An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
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Barcelona – this seaside town has much to offer visitors, from delicious food to Gaudi’s famous buildings. But as with any large city, how do you fit it all in? One way we love is discovering the city by bike! There are many locations for bike rentals in Barcelona, so wherever you are staying, you can hop on a bike and explore. There are bike paths, and the city is used to having plenty of bike traffic (as always, follow local traffic rules). It’s inexpensive, and allows you to get around town relatively quickly – and discover interesting (and delicious) places, street-side. Barcelona is a friendly city, with many neighborhoods to explore.

An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona - by bike!

Photo Donkey Bike

Here are four things to look for – food, architecture, art, and secrets - for exploring Barcelona, one of the most visited cities in Europe.

An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona

YUM

Breakfast

Whether you’re staying at the Hotel Praktik Bakery (the world’s first hotel bakery) and begin your day with freshly baked goods from Baluard, the city’s most famous bakery, or visit the main Baluard location in Barceloneta, you can deliciously fuel up for your day. Choose from a variety of tarts, breads, sandwiches, and more (at the hotel, guests can dine well on the breakfast buffet for only 9 euros!). 

Pastries at Baluard at Hotel Praktik Bakery. An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona
Pastries at Baluard at Hotel Praktik Bakery (above and below)

Pastries at Baluard at Hotel Praktik Bakery. An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona

Cava and Tapas

If you love cava, bike to El Xampanyet on Carrer Montcada, 22, which sells great, cheap cava! If you’re hungry, head to Restaurante Euskal Etxea Taberna, which is a fantastic Basque tapas bar. It is about a one minute walk away from El Xampanyet and is tucked into a little corner - and outside you will find wine barrels used as tables. 

El Xampanet cava bar. An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona
El Xampanet cava bar. Photo Talia Adamsson

Markets

There are many markets around town – La Boqueria has plenty of fresh juices, as well as food and snacks from all over the world. Santa Caterina Market sports a wavy, colorful roof and traditional market offerings, as well as restaurants and food stalls. Mercat de La Concepció, a smaller market, is ideal for parking your bike and heading in. Grab a table or a stool at the counter, and get some fresh seafood, grilled to order – and maybe some fresh fruit or juices to go?

Octopus dinner at Mercat de La Concepció. An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona
Octopus dinner at Mercat de La Concepció

Mercat de La Concepció. An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona
Mercat de La Concepció

Secrets

One of my favorite book series is by Catherine Aragon, entitled Scavenger Hunt Adventures. She’s got a book for Barcelona, of course, and it is worth getting to learn more about the city – and go on a treasure hunt! To whet your appetite for adventure, Aragon shares six secrets of Barcelona you can discover.

 Barrio Gotico. An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona
Barrio Gotico. Photo Victor Carbo

Architecture

Of course, you’ll want to view Gaudi’s magnificent architecture. This local architect changed the face of architecture in Spain, as well as globally. Sagrada Familia, a cathedral, is his most famous building, although perhaps my favorite (you won’t be surprised) is Casa Milà, which has an ocean theme, is an apartment building, and houses the Gaudi museum. Look:

 Casa Milà (La Pedrera). From An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona

Casa Milà at night

 Casa Milà (La Pedrera). From An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona
Inside Casa Milà 

Casa Milà (La Pedrera). From An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona

Rooftop, Casa Milà - if you go at night, you can see a light show!

Sagrada Familia. From An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona

Inside Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia. From An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona

Sagrada Familia. Photo Victor Carbo

Casa Batllo. From An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona

Inside Casa Batllo

Too recent? Head back in time – over 2,000 years – to see the remains of the Temple of Augustus. Located at the end of Carrer Paradís in the Gothic Quarter, this was reconstructed in the early 20th century.

Temple of Augustus, Barcelona. From An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona. Photo: Jesús Arpón

Temple of Augustus, Barcelona. Photo Wikimedia Commons: Jesús Arpón

Art

In addition to influential architecture, Barcelona is well-known for its public art. There are many public art installations in Barcelona, including Joan Fontcuberta’s Kiss installation - a photomosaic made from 4,000 tiles, and Gaudi’s Park Güell. Here's a dragon at the park - but there are countless dragons located throughout the city. Can you find them?

Parque Guell. An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona
Parque Guell. Photo Victor Carbo 

You will also find street performers – watch them for a bit, to see how live art exists in this city.

A human statue. An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona
A human statue. Photo Victor Carbo

But wander around on your bike, and see what you discover...

Outdoor art near Passeig Lluís Companys. From An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona

Outdoor art near Passeig Lluís Companys

Prefer art inside? There are many art museums in Barcelona. Make time for the National Museum, which features the best collection of Romanesque mural painting in the world, as well as art from a wide range of styles and time periods. Be sure to visit the Fundació Joan Miró, a place to explore contemporary art.

 

Have you explored a city by bike? What did you love most?

 

Barcelona Las Ramblas. An Unusual Way to Explore Barcelona
Barcelona Las Ramblas. Photo Victor Carbo

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Wandering Educators, except where noted

 

 

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