Barcelona is rich with renowned architectural wonders, endless beaches and fantastic cuisine. But there’s a hidden side to the city that will reward an adventurous spirit. Here’s our guide to the top 10 unusual things to seek out in Barcelona.
Carrer de la Mare de Déu de Port, 56–58
Located on the arid, rocky slopes of Montjuïc hill, Montjuïc Cemetary is a sprawling area of mystery, intrigue and tranquility. Over 130 years old, the 56-hectare cemetery is the final resting place for many of Catalonia’s most renowned historical figures, including former president Francesc Macià, musician Isaac Albéniz and Artist Joan Miró. Featuring countless masterpieces of funereal art, Montjuïc Cemetery is a must-visit for anyone in Barcelona looking for a profound experience in a serene setting.
Taller d’Oleguer Junyent (Oleguer Junyent’s Workshop)
Carrer de Bonavista, 22
A hidden gem in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, this stunning collection is housed in the original workshop of a true Catalan genius. Oleguer Junyent was a multifaceted artist, set designer, cartoonist, painter, collector, antique dealer and great Catalan traveler, best known as the stage and costume designer for grand operas held at the Gran Teatre de Liceu. A leading figure of the modernist movement of the early 20th century, Junyent’s collection includes a breathtaking array of paintings, sculptures, models and costumes. The Junyent family, who still live on the site, open the workshop for scheduled viewings throughout the year.
Barcelona Erotic Museum
La Rambla, 96 bis
If, when strolling down La Rambla, you happen to see Marilyn Monroe waving to you from an adjoining balcony, either the heat is finally getting to you or you’re being summoned to the Barcelona Erotic Museum. An offbeat education for curious minds, this museum of kink takes a look at the sexuality of our ancestors through a weird and wonderful array of erotic artefacts and contraptions, proving that modern sex isn’t quite as original as we think.
Carrer de Farell, 12
Tucked away down a side street in the Hostafrancs area of Barcelona is Uncorked Bodega – a charming little wine bodega offering an unconventional treat for wine and cava lovers. A local twist on the art of champagne sabring – a practice rumoured to have been popularised by Napoleon – cava sabring involves opening a bottle of cava using a sword in one swift motion. Not only can guests experience the thrill of uncorking a bottle with a sabre in a safe environment, they will also learn about the history of cava sabring from Uncorked’s knowledgeable owners, as well as the history of cava and Catalan wine.
Historic Botanic Gardens
Av. dels Montanyans, 26
A small sun-drenched oasis tucked away at the back of the National Art Museum of Catalonia, this hidden gem goes unnoticed by the stream of tourists who pass its entrance every day. The lower part of the gardens are on average 4°c cooler than nearby areas, creating a microclimate that is an ideal environment for non-native species to grow, giving these gardens a unique charm. Ideal for nature lovers or for anyone looking for a respite from city and a little spot of serenity.
Calder Mercury Fountain
Fundació de Joan Miró, Parc de Montjuïc
Located in an unassuming wing of the Fundació de Joan Miró is the deadliest work of art in the world. A fountain of pure mercury, this beautiful oddity was designed by American Alexander Calder for the 1937 World Fair in Paris. A tribute to the town of Almadén, where 60% of the world’s mercury was mined, the Calder Fountain is one of the earliest examples of the search for movement in sculpture.
Labyrinth Park of Horta
Passeig dels Castanyers, 1
A hidden gem to the north of the city, Barcelona’s oldest historical garden features a magical hedge maze at its centre. With over 2,000 bewitching twists and turns, visitors won’t mind getting lost in this picturesque, manicured maze. Those who make it to the centre will find a statue of Eros, the Greek god of love, a nod to the romantic undertones of the park’s origins.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Barcelona Balloon Flights, Carrer de Montsió, 10
With so much to see and do in Barcelona at street level, few visitors think to take to the skies. But for those who can handle the heights, a hot air balloon ride over the stunning Catalan landscape, including the mountains of Montserrat, is a truly unforgettable experience.
Design and Build a Skateboard
Avinguda del Mar, 18, Castelldefels
Barcelona is perhaps the skateboard capital of Europe. It makes sense, therefore, to offer skaters the chance to build their own board. An accessible experience that’s suitable for novices as well as seasoned skaters, Barnaboards gives participants the chance to design their own board, before guiding them through the process of cutting their own skateboard plank and assembling the trucks and wheels. And what better way to traverse the streets of Barcelona than on your own custom-made creation?
Carrer d’En Cortines, 23
Our very own GRAFFITI MASTERCLASS is perfect for anyone looking for an alternative art experience in Barcelona. The masterclass comes courtesy of Konair, one of the most renowned street artists in Spain, whose iconic ice-lolly logo is now part of the fabric of the Barcelona street art scene. Participants learn spray can techniques and the tricks of the street art trade, before creating their own indelible mark on Barcelona with a personalised street art mural.
Written by Ryan Osborn
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