4 ways to avoid the tourist traps of Barcelona

7257777130_d45ffba4fb_kBarcelona is one of my favourite cities in the world but each year that I visit, this is the 5th, it gets more and more crowded. This year I was fortunate enough to be visiting local friends, so I was able to get a taste of the real Barcelona, away from the crowded tourist traps. The highlights are undoubtedly worth seeing, as described in my last post about Barcelona. However if you’re in the mood for something different or you’ve been to Barcelona before, I’d like to share the love and let you in on the secrets!

Get the real food market experience

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Where are all the people?
Where are all the people?
The market everyone heads for is Mercat de Sant Josep just off La Rambla, and it’s good but absolutely heaving with tourists. Head to Mercat de Santa Caterina instead which is far cleaner, more beautiful and in the lovely Borne neighbourhood.

Get the best view of the city from Turo de la Rovira

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Take a bottle of wine, beers or a picnic up to this secluded spot popular with locals. As if this wasn’t enough, this place also has a rich history as one of the main strategic defence points during the Spanish civil war, so look out for the bullet holes. It’s about an hour out of town by bus, but its worth it. Just make sure you bring supplies! Details of how to get there are here.

Head for the beaches out of town

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La Garraf

Barcelona beach is great for a quick sunbathing session or some beers with a few friends, but it’s a manmade beach and not the nicest quality. The beaches just half an hour out of town are far nicer and make the perfect day trip. Most people head for Sitges as it has plenty of great food, a nice big beach and a beautiful old town behind the church just waiting to be explored. For something different with less hawkers, try Garraf beach which is more popular with the locals. There’s less food options so bring a picnic or treat yourself to a delicious €15 lunch at La Cúpula.

Sitges
Sitges

Don’t eat on la Rambla

It’s worth a visit to this street but whatever you do don’t eat there! It’s expensive and quite often frozen. Instead choose a small deli in the Borne neighbourhood, or try La Xampanyeria on Calle de la Reina Cristina for meat and Cava the local way. It’s cheap, authentic and not in the least bit healthy!

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