Unique Things to do in Barcelona

Barcelona is a city jam-packed with history, culture, gastronomy, and art. There’s no shortage of unique things to do in Barcelona.

There’s so much to experience in the Catalan capital, that it’s simply impossible to tick off everything on your to-do list on a single visit here.

For those looking to experience something a little unusual while in Barcelona, here’s our list of…

The top unique things to do in Barcelona

Take a shot at beach volleyball

This fun, summer-time sport takes place all year round in Barcelona! This is a city that loves its sports, with the legacy of the 1992 Olympic Games living on today with the Catalans passion for all things sporty.

Beach volleyball has become particularly popular in the city over the last few years. Due to the increased interest, the council has set up several public nets on the beaches of Barcelona. The most popular beach for a game of volleyball is at Nova Icària. Many people come to play a casual game, or to take part in more competitive tournaments.

And, while you’re at the beach why not check out some of the water sports in Barcelona?

Unique things to do in Barcelona - play volleyball on the beach.
Beach volleyball on Nova Icària Beach

Party at a summer festival

If there’s one thing that Barcelona is famous for, it’s partying. The Catalans know how to throw a good fiesta, with summer being the best time of year to get involved.

There is the iconic Primavera Sound festival, which takes place every April. They’ve had the likes of Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, and Arctic Monkeys, among many others, perform here in the past. Next up on the line-up is Sonar, an electronic dance festival with uber-cool attendees (you’ll have to wait until 2022 for the next one).

Aside from the big, international music festivals, there’s also Barcelona’s own street fiestas in Summer. There is the Festa de Sant Joan (Feast of St. John) on 23 June to celebrate Summer Solstice each year. Expect fireworks, dances, bonfires and much more at this exciting celebration!

Unique festivals in Barcelona during the summer months.
Crowds at Primavera Sound Festival

Sail on a private boat

The comfortable year-round climate of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea makes it perfect for sailing, 365 days a year. For an unforgettable day out on the blue shores of Barcelona, why not hire a private sailing boat?

Take a stab at sailing, or have a professional skipper make life easier! Sip on some refreshing vermouth, while you sunbathe in front of the spectacular views of the city.

Sailing in Barcelona
Sailing boat in Port Vell at Sunset

Learn to cook paella

Barcelona is a foodie-paradise, but why not try being the chef for the day yourself? Paella is a classic Catalan dish, and one of Spain’s most famous dishes. We recommend joining a cooking class to master this delicious rice dish.

Make it a fun day out with your friends and family, so you can all go home knowing how to cook likes pros! Some courses include a trip to the market to see where all the fresh ingredients are coming from, too.

Learn how to make paella in Barcelona
Seafood paella

Related Read: Cheap Tapas Bars in Barcelona

Take a Segway tour of the city

Forget a boring walking tour of Barcelona, up your sight-seeing game and hop on a Segway around the city! This is definitely one of the more unique things to do in Barcelona.

A tour guide will train you how to use the Segway, so there’s no dramatic falls in front of the Sagrada Familia! Then zoom round Gaudí’s city, learning about all the most fantastic landmarks and sights as you go.

Unique things to do in Barcelona - go on segway tour
Segway tour along the seafront

Ride on the oldest amusement park in Spain

Tibidabo can be seen from all over Barcelona, up on the Collserola Ridge Mountains. It was first established over 100 years ago, making it the oldest amusement park in Spain. But don’t worry, the rides aren’t originals!

Get your camera ready for some breathtaking views of the entire city at your feet. Tibidabo is great for any age, as there’s a variety of attractions to suit everybody. We recommend a trip on the big wheel, though be wary if you have a fear of heights!

Here’s a few other great spots with the best views in Barcelona!

Unique things to do in Barcelona
The view of Barcelona from Tibidabo

Take a yoga lesson on a paddle board

If you want to take your fitness skills to the next level, this is the activity for you. Stand up paddle surf combined with yoga lessons can be super challenging, but such fun! If you already practice yoga, and love the beach, this is a great way to combine the two.

Head out on the waters with your instructor and group, basking in the beautiful sunshine. Stand up paddle yoga reinforces your balance and stability, great practice for any budding surfers too.

Sup yoga in Barcelona
Stand up paddle yoga class with SupYoga, via @supyogacat

These are just a few of the most unique things to do in Barcelona – check out our Barcelona activity guide for more of the touristy things to do in Barcelona.


Exploring Las Ramblas de Barcelona Step by Step

Las Ramblas or La Rambla (from Arabic Ramla which means sand) is the finest identified landmark in Barcelona.

It is a 1.2 km extended and busy avenue, preferred with each tourists and locals. Las Ramblas is going down from Plaza de Catalunya all the way to the Columbus statue.

Strolling straight down Las Ramblas in Barrio Gotico you can take a look at its a lot of outlets or appreciate observing the a variety of street performers, of which some of them have an spectacular act or either existing a quite exclusive creature. Furthermore there are a number of newspaper kiosks, floral and animal stands.

On each sides of Las Ramblas are additionally many cafes and restaurants (including some of the best cheap tapas bars in Barcelona). Right here you can eat or drink one thing though observing the occupied road.

Ask anybody who’s going to visit Barcelona where they’d like to stay, and the common reply is “close to Las Ramblas”. This Barcelona promenade is the most famed street in the city, and is really an old brook bed.

Exploring Las Ramblas in Barcelona
Exploring Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Exploring Las Ramblas in Barcelona

The Barri Gotic or Gothic area used to be the old Barcelona (known in Roman times as “Barcino” ) and has a wall running around the city to protect it, with the main entrance the iron gates 1/2 way down the particular Ramblas, and know known as Portaferrissa (literally “Iron door” ). Flanking Barcino to the left was countryside and the Roman church of Sant Pau del Camp (Saint Paul of the countryside) which now is in the heart of the Raval.

Las Ramblas now dissects the old city – leaving El Raval ( also from Arabic meaning beyond the walls ) to the left and El Gotico to the right. The name “Las Ramblas” is essentially plural – meaning many ramblas all collected together. Ramblas has even coined its own word “ramblear” meaning to stroll / ramble as many neighbors and visitors do on weekends.

From the city’s main square – Playa Catalunya – down to the Port and the monument of Christopher Columbus, Las Ramblas epitomizes Barcelona and is a colourful, 24-hour street where you can find a mix of neighbors and tourists alike.

The whole of the promenade is dotted with paper kiosks which are open twenty-four hours, and is the best place to get your hot-off-the-press copy of the local and international news. 

Back in the day Las Ramblas applied to be a river bed that ran from the mountain tops to the sea.

The main areas of Las Ramblas

Although Las Ramblas is one steady street, it in fact is made up of 5 Ramblas:

– Rambla de Canaletes
– Rambla del Estudis
– Rambla del Sant Josep
– Rambla del Caputxins
– Rambla de Santa Monica

Rambla de Canaletes is the first Rambla starts at Plaza de Catalunya. This Rambla is named by a fountain. In accordance to a legend, when you consume from the fountain, you can preserve coming back again to Barcelona. The 2nd Rambla is Rambla del Estudis. It is named soon after a 16th century university, the Estudis Generals..

Starting from the top of Plaa Catalunya, and walking down to the port (also this is slightly downhill) we first have Rambla de Canaletes – named after the fountains at Plaa Catalunya. This part of Las Ramblas is a favourite for the local OAPs to collect and set the world to rights, as well as the typical hang out for the FC Barcelona fans after a victory ( particularly if it’s over their bitter rivals Real Madrid).

Next in the continual transition is Rambla de los Estudios (studies), which joins the Catalana Library on Calle infirmary, and is where the beginning of the street performers and human statues las Ramblas has become so feted for, start to appear.

Rambla de Sant Josep is so named for the famous market of Saint Joseph, also more commonly known as “La Boqueria” – allegedly Europe’s biggest food market selling everything edible under the sun.

This stretch is closely followed by Rambla de los capuxinos – some of the city’s finest and oldest cafs sit alongside the impressive Liceu Opera house and have been inspiration to several a visitor and writer to Barcelona. What easier way to stop and write a postcard than with a caf con leche here!? This part is often referred to as rambla de les flores, due to the many flower sellers crammed into the small space here, and is a dazzling place to visit in the saint George’s day celebrations ( the patron saint of Catalunya ) as roses are historically given on this day.

The following Rambla is Rambla del Sant Josep named immediately after a convent which was demolished in the mid 1900 and replaced by Mercat de Boqueria. La Mercat de Boqueria is a common coated fruit market. Here you can locate refreshing fish, vegetables, fruit and beef. Notice, the stalls close the entrance are the a lot expensive.

The fourth Rambla is Rambla del Caputxins. This Rambla is also named following a demolished building, Capuchin monasterysturdy. A very fascinating building, called Gran Movie house del Liceu, is situated at this portion of Las Ramblas.

The final stretch is Rambla de Santa Monica – named from the old Portal de Santa Monica still untouched on nearby Parallel street. Here the city’s many artists and caricature painters plant their stalls along with the everyday three cup conmen who never fail to attract interest. Crowning the base of Las Ramblas and the entrance to Port Vell ( “the old Port” is Christopher Columbus monument – pointing out towards Las Americas. Look for fantastic and inexpensive Ferienwohnungen Barcelona next to the Columbus monument.

This Rambla leads to a roundabout with the Columbus Monument. This portion of The Rambla is broader then the higher Ramblas and though strolling down be certain to glance to your still left and walk into Plaza True for a drink to cool off. If you are wanting for paintings from locals artists you should find most here, and at the end of Las Ramblas you can uncover a nice roundabout which has the statue of Colom as a middle concentrate point.

From Las Ramblas you can cross a bridge over the sea and carry on your practical experience by going into the Maremagnum complex.

Check out our guide on where to stay in Barcelona for more info on staying in Las Ramblas and hotel options.

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A Week in Spain: From Madrid to Barcelona

I’m sure time flies while traveling, but what to do with a week in Spain?

The answer to that is simple – try to come up with a comprehensive itinerary that best suits your needs and make sure to include the things that interest you most, even though one visit to the sunny destination will not be enough either way.

A great idea for your first sighting in (or a legendary comeback to) Spain is visiting two of the main hubs in the country in one go!

Here’s what to do with a week in Spain: From Madrid to Barcelona.

Traveling From Madrid to Barcelona  

Whether you start your adventure in Madrid and end in Barcelona or vice versa, one of the best ways of traveling between the two cities is by taking a train. You can make your way from Madrid to Barcelona by train in around three hours, all the while enjoying scenic views along the way and making use of modern onboard amenities, ensuring your comfort and safety. Check Rail.Ninja for more information on trains, timetables, and other train-travel-related information in Spain. Alternatively, you can hop on a bus or arrange yourself a private transfer to reach the destination, which can be slightly more time- or money-consuming.

For a scenic stop on your way from Madrid to Barcelona, hop off the train in Zaragoza, another lovely Spanish destination for you to explore. Home to some spectacular examples of Moorish architecture, it is the capital of the scenic Aragón region and the fifth-largest city in the country. While there, make sure to visit the spectacular Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, the imposing Palacio de la Aljafería, and Museo de Zaragoza, or simply set off wandering its charming streets as scenic views await you on its every corner.

Must-See Sights in Madrid

Let’s start with the bustling Spanish capital, Madrid; brimming with so many things to see and do, the city is a well of endless sightseeing opportunities.

One of the main visitor attractions in Madrid is undoubtedly the renowned Prado Museum, housing an exceptional collection of artwork, including but not limited to pieces by Velázquez, Ribera, and Zurbarán. Another crucial stop on the itinerary of any museum lover is the National Archaeological Museum telling the story of Spain’s past and its significant events. Another great way to get better acquainted with the country’s history is joining one of the comprehensive theme tours, such as the Madrid of the Bourbons Walking Tour or the Spanish Civil War Tour.

If museums are not something you enjoy, there are plenty of sightseeing opportunities and authentic activities to take part in, for instance, discovering the Golden Triangle of Art, joining a Tapas Cooking Class, taking a day trip to Toledo, enjoying a Flamenco Show, the list goes on!

Such activities allow you to familiarize yourself with the unparalleled fiery culture of Spain and to delve deeper into its flavorful world of gastronomy, popular all over the world.

With all the sightseeing tours to join, flamenco shows to watch, and tapas to taste in Madrid, three or four days pass by without you even noticing it!

Barcelona Attractions Not to Miss

After that, comes the time for you to get better acquainted with the jewels of Barcelona, starting with an unforgettable tour of Gaudi’s masterpieces. Scattered all over the bustling city, his works attract a number of visitors, from those lined by the Sagrada Familia to the ones leisurely strolling around Park Guell.

Other must-visit attractions on any Barcelona itinerary include the Cathedral de Barcelona, Las Ramblas, and the lively La Boqueria market, where you can sample local delicacies, buy fresh produce, or start souvenir hunting for the loved ones back at home.

Among the most popular sites, you can also find the Tibidabo Mountain providing picturesque views over the entire city and the Barceloneta beach, perfect for gazing at the sun slowly setting down in the evening. Don’t miss the chance also to visit the museums in the Montjuïc area and marvel at the dancing fountain nearby!

If you somehow still have a day to spare with the abundance of things to enjoy in Barcelona, don’t miss the chance to set off on a day tour! One of the most popular nearby attractions, perfect for a day-long getaway, is the postcard-like Montserrat Monastery, located just a short ride away, or a Game of Thrones tour in Girona, for those interested in the iconic TV series.

No matter which tours and activities you choose, there will always be so many more day tours to take part in, and sights and cities to visit in Spain, which will undoubtedly leave you wanting to come back.

What’s on your list for A Week in Spain?

Water Sports in Barcelona – Travel Dudes

Barcelona has the perfect combination of sandy beaches and warm weather…which means that there is a host of amazing water sports in Barcelona.

Head out to sea to try one of these exciting water sports in the inviting Mediterranean waters!

Water sports in Barcelona to try out

Jet ski Tour of Barcelona’s coast

Fancy yourself as a bit of a James Bond? Take on the waves with speed and style and discover the coast of Barcelona and the Catalonian coastline with a fast-paced jet ski tour. This top Barcelona water sport allows you to see all the famous sights in the coolest way possible. It’s also the perfect activity in the hot weather, to feel the fresh spray of the Mediterranean Sea cooling down the heat.

Check out: Get Your Guide or Viator for more information on booking this afternoon out on the waters.

Jetskiing in Barcelona
Jetskiing in Barcelona

Paddle boarding in Barcelona

The Mediterranean waters that surround the beaches of Barcelona are often very calm, making it the perfect placid-lake environment for paddle boarding. SUP, otherwise known as Stand-Up Paddle, is one of the most popular water sports in Barcelona. It’s a fun one to try out with friends for a more relaxed experience, as you can lay down on your board for some tanning time if you get tired!

It’s super easy to pick up, so it’s possible to just rent a board for the day and head out on your own. But if you’d rather have some support to get going, it’s also possible to book a guide to teach you the ropes.

Check out: Escuela SUP to find out more about booking and introductory classes. Or, rent your own Paddle SUP.

Water sports in Barcelona
Paddle boarding in Barcelona

Flyboarding in Barcelona

Flyboarding is recent water sport to have skyrocketed (pardon the pun) in popularity all over the world in recent years. If you’ve never heard of flyboarding before, let us explain. You balance yourself on a high-powered water jet board, that propels you out of the water and into the air, which you then control by going up, down, forwards and backwards. Sounds a bit futuristic, right! It’s the closest thing to being able to defy gravity, or to becoming Spiderman.

It takes a bit of practice to get into the swing of fly boarding, but a team of certified instructors will be on hand to teach you all the basics. It dips into the extreme category of the water sports listed, but with a qualified centre and instructors it is perfectly safe and fun.

Check out: Get Your Guide or Viator for more information.

flyboarding barcelona

Hydrofoil and eFoil

Another one we’d forgive you for not having heard of before is electric hydrofoiling, or eFoil. Learn to sail the waters of Barcelona on a high-tech eFoil, which is a flying surfboard with a small, electric motor that levitates above the surface of the water and is controlled by Bluetooth. It’s the latest and most exciting way to travel the coast of Barcelona!

It’s suitable for all age ranges, and instructors can take you through introductory and advanced classes to get to grips with this futuristic way of surfing.

Check out: Take Off Barcelona or Five Star Watersports.

hydrofoil barcelona
Image Source: Five Star Watersports Barcelona

Windsurfing in Barcelona

Feeling up to the challenge of mastering both wind and sea simultaneously? Well, windsurfing is the sport for you! It’s perhaps one of the most difficult water sports in Barcelona to master, so it’s certainly not one for the fainthearted. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s a great way to spend an adrenaline-filled afternoon.

You can windsurf all year round in Barcelona, and there are a variety of schools offering lessons for reasonable prices.

Check out: Escola Catalana de Surf, Anywhere Watersports Barcelona, and Viator.

Windsurfing Barcelona

Seabob tour

Brownie points if you know what a Seabob is! We’re sure you’ll have seen them before, they are a hydrodynamic jet that you grip onto, to propel you both above and below the water. It gives the sensation of swimming like a fish, leisurely gliding through the serene waters of the Mediterranean.

One of the best aspects of Seabobbing is that it’s completely environmentally friendly, it zooms powerfully and almost silently through the water. Dive to depths of up to 40 metres with proper safety equipment to explore what lies under the Barcelona shores.

Check out: Jet Scoot for the best Seabob experience.

Seabob Barcelona
Image Source: Jet Scoot

Sailing in Barcelona

In the mood for something a little fancier and classier? How about a few hours sailing around Barcelona’s coastline, and letting a professional skipper do all the hard work for you? This way you can spend more time relaxing, admiring the landscape, and sipping on a glass of wine, than having to do the heavy lifting yourself!

Book onto either a private yacht tour, or join a larger group, and sail through the serene waters for the ultimate relaxation experience. We recommend a sunset sailing experience, to see Barcelona in its best light under dreamy pink skies.

Check out: Get Your Guide or Viator to choose your perfect sailing experience.

Water sports in Barcelona - sailing
Sailing in Barcelona

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Best Places to Play Padel in Barcelona

When you’re in a park in Barcelona, you will quickly notice just how many people are staying active, either with running or working out.

The city is obsessed with it.

Over the years, the local councils and governing bodies have put a lot of money into ensuring that people can quench their thirst for exercise and maximise their potential. One of the other things that you will also realise in most parks, is that there are enclosed courts with people playing a sport called Padel.

This sport is one of the most famous in Spain and parts of Latin America. It offers a great alternative to tennis and squash in Barcelona. However, if you are from a country where Padel isn’t well-played, then you may have little to no knowledge on how to play it. Therefore, we thought best to shed light on the topic, so that you can…

Enjoy a game of Padel in Barcelona on your next visit to the city:

History of padel

The sport began in Acapulco, Mexico, by Enrique Corcuera in 1969. The idea was to make a new game that people could play instead of tennis. However, he wanted the sport to be played in an enclosed space that would enable two players to compete on the ‘same side’ of the court as they tried to out maneuver the opposition into committing an error. The sport would soon cross the atlantic, to parts of Southern Portugal and Spain, becoming very popular in the process. Corcuera mapped out a 10 by 20 metre court in his home, building enclosing walls along each side of this court. Shortly after the rules were finalised, padel was brought to Spain by Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe after spending a holiday at Corcuera’s house. Prince Alfonso made the game able to thrive at his Marbella Club hotel, spreading from here- Spain was hooked.

How to play

The first and founding set of rules were proposed by Viviana Dellavedova Corcuera, Enrique’s partner! The rules are basically the same as in tennis except serves are underarm and the ball can bounce off the walls that surround the court. Similar to tennis, volleys are encouraged to make a more exciting and competitive match! Point scoring is the same as tennis, meaning that the game comes very naturally to anyone with some familiarity with tennis! 

Where to play Padel in Barcelona: 

Fairplay Padel Club

The first of places to play padel in Barcelona, is Fairplay Padel Club of Montjuic, which offers eight courts where you can take classes, participate in leagues, events and tournaments. Whatever level you want to get to/experience, you can’t go wrong here.

Location: Carrer del Foc, 2, 08038 Barcelona

Club Natació Atlétic-Barceloneta

How does this sound, playing a game of padel right on the beach, not bad right? Well, let us introduce you to Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta! Offering four wonderful courts, it makes for the most ideal location to have a friendly game of padel whilst enjoying the ocean breeze. With flexible prices, you can be assured to find your match here!

Location: Plaça del Mar, 08003 Barcelona

Club Tennis De La Salut

Despite being known as a tennis club in Barcelona, Club Tennis De La Salut also offers 9 padel courts. You can even bring your kids here to have a go at a new sport in a friendly environment. As well as padel, this club offers fitness classes for members and non-members alike, giving you a chance to warm-up well before hitting the court!

Location: Carrer de la Mare de Déu de la Salut, 75, 08024 Barcelona

Meetup

Meetup is an app that gets people who share similar interests together. It is used for all things from art classes to book clubs, this app can also be used to connect people who want to play tennis or padel. Therefore, be sure to keep an eye out for a padel Meetup group to meet new people and improve your game on your next visit to Barcelona!


Christmas and New Year in Barcelona

Christmas is celebrated in its own unique way all across the world, with countless different traditions and cultures celebrating the festive season in its own special way.

Christmas and new year are one of the best times of year to visit Barcelona. From fireworks to Christmas markets, there is always something to get up to in Barcelona.

The Catalan capital knows how to get into the festive spirit, as there is a wealth of things to do this Christmas and New Year in Barcelona.

The Christmas Agenda

This year more than ever, we will have to say goodbye from our own homes, instead of at house parties or at the club until the early hours. But not to fear! There are still things on to get up to, and to get into the festive spirit.

La Fira de Santa Llucia Christmas Markets

The Market of Saint Lucia is Barcelona’s oldest Christmas market and dates back to the 18th century, taking place in the plaza in the front of Barcelona Cathedral. 2020 is the 234th anniversary of the Fira de Santa Llucia, and it will be open from the 27th of November until the 23rd of December. Here you will find stalls of handmade gifts, figures for nativity scenes, Christmas decorations, crafts, and much more!

The Three Kings Parade

The traditional Three Kings Parade, which takes place on the 5th of January, is usually a large tour of the city where crowds will come out to watch the Kings and their entourage pass through the streets.

The tradition of the Three Kings in Spain is when the three wise men, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar, accompanied by their entourage of fantastic creatures and royal mailmen, come to collect the letters from the children of their Christmas gift wishes. Children will be able to give their letters to the royal pages and experience the magic of the Three Kings at the Parque del Fòrum where there will be 10,000m2 construction that recreates the traditional floats and the Three Kings. There will also be the costumes, tools, a space to send and receive gifts, as well as a post office and box to send the letters to the Kings of the East.

Firework display from home

This year, the Barcelona council are putting on a firework display that will be able to be seen from all over the city. It will last for 15 minutes, so that the New Year can be brought in with a bang, and all from the safety of your own home so that there is no risk of crowds forming.

The fireworks will be initiated by 12 chimes, to mark the end of December 31st, and 12 bright palm trees will be launched in each of the ten districts of Barcelona: Ciutat Vella, L’Eixample, Sants-Montjuïc, Les Corts, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, Horta-Guinardó, Nou Barris, Sant Andreu and Sant Martí.

Catalan Festivities

Caga Tió

If you’ve never seen this festive Catalan character around Christmastime before, we’ll forgive you for thinking we’re joking when we explain this…

The star of every household in Catalonia is the ‘Caga Tió’ meaning ‘Poo Log’, and it is a small, wooden log painted with a big smiley face, dressed in the traditional red Catalan hat.

It is brought out on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, and the children ‘look after’ it until Christmas Eve, by wrapping it in blankets and feeding it Torró every evening. The idea is that by caring for him and making him full, he will then be able to ‘poo out’ their presents on Christmas Eve! No really…

After eating their main meal on Christmas Eve, the children start to hit Caga Tió with sticks while singing a special song to encourage it to give them their presents. Once the song has finished, they remove the blanket to find all of their Christmas presents underneath!

Caganer of the Nativity Scene

It is common in every household in Catalonia to have the nativity scene as a decoration up in the house, but there’s a peculiar addition in Catalonia to the scene that you will surely never have seen before…

The Caganer is an essential part of the Catalan pessebre (Nativity Scene), a peasant dressed in the typical Catalan red cap and is found hidden somewhere in the scene with his pants down, pooping in the stable!

This tradition is believed to have begun in the late 17th to early 18th century, and the Caganer’s poop was said to fertilize the earth and bring good luck for the new year. Nowadays it is more of a satirical joke for Catalans to include the Caganer in the Christmas scene, and the figurine is sold on the Christmas markets with the faces of politicians and celebrities on for fun.

New Year’s Eve Traditions

No matter where you may find yourself in Spain, the tradition on New Year’s Eve is to eat a grape with for each of the first 12 strikes of the clock at midnight on the 31st of December to welcome in the New Year.

It is said to lead to a year of good luck and prosperity, and in olden times was said to ward away witches and general evil, although the ‘magic’ of the grapes is treated more as an old wives’ tale, whereas nowadays its simply viewed as a cultural traditional to welcome in the new year with friends and family.


Two dogs, ball is in one of mouth

How to do Barcelona with a Dog

 

For many people, a dog is like a family member – with a study carried out by Amazon last year revealing that 52% of Spanish people prefer their pet to other humans!

So, we know you want the best for your pup, whether a visitor or resident of Barcelona, you want to know how to enjoy life to the full with your furry friend.

Barcelona is an excellent dog-friendly city, complete with parks, restaurants and outdoor spaces that welcome both you and your dog.

Read on for our guide of the best places in Barcelona with dog for man’s best friend.

A Guide on How to do Barcelona with a Dog

Parks and Green Areas

Living in the city centre doesn’t mean you have to always take a pavement walk, as Barcelona is home to countless parks, over a 100 of which being dog friendly. This means you don’t have to worry about needing to leave, and these areas all have bag dispensers, non-rust litters and fountains for your dog to drink and cool off by.

Parc de la Ciutadella

The renowned Parc de la Ciutadella is one of the best places in Barcelona to take your dog, due to not only the sheer size of their green areas for throwing a ball on, but for the beautiful scenery for you too! The long paths through the park are perfect as well if you enjoy running with your dog. Or, just grab an ice cream and relax by the lake, both sound good to us.

Jardins Joan Brossa

Found on the breathtaking Montjuïc hill, the Joan Brossa gardens are a huge 5.2 hectares of green space for you and your pup to take a stroll. The views of Barcelona are stunning from up here, great for taking a breather from fast city life.

Parc del Joan Miró

Many local dog owners of the Eixample Esquerra neighbourhood have Joan Miró as their park of choice for their pet, and it’s not hard to see why. The beautiful park is one of the biggest in the city and has a designated area for dogs to be let off the lead to run.

Parc de l’Estació del Nord

This unique park is found just slightly north of the Parc de la Ciutadella, with an area of more than 1000m2 that welcomes four legged friends. It is unique in its style due to the art sculptures that have been constructed into the land, by American artist, Beverley Pepper.

Pet-friendly Restaurants, Cafés & Bars

Not every restaurant in Barcelona is welcoming of dogs, so it’s always best to check with the individual place before you head down. However, a surprisingly large number are dog friendly, but here’s a few of our personal favourites:

Billy Brunch

Billy Brunch is infamous for serving what many customers call the best brunch they have ever tried. Open 365 days a year, serving delicious pancakes, smoothies, and even cocktails, Billy is a must try. Now, add in the fact your pooch can accompany you to brunch with friends, and what’s not to love!

Carrer de Bailèn, 115, 08009 Barcelona

Cocovail

Serving burgers, chicken wings, and over 20 craft beers on tap, Cocovail beer hall is the best place to head for a bite to eat with friends. Or, just to head for a beer and watch the live sport they show! Cocovail also welcomes dogs to join in the fun.

Carrer d’Aragó, 284, 08009 Barcelona

A Tu Bola

This quirky restaurant quite appropriately for dog-lovers serves all of their food in a ball shape! Yes, you read correctly. A Tu Bola has rave reviews for its innovative take on home cooked food, but a must visit for you and your four-legged friend!

Carrer de l’Hospital, 78, 08001 Barcelona

Pet-friendly Beaches

One of the best parts of the beautiful city of Barcelona is the array of endless beaches to visit. It is essential however to be aware of the rules around bringing your dog along for the fun. In the winter, dogs are permitted on the beach at any time.

However, during the summer months, pets are only allowed onto the beaches after sunset, late at night, or early morning.

The exceptions to this are guide and assistance dogs, who are allowed to access the beach at any time or day of the year.

The best part is there is actually a designated dog beach in Barcelona! The Playa del Llevant in Poblenou offers a space of around 1200m2 of secured area where pooches can paddle and play, as well as showers and fountains to cool them off at the end. Further out of Barcelona there is also Sant Pol de Mar, Playa les Banyeretes and Playa Les Salines which have been designated as dog friendly.

Travelling Around the City

Pets are allowed onto the metro system, so long as you travel with them outside of the busy, rush hour times, this being: between 7:00 – 9:30 and 17:00 – 19:00. The rule is also that you must either muzzle your dog or put them into a carrier, with the exception to this being for small dogs. Similarly, a non-extending lead must be used.

It is a rule for those coming into Spain with a pet that it must be microchipped too, but it’s also generally a good idea to have this done even if you’re a resident.

So, whether you’re a resident or a visitor looking to enjoy life with your dog in Barcelona, we hope with our advice you can make the most of the city, as it’s one of the most dog-friendly ones you can find!

 

Sagrada Família in Barcelona

Our Favourite Films based in Barcelona

 

One of the best things about watching films is that you can recognise the odd street corner, familiar scenery or even a favourite city.

When somewhere has a sentimental value, it is enjoyable to remind yourself of this place. Whether it is where you and a friend have visited, you have been there with a partner or your family, it holds a place in your memory.

Barcelona as a city is held by all visitors to this high regard, with it being where memories are made by all.

One of the best ways to reimagine and give a new life to these memories, if you cannot visit the place, is by watching it on film. This way you can point out where you are familiar, so that you can imagine yourself in the scene.

Here are our favourite films which are based in Barcelona

Barcelona, Whit Stillman, 1994

The clue is in the name for this first one. Written and directed by Whit Stillman, this American comedy-drama takes place in our wonderful city. Ted, a Chicago salesman, lives and works in Barcelona during the 1980s, when his cousin, Fred, comes to stay. Fred, who is a U.S naval officer, comes to stay as he gets things into place for the arrival of a touring fleet. These cousins have had an up-and-down relationship that culminates in this film. Both young and single, the film follows them as they try the dating scene in Barcelona, which leads Ted into a work-related issue. This film is a great one to watch for anyone missing Barcelona, with many notable spots all over the city, it is an ideal way to remind yourself of our wonderful city, having fun in the process!

Places to look out for:

Av. Reina Maria Cristina, Barcelona Cathedral, El Born, Columbus Monument, Palau de la Música, Passeig de Gràcia and Hospital de Sant Pau

All About My Mother, Pedro Almodóvar, 1999

The last on our list of top 5 films based in Barcelona is a spanish-language film, directed by Pedro Almodóvar and also features Penélope Cruz. This film follows Manuela, an Argentine nurse and single mother to Esteban, a teenager with a dream of becoming a writer. A tragic event leads to Esteban’s death and leads Manuela to tie up loose ends in her life. Such as moving to Barcelona in search of Esteban’s father, a trans-woman named Lola, whom Manuela never told had a son. A powerful story that deals with very complex issues, like AIDS, homosexuality, transsexualism, faith and human nature; this film was ahead of its time and received world write success for the story it tells. Being set in Barcelona, this film gives you a strong story to learn about, in a familiar setting. We hope you enjoy them all.

Places to look out for:

Palau de la Música, Hospital del Mar and Sagrada Familia

The Passenger, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975

A noir film, The Passenger begins its story with TV journalist, David Locke, staying in a hotel near the Sahara whilst making a documentary on post-colonial Africa. In the hotel he befriends an English businessman, Robertson. Robertson passes away suddenly and Locke steals his friend’s identity in order to start a new life for himself, persuading the hotel owners that the deceased person was Locke, not Robertson. This leads to Locke’s family wanting to track down “Robertson” in order to find more out about his alleged death. This search brings Martin, a friend of Locke, to Barcelona where a close encounter gives the film tension. Watch this brilliant film to find out how it ends!

Places to look out for:

Las Ramblas, Parc de la Ciutadella, La Pedrera and Palau Güell

Pot Luck, Cédric Klapisch, 2002

Pot Luck, also known asThe Spanish Apartment, is a french-spanish language film written and directed by Cédrick Kalpisch. The story of this film is about an economics student in his Erasmus year in Barcelona. Here, the protagonist Xavier lives in shared student accommodation with fellow students from all over Western Europe. Showing how different cultures mix together in a new environment, this feel-good film shows comradery, life-choices and friendship in a refreshing way. Making for a very enjoyable film that is set in Barcelona. Giving you a chance to relive your memories of our wonderful city.

Places to look out for:

University of Barcelona, Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, Plaça Reial, Via Laietana and Barceloneta beach

Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen, 2008

This film has some very famous faces in it, with Penélope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem, playing the main parts. Directed by Woody Allen, this rom-com focuses on two American women, Vicky and Cristina, as they spend a summer in Barcelona. When here, they meet artist Juan Antonio and the complicated love story in Barcelona begins. Juan, who enjoys the attention of both Vicky and Cristina still has a confused relationship with his ex-wife, María. This film was shot all over the city and unfolds in a dramatic way. With some great actors, this is easily one of the best films set in Barcelona.

Places to look out for:

Gothic Quarter, Santa María del Mar, Port Olimpíc, Las Ramblas, Parc Güell, La Pedrera, Sagrada Familia and Tibidabo.

 

Barcelona drink shop

Barcelona Off the Beaten Track

 

You’ve probably heard a lot of people give you ‘insider tips’ on Barcelona for when you travel there.

The problem is that those ‘insider tips’ are probably so widespread nowadays that they are no longer what they say they are.

However, the first thing you need to know is that Barcelona is a city that’s ever-changing when it comes to trends, so there are always new things to discover which, combined with the traditional elements, make Barcelona one of the most attractive cities in the world.

Off the beaten track in Barcelona:

Poble Sec, the place to eat

It’s as simple as this: if you eat in the city centre or don’t know where to eat at first, you’ll get stung in the wallet. If you want to try traditional Spanish tapas and local cuisine, the best thing you can do is take the short metro ride from the city centre and get off at Poble Sec. Poble Sec is an old, traditional neighbourhood of narrow streets and bars filled with local old men enjoying their afternoon vermouth. The standard of restaurants here vary from the exclusive yet delicious Tickets, ran by the brother of the famous chef Ferràn Adrià, or the traditional tapas places that have been there since before care to remember, such as Quimet i Quimet, Bar Seco or La Tieta, where you can eat some of the best food in Barcelona at the best prices or simply enjoy the traditional afternoon vermut.

There’s more to markets than La Boqueria

La Boqueria is Barcelona’s most famous market, but the sheer amount of stalls selling smoothies for 3€ and boxes of fruit at the cost of an arm and a leg take its charm away. If you’d like to experience a true market in Barcelona, why not take the short walk across the old town to the Born district and visit Santa Caterina Market. This market has peculiar architecture from the outside that is definitely worthy of a photograph and its inside is bustling with life, sellers shouting their best offers and some of the freshest produce in Barcelona. Also, there are restaurants that make hearty local dishes at excellent prices, such as L’Univers. Also, the Sarrià Market is worth a visit because not only is it outside the usual tourist domains but it’s also a great place to start a walking tour of this beautiful district of the city.

A walk around Sarrià

Sarrià is located in the northern part of Barcelona and it used to be a town in itself, which gives it its unique appearance. Its streets slope downwards from Passeig Bonanova and are mostly pedestrian, which gives it some much needed peace and quiet after all the hustle in the city centre. One of the main attractions is Bar Tomàs, which is where locals objectively agree upon the fact that they make the best patatas bravas in the city and possibly the world. Have an ice cream in Plaça de Sarrià square or simply get lost in the many narrow streets and their shops, even stopping to have a coffee in some of its quiet squares. If you’re looking for authentic Barcelona without many tourists in sight, Sarrià is a safe bet.

Leave the city

Whilst Barcelona might be great, there are also many places that you can go to outside the city that are also well worth your while. If the crowded beaches of Barcelona are too much for you, why not take a short train ride north and enjoy the peace and quiet of the beaches of Sant Pol de Mar, Ocata or, for somewhere a bit more lively, head south to Sitges, a little seaside town although very popular with tourists. Still, it’s nowhere near as crowded as Barcelona, much more scenic and also just 30 minutes from Barcelona on the train.

Quite simply, there’s much more to Barcelona than meets the eye. However, if you know how to find it, your stay will be much more enjoyable. To start experiencing the city like a local, rent apartments in Barcelona and the rest is up to you!

 

Padel in Barcelona

Best Places to Play Padel in Barcelona

 

When you’re in a park in Barcelona, you will quickly notice just how many people are staying active, either with running or working out.

The city is obsessed with it.

Over the years, the local councils and governing bodies have put a lot of money into ensuring that people can quench their thirst for exercise and maximise their potential. One of the other things that you will also realize in most parks, is that there are enclosed courts with people playing a sport called Padel.

This sport is one of the most famous in Spain and parts of Latin America. It offers a great alternative to tennis and squash in Barcelona. However, if you are from a country where Padel isn’t well-played, then you may have little to no knowledge on how to play it. Therefore, we thought best to shed light on the topic, so that you can…

Enjoy a game of Padel in Barcelona on your next visit to the city:

History of padel

The sport began in Acapulco, Mexico, by Enrique Corcuera in 1969. The idea was to make a new game that people could play instead of tennis. However, he wanted the sport to be played in an enclosed space that would enable two players to compete on the ‘same side’ of the court as they tried to out maneuver the opposition into committing an error. The sport would soon cross the atlantic, to parts of Southern Portugal and Spain, becoming very popular in the process. Corcuera mapped out a 10 by 20 metre court in his home, building enclosing walls along each side of this court. Shortly after the rules were finalised, padel was brought to Spain by Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe after spending a holiday at Corcuera’s house. Prince Alfonso made the game able to thrive at his Marbella Club hotel, spreading from here- Spain was hooked.

How to play

The first and founding set of rules were proposed by Viviana Dellavedova Corcuera, Enrique’s partner! The rules are basically the same as in tennis except serves are underarm and the ball can bounce off the walls that surround the court. Similar to tennis, volleys are encouraged to make a more exciting and competitive match! Point scoring is the same as tennis, meaning that the game comes very naturally to anyone with some familiarity with tennis!

Where to play Padel in Barcelona:

Fairplay Padel Club

The first of places to play padel in Barcelona, is Fairplay Padel Club of Montjuic, which offers eight courts where you can take classes, participate in leagues, events and tournaments. Whatever level you want to get to/experience, you can’t go wrong here.

Location: Carrer del Foc, 2, 08038 Barcelona

Club Natació Atlétic-Barceloneta

How does this sound, playing a game of padel right on the beach, not bad right? Well, let us introduce you to Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta! Offering four wonderful courts, it makes for the most ideal location to have a friendly game of padel whilst enjoying the ocean breeze. With flexible prices, you can be assured to find your match here!

Location: Plaça del Mar, 08003 Barcelona

Club Tennis De La Salut

Despite being known as a tennis club in Barcelona, Club Tennis De La Salut also offers 9 padel courts. You can even bring your kids here to have a go at a new sport in a friendly environment. As well as padel, this club offers fitness classes for members and non-members alike, giving you a chance to warm-up well before hitting the court!

Location: Carrer de la Mare de Déu de la Salut, 75, 08024 Barcelona

Meetup

Meetup is an app that gets people who share similar interests together. It is used for all things from art classes to book clubs, this app can also be used to connect people who want to play tennis or padel. Therefore, be sure to keep an eye out for a padel Meetup group to meet new people and improve your game on your next visit to Barcelona!

 

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