Boasting fine dining, iconic buildings by Gaudi and wild nights, the Catalan capital can easily charm you, if you treat it like the locals and not as a tourist. Real Barcelona is found away from busy Las Ramblas, in beautiful neighbourhoods like Gràcia and Poble Nou. So, here are Purple Travel’s tip’s to live like a local in Barcelona.
1. Don’t overdo it on the Michelin awarded restaurants: in a city with 21 Michelin stars, gastronomy is a trademark; however, menu prices can often reach your room rate. Alternatively, head for the tapas restaurants that are on every corner and filled with all manner of delights. We like La Cova Fumada on Carrer Baluard or Elisabets on Carrer d’Elisabets. Cheap, cheerful and tasty.
2. Avoid city beaches: Although the beach in Barcelona is pretty good, during the summer it can get a little busy. We’re talking tourists, locals and pickpockets. If you simply can’t stay away, pick a good spot at the W Barcelona Hotel. Otherwise, hop on a cheap suburban train to Sitges, a lovely little town with little whitewashed houses and long, golden sand.
3. Don’t take the metro: Barcelona is one of the most packed European cities in terms of attractions, sites and Points of Interest so walking around is the best way to discover the city. Alternatively, you can rent a bike, Barcelona has an extensive cycle path.
4. Don’t queue for hours/squeeze in the busiest tourist sites: Everybody wants to visit La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s unfinished church. In fact around 3 million visitors pass through its gates every year. To skip the crowds, attend the daily mass in the church crypt where you can enter from a separate gate.
5. Don’t bother with LaBoquería: Since Barcelona’s rapid growth in popularity as a city break destination, its central market has grown with colours and aromas, and lots of dodgy fake souvenirs and fast food restuarants. Our tip is to skip the central market altogether and hunt out the smaller local shops in different neighbourhoods. We like the renovated Mercat de Santa Caterina in El Born boasting an impressive stained glass ceiling.