This blog post was originally posted on November 24, 2014, and was updated on November 29, 2017.
One of the best parts about exploring this city is finding secret gems. The tiny hidden corners of Barcelona that give the city itself so much character and appeal. Barcelona is filled with them, having one of Europe’s most picturesque old city centers as well as a cosmopolitan, artsy and original feel. Furthermore, If you’re tired of following the guidebooks, read on for just a few of the most magical hidden corners of Barcelona.
El Bar Jardí
Walking around the shopping district of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, you might never expect to find a place like Bar Jardí. It’s a total oasis amidst the crowds that amble between H&M and Zara. You would probably never find this place if you didn’t know it was there. Just look for the big camel, head through a rather stinky inner-patio. Next, follow on past a bizarre sort of bazaar, and up the stairs. There you will find a lovely little garden patio. It’s where the locals calmly sip coffee under the shade of enormous palm trees.
Address: Carrer de la Portaferrissa, 17
Whether you’re an art lover or not, Galería Maxó will delight you. Crammed full of its curious collection of local art and quirky trinkets. Most of the work revolves around a basic theme. Unsurprisingly, more or less an ode to the city of Barcelona and its people. Why not have a wander and pick-up some souvenirs of the city to take home with you!
Address: Carrer del Portal Nou, 29
Barcelona’s old Jewish quarter, el Call, is possibly one of the most enigmatic areas of the old city center. Furthermore, it’s also one of our favorite hidden corners of Barcelona. Many of the narrow streets here have been renamed and much of the history distorted during the Spanish Inquisition. It’s an area that continues to baffle historians to this day. Find one of the main arteries, Sant Domenech del Call, and pass by the old synagogue. Before long you will come upon a minuscule and serene square where you can enjoy the essence of the Call over a cup of tea on the terrace of Caj Chai (Carrer de Sant Domenech de Call, 12). This is one of Barcelona’s first proper tea houses. If you’re not in the mood for tea, you could also just hop to another table belonging to the wine bar next door.
Address: Carrer de Sant Domenech del Call
Plaça del Diamant Underground Shelter
During the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona was the first city to undergo systematic bombardment on the civil population. In the neighborhood of Gràcia alone, over 90 different shelters were built. These were to protect the people from the air raids. One of the most spectacular can be found under Plaza del Diamant, where over 250 meters of tunnels are open to the public since 2006. They are greatly conserved and you can still see vestiges of their use. Take for example, like where residents left candles or where they kept first aid kits. In order to visit, you must schedule beforehand via telephone or email.
Address: Plaça del Diamant
Jardines de la Universidad
In a very central area of Barcelona, the Eixample district and not far from Plaça Catalunya, find some of the city’s loveliest gardens. They are housed in a historic building belonging to the University of Barcelona. Though it’s more common to see students pass through the front doors than visitors, it is well worth taking a peek. The immense and admittedly crumbling building is impressive in and of itself. However, the lush, patio-filled gardens are a real hidden treat.
Address: Carrer de la Diputació, 230