The Hidden Side of Barcelona

Explore some of Barcelona’s best hidden gems.

May 28, 2024
buildings in barcelonabuildings in barcelona

Barcelona has a lot to offer, from its beaches, to its world class architecture, to its cuisine, and more. When living in Barcelona, you’ll never be short of things to do, but you may want to begin to venture past the tourist attractions after settling in. We’re here to help you find some non-touristy things to do in Barcelona, with recommendations taken from locals themselves, so you can get a taste of the Catalan way of life.

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Bunkers del carmel

Barcelona is great for nature lovers because it’s sandwiched between the sea and the mountains. The mountains also provide a great viewpoint over the city with one of the most popular spots being Turó de la Rovira, more commonly known as The Bunkers.

The former wartime bunkers, located in the neighborhood of Carmel, provide the perfect spot to get a 360 view of the city. They’re a popular hangout spot for locals and adventurous tourists alike. This lookout point comes with a bit of an upward hike, but bring a blanket and a bottle of cava and you sure won’t regret it.

sky and view from bunkers

Voodoo club

One of the hottest clubs in Barcelona isn’t even a physical club. Voodoo Club is a Barcelona-based creative collective that throws parties with carefully selected musical artists from all parts of the world. The result is a fun and inclusive space that celebrates all types of music and many different cultures, including Afrobeats, Jersey Club, Soca, and more. Events and tickets can be found on their website or social media pages, but be fast, because they can sell out quickly.

Antic Theater

antic theater plaza

Spain is famous for its fantastic weather, so it makes sense that terraces are a big part of living in Barcelona. Antic Theater is located on a side street of the El Born neighborhood. Very inconspicuous from the front, a tiny door leads to a large garden bar that’s surrounded by traditional old-town Catalan buildings. Their well-priced drinks and the young atmosphere make it a great place to relax, hang out with friends, and enjoy the sunshine on your skin.

Jazz nights around the city

What is Barcelona known for? Most people’s first answer isn’t jazz, but in reality, Barcelona has a huge jazz scene. Bars and event spaces around the city have jazz nights where the public can enter and see some local musicians play in a jam session style, which means anyone is welcome to join in on the fun. Bar Makinavaja, Jamboree, Harlem Jazz Club, and Marula Cafe are some great places to start if you want to watch some live jazz.

Palo Alto Market Fest

palo alto market fest

Palo Alto Market Fest happens once a month in the Poblenou neighborhood of Barcelona. This festival showcases artists and designers selling their creations, diverse gastronomy and drinks from local vendors, and live music to enjoy your weekend. Palo Alto Market Fest happens about once a month, and tickets must be purchased in advance. It’s a great weekend plan when you want to take a dive into the local scene.

Els Encants

els encants

For great finds at even greater prices, check out Els Encants flea market. This large market sits under a mirrored ceiling and sells furniture, clothes, antiques, and more for great prices. If you’re hungry, they also offer eight food stands for a littler lunch or aperitivo after shopping. The market is open four days a week, and contains so many one-of-a-kind pieces, so you’ll never know what you’ll walk away with.

El Paradiso

From the outside, it’s easy to confuse this bar with a pastrami shop, but that’s only because El Paradiso is hidden within this facade. To access this speakeasy-style bar, you must enter through the fridge to find an innovative cocktail place that was voted world’s best cocktail bar in the The World's 50 Best Bars list. Each cocktail has been carefully concocted by Giacomo Giannotti himself, and each one is worth a try. This bar is located in El Born, but be prepared to wait because this spot is very popular among locals and tourists alike.

The Horta Labyrinth

horta labyrinth

One of the best kept secrets in Barcelona is the Horta Labyrinth. Located on the very northern edge of the city, this park isn’t visited by many tourists, but it’s a gem for those who make the trek. Dating back to the 18th century, this 750 meter winding labyrinth allows you to get lost in hedges and have a little adventure.

Santa Mónica

santa monica

Made from a converted church, this art space works to promote contemporary art creation and debate surrounding the ideas and concepts at the forefront of contemporary art. Every four months, different artists come together to create an art installation throughout the building that is available to the public for free. After looking through the art, you can also head up to the cafe to sit and have a drink on the terrace. Santa Monica is located right on Ramblas close to the Drassanes stop, making it super easy to get to when in the center.

Explore all of Barcelona’s hidden gems

There’s a lot to do in Barcelona, but after living there for an extended period of time, you might want to find some off the beaten path places to explore around the city. We’ve got your back with all the non touristy things to do in Barcelona, from art places, to bars, to parks, to parties, you name it.

If you want to stay for a month or longer in Barcelona, check out some of Ukio’s fully furnished, decorated, and ready-to-live apartments in the city. We’ll provide the accommodation, and you just worry about exploring all of Barcelona’s hidden gems.