Barcelona Hidden Gems: Secret Spots from a Local’s Perspective

Published

*This site contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission when you buy. See my full disclosure.

Barcelona is one of the best European cities with many hidden gems, all squished into 38 square miles (98 square kilometers). As a resident since 2008, some “hidden gems” in Barcelona became so popular with the rise of social media that it’s not so hidden any more. But I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. If this city didn’t have the popular attractions like Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, El Born, or Las Ramblas, it would still be amazing with these secret spots. Here is my personal list of hidden gems in Barcelona. Don’t forget the Google Map at the bottom!

Best Hidden Barcelona Architecture

Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens is an amazing secret spot of Antoni Gaudí, which really shows off the architect’s early work. Completed in 1885, it was his first major commission, featuring a mix of Moorish, Gothic, and Art Nouveau influences. Often overlooked by visitors, it’s a historic residence that predates Gaudí’s more famous projects and is much less touristy than his other works.

Casa Vicens
A unique Gaudi creation: Casa Vicens

Casa de les Punxes

This modernist building, also known as Casa Terradas has a castle-like silhouette and intricate details.  Designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch and completed in 1905, it represents Catalan modernism and is a unique building for its six pointed towers. It was commissioned in 1905 by the Terrades sisters, an hoity-toity bourgeois family during early 20th-century Barcelona.

Palau G üell

Designed by Antoni Gaudí for industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell, Palau Güell is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that often stands in the shadows of Gaudí’s more famous creations with wooden ceilings and original furnishings. Completed in 1890, the palace ha innovative architectural elements and a unique style, including a cool roof terrace of decorated chimneys, each with a unique colorful design.

Hidden Spots Barcelona, the Palau Guell by Gaudí

Recinte Modernista Sant Pau

Although not precisely hidden, the Recinte Modernista Sant Pau, or the old Hospital de Sant Pau, is overshadowed by Gaudí’s popularity. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this modernist gem designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner features stunning architecture and gardens. Functioning as a hospital until 2009, it remains a hidden oasis of beauty and history within the city. To me, this is one of the coolest hidden gems in Barcelona.

One of my favorite places to visit in in Barcelona

Torre Bellesguard

Bellesguard, designed by Antoni Gaudí, is a lesser-known masterpiece located in Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. Constructed between 1900 and 1909, it combines medieval and modernist elements, offering a unique and relatively undiscovered architectural gem in Barcelona.

The Torre Bellesguard, one of the hidden places in Barcelona
Torre Bellesguard

Casa Ramos

Casa Ramos, designed by Jaume Torres i Grau, is a hidden gem characterized by unique architecture and intricate details. Located on Carrer Gran de Gràcia, it’s a gorgeous buidling that was part of the modernist movement.

Casa Amatller

Casa Amatller, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, is part of the Illa de la Discòrdia and displays a distinctive blend of architectural styles. Completed in 1900, it’s one of the beauties alongside other modernist buildings on Passeig de Gràcia. It’s one of the top hidden gems that’s eclipsed by the Gaudí creations.

The coffee shop at the bottom floor of Casa Amatller is charming

Palau Baró de Quadras

Palau Baró de Quadras, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, is a modernist building on Avinguda Diagonal. Completed in 1904, it features rich ornamentation and unique architectural elements, offering a lesser-explored gem in the city. I ran in here when I took one of the most informative architecture tours by Context Tours.

You have to step inside the Barcelona secret places, Palau Baró de Quadras
The amount of detail inside the Palau Baró de Quadras is incredible

Plaza de Toros Monumental

This does not make people’s lists for some reason. But for me, when I pass the Plaza de Toros, I’m in awe of its strange facade, reminiscent of Dalí’s Theatre-Museum. While the Plaza de Toros Monumental is no longer used for bullfighting, this historic bullring, built-in 1914, stands as a reminder of Barcelona’s cultural history. Its neo-Mudejar architecture and intricate details make it a hidden gem for those interested in the city’s past. Do you agree or not?

Plaza Monumental: A cool place to pass by

Hidden Barcelona museums

Casa dels Entremesos

Casa dels Entremesos, located in the Poble Espanyol, serves as a cultural venue celebrating traditional Catalan festivals and performances. This hidden gem showcases the rich heritage of Catalan folklore and offers a unique experience away from the mainstream tourist attractions. It’s a nice place in the busy Barcelona center where you can enjoy a quick tapa!

La Casa de Entremesos, Barcelona with kids
A very cool museum of giants

Palau de la Música

Palau de la Música Catalana is a stunning concert hall designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and completed in 1908. Known for its exquisite modernist architecture and vibrant stained glass, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a cultural gem that hosts a variety of musical performances.

Romantic Barcelona idea: show at Palau de La Musica
Palau de La Musica

Museu Frederic Marès

Museu Frederic Marès is a curious museum located in the Gothic Quarter, displaying the quirky the private collection of sculptor Frederic Marès. With a huge collection of strange artifacts like clocks, fans, pipes, boquet holders, it also has sculptures, paintings, and decorative arts. The museum is a bit weird and fun. After your visit, be sure to have a coffee in the peaceful courtyard outside!

A seriously cool and weird museum

Barcelona Attractions Hidden in Nature

Bunkers del Carmel

The Bunkers del Carmel, is perched atop the Turó de la Rovira hill in Barcelona. It’s easy to access even with kids. During the Spanish Civil War, the Bunkers del Carmel served as an anti-aircraft battery to protect Barcelona. Abandoned after the 1992 Olympic Games, they were rediscovered and partially restored. The bunkers itself are not beautiful. But it’s considered one of best views of Barcelona here. (Read my post on some of the best viewpoints.)

The real deal: The bunkers were seriously a hidden gem circa 2015 (my guess).  When social media exploded and bloggers spread the news, it became a nightmare destination for local neighbors who had to deal with trash and large crowds of people eating and drinking on the hill. It isn’t all doom and gloom. If you can find a secluded spot where you can bring your own cheese and wine and watch the sunset during a down-season, it would be lovely. So, expect crowds on a beautiful day.

Bunkers del Carmel, Turó de la Rovira
It can be so beautiful from the Bunkers if there aren’t huge crowds

Parc del Laberint

Parc del Laberint (Laberint Park) in Horta-Guinardó, is a hidden gem known for its neoclassical design and landscaped gardens. It’s one of my favorite, relaxing parks! Built in the 18th century, it features a labyrinth, sculptures, and pretty pathways.  This is a fantastic getaway for people who want to stay away from the busy Barcelona center. The best part is the cool maze, where, in the center, you’ll find a sculpture of Eros. Kids ages 0-99 will love it!

A hidden garden inside the Parc del Laberint (it’s closed off)

Parc de la Creueta del Coll

In the Gràcia district, Parc de la Creueta del Coll is a local favorite with a man-made lake and a strange, heavy sculpture by Eduardo Chillida, In Praise of Water. Built for the 1992 Olympics, it’s popular in the summer when it converts into a public wading pool and social center for families. 

Local Barcelona secret spot
The local park, Creueta de Coll, is fun in the summer!!

Jardins de Mossen Costa i Llobera

Sitting on the slopes of Montjuïc, the Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera, or the Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens has a delightful cactus garden and other succulent plants. With its terraced layout, the garden offers panoramic views of Barcelona along with a stunning collection of over 800 species of cacti and succulents. Established in 1970, the garden provides a serene and unique experience, attracting plant enthusiasts. Its carefully curated collection, vibrant colors, and the dramatic backdrop of Montjuïc make it a lesser-known botanical treasure in Barcelona. It’s also the perfect place for a picnic and a lovely view of the city.

Teatre Grec

Teatre Grec in Barcelona is a lovely open-air amphitheater with terraced seating surrounded by lush greenery and gardens. Its design is a semi-circle and resembles a classical Greek theater, with stone seats arranged in a descending manner to provide an intimate setting for performances. It’s a peaceful place to go for one of the best views over Barcelona. The surrounding gardens enhance the overall aesthetic, creating a unique and charming environment for cultural events.

Montjuïc Cemetery

This gorgeous cemetery is terraced on Montjuïc hill, with rows and rows of beautiful sculptures, mausoleums, vaults, and gardens. It also has some interesting panoramic view of Barcelona but mostly the Mediterranean Sea It also has intricate sculptures by famous architects like Puig i Cadafalch and Domènech i Montaner. And if you’re familiar with any famous Catalans, Joan Miró, Ildefonso Cerdá, and Lluis Companys and also buried here. 

A gorgeous hidden place in Barcelona
The Montjuic cemetery has beautiful mausoleums

So what do you think of my list of the best hidden gems in Barcelona? Is there anything you would add to the best places? Let me know!

FAQs

What you shouldn’t miss in Barcelona?

The best places in barcelona are iconic landmarks like the breathtaking Sagrada Familia, the artistic marvel of Casa Batlló, the vibrant atmosphere of Las Ramblas, the bustling market of La Boqueria, the historic charm of the Gothic Quarter, the whimsical Park Güell, and the trendy Born district.

What is the most famous thing in Barcelona?

The most famous thing in Barcelona is undoubtedly the Sagrada Familia and the distinctive architectural works created by the renowned artist Antoni Gaudí, which contribute significantly to the city’s unique and artistic character.

What is the number one attraction in Barcelona?

The number one attraction of the places to visit in Barcelona is the peculiar yet stunning Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an architectural masterpiece by Antoni Gaudí.

Barcelona Hidden Gems Map

By Justine Ancheta

California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.