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10 Hidden Gems In Barcelona

So you know about Las Ramblas. You know that your football crazy friend will want to visit the Nou Camp. And you know that the Gothic Quarter is where you'll get all the best Instamgram pics, but where in Barcelona are you missing out on? What gems do you need to know about and where you should be staying instead of a cramped room on AirBnb? If you love ice cream, eating, cold drinks and a walk through history, put this list on your itinerary.

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1. Plaça del Duc de Medinaceli

So everyone goes a good sit in the sun in Barcelona. With squares dotted all around the city, you can often find yourself being drawn to tourist traps where local cafes have to compete with McDonalds and everyone fights over a good chair.

Avoid the horror by having a seat in Plaça del Duc de Medinaceli in the early afternoon/ evneing. It's just a six minute walk from Placa Reial ( going along Carrer del Vidre and Carrer Nou de Sant Francesc) and even though it's near a main road, its one of those spots that most people will skip by on their way to the Aquarium.

2. Grab some Horchata

Tapas don't have to be on the menu every day (even though they are amazingly delicious). Barcelona has a growing and vibrant street food scene.

Everything from churros to horchata is best tasted when made by local vendors and not purchased pre-packaged from a supermercado. Street food doesn't mean having to go in to a trendy looking cafe though. Traditional is best and that's why you need to make sure that a visit to Turrones Sirvent is in order. For nearly 100 years now they've been the nutty based drink and haven't put a foot wrong in crafting the perfect drink for grabbing and sipping while lounging in the park.

3. Have some Portuguese Buns

Casa Portuguesa / Via Facebook: acasaportuguesa

If you're after a snack and a friend suggests grabbing a sandwich from Starbucks, toss that sandwich out of their hands and get some Portuguese buns.

At Casa Portuguesa they make delicious snacks just like their buddies on the other side of the border and they are muy delicioso. Their special sandwiches come in all shapes and sizes, but if you're only going to be there once make sure you pick the merenda.

It's a thing of beauty for simply being a ham and cheese sandwich, but the brioche style bun they use and the creaminess of the cheese are a match made in heaven.

4. Try & Live Like A Local

Long Stay Apartments Barcelons / Via

If you're the type of person who loves to immerse themselves in local culture, staying in a Hilton or Holiday Inn won't help much. And without running the risk of ending up in a cramped AirBnb that definitely looked much better in the photos, there are special hotels which can make it feel as though you're living it up in Barcelona.

One such hotel is Capri By Fraser Barcelona, which provides serviced accommodation that is designed for those who want to plan a trip they way they see fit. Their apartments have fully fitted kitchens and are designed to be much more liveable than a dull looking hotel room.

If you've ever wanted to cook local food and get a feeling of what Barca life is like, this is ideal. It helps too that there's a sunroof in the building.

5. Get Insta Ready

Alison Cornford-matheson

Spend half your day flicking through Instagram and want a photo spot that will make your friends jealous? Then it's time to visit a hospital.

The Hospital of Holy Cross and Saint Paul is just about a 10 minute walk away from La Sagrada Familia. You just need to walk in a straight line along the Av. de Gaudí and you'll soon see a building that looks more like a churche than a hospital.

It was designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner and has a very un-hospital like about it as the designer wanted the building to be bright in the hopes of cheering patients up and helping them recover quicker.

Every nook and cranny is full of opportunities to take pics like the one above so if you're the type who is one for choosing their filters carefully, this place is for you.

6. Grab a lifejacket

Its important to remember that Barcelona is a coastal city. So many tourists spend time confined to the same tiny area of attractions that they forget they're right beside the amazing Mediterranean Sea.

Watersports in the city, when you can find them, are quite expensive. That why you should take a quick drive north of town to the Clue Nautic Masnou. Located on Ocata beach, it's primarily full of locals who know the place well. There's no annoying tourist traps in sight and if you go to the clubhouse you can sign up for wind-sailing and paddle boarding lessons.

The water off the coast is surprisingly choppy, so if you're someone who easily gets sea sick, it might not be for you.

7. Get Your Stretch On

Yoga Classes Barcelona / Via

When you're planning a class at the gym, the timetable usually doesn't simply say "Sunset" under time, but at Yoga Classes Barcelona that is the perfect time to get up on their roof, get your stretch on and do a spot of yoga with a nice view and sunset to stare at.

its just €12 a class, and they even have a full moon yoga class, but we're not sure moving about in the dark with strangers is really a good idea.

8. Get Your Read On

Sundays are traditionally a very day around the city. One little hub of activity though is down by Urgell Street. From early in the morning traders set up for the local book market where you'll find everything from rare first editions to the latest comic books. It's also a hub for local vinyl collectors, so if you're in the mood to grab a bargain on some salsa music you'll find it right here.

9. Get your licks on

Don't forget that it gets hot in Barcelona and there's no better way to cool down than with a really good ice cream.

While there are a thousand shops all selling overpriced Magnums and Cornettos that will tread the fine line between frozen hard as a rock and melting all down your hand, the city has some classically beloved ice cream parlours that are a must.

Now it isn't just a scoop on a cone we're talking about. Many places serve the horchata I mentioned earlier, as well as granissats which are slushies that usually are made with pure fruit juice rather than artificial sweeteners.

One of the best is Bodevici. It's a little bit out of town up in Mataro, but if you're ever out that way to visit a beach, stop by and sample some of the best organic ice cream. I suggest trying the leche merengada, which is sheep's milk ice cream with a little hint of cinnamon and lemon.

10. Keep the kids happy

On the off chance you're travelling to Barcelona with family and there are young ones coming, don't fret. There are plenty of activities and sights for kids. You can always go to the CosmoCaixa which is the biggest science museum in Europe, although its not quite the hidden gem I've been talking about.

For a unique day out with kids, a visit to Museu de la Xocolata should be on the cards. It's a museum dedicated entirely to chocolate, with unique and amazing sculptures that are made entirely out of the delicious stuff. You can see everything from La Sagrada Familia to the house from UP!

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