tips from a local in barcelona
When you first move to the Catalan capital, your bucket list will probably seem endless. Sure, you should definitely check out the tourist attractions at least once during your time in Barcelona, but if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the main tourist traps and see some of the city’s hidden gems, then look no further.
If you’re ready to see a different side of Barcelona and experience life like a Catalan might, from learning the language to cultural traditions, our tips for living like a local in Barcelona should help you on your way.
Friday Language Exchange
This is the perfect opportunity to improve your language skills and meet people from all over the world. There’s no pressure at all and you don’t need to have a high level of a certain language. At the Friday Language Exchange there is a very relaxed atmosphere where people can enjoy a drink, meet new people and learn new languages.
During the summer months, Barcelona hosts several open-air cinema festivals. You’ll definitely appreciate spending more time outdoors with friends without being stuck inside museums or shopping centres. So, why not take advantage of the many outdoor cinemas that Barcelona has to offer? For most nights through July and August, films are screened on the beach, in the gardens of Montjuïc castle and various other locations around the city.
Please find the main ones listed below:
Brunch - In the Park
Every Sunday from June until September, local and international DJ’s play at the hottest event in Barcelona – Brunch – In the Park. During the summer months the event takes place in the Jardins de Joan Brossa at Montjuic, with an amazing view over the city. Every Spring, the Brunch – In the City festival returns to the Poble Espanyol. This is definitely an event you do not want to miss!
Enjoy the view from Bunkers del Carmel
Said to be one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets, these abandoned military bunkers offer the best view of the city. Besides their fascinating history dating back to the Spanish Civil War, the best reason to visit the bunkers is because they offer the most incredible panoramic views of Barcelona. A popular hangout for both locals and tourists, people gather at the bunkers to watch the beautiful view while playing music, enjoying picnics and taking pictures. The opening hours are from 9am to 7.30pm in the summer and from 9am to 5.30pm in the winter
Festa Major de Gràcia
Every August the streets of Barcelona’s Gràcia district come alive during a week-long party where the colourful street displays are the main event. This is definitely a not to be missed event in Barcelona’s busy calendar.
Learn Catalan for free
Being able to speak some of the local lingo will definitely help you appreciate the culture of Catalonia and will also go a long way with the locals. The official body in charge of promoting the Catalan language in Catalonia is the CPNL, they organise courses in centres across the region and offer free beginner’s classes as an incentive to help promote the language. There are several places to learn Catalan in Barcelona, we have listed the most popular options below:
The Festival Pedralbes is a summer outdoor music festival held in the gardens of Palau Reial de Pedralbes. The Festival of Pedralbes takes pride in holding amazing line-ups with names of both the international and national scene for its main stage and, on most days, offers us a previous concert in the Village, where you can enjoy the music of emerging artists.
The Festival also includes the “Day of Family Music” in which the arrival of summer is celebrated with a day full of activities, animations, workshops and concerts related to nature, History and music (with free access for children up to 12 years old).
The Grec Festival
Held in the Teatre Grec of Montjuïc, an outdoor theatre built for the Universal Exhibition of 1929 and inspired by the theatres of ancient Greece, The Grec Festival brings together theatre, dance, music, circus and cinema.
The festival supports the local production by showcasing some of the best artists that live in Barcelona, and it is also a window open to the world that presents the best talent from other countries.
Visit museums for free
Barcelona is rich in history and has an abundance of museums to visit, many of which offer free entry on special dates and specific week days and hours.
Visiting a museum can be fairly expensive, which is why Barcelona is encouraging free cultural visits to give all citizens the chance to visit some of its best attractions such as the Picasso Museum, Parc Güell or MACBA. So, why not take advantage of the many free museum days Barcelona has to offer?
Visit a (food) festival
Street food festivals are become increasingly popular in Barcelona and they are a really cheap way of eating out. You won’t just find fast food at these festivals, the stands offer everything you could imagine from gourmet dishes to some of the best local cuisine. We have listed below the best street food markets and festivals so you can check on them out for yourselves:
Fancy checking out the Barcelona Guide for activities, listings and courses? GuiaBCN provides an agenda of the best things to do whilst in the city in the following categories; Music, Nightlife, Kids, Film and Cinema, Holidays and Festivals, Sport, Fairs, Exhibitions, Shows, Walks and Tours and Weekend.
Visit a summer concert on the Montjuïc Castle
Castell de Montjuïc hosts concerts that include a wide range of genres and artists. During the Summer months, the Castle is transformed into a place where you can enjoy great music, taste culinary delights and enjoy views of the city from the Castle terrace.
Strap on your skis and goggles and take advantage the many ski resorts within a stones throw of Barcelona! The closest are La Molina, La Masella and Port del Comte, which are roughly 2 hours by car or train from Barcelona airport or city centre.
If you thought being in a busy city meant you couldn’t enjoy the fresh air and nature, then think again. There are plenty of great trails in and around Barcelona which combine the natural beauty of the area and Barcelona’s unique urban edge, some of which include; Tibidabo Mountain, The Bunkers del Carmel, Montjuïc and The Carretera de les Aigues.
There are plenty of incredible places in Catalonia that are easily reachable by train from Barcelona. Two must-see towns are Girona, with its medieval heritage, and Tarragona, a former Roman capital.
Catalonia is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain, with seaside destinations such as Sitges, the Costa Brava, and the Costa Daurada.
Why not visit some of Catalonia´s best preserved medieval villages. From stunning Besalú to the hidden jewel of Rupit and last but certainly not least, the clifftop village of Tavertet.
One more place to add to your bucket list is Montserrat, a mountain famous for its unusual appearance and the Benedictine Monastery of Santa María de Montserrat,. Not only is the Monastery of huge religious importance, but the natural beauty surrounding it is simply breathtaking.