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Barcelona’s Hidden Gems: Live like a local and escape the tourists

Mhairi MacLeod

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Are you looking for some alternative things to do in Barcelona so that you can truly feel like a local? Mhairi takes you on a tour of the city's secret spots.

There is no doubt that Barcelona is packed full of incredible settings from the breath-taking Sagrada Familia to the bustling street scenes of La Rambla. However, these places can be heaving with tourists who are more than likely speaking English. If you fancy immersing yourself in local scenes, language, and culture then visit the following locations (and try to keep them a secret please)...

Watch the sunset at The Bunkers, El Carmel

The Bunkers are a hilltop hideaway that offers the most incredible, panoramic views of Barcelona and beyond. They are just a short bus/metro ride away from the city centre and it’s completely free! Although gaining popularity recently, the Bunkers are still a hidden gem and most popular with young locals who can be found chilling with their friends and watching the world go by.

Best enjoyed at sunset or night-time to watch the city lights turn on and spot the twinkling star on top of the Sagrada Familia. For the ultimate local experience: sit with friends, play music, and take in the beautiful views of one of the best cities in the world whilst enjoying a glass of cava or ‘una cerveza’.



Hang out with the locals at Placa del Sol, Gracía


Visit the trendy, local neighbourhood of Gracía and spend the evening sitting on the floor of Placa del Sol and chilling with locals. If this sounds a bit odd to you, I am not surprised! When I first stumbled across this square on a summers evening, I too was surprised by the number of people sitting on the floor until I realised why…


Named ‘Placa del Sol’ for a reason, the marble floor of this square heats up in the sun during the daytime creating the perfect hangout to sit during the evening and enjoy a drink. Take in the magical atmosphere and maybe even get chatting with some locals and practise your Spanish!


Take a scenic hike along the Carretera de Las Aigues

If you fancy doing something active away from the touristy beach scene, then head into the hills for a stunning walk/hike/run along the Carretera de Las Aigues where you can exercise amongst locals.


This route is a great escape from the bustling city and a chance to get some well-deserved fresh air (and see some very cute dogs). It is very well known amongst locals and can get busy at the weekend however it is rarely ever explored by tourists and there is certainly no chance of hearing anyone speaking English here!


The track is 9km long and it is completely flat the whole way which provides a very easy walk with shady spots and water fountains dotted along the way. The road traverses the hillside and therefore offers stunning views of the city at every twist and turn - there is a surprise around every corner. It is very accessible and there are many transport options including a funicular up the hill, or if you’re feeling brave, you can hike up to the road from the neighbourhood of Sarría.



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Images provided by Mhairi Macleod.


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Tips Living Abroad Spain Barcelona Hidden Gems Mhairi Macleod

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