Unique Things to do in Florence

Florence is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. This city has a village atmosphere that can’t stop bringing visitors back repeatedly due to its old-world charm.

However, you might be bored of going to the same few tried and tested museums or destinations. You might not yet know that there are many unique things to do in Florence, including a lot of non touristy things to do in Florence that will show you another side of this fantastic destination. 

Here are some Florence hidden gems to add to your itinerary next time you travel to Italy!

See also: Cheap but Chic: Budget Hotels in Florence

Finding hidden gems in Florence streets
Finding hidden gems in Florence streets

Unique things to do in Florence

Selfie Museum

The Selfie Museum is an international sensation that features incredible installations created by many artists designed to be used as a backdrop for Instagram photos and selfies!

Selfie Museums started as far back as 2015, with one of the first museums located in the Philippines. Now, Florence is the home to the first Selfie Museum in Italy

You should know that it’s not an actual museum but more of an interactive experience designed for entertainment. Each person is encouraged to immerse themselves in their surroundings. 

You can expect corridors of colourful backdrops, optical illusions, and more. Don’t forget to wear an #instagrammable outfit. 

A ticket gets you 1.5 hours of access to over 50 installations created by international artists. It’s also open every day from 10:00 – 19:00pm. 

Individuals can expect to pay €13, with student discounts and bundled options available for families. Booking is essential, so don’t miss out on one of the most unique things to do in Florence – book your ticket here.

All’Antico Vinaio Food Tour

All’Antico Vinaio is a renowned sandwich store in Italy, known for its ‘schiacciata’, sandwiches made on focaccia-style bread. It first opened in 1989 and has since opened branches in Rome, Milan and even across the pond in New York.

If you are looking for non touristy things to do in Florence but still want to enjoy great food and drink, you would love the All’Antico Vinaio – Skip The Line food tour. 

You can expect just under three hours of unique eats, featuring 7 different stops and 4 kinds of wine. You’ll start with traditional Italian espresso and pastries, enjoy a fantastic sandwich at All’Antico Vinaio, drink Chianti wine and enjoy a sweet surprise at the end. 

Florence food markets in Italy
Florence food markets – depositphotos.com

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

This is one of the best non touristy things to do in Florence for any fashionistas who happen to be in Florence instead of Milan.

The Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the most unique things to do in Florence off the beaten path! It’s a fashion museum entirely dedicated to the life and work of world-renowned fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo and his company. He is known for his prolific shoe design and production. The museum features over 10,000 models of shoes created and owned by Salvatore Ferragamo. 

The museum is open every day from 11:00 until 19:30, and admission costs €16.50. You can also expect seasonal exhibitions at the Salvatore Ferragamo museum if you’re lucky!

Villa Bardini

Often, the Bardini Gardens in Florence are missed by travellers. It wouldn’t be wrong to feel like you’re discovering a new place while visiting the beautiful premises of Villa Bardini.

Villa Bardini features a 17th-century villa with many acres of gardens. This area offers some of the best views of Florence and regularly hosts art exhibitions and other significant events.

You don’t want to rush your visit to these lush gardens! There is no better place to lie under the trees and simply relax. It might not be the most fitting for the title of non touristy things to do in Florence, but it’s worth a visit anyway. 

Bardini Gardens in Florence
View from the Italian-style Bardini gardens in Florence, Italy – depositphotos.com

Acquario di Livorno (Livorno Aquarium)

You may not think of an ‘aquarium’ when you think of ‘Florence’. That’s because it’s not in the city centre of Florence – it’s actually in Livorno, about 1.5 hours away by car. 

However, the Acquario di Livorno (Livorno Aquarium) is one of the most unique things to do in the broader Florence area.

Inside, you’ll find a Mediterranean-style aquarium that features unique international exhibits. You’ll discover blacktip sharks, jellyfish, manta rays and sea turtles.

This is a fantastic opportunity for families with children looking for Florence hidden gems to enjoy. Other visitors enjoyed the tremendous sights, helpful staff and relative quietness of the aquarium compared to other tourist destinations in Florence.

Admission is around €16.00, with more significant price discounts if purchasing online. It would be a great destination to make a day trip adventure with other non touristy things to do in Florence and its greater area!

Tettuccio Thermal Spa

Located between Florence and Versilia in Montecatini, Tettuccio Thermal Spa offers four different thermal pools in Europe’s oldest spa town. These baths contain mineral salts and other precious elements, set in a beautifully landscaped garden to create the most dreamy spa day ever. 

If you are looking for the ultimate in relaxation, this is the perfect thing for you – and one of the most unique things to do in Florence.

There is a beautiful fresco in the cafe here, a historical writing room (sala di scrittura) and a few shops to browse.  

You’ll also find unusual healing treatments here, such as drinking the thermal water. There are also more traditional spa treatments, such as massages, facial treatments and thermal baths. 

Summary 

There are many unique things to do in Florence that will take you off the beaten track to find a bit of quiet during your visit – you just need to know where to look!

If you like fashion and art, you will love the Selfie Museum or Salvatore Ferragamo museum, two of Florence hidden gems that aren’t always busy.

If you are after a family outing, take a trip to the Livorno Aquarium just outside Florence for a lovely day out. Solo travellers may enjoy the Tettuccio Thermal Spa or Villa Bardini for the ultimate holiday bliss. 

No matter what you’re looking for, we’re sure you’ll find non touristy things to do in Florence during your next trip to Italy!


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.


Unique Things to do in Madrid on a Sunday

Looking for a typical Sunday in Madrid? A Madrid Sunday is all about getting out onto the city streets, enjoying some delicious food, a good coffee, and taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

There is so much more to Madrid than El Prado and the bullfights – here are my top favourite things to do in Madrid on a Sunday.

Unique things to do in Madrid, Spain
El Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain

Unique Things to do in Madrid on a Sunday

1. Stroll through El Retiro park with thousands of Madrilenos, watching bands perform, boats on the pond, and clowns making balloon animals.

2. Visit the terrace lookout of the Circulo de Bellas Artes building for a view of the city skyline and the Gran Via, Madrid’s main street (admission to the rooftop is 1 Euro).

3. Enjoy tapas and beer at one of the sunny outdoor tapas cafés in the La Latina quarter.

4. Sip a beer under an incredibly blue Madrid sky at one of several restaurants with tables set up inside the Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s main square.

5. Dunk “churros” into a thick, sweet chocolate drink at La Chocolateria de San Gines, one of Madrid’s most popular chocolate bars just off the Calle Arenal pedestrian mall.

6. Take in the buskers and musicians along with thousands of Madrilenos on the Puerta del Sol plaza then join them as they amble along the Calle Arenal pedestrian mall towards the Opera House.

7. Savour a coffee and watch the elegantly dressed Madrilenos stroll by at the outdoor patio of Café Gijon a few blocks north of El Prado museum on the Passeo de Recoletos.

8. Take in the sunset view of Madrid while enjoying a light snack or a glass of wine at the glass enclosed rooftop restaurant on top of the department store El Corte Ingles on Gran Via near the Callao metro stop.

9. Stand shoulder to shoulder with the locals drinking draft beer and enjoying inexpensive tapas at the Almeria tapas bar in the La Latina quarter. (P.S. if you LOVE tapas and are heading to Barcelona any time soon, check out these cheap tapas bars in Barcelona).

10. Wander around the newly refurbished, glass enclosed Mercado de San Miguel, the oldest in Madrid, and visit the food stalls while sipping wine and sampling thin slivers of Spain’s famous Pata Negra ham.

Things to do in Madrid on a Sunday
Things to do in Madrid on a Sunday

Madrid Sunday Markets

Love exploring markets? Then why not spend your Sunday checking out these Madrid Sunday Markets.

El Rastro

El Rastro is one of the biggest outdoor markets in Spain and has been a weekly tradition for over 400 years. There are over 1,000 vendors offering everything from antiques to furniture, artwork and clothing.

Location: Calle de la Ribera de Curtidores, 28005 Madrid, Spain

Opening hours: it is open every Sunday in Madrid from 9am to 3pm.

Mercado de Motores

This beautiful vintage thrifting market is held every second weekend of the every month. It includes handmade clothing, live music and delicious food. What makes it even more special is that it’s located inside an old train station!

Location: Museo del Ferrocarril, Paseo de las Delicias, 61, 28045 Madrid, Spain

Opening hours: it is open every second Sunday in Madrid from 11am to 10pm (visit their website to confirm dates).

Madrid Sunday shopping hours

Sunday is generally the day of rest in Spain, with many shops remaining closed on a Sunday. However, as more foreigners move into the city you’ll find that there are a few shops open on a Sunday (though, with limited opening hours).

Supermarkets and department stores are usually open all day on Sundays, from 10am to 9pm. In the city centre, you’ll often find small food or souvenir shops open a Sunday.

Check out these other places to visit in Madrid.