how much would cost to get a flight from Istanbul to Barcelona, just to enjoy a little bit more the weather and the atmosphere of that city!!
    Even being a packed town there is something special there!
    😀

  3. I visited Barcelona years ago, but only for a short time, so did not see much of it. I do plan to go there again – maybe even this summer, so this tips will come very handy! Thanks for sharing them with us 🙂

    1. Hi Nina!!

      I´m glad you liked the post and it will be useful for your next trip! 🙂

      I love Barcelona, for me it’s a special city! You just need to find some hidden places for once a while get away from the crowded streets and zombie tourists.
      If you need any more info about Barcelona just write us!

      All the best!
      Nat

  4. Thanks for these great tips! I would keep them in mind if I ever visit Barcelona! I’ve always hear great things about this country such as its atmosphere, the people, food and many more! This post is definitely convincing enough 🙂

  5. Great tips. I loved Barcelona when I visited years ago. This definitely make me want to return. I went I winter do never got to experience the beach. Las ranks was my favorite though, glad you included it.

    1. Hey Mary!!
      You definitely need to go back to Barcelona for summer time. I just arrived from there (my third time) and the weather was perfect!
      Wish I could have stayed a little bit more to enjoy the beach!

      Happy Travels,
      Nat 😀

  6. What a coincidence, I just wrote a similar post about London! 🙂

    I visited Barcelona with my boyfriend for my birthday in November and must say that it must be a more beautiful place in the summer, it obviously rained when we came. But we enjoyed it anyway! Seeing this list would have been handy before our trip but we’ll have these tips in mind for next time!

    Greetings from Finland,
    Saana

    1. Hey Saana!
      So you have a good excuse to go back to Barcelona!! Now you have our travel tips and you must go on summer time! 😀

      Will have a look on your blog, I have some friends going to London, will be great to give them some tips.
      All the best, greetings from sunny Italy!
      Nat

  7. We’re here in Barcelona at this very moment. Depending upon what your interests are, there is so much to experience that I daresay a week is insufficient. We came from Mallorca and are heading to Costa Brava early in the week, so we’ve foregone the beach scene entirely in favor of foodie and neighborhood experiences.

  8. Fantastic tips! It’s tough because when I go to new places, I want to see all of the famous touristy spots that tend to be SUPER busy and crowded…but then you also want some peace, maybe to walk around like a local, away from the crowds. These are some great tips here to try to achieve some of that balance, I think!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Lauren!

      I´m the same as you, I want to visit and see all the attractions but when I got tired I just want a glass of wine to enjoy the moment. That´s why I decided to share this hidden places we found in Barcelona. It´s always good to get out from the beaten path 😉

      All the best,
      Nat

  9. Barcelona looks like such a fun city! The view from that viewpoint is incredible, and even better that you aren’t surrounded by a bunch of other people while trying to enjoy it.

    1. The best part of the trip was the viewpoint!!
      Next time I will do like the locals, I´m gonna take a bottle of wine with me to enjoy the incredible view! 😉

      Happy Travels,
      Nat

  10. I love Barcelona and your tips are perfect. I’d go back tomorrow and explore more. My favourite parts were Barri Gotico, Barceloneta and El Born. La Sagrada Familia is incredible too. Take me back! Thanks for sharing your fantastic post and photos

  11. Rravel to Barcelona like a local is not difficult. I am one of them. The point is that 90% of the major tourist attractions are in the center. Locals love to stroll through the Gothic Quarter, go to the Boqueria market, swim at the Barceloneta beach or eating in a restaurant on Passeig de Gracia or Born. The most common situation is that the tourist routes of Barcelona you find a Locals doing almost the same as the locals.

    1. Hola Victor!
      This is another thing that we love about Barcelona. Fun in the simple things, spend some time in Barceloneta beach, walk around the Gothic Quarter…
      Every time we visit Barcelona we find more & more nice things to do 🙂
      cheers

  12. I’ve been an expat in Barcelona for two years, and I feel compelled to tell your readers that La Barceloneta is one of the most crowded and tourist-heavy beaches in the city. I would not include it on a list of local things to do. I would recommend hopping on a train either going north or south along the coast, and you’ll find much more beautiful, less-crowded places to sunbathe and swim without being surrounded by obnoxious tourists.

    1. Hi Allie!
      Thanks for stopping by! If we talk about swimming and enjoy the whole day on the beach, for sure Barceloneta is not the best one. What we suggest on the post is to go to Barceloneta and enjoy the feeling of a urban beach, practice some sports as cycling or rollerblade. Have the experience of visit a busy and big city located on a nice coast. 😉
      Cheers,
      Nat

  13. I really liked Barcelona – we went about 2 years ago and would suggest checking out the food market just off las Ramblas – if I remember it may only be open on a Thursday/Friday?

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