Most authentic things to do in Barcelona, Catalonia

Barcelona is probably one of the best cities to live in Europe. I am French and I have lived in many places, including other areas of Spain. But Barcelona is by far my favorite! I moved here in 2010 and I still discover new and charming corners every day! A single article can only be an introduction to trigger your interest!

The Old Town

It is actually divided into different areas. Born is on top of my list. Why? Because I love its tiny streets, especially where few locals still live. The city became very expensive and most people have to live outside now. So the center is becoming less and less authentic. That’s why I would never recommend going to the Ramblas. It’s just a tourist attraction, with no local charms anymore. But I would highly recommend strolling in the small streets adjacent to it. Go from Born to Raval walking or cycling. It’s the best way to go through all the charming little streets and “plazas”.

Hights of Barcelona

There are many areas on the hills that offer wonderful views of the city and overlooking the sea. Montjuic is one of them. You can take a cable car to reach the top and then stroll through its beautiful gardens. I also highly recommend a day excursion to Montserrat. It means saw mountain in Catalan, because of its shape. You can take the Ferrocarril train to reach its treasure, the Benedictine Abbey of the Monastery. And if you can’t go that far, try to go to Tibidabo, which dominates the city! The views are amazing, and The Tibidabo Sagrat Cor Cathedral is also worth the trip!  

Beach areas

Barceloneta is very famous but way too crowded for me. I would rather go a little further out of the city, in Bogatell for instance. It’s close to the famous Rambla del Poblenou. When I first moved here, it was deserted! But now many hotels settle down and it is getting busier every year. I still love it though, especially in the morning.  
Barcelona Beach Bogatell

Beach of Bogatell in Barcelona

  If you can, take a train and get out of Barcelona. It’s less busy, especially after Tarragona. Sitges is a famous gem everyone will tell you about, but other small places are less touristic and much more authentic! Check any village around Cunit, it’s just perfect!

My favorite neighborhoods of Barcelona

You have probably heard of Gracia. It’s very famous for its “Festa Major” in August, where locals decorate the streets, play music and have fun! But actually, I avoid going there because it’s too crowded. However, I love it at quiet hours. There are many local shops. If you love the planet and do everything to be a better citizen, Gracia has many bulk shops where you can buy package-free food or cleaning products.   Barcelona Gracia Neighboorhood     If you enjoy bustling places, Sants is one of those areas that still have a local taste. Nearby the main railway station, you will find plenty of shops and bars to enjoy the crowd! San Antoni is becoming the hipster area of Barcelona. I used to live nearby for a couple of years. Now it is one of the trendiest spots in the city!   Obviously, there is much more to do in Barcelona. And I would definitely recommend staying here for at least a whole week. Or even longer if you can! Because Catalonia has so much to offer! Mountains, seaside, authentic villages… Even after 11 years of living here, I still have so much to discover!

Ella Travels

I am consultant in travel and hospitality for the last decade. I am also passionate about travels and I have visited many countries in around the globe. I am now starting a new project about responsible and accessible travel as I want to inspire people to live their dreams, despite their limitations. I also want to help travelers find the best places that respect the environment and the health of our planet. Places that are flexible for travelers with special requirements, whether that be in terms of food, comfort or budget. I want to create a community of like-minded travel business owners and travelers who believe that the health of the planet impact our own health and therefore do their best to protect it. If you want to know more about my project or want to help me reach that goal, do not hesitate to get in touch via my blog!