Ready for 8 secrets about Barcelona that are surte to surprise you? Barcelona is one of the most popular cities for a getaway in Europe. Brimming with things to see and do, not to mention Gaudí’s Sagrada Família and Parc Güell, the destination welcomes more than 27 million visitors a year.
So let us let you in on some of the city’s best-kept secrets: from hidden places to visit, interesting unknown facts and spots off the beaten track, we’re hear to help you escape the crowds and discover something new in Barcelona.
If you’re travelling to the city for the second or third time or you’re simply looking for a new experience in Barcelona, be sure to keep this list of secret spots handy!
1. Barcelona’s Bomb shelters
During the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona was subjected to repeated bombings and attacks, with over 1,400 bomb shelters constructed to protect its citizens.
One of the best preserved of these shelters is that of Plaça del Diamant in Gràcia, featuring around 250 metres of tunnels with space for around 200 people, which was rediscovered in 1992. There’s also the huge Refugio 307 in Poble Sec, with capacity for around 2,000 people.
Read more about the city’s air-raid shelters and how to visit them in our complete guide to Barcelona’s bomb shelters here.
2. Laberint d’Horta
Passeig dels Castanyers, 1, 08035
One of Barcelona’s oldest gardens is in the neighborhood of Horta Guinardó. Entry is free every day from 10am to 8pm and we recommend visiting in autumn or spring to get lost among the maze and enjoy the pleasant climates these seasons bring.
A perfect magical spot for a stroll, a picnic or an Instagram photo shoot. For more beautiful lush green spots in Barcelona to get a breath of fresh air, visit our article here.
3. Cementeri de Poblenou
Av. d’Icària, 204, 08005 Barcelona
Some of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets can be found in this fascinating cemetery, which dates back to 1819. This peaceful spot is brimming with stunning statues and marble monuments. There’s a guided route at the entrance to make sure you don’t miss the graves of some of the city’s most important figures of the 19th century.
There’s also the impressive Petó de la mort (Kiss of death) by Jaume Barba in which a skeleton with wings leans over to kiss a young man on the cheek.
4. La Biblioteca Arús
Passeig de Sant Joan, 26,
Did you know there’s a Sherlock Holmes collection in Barcelona? The Arús Library is one of Barcelona’s best-kept literary secrets. This magical library looks like something straight out of Harry Potter and is one of the hidden spots in the Eixample district.
With walls lined with books floor to ceiling, it’s the perfect place for book lovers to get lost and browse for hours. Check out its website for the opening times, guided tours and activities.
5. The unicorns of the Catedral de Barcelona
Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002
We’re sure you’ve visited Barcelona’s stunning cathedral, and some of you may have even spotted its gargoyles, but did you know there are also unicorns on its façade? If you’re taking a stroll through Barcelona’s Gothic quarter on your trip, be sure to look up when you reach the cathedral.
They say unicorns are symbols of power. If you look closely you may even spot some other animals on its facade from cows and dogs to elephants!
6. Trajano Columns
Carrer de Paradís 10
Seeing as you’re in the area, we have another secret to tell you. Drop into the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya in the Gothic quarter and you’re in for a fantastic surprise. This was once the highest place in the city and here you’ll find the ruins of what was the Temple d’August.
Unfortunately today only 4 columns remain from this temple that dates back to 1 BC, of which there were originally 66!
7. Jardins de la Tamarita
Passeig de Sant Gervasi, 47, 08022
These gardens are tucked away in the neighbourhood of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. Here you can enjoy almost two hectares of open green space – with centuries-old toweing oak trees, stone fountains, hidden pathways, and all types of exotic plants – in what once were the private gardens of the Craywinckel family.
8. Bobby’s Free
C/ de Pau Claris, 85, 08010
Because a list of secret places in Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without a secret bar. From the street Bobby’s Free may look like a barbershop, but actually this clandestine space is a 1920-s themed cocktail bar. Indulge in its speakeasy feel and order a signature cocktail or one of the best gin tonics in town.
What better way to finish off your tour of Barcelona’s secret spots!