You’ve probably heard a lot of people give you ‘insider tips’ on Barcelona for when you travel there.
The problem is that those ‘insider tips’ are probably so widespread nowadays that they are no longer what they say they are.
However, the first thing you need to know is that Barcelona is a city that’s ever changing when it comes to trends, so there are always new things to discover which, combined with the traditional elements, make Barcelona one of the most attractive cities in the world.
Off the beaten track in Barcelona:
Poble Sec, the place to eat
It’s as simple as this: if you eat in the city centre or don’t know where to eat at first, you’ll get stung in the wallet. If you want to try traditional Spanish tapas and local cuisine, the best thing you can do is take the short metro ride from the city centre and get off at Poble Sec. Poble Sec is an old, traditional neighbourhood of narrow streets and bars filled with local old men enjoying their afternoon vermouth. The standard of restaurants here vary from the exclusive yet delicious Tickets, ran by the brother of the famous chef Ferràn Adrià, or the traditional tapas places that have been there since before care to remember, such as Quimet i Quimet, Bar Seco or La Tieta, where you can eat some of the best food in Barcelona at the best prices or simply enjoy the traditional afternoon vermut.
There’s more to markets than La Boqueria
La Boqueria is Barcelona’s most famous market, but the sheer amount of stalls selling smoothies for 3€ and boxes of fruit at the cost of an arm and a leg take its charm away. If you’d like to experience a true market in Barcelona, why not take the short walk across the old town to the Born district and visit Santa Caterina Market. This market has peculiar architecture from the outside that is definitely worthy of a photograph and its inside is bustling with life, sellers shouting their best offers and some of the freshest produce in Barcelona. Also, there are restaurants that make hearty local dishes at excellent prices, such as L’Univers. Also, the Sarrià Market is worth a visit because not only is it outside the usual tourist domains but it’s also a great place to start a walking tour of this beautiful district of the city.
A walk around Sarrià
Sarrià is located in the northern part of Barcelona and it used to be a town in itself, which gives it its unique appearance. Its streets slope downwards from Passeig Bonanova and are mostly pedestrian, which gives it some much needed peace and quiet after all the hustle in the city centre. One of the main attractions is Bar Tomàs, which is where locals objectively agree upon the fact that they make the best patatas bravas in the city and possibly the world. Have an ice cream in Plaça de Sarrià square or simply get lost in the many narrow streets and their shops, even stopping to have a coffee in some of its quiet squares. If you’re looking for authentic Barcelona without many tourists in sight, Sarrià is a safe bet.
Leave the city
Whilst Barcelona might be great, there are also many places that you can go to outside the city that are also well worth your while. If the crowded beaches of Barcelona are too much for you, why not take a short train ride north and enjoy the peace and quiet of the beaches of Sant Pol de Mar, Ocata or, for somewhere a bit more lively, head south to Sitges, a little seaside town although very popular with tourists. Still, it’s nowhere near as crowded as Barcelona, much more scenic and also just 30 minutes from Barcelona on the train.
Quite simply, there’s much more to Barcelona than meets the eye. However, if you know how to find it, your stay will be much more enjoyable. To start experiencing the city like a local, rent apartments in Barcelona and the rest is up to you!