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By Guest Blogger Janice J

If you are traveling to the beautiful city of Barcelona for the first time, there certainly are things you just don’t want to miss.

From the mesmerizing houses designed by Gaudi to the distinct church of La Sagrada Familia, the city offers some of the most beautiful architecture in Europe. However, there is much more to this vibrant city than the regular sightseeing spots.

At some point everyone gets tired of the crowds and restaurants lining the pedestrian street of La Rambla, and craves for a more locally flavored experience. Whether you are on a return trip to the Catalonian capital or looking for something more than in the travel brochure; this will help guide you to getting lost in the wonderful side streets of this great city.

Hidden Wonders in Barcelona

The Gothic Quarter


Photo CC by Ajay Suresh

Many tourists visit the Gothic quarter, or Barri Gotic, for the famous cathedral. But many people simply take a picture and leave, without truly exploring the medieval time capsule surrounding the church.

If you’re also tired of regular fancy hotels, but instead you’re looking for something different and more traditional, you should check out for places to stay in this area.

Sites like offer a wide range of accommodation options at a great price in the Gothic quarter as well as others like Rambla and Graçia which will be discussed further on.

The mysterious and narrow streets winding through the quarter are the perfect place to get lost for a bit, especially on a hot day! You can absorb some of magnificent architecture of traversing medieval arches and statues by simply wandering around; you might even stumble on ancient Roman columns hidden amongst the alleyways.

You can also enjoy some of the many amazing and affordable cafés and restaurants dotting the side streets. This part of the area is southeast of the cathedral and is within walking distance of the waterfront and La Rambla, making it a quiet and accessible haven away from the crowds.



Away from the center of the city lies the bohemian neighborhood of Gràcia. This area is also tucked away near a tourist hub, but a spot that is always worth visiting. Parc Güell, a park designed by Gaudi, offers stunning views of the city framed with the famous architect’s creative mosaics and designs.

Behind the hill lies Gràcia, formerly a village separate from the city and free from food chains and crowds of tourists. This area is known for housing musicians and artists, making it a culturally rich neighborhood. Try walking around and enjoy a coffee at some of the many squares, such as Plaça del Diamant.

You can’t go wrong from enjoying the vibrant nightlife at the center of the Spanish anarchist movement in Plaça del Sol, or shopping at the open markets. Moreover, if you get tired of every restaurant offering tapas or paella, Gràcia has a great variety of cuisine. From Palestinian to Spanish fusion cuisine, this area of the city is a great spot to explore your taste buds.

You should always remember to consider your interests when booking a trip

Parc del Laberint d’Horta

Another secret wonder of Barcelona is the Parc del Laberint d’Horta. Located in the Horta area of the city, this beautiful park is a nice place to relax. The labyrinth from which the park gets its name, has over 750 meters of neo-classical designed fauna accompanied by mythological statues and canals.

At the top lies a Greek styled pavilion, to really make you feel like you are in a magical oasis in the Catalonian city. The park rarely draws in large groups of tourists, so it is a perfect spot to escape during the hotter months.

El Poblenou

Next is the district of El Poblenou, Catalan for the “new city”. The old fisherman’s area has a great contrast of architecture from Gothic to modern, something not found in many parts of the city.

The expansive neighborhood is also home to the Parc de la Ciutadella with its extravagant fountain. The best attraction of this area is the Plaça Prim. Here you can find some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. They cook fresh fish in the same classic style since the area was a small village separate from Barcelona.


Finally, there is a spot not technically in Barcelona yet one of the best ways to escape the crowds. Montserrat offers a perfect day getaway from the city as well as some stunning views of the country.

The multi-peaked mountain is a wonder in its own, and a landmark of Catalonia. With its strikingly pink rocks and ancient Benedictine abbey, it is a magnificent well-kept secret near the city. The abbey and basilica are built into the mountainside, a remarkable sight in itself for anyone willing to take the 1 hour train ride.

You can either ascend by hiking up the mountain or take the funicular for the more relaxing route up to experience some of the best views surrounding the peaks.

If you want to wander the path less traveled in Barcelona, these are great places to start!

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