Authentic Barcelona: Get a Deeper Travel Experience in Catalonia’s Beautiful Capital

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Barcelona - we imagine sunshine, tapas, a mild breeze, Gaudí art, beaches and vibrant night life. In fact, all this is true. It is Spain’s second largest city and a treasure box when it comes to culture, things to do and see. Barcelona prides itself with beautiful architecture that has been honored with a Royal Gold Medal, being the very first city to receive this award, unique art, brilliant food and an unbeatable location by the sea. 

Its mediterranean climate attracts a large number of visitors each year, not least of all the world-famous beaches, which are, however, artificial. If this is your first trip to Catalonia’s stunning capital, here’s how to experience it slightly off the ordinary path.

Be Active and Explore “Barna” by Bike or Foot

Contrary to popular belief, the abbreviation of Barcelona is “Barna”, instead of “Barca”, which actually refers to the soccer team. Barna is one of the cities that can be explored by bike. There are many bike routes and if you feel like being active, take your bike for a self-guided tour around the city and don’t bother with tourist buses or being crammed into the metro. Look for routes online or make up your own, based on what you want to see. If you would like to be guided by a local who knows the best spots, Steel Donkey Bike Tours might be right for you. Get the best out of the city, while leaving the ordinary path. If you’re more into exploring Barna slowly and thus by foot, join one of the many free walking tours. Barcelona has an array of things to offer, and thus something for everybody’s taste.

Check out Unique “Bodegas” and Enjoy Reasonably Priced Tapas

Tapas are what we all associate with the Spanish lifestyle - a large number of tiny plates of food, spread all over the table and ready to be shared with friends. However, the price range varies but fact is, that the most delicious tapas are being served at places one wouldn’t easily stumble upon - which also means, that the prices are more reasonable than at tapas bars in touristy hot spots. If you want to get the local taste, go to Casa Del Fiel, La Xampanyeria or the Cerveceria. For a chilled glass of wine afterwards, head to the lesser known “bodegas”, meaning wine cellars or bars, in Boneloneta, the Old Fishermen’s Neighborhood not many visitors know about. Go for a drink at El Vaso de Oro, Ca’l Pep or Casa Mariol.

Visit the Many Parks in Barna and Take Advantage of Free Events

Barcelona is a comparatively green city with many open spaces and parks. Especially during the summer months, there are many free events going on and it’s great to be part of the crowds, enjoying sangria and good company, as usually, people are quite open-minded. Head up to the Montjuïc for open air cinema (something similar also takes place on certain beach areas) and stroll around, exploring the many rather hidden green spaces. Another popular event most visitors don’t know about is the Piknic Elektronic. Good vibes, food drink and tunes will help you get your Sunday party started. If you’re more into jazz, “Música als Parcs” is your event. Admission is free and music is played in many parks, such as Pou de la Figuera, Parc Central de Nou Barris or Jardins de Can Mantega.

Know Where to Best Meet the Natives and Expats

Beach volleyball is a thing in Barcelona and thus, it is not surprising that you find public volleyball nets all over the city. Why not be confident and ask people that are already playing if you can join them for a match? Moreover, there is quite a number of couchsurfing meetups taking place. Whether it be for a night out, an afternoon at the beach or casual dinner, this is your opportunity to meet both expats and locals, as well as other travelers sharing your interest in Barna. Do you like to swing? BCN Swing is you go-to then. Free swing classes are held twice a months, every 1st and 3rd Sunday, from noon to 2.30 pm. Meet in front of the Pavilion and get your swing on. Furthermore, there is something the locals refer to as “festa major”, a big party, and this implies the many neighborhood street festivals going on specifically during the summer months. Mingle with the people and after one or two cervezas, you might already be part of the crowd.

This post was sponsored by withlocals. 

Have you traveled to Barna before? What did you like (or maybe not like?) most about it?

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