Three days in Barcelona realizes potential for additional three weeks, relaxing on surrounding beaches, hiking surrounding mountains and roaming streets, gawking at architecture. I adore Barcelona. I can’t wait to return, then catch a train into Spain’s every corner.
Once again, I want to offer some less-known information. Here are my top five activities I came across myself:
1. Rent a bike and cycle
Barcelona is extremely bike-friendly. With safe and efficient bike paths all around the city, it’s easy to explore on two wheels.
While I rented a bicycle from my hostel, I passed many bike-rental shops, especially near the sea.
Before I got to the water, though, I began my morning cycling around the city a bit, under the Arc de Triomf and through Ciutadella Park (Parc de la Ciutadella). A sunshiny day, I spent about an hour circling the grounds, photographing the park’s elephant statue, and watching the fountain water dance.
I cycled along the water, down the esplanade for miles. Beginning at Hotel W Barcelona (or even on the other side of the docks at the gothic quarter), the foot and bike path continues for miles, beach after beach. The view is stunning. Since my bike came with a lock, I hopped off often to put my feet in the water, walk down a pedestrian peer, or to simple take a photo.
2. See this little bridge
The Pont del Bisbe is an adorable, low-key attraction that’s quite magnificent. Located just around the corner from the Barcelona Cathedral, this little bridge encapsulates the gothic quarter’s architecture, charm and lavish style.
While such a magnificent and intricate bridge is, by today’s standards, entirely unnecessary just to cross a small path, it represents the old world’s desire for beauty, and finding even the smallest displays of art absolutely necessary.
When you’re meandering the gothic quarter, as I highly recommend doing, look up. Little goodies like this bridge are around every corner. The magnificent architecture and gems saturate the area. I stopped a million times, finding photo-ops in every building, corner, tiny road and storefront. Just always look up.
3. Drink lots of juice
I’m the family juice snob and I take my position seriously. I love fresh-squeezed juice, especially when it’s ice-cold. La Boqueria market off La Rambla street is juice heaven. Fresh, cold and cheap, I indulged big-time.
While many stands’ selections include one-fruit flavors such as orange and mango juice, most are fruity (maybe veggie) combinations including dragon fruit, berries, coconut, passion fruit, pear, and more. It was incredible.
Considering I returned every day, and drank between two-four each day, I can offer a tip: the juice is €2 at the stalls at the entrance and in the center aisle. But further back, the price drops 50 cents, and even a euro at some stands in the back corners.
4. Go to the Picasso Museum
The visit creates the perfect welcome and first exposure into the beautiful city.
Not just the location, but the museum itself exhibits beautiful works, and invites the spectators to experience Pablo Picasso’s work by walking through his style’s progression.
As usual, I suggest purchasing tickets ahead of time. When you check-out, you choose an allotted time slot for entry and can see which hours are the least-visited. Tickets for the collection only are €11 for adults, with various reductions for age. You can also check for free admission days.
5. Eat this bread
After you leave the museum, walk across the road (about 5 feet) to El Xampanyet for Pan Con. It’s a simple spanish bread with a light tomato spread and olive oil and it’s amazing.
While the restaurant is a bit pricy (on my meager budget), it was worth a pop in for a few snacks with friends. We split the pan con, tortilla española (potato omelette) and protein. If you want fantastic tapas, El Xampanyet was great, but no matter where you go, order the pan con.
What are other lesser-known activities in Barcelona you love? Share in the comments below– I’d love to know for my next trip!
If you’re interested, you can also check out five activities in Bordeaux, France.