El Poble Sec, located in the Sants-Montjuïc district of Barcelona, is one of the city’s most culturally diverse areas. Once known best as a good place to find a cheap drink, it has recently undergone something of a renewal, yet still maintains its bohemian feel. Expect the vibe to be quirky, creative and relaxed. Here are our ten must-dos for the neighborhood.
Arguably a must-see for the entirety of Barcelona, Caixa Forum, a renovated former textiles factory, maintains a top-notch program of art and culture – be it exhibitions, music, dance or theatre. Despite playing host to high-brow art installations, it makes an effort to appeal to younger minds as well. It’s recently shown an exhibition of Pixar’s creative process, and ensures that plenty of interactive activities are placed around.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Opening hours: 10am-8pm
Caixa Forum, Avenue Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 6-8, Barcelona, Spain, +34 934 76 86 00
Gran Bodega Saltó
Once a traditional bodega, it has since been transformed into a stunningly eccentric bar. If the décor of figurines, stuffed animals and antiques aren’t enough to keep you entertained, the music probably will – it’s by request, making for a varied night. Leave your pretensions at the door and enjoy the cheap drinks and unique atmosphere.
Gran Bodega Saltó, Carrer de Blesa, 36, Barcelona +34 934 41 37 09
Casa de Tapes Cañota
Serving traditional Galician food, Casa de Tapes Cañota shares its owner with the better known Rías de Galicia. The food is fairly expensive, the portions are fairly small – but expect it to be exquisitely cooked. It benefits from a very extensive menu and friendly, welcoming staff. If you’re after a true culinary experience this is a great option.
Casa de Tapes Cañota, Carrer de Lleida, 7, Barcelona, +34 933 25 91 71
El Rouge is a little known bar decked out in velvet, all colored red according to its name. The general ambiance, the range of events, the comfortable sofas, and possibly the best gin and tonics in the city, all combine to make this a favorite amongst locals. More than worth a visit if you’re in the mood for somewhere that is as authentic as it is quietly cool.
El Rouge, Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 21, Barcelona, +34 666 25 15 56
Archaeology Museum of Catalonia
Learn about Catalonian history at the Archaeology Museum of Catalonia. Another little known destination, this museum has managed to stay entirely off the beaten track. It’s on the way to the popular Castell de Montjuïc, and is a good place to stop off. Expect all information to be in Spanish, and the place to be largely empty – yet it’s a beautiful building with items that trace back to the history of Catalonia.
Opening hours: Sun 10am-2.30pm, Tues – Sat 9.30am-7pm
The most famous theatre in the area, El Molino is located on the equally famous Parallel Avenue. Expect risqué yet largely tasteful cabaret and burlesque. Showcasing wonderful hosts and performers at the venue, the audiences are largely Spanish and as such, the shows are generally geared to them. However, this won’t make it any less enjoyable for tourists. It’s a good idea to get there early if you want to ensure good seats, and they normally have a few performers outside to entice people in.
El Molino, Carrer de Vila i Vilà, 99, Barcelona, +34 932 05 51 11
If you’re in the mood for a quick break from Spanish cuisine, Xemei is the stand-out option. Owned by two Italian twins, Xemei benefits from a good location, friendly staff, and a truly incredible Venetian-inspired menu. The simple yet exquisitely cooked Venetian haute cuisine means that the restaurant is normally full – it’s probably worth calling ahead if you intend on paying it a visit.
Xemei, Paseo de la Exposicion, 85, Barcelona, +34 935 53 51 40
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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