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Barcelona’s Best Kept Secrets
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Barcelona’s Best Kept Secrets

Picture of Rebecca Wilkinson
Updated: 9 February 2017
The cosmopolitan and bustling heart of Catalonia is popular with tourists all year round, and a proud place for locals. With fantastic art and architecture and a rich medieval history, as well as innovative modern additions, Barcelona is certainly not short of things to do and see. Although most of them are well advertised to tourists, the city also boasts many hidden treasures. Here we discover five of Barcelona’s best kept secrets.
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Monestir de Pedralbes

Considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings of the Catalan Gothic period in the whole of Catalonia, it is a shame that so few people know about this treasure. Built in the early 14th century, the Monestir de Pedralbes has since shown the life of everyday nuns through religious art in the monastery museum inside. Not only does it boast stunning and intricate architecture which can be admired from the outside and inside, it also features an elegant three story cloister and a beautiful park inside the enchanting monastery. Given its location in what was, until the 20th century, still the countryside, it’s no surprise that the surroundings are peaceful and the experience somewhat spiritual. A fantastic historical and cultural learning point, and an admirable demonstration of Gothic architecture, it’s worth steering away from the bustle of the crowds of tourists to see the Monestir de Pedralbes.

Baixada del Monestir, 9, 08034 Barcelona, Spain,+34 932 56 34 34

Monestir de Pedralbes | © Carquinyol/Flickr
Monestir de Pedralbes | © Carquinyol/Flickr
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Parc del Laberint d’Horta

A hidden jewel located just off the tourist path, the Parc del Laberint d’Horta, or the Labyrinth Park, was built in 1791 and stands as the oldest park in Barcelona. With only 750 people being allowed to enter each day, guests can be sure to get a tranquil and relaxing experience whilst touring the park; no risk of huge and bustling crowds. The majestic grounds covers an incredible 9 hectares and are divided into an old and classical garden, and a newer more romantic garden. Then there is also the labyrinth itself, which invites guests to get lost and enjoy the adventure of trying to escape. Full of gigantic trees, elegant statues, peaceful ponds, flowers framing the gardens, and even a romantic canal, there’s no better place to relax and escape the busy city.

Passeig dels Castanyers, 1, 08035 Barcelona, Spain,+34 932 56 44 30

Parc del Laberint d'Horta | © Tim Adams/Flickr
Parc del Laberint d’Horta | © Tim Adams/Flickr

Poble Sec & Carrer de Blai

The majority of tourists head straight for El Raval, the popular tourist area of Barcelona, but a better option may actually be Poble Sec, the old center of the city. Head on past the large street of Avinguda de Paralell to the more residential neighborhood, located at the bottom of the Montjuïc hill. The main cobbled street, Carrer de Blai, is lined with fantastic bars and restaurants and really comes to life at night. We recommend visiting one of the city’s best tapas restaurants, Quimet & Quimet just around the corner on Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes.

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Tibidabo Amusement Park

This charming and family friendly theme park is somewhat unknown to the masses of tourists who flock to the city. Entertaining visitors since 1889, Tibidabo Amusement Park still retains that old and rustic feel, pleasing adults with its nostalgic fairground ambiance, and children with its simple entertainment. Lacking in monstrous rollercoasters, but full of the classics, including a ferris wheel with fantastic city views, it’s perfect for the youngsters. Along with the rides, characters to meet, and incredible views, there’s also the historic church Temple de Sagrat Cor which can be explored.

Plaza del Tibidabo, 3-4, 08035 Barcelona, Spain, +34 932 11 79 42

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Refugio 307

For the history lovers, this is a fantastic find. Part of the Museu d’Historia de Barcelona, Refugio 307 is an underground shelter dating back to the Spanish Civil War. As Barcelona was the most heavily bombed city during this period, its shelters are among the most fascinating to explore. In fact, more than 1000 shelters were built during the war, and Refugio 307 now invites visitors to discover the living conditions of this period by touring the different rooms, including an infirmary. A fantastic, historically eye-opening, and educational trip, visitors can book English tours and learn all about the historical significance and context of this shelter.

Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 175, 08004 Barcelona, Spain,+34 932 56 21 00